Video: Ride the Bloomingdale Trail from End to End

Take a virtual bicycle ride on the Bloomingdale Trail, part of The 606, the 2.7-mile elevated greenway and access park network, which opened Saturday on Chicago’s Northwest Side. I pedaled the trail from its western terminus at Ridgeway Avenue, a stone’s throw from the McCormick Tribune YMCA, to its eastern trailhead at Walsh Park, between Marshfield Avenue and Ashland Avenue. I filmed this around 11 a.m. on Monday, the first weekday the path was open.

I noticed large numbers of parents and caretakers pushing children in strollers, and biking with kids in baby seats, or pedaling beside them. There were also plenty of other adults riding bikes for transportation, exercise, or relaxation.

Construction and landscape workers were busy improving Walsh Park and the access park at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street. One of the construction workers was traveling between the job sites on a bicycle, which was a very cool thing to see.

What have you seen on the Bloomingdale Trail?

  • BlueFairlane

    So did you know that guy in the brown shirt who kept passing you on the right so he’d have a clear path to slow down, or was he just being annoying?

  • Pat

    Looks great.

    As a cyclist, I wish the path was a bit wider. I foresee many 4-wide walking groups in the future, as I saw a couple at 2PM today (2 abreast please!). Also, I saw a lot of dogs on leashes with generous leads which seems like a recipe for trouble. All in all, a great leisure ride.

  • Yes I know him!

  • Yeah, the path isn’t very wide and the constant access points (which is probably a really good thing) mean it’s less likely that people spread themselves out. So there’s a consistent and constant slow-down for bicyclists to move around walkers and bicyclists, including in the oncoming direction.

  • Yet Another Reader

    Very cool!

  • Derweze

    As a cyclist, I’ll be sticking to the roads. Much like the lakefront trail, this is just too crowded and more a place for a leisurely roll than actually trying to get up to speed and get somewhere. Also, what is it with telling people how to walk? Slightly unnecessary authoritarian behavior there.

  • Even counting all the times I had to slow down, it was faster to bike from Ridgeway Avenue to Marshfield Avenue on the Bloomingdale Trail. The full video was about 14 minutes long.

    Google Maps is showing 16 minutes for the same trip in a car and 18 minutes by bike using surface streets.

  • Neil Clingerman

    Finally rode it today, great job landscaping but I also had concerns about the width of the trail. Toy dogs on leashes scared me the most riding my bike. Its been awhile since I rode the lakeshore path, but I don’t remember so many dogs are strollers over there.

  • Jeff H

    I run the lakefront path all the time and can say that there aren’t as many. With the 606, it’s nestled right next to residential areas with easy access for people close to their homes. With the LFP you have the barrier of LSD and access points that are further away. So most parents are less likely to wheel a stroller all the way out there.

  • Pat

    I’m sorry you feel that me asking people to use common sense and walk in a manner so as allow others to pass safely as authoritarian.

  • duppie

    Holy cr@p!. Look at 2:21.
    That cyclist has a deathwish.

  • Derweze

    One person’s demands for “common sense” is another’s overbearing officiousness.

  • Hey folks, enough back-and-forth about this please. Thanks.

  • BlueFairlane

    The Western Ave. bridge looks like it’s going to be one of the trail’s biggest chokepoints, along with the bridge over Milwaukee. And the fact that the two chokepoints are so close together doesn’t help. I expect this to be where bicyclist frustrations boil over and people wind up getting into collisions.

    When the bicycle war comes, Western Avenue will be the trigger point.

  • BlueFairlane

    About an hour ago (4 to 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon), I was able to go from the Ashland end to the west end and back in 28 minutes on a Divvy bike. That works out to an average speed of 11 mph, which isn’t bad and not far off what I’d do on, say, Armitage with the lights. I agree, it’s not the place to ride if you want to run flat out, but it’s not like a slow-motion time suck, either.

  • The solution to all of these problems is “more”. More Bloomingdale Trails, more car-free routes.

  • There’s another person riding a bike who was admonished for scaring three women pushing babies. He’s hard to see, but in the version with original audio, you can hear them from 75 feet away.

  • David Altenburg

    After a few days of riding it, I now always expect to slow down to a walking pace at the Western and Milwaukee bridges, and then just wait to pass. It beats sitting at a stoplight down on the surface at those streets!

  • Jeff H

    Absolutely. Especially with these E/W routes. The LFP is always going to be popular because of the view, but we have tons of streets that can be made more bike and pedestrian friendly.

  • BlueFairlane

    The world of transportation would be a much better place if everybody took a similarly laid back attitude. Unfortunately, though, it seems the human brain does roughly the same thing regardless of what mode is moving it. I’ve already seen flaring tempers here a number of times. People act like 15 seconds of slowing down is going to occupy their entire day.

  • skelter weeks

    More trails for walkers?? They already have all the sidewalks in the city of Chicago, bike-free to boot, and it’s still not enough for them. How will ‘more’ trails solve that problem? I think you mean ‘wider and separated’.

  • Okay, you got me, the solution is neither of what we propose but the same care and quality of our sidewalks and existing infrastructure as we’ve given to the $90 million conversion of an elevated railroad to a park and trail system.

    It’s no wonder that the city’s shared cost sidewalk program runs out of money in a day or three. It has such a limited budget and sidewalks are broken everywhere!

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