Stretching 2.7 miles through four Chicago neighborhoods, the 606 elevated railroad line was transformed into a linear park and multi-purpose bicycle trail, providing a unique new community connection. Initially as co-authors of the Framework Plan, and now as the lead park designers on the project, MVVA has worked with The Chicago Department of Transportation, the Chicago Park District, the Department of Housing and Economic Development, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Trust for Public Land, and the community to establish a set of guidelines to design, implement, and manage this new neighborhood amenity.
The 606 provides important new public space for Chicago’s northwest side. Its unique construction, raised landscape, and inspiring views are the foundation for a park unlike any other in the city. Initially used as an interurban rail line, the 606 intersects multiple communities along Bloomingdale Avenue, is directly adjacent to many privately owned buildings, and passes over major vehicular arterials, an historic boulevard, bus and bicycle routes, and the CTA Blue Line. The Framework Plan builds on the potential this creates for uninterrupted travel within the city through designated bike lanes. The slower pedestrian experience of the Bloomingdale is supported through perimeter plantings and generous seating and viewing opportunities.
New access parks along the 606 support the linear park by providing space for programs and events that require more space than can be provided on the elevated portion. The park feels unified along its length, but also offers a diverse range of experiences that reflect local context and communities. Various types of artwork are included along the trail, as are interpretive elements that relate the history of this impressive piece of civic infrastructure.