As part of the preparation for the 2013 ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, Urban Land covered the progression of what was then referred to as the Bloomingdale Trail.

After more than a decade of planning, Chicago this June opened the first section of the trail, now known as The 606. An elevated railroad right-of-way converted to a pedestrian greenway, the 606 is a multifunctional park system that also includes a bike path and four neighborhood parks on the ground level along its 2.7-mile (4.5 km) stretch.

Upcoming ULI Chicago Tour of the 606 | More on the Trust for Public Land’s Work on the Trail

The parks provide access to two paths on the former rail right-of-way, elevated 15 feet (4.6 m) above street level. One is a 14-foot-wide (4.3 m) landscaped trail with seating, art installations, and other hardscape features; the other is a meandering nature path.

The 606 will reunite four ethnically and economically diverse and densely populated northwest Chicago neighborhoods—Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park, and Bucktown. It links pedestrians with train and bus routes, provides the area’s nearly two dozen schools with an outdoor classroom for studying nature, gives cyclists an east–west bike path, provides an outdoor laboratory for scientists, and offers a recreational area for exercise.

Through initiatives like the Urban Open Space Award and Building Healthy Places, ULI celebrates and promotes vibrant, successful urban open spaces.