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No Bathrooms Planned Along Entire 2.7-Mile Bloomingdale Trail

By Alisa Hauser | April 7, 2015 5:11am

BUCKTOWN — Perhaps the most anticipated park in recent memory, the Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.7-mile-long elevated path that runs through four Chicago neighborhoods, will be opening in June — but with no bathrooms.

The $95 million project, "the 606," named for the first three numerals of the ZIP code all Chicagoans share, has been under construction since the fall of 2013 after a groundbreaking presided over by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Alisa Hauser say the bathroom issue was brought up at a meeting:

Eastern view of the trail near Bucktown's Churchill Park [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

Erin Bottcher, a mother of two young children who is among the hundreds of families living near the trail, did not realize there would be no bathrooms along the biking, jogging and walking path, which begins in Bucktown and Wicker Park to the east and extends west to Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

"That will be difficult, but it's not uncommon for a Chicago park. I think that it is unfortunate, almost 3 miles long is a long time to go without a bathroom," Bottcher said.

Bottcher said she carries a potty seat under her children's stroller because, "a good percentage of the Chicago city parks have no facilities, and even if they do, they are way too far away."

"You can't explain to a 2-year-old that they have to wait," she said.

Bottcher's infant daughter and 2-year-old son are prepared for any bathroom emergencies.

When it opens in June (take a sneak peek here), the much-anticipated trail will have on and off ramps every quarter-mile and four ground-level parks.

Churchill Park, 1825 N. Damen Ave; Park 567, at 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave.; and Walsh Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave, all in Bucktown, do not have bathrooms.

A rendering of the Bloomingdale Trail

Julia de Burgos Park, 1805 N. Albany Ave., does not have a bathroom either. That park will serve as "a major point of access for the residents of Humboldt Park and Logan Square," according to the Chicago Park District website, which touts the park as "directly adjacent to the 606."

The McCormick-Tribune YMCA, 1834 N. Lawndale Ave. at the western end of the trail, also does not have public bathrooms.

A fifth park at Ridgeway, and a sixth trail access park on the site of a former glove factory, both in Humboldt Park, will not be open by the time the trail is open, officials have said.

Beth White, Chicago region director for the Trust for Public Land, the city's private partner tapped to lead the project, confirmed on Monday that there would be no bathrooms along the trail.

“The 606 is designed to be connected to its neighborhoods, with on and off ramps every quarter-mile. In addition, the majority of the Bloomingdale Trail is only 30 feet wide, with a 14-foot-wide trail. As such, there are currently no plans for public bathrooms along the 606, but we will continue to monitor needs after the park and trail system opens in June 2015," White said.

Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, a Park District spokeswoman, said there are more than 250 buildings in Park District parks that are equipped with bathrooms.

"Restrooms aren't currently in the design for the 606, but we will consider this community request," Maxey-Faulkner said.

New York City's High Line, which is 20 blocks long with 11 points to hop on or off, has only two bathrooms, according to a map.

A walk through Park 567 just north of Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street (DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser)

Bird's-eye view of the trail, courtesy of Mike Runkle

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