City parks

The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks opened a new trailhead and officially closed the chapter on a nearly three-year effort to turn a former campground and potential logging site into a park.

The school year is almost over, but that wasn’t the reason for celebration in Hell’s Kitchen Wednesday. A public school in desperate need of a new playground finally got one — and the students played a big part in making it happen.

The 606 Park and Trail opened to cyclists, runners, and pedestrians Saturday morning. Hundreds of bicyclists took the inaugural ride along the new North Side trail, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Some people who worked toward the long-awaited opening of the Bloomingdale Trail died before it happened. And many who will enjoy the trail have been born since the project began inching forward more than a decade ago.

The Trust for Public Land is joining forces with Portland Trails and the city of Portland to spearhead creation of the Portland Open Space Vision and Implementation Plan, a system-wide plan for future open-space protection and improvement.

If you’ve seen New York City’s celebrated High Line, you might expect Chicago’s long-awaited 606 (and its elevated portion, the Bloomingdale Trail) to look similar. After all, they’re both elevated rail beds converted into green pathways. But while the High Line allows only walkers, the 606 welcomes cyclists, runners, and leashed dogs too.

The 606, which takes its name from Chicago's ZIP code prefix and whose centerpiece is a 2.7-mile recreational and cultural trail, is a bold and potentially brilliant reinvention of a dormant and derelict elevated freight line that blighted Northwest Side neighborhoods such as Bucktown and Logan Square.

For community stakeholders interested in transforming vacant lots, it may seem easier to clean up blighted areas than to change public opinion about the area of South Los Angeles widely known for its infamous riots. Yet, several community-based organizations are determined to do both.

Queens residents won’t just be able to walk the QueensWay if and when the proposed 3.5-mile elevated park is constructed. They’ll be able to eat it too.

In a historic finish, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul tied for first place on The Trust for Public Land's 4th annual ParkScore® index, with each city earning a perfect 5 "park bench" rating from the nonprofit organization.

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