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Photograph: Martha Williams

Bloomingdale Trail entrances | You asked for it

Enter at your own risk: four popular ways into the future elevated park.


On September 8, there was a Bloomingdale Trail design meeting at the Congress Theater. The finished elevated park still seems years away. How can I get up there and enjoy it now?—Gabby, Andersonville

Ashland Avenue (1600 West) The 2.75-mile dormant rail line running east-west along Bloomingdale Avenue (1800 North) between Lawndale Avenue and the Kennedy Expressway is still Canadian Pacific Railway property. Yes, signs say trespassing is prohibited, but that has done nothing to stop walkers, joggers and party people from enjoying the grassy path. One popular entryway is north of the Bloomingdale, on the east side of Ashland. Once you’re up the embankment, a low chain-link fence and a squeeze through a hole in a second fence stand in the way.

Lawndale Avenue (3700 West) At the southeast corner of the parking lot for the McCormick Tribune YMCA (1834 N Lawndale Ave), where three community design meetings will be held in early October (see for the schedule), an easy-peasy path leads up the embankment.

Leavitt Street (2200 West) There’s a gap between the iron fencing and a concrete wall just north of Milwaukee Avenue on the west side of Leavitt, where a trail heads up the embankment. At the top, you can see people hoisting themselves over the viaduct’s railing.

Whipple Street (3030 West) Another favored access point is in Albany-Whipple Park, north of the Bloomingdale. At the west end of the tallish iron fencing at the base of the embankment, there’s a low concrete wall that’s a breeze to ascend.

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