Accessing The 606/Bloomingdale Trail: Drake Ave

Drake Ave Rendering

Image courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

Construction continues at a rapid pace on The 606 and its Bloomingdale Trail. The trail is expected to open sometime this fall. In anticipation, we’re evaluating whether Logan Square residents will have a safe way of getting there by bicycle. Today, we take a quick look at the trail access point at Drake Ave (3550 West).

The trail will have one access point on the west side of Drake Ave. Where it crosses the trail, Drake is a one-way street pointing north. However, two blocks north of the trail, at Armitage Ave, it becomes a one-way street pointing in the opposite direction. So, whether cyclists are headed away from or toward the trail, Drake will force them to turn at Armitage or before.

Bloomingdale Drake Map- updated

The map above shows the area around the access point at Drake. The access points at Lawndale to the west and Kimball to the east are also visible. The routes in yellow are bike routes that have been proposed by the city in its Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan (pdf). Drake sits in an area between proposed bike routes — routes that will be better connected to the Bloomingdale Trail via other access points. This fact, in combination with the fact that Drake is a flip-flopping one-way street, means it likely won’t serve many cyclists.

If Drake were to become a dedicated bike route, one option would be to make it a contraflow neighborhood greenaway, similar to what is being planned for Wood St. in Wicker Park. A connection to Palmer St — which is an important proposed east/west bike route half a mile north of the trail — would be valuable. However, it may make more sense to focus on the bike routes to the west and east (Lawndale Ave, Spaulding Ave, and Sawyer Ave) that are part of the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan.

Contact your alderman and tell him/her that you’re excited about The 606, and want to be able to access it safely. Ask him/her to ensure that Lawndale, Spaudling, Sawyer, and Palmer become dedicated bike routes in keeping with the Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan.

Here is a map of Logan Square wards, including the 1st Ward (Joe Moreno), 26th Ward (Roberto Maldonado), 30th Ward (Ariel Reboyras), 31st Ward (Ray Suarez), 32nd Ward (Scott Waguespack), 33rd Ward (Deb Mell), and 35th Ward (Rey Colón).



Accessing The 606/Bloomingdale Trail: The Western Trailhead

As work continues on one of the most exciting urban bike trail projects in the country — The 606/Bloomingdale Trail — we at Bike Walk Logan Square ask a crucial question. How will Logan Square residents get there?

Having reviewed the Streets for Cycling 2020 plan (pdf), we highlight a number of important routes that we suggest prioritizing, and we point out some gaps in the bicycle network that, ideally, ought to be addressed.

In this post, we begin at the western end of the Trail, where there will be trail access points on Ridgedale Ave and Lawndale Ave. The McCormick Tribune YMCA sits just north of the trail on Lawndale, which promises to be a popular destination for trail users. However, north and west of the trail, cyclists encounter some holes in the network.

01- Ridgeway and Lawndale

The 606 Access at Ridgedale and Lawndale, Image courtesy of The Trust for Public Land, as presented at the public meeting on June 18, 2013.

First, Lawndale is blocked just south of Armitage Ave. Bikes can squeeze through the cuts in the curb, but a dedicated bike route (which Lawndale is in the Streets for Cycling 2020 plan) should better accommodate bicycles.

Second, Ridgeway Ave is not a bike route. It easily connects to bike routes on Cortland Ave and then Hamlin Ave. Considering the level of bicycle traffic that we expect will follow that route, it makes sense to declare Ridgeway a bike route, at least between the trail and Cortland Ave.

Third, a couple of blocks north of the trail, on the other side of Armitage, cyclists will find that there are two bike routes on one-way southbound streets (Hamlin and Lawndale). Unless one of those streets is made to accommodate northbound cyclists, bikers will have two southbound bike routes but no northbound route.

Bloomingdale Ridgeway Lawndale Map

Accessing The 606 from the Ridgeway and Lawndale access points

Another important consideration is how cyclists will travel east and west when they are north of the trail. Both Palmer St. and Wrightwood Ave. are slated to become bike routes extending through the neighborhood (and much further west). Both have been suggested as possible neighborhood greenways (similar to Berteau Ave on the north side). And both will be important for many Logan Square residents to safely access the trail on bike. It is therefore critical that bike infrastructure on Palmer and Wrightwood be well implemented.

Bike 2020 Plan- West Logan Square

Streets for Cycling 2020- West Logan Square

Our recommendations have been sent to the Chicago Department of Transportation, with support from Alderman Rey Colón. A handful of wards intersect at or near The 606. They include the 1st Ward (Joe Moreno), 26th Ward (Roberto Maldonado), 30th Ward (Ariel Reboyras), 31st Ward (Ray Suarez), 32nd Ward (Scott Waguespack), 33rd Ward (Deb Mell), and 35th Ward (Rey Colón). This map of Logan Square wards can help you see where you are and which wards you will travel through on your way to The 606. Please consider contacting your alderman to tell him or her that you want safe access to The 606 for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The 606 will surely be a wonderful addition to our neighborhood. Let’s do what we can to make sure our neighbors can get to it safely. And let’s hope it sparks a web of complete streets infrastructure that reaches into Logan Square and beyond.