The 606 was blocked last Friday for a reason locals aren’t happy about

In this Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 photo, bicyclists pedal along the Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago. The trail was once an abandoned Chicago railway line that has been transformed into a bike corridor. This relic of the city’s industrial past is now a vision of its future. Chicago is helping lead the way as American cities transform hulking pieces of obsolete infrastructure into useful, even inspiring, amenities. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee)

Cyclists, joggers, dogwalkers and anyone casually looking to enjoy the Bloomingdale Trail last Friday were in for an unfortunate surprise.

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From 4 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m Saturday, the trail was closed between Walsh Park and Wood St. for a Farm2Table dinner: a $200-a-plate meal for 150 people at a communal table hosted by Rick Bayless.

Many were upset, inconvenienced and outraged at the unexpected interruption of the trail. DNA Info spoke to a few people that complained of the lack of notice for the trail closure and not being able to use the trail during an exceptionally hot day.

Irene Tostado, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Parks District defended the event by saying they posted on social media, had signs up by Thursday morning about the trail closure, and that 91 percent of the trail was still open west of Wood St.

But that the majority of the trail was still open isn’t the primary issue for transit advocates.

John Greenfield at Streetsblog Chicago writes that “shutting down a section of a trail that runs through diverse communities for a white-tablecloth dinner for high-rollers sends a terrible message.”

Greenfield concedes that there were announcements ahead of time and that the meal was a fundraiser for the Chicago Parks Foundation and Frontera Family Farmer Foundation, both worthy causes.

Tostado echoed this. “The event organizer paid for all of the required permit fees,” she said. “Special permit fees help fund neighborhood park improvements and programs.” A total number of all funds raised is still being tallied.

In the Streetsblog article, Greenfield cites studies that show how gentrification has increased since the trail opened over two years ago, a cause of concern among many longtime residents in the area, not to mention tension around the issue.

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While the city’s fine dining scene is creative, nuanced and deserving of all the national accolades, there are still certainly matters of class and economics that play into that scene.

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