Chicago Selects Design Firm for Bloomingdale Trail Work

Chicago, 7/15/2009: The City of Chicago has selected ARUP North America Ltd to beginpreliminary design and engineering work on the Bloomingdale Trail, a project toconvert an unused elevated rail line to a 2.7-mile multi-use path.ARUP was one of 23 firms that responded to a request for proposals seekingqualified firms for the work. The City selected five teams for interviews abouttheir vision and qualifications for the Trail project. The five teams eachincluded strong interdisciplinary experience (design, architecture, planning),experience with other projects of similar magnitude, and success inincorporating community input into creative and sustainable design.

ARUP was chosen following team interviews, reference checks, and extensivedeliberation by a committee comprising several city departments and agenciesincluding the Department of Zoning and Planning, Department of CulturalAffairs and the Chicago Park District. The team showed outstanding strengthsin all of the criteria.

ARUP is a global firm with expertise in the design, engineering and constructiondisciplines. Among its projects are engineering the “Water Cube” aquaticscenter for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the California Academy of Sciences inSan Francisco, the world’s largest highly sustainable public space.The ARUP team features nine sub-consultants, including:

  • Chicago-based Ross Barney Architects, which has worked on several Chicago projects including Wacker Drive and the Chicago Riverwalk
  • Brooklyn-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, which worked on New York City’s High Line, similar in concept to the Bloomingdale Trail
  • Chicago-based Burns & McDonnell engineers, which has worked on many large Chicago infrastructure projects.

“We are looking forward to working with ARUP to turn part of Chicago’sindustrial heritage into a green oasis,” said Beth White, Chicago Area Director,The Trust for Public Land. “We applaud the city for its commitment to thisvisionary project and we are proud to be a partner in such an inclusive planningprocess that also calls for the highest standards for design and innovation.”

The project entails extensive civic and community involvement from the Trustfor Public Land, the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail and other entities. Aspart of the design process, Trust for Public Land will host a future public designcharrette process in conjunction with CDOT.

The Bloomingdale Trail will run from Ashland to Ridgeway using the elevatedrail embankment along Bloomingdale Avenue (1800 North). The project wasrecommended in the Logan Square Open Space Plan produced by the Dept. ofPlanning and Development (today known as the Dept. of Zoning and Planning).Chicago has approximately $3 million in federal and local funding for projectdesign. CDOT is still working to identify construction funding for the project.