BUCKTOWN — The 606's Bloomingdale Trail — a 2.7-mile-long elevated path that runs through four Chicago neighborhoods— has proven the adage: If you build it, they will come.
Last year, 1.6 million people used the trail, and those numbers are "trending up" by 15 percent this year, according to Adriana Diaz, a spokeswoman for The Trust for Public Land, the city's public-private partner that manages the park system for the Chicago Park District.
The trail opened on June 6, 2015, and in late December of that year, the U.S. Forest Service installed infrared counters on the west and east ends of the path to track trail use, Diaz said.
Diaz said The Trust for Public Land is "very happy" with the numbers.
"We are thrilled with the community using the trail and the whole park system," she said.
The technology used is not sophisticated enough to determine how many of the 1.6 million 606 trail users were repeat visitors.
Part of a larger Park District system, the 606 gets its name from the first three numbers of the ZIP code all Chicagoans share. The trail runs along a former train line from Bucktown and Wicker Park on the east to Logan Square and Humboldt Park on the west.
Four of the access points to the trail are 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. Eight other access points are ramps.
Last year, the 606 won a national award from the American Planning Association, which described the park system as "a stunning example of a community working together to realize a dream and create a citywide attraction from underused city infrastructure."