HUMBOLDT PARK — Now that the crowds that flocked to the new Bloomingdale Trail on opening weekend have subsided, the trail appears to have plenty of room for those using the trail to get around — one of main reasons the 2.7-mile-long elevated path within the park system dubbed ''The 606'' was built.
Amid the skate boarders, cyclists, power-walking stroller moms, dog walkers and joggers using the trail on Tuesday afternoon, several folks were coming from appointments or headed home from early-shift jobs.
Taking the Bloomingdale Trail as an alternative to walking or biking along east-west thoroughfares North and Armitage avenues is an apt use, considering the majority of the $95 million needed to build the trail came in the form of $50 million worth of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants, which are earmarked for commuting projects.
At the Western Avenue Bloomingdale overpass, Patricia Montez was opening an umbrella to shield her two-year-old son, Diego, from the sun.
Montez was going home to Humboldt Park after a doctor's appointment near Division and Western avenues.
"It's beautiful," Montez said of the trail and the journey about one mile west, to the Albany Avenue exit, at Julia de Burgos Park, 1805 N. Albany Ave.
Julia de Burgos is one of four ground-level parks where folks can hop on or off the trail. There are 12 points of entry or exit:
Heading off the trail at Western Avenue, Andrew White, a Wicker Park resident, was returning from a morning shift at Bang Bang Pie Shop, 2051 N. California Ave. in Logan Square.
Andrew White has been walking to and from work on the Bloomingdale Trail. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
"You don't feel like you are in the city," White said of the trail, which he walked on for a half-mile each way between Western and California avenues.
At a respite area overlooking Humboldt Boulevard, Kevin Swanson was entertaining passers-by with West African drum beats.
Swanson, who works in the transportation industry, said he was enjoying some downtime.
"The trail is awesome; it's beautiful. I can fly on my bike now [that it's less busy]," he said.
There was plenty of room on some stretches of the Bloomingdale Trail around 3 p.m., Tuesday, such as this area near Kimball Avenue.
For avid cyclists like Jim Angabright, using the trail as a commuting route, preferably at all hours, is at the top of his wish list.
Angabright, who lived in Wicker Park for several years and recently moved to Logan Square, said he would like to see the trail stay open 24 hours.
But like all Chicago Park District parks, the trail is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
"I have not owned a car since 1991, when it was stolen from in front of my place. I have been biking ever since; it is kind of important to me," Angabright said.
Citing a Streetsblog Chicago post about cyclists stopped on the lakefront by police officers while attempting to commute home after 11 p.m., Angabright said, "Using federal transportation money, you would think it would have to be open at night."
Angabright, who travels frequently along Milwaukee Avenue between Wicker Park and Logan Square, said Friday and Saturday night are especially unsafe on that street.
"You have a lot of suburbanites. They are drinking and partying. They don't handle themselves in relation to their car and my bike. It would be nice to get off the main street and use the trail after 11 p.m. as a transportation highway," he said.
Jennifer Rottner, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that trespassing on the trail or in any park after 11 p.m. or before 6 a.m is a violation of the Municipal Code of Chicago and it is "punishable by a citation [ticket] or up to one year in prison."
Shakespeare District Cops patrol the trail by bike around 3 p.m. Tuesday. These same officers were alo spotted on the trail around 9 p.m. Tuesday. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
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