all photos: Michael van valkenburgh associates

What a wintry walk might look like on the proposed Bloomingdale Trail.

When Michael Van Valkenburgh led me on a tour of the recently completed Brooklyn Bridge Park back in 2012, the transformation his team had made to a barren scab of riverfront was truly amazing. Undulating manmade hills teased out the view of the skyline of Manhattan. Interwoven fabric beneath the grass created a tight synthetic earth that couldn't erode away. Herons and mallards were already calling it home.

And that was before the completion of one of the project's centerpieces—Ted Zoli's intricately engineered Squibb Park Bridge, which would link the waterfront park to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood above.

Van Valkenburgh Associates recently posted some renderings of what his firm envisions with Chicago's Bloomingdale Trail, an elevated track-turned-park that inevitibly draws comparisons to New York's High Line.

Here's how the architects describe the project in text accompanying the renderings:


The Bloomingdale Park and Trail will provide important new public space for Chicago’s northwest side. Its unique construction, raised landscape, and inspiring views will be the foundation for a park unlike any other in the city. Initially used as an interurban rail line, the Bloomingdale intersects multiple communities along Bloomingdale Avenue, is directly adjacent to many privately owned buildings, and passes over major vehicular arterials, an historic boulevard, bus and bicycle routes, and the CTA Blue Line. The Framework Plan builds on the potential this creates for uninterrupted travel within the city through designated bike lanes. The slower pedestrian experience of the Bloomingdale will be supported through perimeter plantings and generous seating and viewing opportunities.

It sounds lovely, but with a project like this, seeing is believing. Here's hoping we can experience some scenes like these once this world-class park is completed.






Via Urban Ghosts Media / Reddit.