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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Mayor Shuts Down The 606 After People Pack The Popular Trail On Warm Day

"The trail will be there this summer," Ald. Daniel La Spata said.

The 606.
Jen Sabella/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail has been shut down, according to Ald. James Cappleman (46th).

In an email to constituents, Cappleman said starting Thursday the trail will be shut down, along with all of Chicago’s lakefront and adjoining parks and the Riverwalk. All field houses and playgrounds were already supposed to be shut down.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, however, the western end of the trail was open and being used by runners and cyclists.

At 10:15 a.m., runners and cyclists entered and exited the east end of the trail at Walsh Park. A woman pushed a stroller while two younger children walked behind her.

A Chicago Park District spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.

The action came after Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned she’d shut down parks and beaches if necessary to enforce social distancing. People had flocked to the beaches and the Lakefront Trail on Wednesday amid the warmer weather.

The crowding is a violation of Gov. JB Pritzker’s stay at home order, which was enacted over the weekend, Lightfoot said. The order urges people to stay at home and practice social distancing.

“Our own lives are at stake. While we do believe that the use of parks is important, the use of parks in a safe way at this time is extremely important,” said Juanita Irizarry, Friends of the Parks executive director.

“A whole bunch of people crowding a small space is not safe and we shouldn’t be doing it. Each of us needs to make wise decisions if we go any place.”

In a text to a Block Club reporter, Ald. Daniel La Spata, whose 1st Ward includes a large portion of the trail, acknowledged how difficult the situation is because “we all want social connection and are trying to find ways to get exercise and de-stress.”

“But physical distancing only works if it is disciplined and comprehensive. I hope our neighbors keep getting outdoor time but I strongly encouraged them to find less tight and crowded places to do so. The trail will be there this summer,” La Spata said.

“If we don’t stay disciplined on this we increase the chances of seeing our health care systems be overwhelmed the same way NYC is.”

Wednesday’s nice weather led to big crowds on the trail, according to a photo taken by Tribune photographer E. Jason Wambsgans that’s making the rounds on Twitter.

People are supposed to practice social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which means there should be at least 6 feet between people.

But that’s impossible on the trail, which is only 14 feet wide, concerned neighbors noted on Twitter.

Credit: Jen Sabella/Block Club Chicago
The western end of the 606 Monday afternoon.

Irizarry said she lives near the trail and has avoided it because she keeps hearing too many people are using it.

She said people should go to less populated parks or bigger parks in the area, like Humboldt Park’s sprawling namesake park.

On Thursday, signs were spotted along the trail that urged people to practice social distancing and stay home if they’re sick.

Lightfoot is expected to address the crackdown on public spaces at a 1 p.m. press conference Thursday.

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