From the City of Chicago– June 8, 2011
Work has begun to develop concepts to convert a 2.65-mile unused, elevated railway line to a multi-use linear park for recreational users and commuters. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has identified the Bloomingdale Trail as a priority to reach his goals of creating a world-class bike network, improving the pedestrian environment and creating new open space.
Public input will be a key component in creating plans to redevelop the Bloomingdale Line, which runs along Bloomingdale Avenue (approximately 1800 North) from Ashland to Ridgeway. CDOT is leading the design, engineering and construction of the project in close cooperation with the Chicago Park District.
Under CDOT’s direction, ARUP North America—which was selected through a competitive RFP process and comprises a consortium of local and national firms—will tackle several tasks in the coming months:
Schedule public meetings, the first of which will occur this summer
Inventory the condition of 37 viaducts along the line
Lead a design charette in the fall
Perform geotechnical and environmental studies
Create design guidelines and a phasing plan
The schedule for all public meetings, once determined, will be posted on the CDOT web site.
Among ARUP’s past projects are the “Water Cube” aquatics center for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Its team of subcontractors includes many notable architectural and engineering firms.
Many important community partners are integral to the design process, including the Trust for Public Land (www.tpl.org) , Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail (www.bloomingdaletrail.org/) and Chicago Park District. The Trust, working with the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development, has acquired parcels of land to serve as access parks and will facilitate public/private partnership activities. The non-profit Friends advocates for the project and is helping build community support. The Chicago Park District will own and maintain the Trail when it’s completed.
ARUP’s work is expected to be complete in late 2012. No construction schedule has been determined yet.
The City continues to pursue funding for the project, while the Trust and Friends are working to raise private funds. The full buildout is expected to cost between $50 million and $70 million, and the project may be phased as funding is made available. About $2.7 million has been secured thus far for phase I design.