Monday, March 12, 2012

good news about the Bloomingdale Trail and more

I heard some good news today about the Bloomingdale Trail, Chicago lakefront and parks, and wanted to share it with you. Here are a few highlights from the Mayor's press conference today:

"The Bloomingdale Trail will begin its final engineering and design phase this week, with construction to begin in late 2012 and completion by fall 2014. This next phase is made possible by the first round of private donations – $5 million from Exelon, and $1 million each from CNA and Boeing, which made the first donation. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has established a Leadership Council that will continue to work with the City to raise $35 million in private support for construction and stewardship. The City has also secured $37 million in federal funds and $2 million in Park District funds, for a total of $46 million.

The Bloomingdale Trail will be a 2.65-mile multi-use recreational trail built along an elevated rail line atop Bloomingdale Ave. on Chicago’s northwest side. The Trail will be the world's longest elevated trail and a major tourist draw, but more importantly it will significantly increase transportation options for residents on Chicago’s northwest side.  The tracks, which are currently unused, will be converted into a safe greenway that accommodates both pedestrian and bike travel, and connects the west side to existing bike lanes that feed into the Loop.  There will be multiple access points that double as neighborhood parks and link the trail to existing bike and transit routes.  The Damen and Western stops on the Blue Line, the Clybourn Metra station, and the North Avenue, Fullerton, Western, Kedzie, Kimball, California, Milwaukee and Ashland buses all pass under, over or nearby the Trail.

Projects expected to be completed this year include the 31st St. Harbor, 180 acres of new acquisitions, ... and Garfield Park Conservatory restoration.
The new $100 million 31st St. Harbor is scheduled to open in May and ... will feature a green roof parking garage, ... underpass to separate vehicular traffic from cyclists and pedestrians on the Lakefront Trail...

...four new Chicago River boat houses will increase recreational opportunities along the river and will provide community rooms, concessions, fitness centers, restrooms, storage and direct river access. River Park and Ping Tom Park locations will open in 2012 and Clark Park and Park #561 at Eleanor St. and 28th St. will open in 2013.

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