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Bloomingdale Trail Etiquette, or the Do's and Don'ts of Using the 606

 Some things to do and not to do on The 606 suggested by the people who use the trail most.
Do's and Don't on The 606
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THE BLOOMINGDALE TRAIL —  Billed as Chicago's "next great park" when it opened in 2015, the 606's Bloomingdale Trail has attracted droves of enthusiastic users to the 2.7-mile long elevated path that runs through Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

But getting along peacefully on the 10-foot-wide path — with 2-foot-wide rubberized lanes for joggers — has become a feat for cyclists, skate boarders, inline skaters, walkers and joggers during the peak hours of 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends.

For this guide, DNAinfo Chicago asked folks what their biggest "pet peeves" on the 606 are and solicited their advice for how to best share the trail. 

Alisa Hauser breaks down what to do and what not to do on the trail:

Officials from The Trust for Public Land, the private partner tapped by the Chicago Park District to oversee the project, said on Wednesday that they are "continuing to evaluate trail usage as well as new strategies that might be helpful to promote trail sharing."

"At this point, the Park District's general policies should offer enough guidance. We want people to enjoy themselves on the 606; we're confident that common sense and courtesy will prevail, as it does on other public rights-of way," a spokeswoman said.


Know where to get on or off:  Four of the Bloomingdale Trail's 12 access points are via ground-level parks: Walsh Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave.; Churchill Park, 1825 N. Damen Ave.; Julia de Burgos Park, 1805 N. Albany Ave.; and Park 567, 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave. Our Q&A guide and map shows visitors where to find Divvy bike-sharing stations and CTA stops, as well as dozens of food and drink options nearby.

Keep dogs and kids on the right, and keep dogs on short leashes:  Adam Conolly, a member of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail Facebook group, said he had "a swerve moment" on his bike while passing a walking couple. "A guy in the incoming lane let his dog run right out into the middle of the trail, and I had to skirt uncomfortably close to the couple to avoid colliding with the dog," Conolly said.

A dog on a relatively short leash (Photos by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser unless noted)

Pass on the left:  Some bikers say, "On your left" or ring a bell to alert pedestrians if the path is crowded, or if it looks impassable, they walk their bikes.  Or they just plow through and create near accidents.

Watch a child learning to bike do a U-turn into an opposite lane, as well as a fast biker race down the trail.

Learn to skate or scoot somewhere else during peak hours:

A child practices on a scooter, a few feet off the trail at the Damen Avenue respite plaza.

Look before crossing.

Logan Square resident Janie W. looks before crossing at the Milwaukee/Leavitt ramp above "Park 567," 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave. Her son, Thor (top l.) appears to be enjoying the trail.

Respect neighbors who live next to the trail:  This "do" rule also is posted on the 606 website.  As one resident who lives within a few feet of the trail said at a public meeting in June, the after-hours skateboarders are 5 feet from his pillow.  

Eat serviceberries: Similar to blueberries, the purplish berries are blooming now. "Certainly, people are allowed to eat the fruit, though we hope they'll save some for the birds," an official said.

Paul Smith/Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail Facebook Page

Bring Along a Few Bucks for Grassroots Vendors.

An ice cream vendor and customers on the trail, near Western Avenue.

Hop off for art: Blair Kamin, the Tribune's architecture critic, who described the trail from the above as looking like "a thin gray ribbon, stretching almost endlessly" suggests hopping off at the western end  to see the murals. "Fab!" Kamin tweeted.

Temporary Artwork in the "Graffiti Garden" which features 78 murals on Bloomingdale between Kimball and Central Park.



Trespass: Like all Chicago parks, The 606 is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.  The official rules for the Bloomingdale Trail by the 606's team are "stay to the right, pass on the left; step aside if you stop; encourage your children to do the same; and keep your dog on a short leash."  Shakespeare district police, who patrol the trail by foot and bike — and wear body cameras — will issue tickets to after-hours trespassers and for other infractions.

A security camera attached to a pole where the trail "bends" near Drake Avenue is one of several along the trail.

Walk side-by-side AND far apart:

A couple giving themselves plenty of space at the Milwaukee Avenue/Leavitt Bridge.

Speed:   @Dom_Casey, a cyclocross racer who went on the trail at 4:15 p.m. on a Wednesday, said, "If you want to ride fast, go somewhere else."

Perform dangerous tricks on a skateboard:

Photo by a neighbor who lives along the trail.

Make toddlers and fans of "Mork and Mindy" insanely jealous with your "mini cab" trike:

"Mork" has been spotted riding early and often on the trail. (Mike Runkle/Friends of Bloomingdale Trail)

Rollerblade with multiple dogs during peak hours.

An inline skater keeps his two dogs under control, though oncoming joggers look concerned.

Hang out on the wrong side of the path:

Teenagers at Monticello, Bloomingdale Avenues. (Jenn K./Friends of Bloomingdale Trail Facebook Page)

Get too caught up in rules:  The path is for everyone to enjoy and hopefully common sense will continue to prevail.  Here are a few photos and Vines taken at various hours over several days.


Western trailhead 6:37 a.m. Monday @the606chicago

A photo posted by alisa (@alyinwicker) on




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