It was hard not to greet the opening of The 606 with some skepticism. Will this really be a functional bike path? Or will it become so crammed with oblivious pedestrians and double-wide strollers that accidents abound? Will all the Northwest Side neighbors really use it? Or will we only see folks of one skin tone and age demographic up there? As it turns out, the years of hard work and planning by Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and the many neighborhood organizations championing the longest elevated park in the country paid off. The 606 serves bike commuters, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers, older folks out for a stroll and CPS gym classes alike. You might see a concert on the big lawn at the Ashland terminus or gather to witness the sunset on the solstice at the Lawndale end…or meet a date to sit and look over Humboldt Boulevard halfway between. And, as the trees, flowers and shrubs planted a little over a year ago have started to fill in, the future lush beauty of the path (which might remind us of its past, wild, overgrown beauty?) can now be seen. The 606 promotes active, car-free transit, creates gathering space, beautifies and creatively reuses old, formerly crumbling infrastructure, and represents the best in public projects.
Best of Chicago 2016