Chicago trail supporters see a gem on the tracks
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#1 Jun 10, 2009
"City officials agree and are in the process of choosing designers and engineers to turn the 2.7 miles of rail line into the Bloomingdale Trail -- the longest elevated trail in the country and one of a very few elevated rail-trail conversion projects being considered nationally."
What about the Illinois Prairie Path, it's about 30 miles long about 10 times longer than the proposed Bloomingdale Trail.
#2 Jun 10, 2009
I think the point was that this would be the longest elevated rail line, not the longest rail-to-trail conversion.
#3 Jun 10, 2009
Gomez-Feliciano should explain to longtime residents that their neglect of the community is the reason that they havent seen the development of additional green space in their lifetimes. Gangs and drug users generally dont organize effectively to push and help for much community development at all.
#4 Jun 10, 2009
I don't think it's a great idea. For one, it seems very likely that kids would end up falling off the side of an elevated park. For another thing, there is an enormous park only a few blocks away at Humboldt Park.
I think it would be a far better use to turn the former elevated tracks into a CTA branch of the Blue Line to serve an area without good access to transit. It could be continued along Metra rights of way to the edge of the city, serving neighborhoods with no rapid transit service.
The strip is already grade separated, which would be one of the largest costs involved. It also crosses under the existing blue line tracks. From the perspective of transit expansion, it is a great opportunity. To turn it into an expensive and dangerous park would be a waste.
#5 Jun 10, 2009
Count me as one of the people who jogs up there now and actually would rather see it stay the way it is.$60M?
#6 Jun 16, 2009
I attended a meeting 4 years ago discussing this project. At that time I couldnt fathom how anyone could spend $25,000,000(the estimate given that nite) to pave an existing piece of property that was going to be donated by the railway.
2 years ago they said it would cost $35,000,000. Now we're up to $60,000,000. Ever wonder why Chicago is always in financial trouble?
Rip out the tracks;sell them for scrap;pave the thing and call it a day!!!!! Quit spending my hard earned money Mayor daley!!!!
#7 Jun 16, 2009
Grade- separated rail rights of way are devilishly hard to accumulate and incredibly valuable for their main purpose. This route goes right through several high density residential areas that could use their own tie-in to the CTA rail network.
The Orange Line proved that Chicago neighborhoods can become more valuable with high quality transit links. Subways are, in effect, "expressways for pedestrians". They allow pedestrians to access far-off neighborhoods similiar to what expressways bring to car-drivers (and for the same reasons: no cross-traffic or stop lights).
Chicago's next master plan, especially in light of oil-scarcity and climate change, needs to plan for elevated/ subway routes like the Bloomingdale segment on a regular grid (say, about every one and a half miles) throughout the city -- with multiple lines converging at OHare and Midway, for instance, as we currently have in the Loop. In fact, I'd suggest using the Bloomingdale track to tie to the proposed Gray Line along South Lake Shore Drive's rail tracks. Note that the Bloomindale segment runs into a current Metra line that runs past the south (freight) side of OHare, a major jobs-magnet -- so it isn't a one-way traffic market.
If you don't like the idea of tieing Bloomingdale to South Shore, look at tieing the Bloomindale segment to the Orange Line, then tieing the South Shore Gray Line project to the current Brown Line. Another fairly cheap project on existing right of way would be using the Cicero Belt Railroad corridor, especially if the south end of such not only ran past Midway but turned east to Hyde Park. These three together would allow several high density pedestrian neighborhoods their own "ped expressways", and start building a rail network that serves major job and transport destinations besides the Loop. Not to mention allow everyone to get from one part of town to another without the Loop pilgrimage.
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