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Old 12-01-2011, 03:11 PM
Location: Southern California
20 posts, read 86,474 times
Reputation: 14


I'm looking at a job opportunity in the loop and I'm interested in finding a nice suburb with a reasonable commute. I'm driving an hour each way in LA and I'd like to see something less than 45 minutes and preferably by train. I'm willing to spend $500k - $600k on a home. Schools are important to me - I have one in high school and one in middle school.

I'm interested in Naperville and Elmhurst, to give you an idea of my thinking, but I really have had very limited exposure and I'm sure I'm missing a lot. How is the commute from these cities? Can anyone direct me to some other communities to start looking?

Thanks -
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:54 PM
20 posts, read 42,607 times
Reputation: 23
Scott, welcome to Illinois. Take a look at this Metra map, it will provide you a list of towns and there associated train schedules to give you an idea on the commute time into the loop.

Metra System Map

With your budget and the fact that schools are important to you, I would add Downers Grove, Arlington Heights, Glenview, Northbrook to your list of Elmhurst and Naperville. Naperville and Arlington Heights may be pushing your 45 minute limit without the express trains and more so by car. Since all of these towns are so far apart, would recommend you visit the area and then decide which area best suits your lifestyle. You can lump Naperville, Downers, and Elmhurst into a realistic house search pattern if that area suits you best and then the others if you prefer the northern burbs.

Best of luck
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:09 PM
Location: Southern California
20 posts, read 86,474 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks, this helps a lot! Can you tell me if Illinois has school choice? In other words, do my kids have to go to school specifically where we buy a home? Also, is there a resource (website, etc), were we can look up school ratings for different communities?

Thanks again
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:13 PM
28,383 posts, read 67,903,744 times
Reputation: 18188
Naperville is blessed with outstanding commuter rail service via the BNSF -- many options will alllow to get downtown in less than hour and train will enable to be downtown as early 5:30 and stay as late at 12:40AM should your job require to put in a 29 hour day... There are many excellent homes in your price range I might personally shoot for something like this: 1132 N Eagle St, Naperville, IL 60563 -- D203, Naperville North attendance area, Jefferson Middleschool... Really nice area.

In Elmhurst you might not have as any options for express trains, though the fastest one will get you downtown in under 30 minutes -- quite brisk. Earliest train gets downtown only at 6:10, still have the same late night service. You might be able to find some new construction like this is your range: 900 S FAIRFIELD Ave, ELMHURST, IL 60126 | MLS# 07811868

Other towns include Glen Ellyn, Wheaton and Geneva on the UP-W line.

For the BNSF line I would look at Lisle and Downers Grove , maybe LaGrange if you like older homes with some character. If you don't mind a fixer-up maybe Hinsdale, Westtern Springs or Clarendon Hills.

As a general policy the home you buy is where your kids will go to school in Illinois. Some districts have some flexibility of enrollment, but for the most part this is not needed in the desirable districts.

The official result of Illinois mandated test are available from the site hosted by Northern Illinois University. That is the ONLY reliable site for looking at the often confusing data on elementary school performance. I really would not choose any school that is not awarded with "excellence" on this list: http://goo.gl/aXqMU

Last edited by chet everett; 12-01-2011 at 04:30 PM..
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:17 PM
21 posts, read 56,032 times
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We just recently moved to the NW suburbs. Where in the loop? That makes a difference. We're in Arlington Heights (we had a similar housing budget and have elementary aged kids), the express trains are 36 minutes but I work at Wabash & Monroe, so I have an added 16 minute walk. One additional thing to consider is the number of express trains going to your suburb -- I have a number I can choose from, but some suburbs have just a few.

My husband works in Des Plaines, which is why we landed in NW 'burbs, but we also enjoyed looking at Park Ridge, Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn, which may fit your ideals. Good luck!

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Old 12-01-2011, 04:22 PM
Location: Southern California
20 posts, read 86,474 times
Reputation: 14
Specifically, it's downtown at Wabash and Van Buren. I thought downtown was referred to as "The Loop" but what do I know - I'm from Los Angeles....
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:46 PM
28,383 posts, read 67,903,744 times
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Wabash is a bit further east than some folks would like, but since Van Buren is one of the easier streets to make good time from Union Station I doubt it would take more than 10-12 minutes walking at a brisk pace...

The Loop is generally the "ring" formed by the El and Wabash & Van Buren is definately inside it...
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:29 PM
Location: Greenville, SC
4,030 posts, read 3,263,876 times
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I catch a Metra Express train at Rt 59, and the ride is about 40-45 minutes. I'm 10 minutes on the Naperville end from the train station, 5 minutes on the Union Station end (I work across the street from Union Station). My commute is therefore about an hour ... but it's an easy hour: you can nap on the train, read, do work, whatever.

A really short commute isn't possible to/from many suburbs; local trains take much longer because of all the stops, and you have to factor in the travel at either end of the commute.

There are many morning and afternoon express trains that stop at Rt 59 and downtown Naperville; I like the flexibility since if I miss one express at the height of rush hour, there will be another one in 20 minutes. This won't be the case for other suburbs ... the train options will be more limiting.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:39 PM
11,889 posts, read 14,355,740 times
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Look at the schedule as well, as the Metra map is scaled by miles, not minutes. You will note many lines have express trains during rush hours.
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:25 PM
Location: Hinsdale, IL
110 posts, read 219,569 times
Reputation: 79
To give you an idea of what you're looking at for express-train schedules along the BNSF line from some of your "inner-ring" western burbs . . .

Hinsdale/W. Hinsdale - express trains to and from Union Station = 24 minutes

Play around with the schedules and check your options.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Schedule
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