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Chicago’s 606 trail to be extended eastward, past Kennedy Expressway and river

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Currently terminating at Ashland Avenue, the trail will eventually meet the fromer Finkl Steel site in Lincoln Park

While plans to extend Chicago’s popular 606 trail has been discussed as a long-term, funding-dependent goal by local planners and policy makers, it has been reported that developer Sterling Bay intends to stretch the path eastward to Lincoln Park. The news was recently revealed in an interview with Crain’s in which Sterling Bay Managing Director Andy Gloor spilled the beans on a number of upcoming projects, including an eye-catching 958-foot-skyscraper proposed for Union Station.

The so-called 606-Finkl Connector would need to cross the Kennedy Expressway, Metra rail tracks, and the north branch of Chicago River before arriving at a new, "moderately dense" mixed-use development that Sterling Bay is planning for the vacant waterfront parcel previously occupied by A. Finkl & Sons Co. The Chicago-based developer is reportedly close to finalizing its acquisition of the 22-acre site and expects to complete the transaction in the next 60 days.

The extension has the support of 2nd Ward Alderman Brain Hopkins who spoke to the many benefits of such a connector at the City Club of Chicago back in May. The alderman even highlighted an existing freight bridge — known officially as bridge Z6 — that could be a prime candidate for future trail conversion.

Since the start of the city’s ongoing effort to draft an updated land-use plan for the north side's formerly industrial riverfront properties, numerous residents and other local stakeholders have mirrored Hopkins’ desire to see the 606 reach further east. The 606-Finkl Connector even appears as an established point on the city of Chicago’s collaborative online social mapping tool (sMap) due to the volume of outside suggestions received.

Serving Chicago’s Bucktown, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square neighborhoods, the former Bloomingdale elevated rail line has attracted countless users since reopening as an award-winning recreational bike and pedestrian path in the Summer of 2015.