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Old 12-30-2011, 07:00 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,574 times
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I recently accepted a job in Chicago, specifically with a business located in the OTC, and looking to move to Oak Park from Indiana. I am not a city dweller and need some honest advice. I have found two viable living situations but they involve different ways of getting to work.

First, I found a really nice apartment on south Taylor by the Blue line, Austin station. I visited the apartment and was really blown away. It looked very new and the walk to the station was incredibly short. I just am concerned about taking the blue line to work everyday, especially at the Austin station. From what I have read, Austin is the ghetto and the blue line isn't really safe. Also, I don't know if the neighborhood I am in is safe, it is on the corner of Taylor and Harrison.

The second apartment showed its age. It seemed ok, but it is a bit of a let down compared to the first apartment. The location seems much nicer though. It is located on the corner of Washington and East Ave, across from Fenwick High School. From here it is about a 15-20 minute walk to the Metra (which I hear is much nicer than the CTA) and the ride would take me straight to my work. This location also feels a little safer because I am closer to downtown.

So, for a suburban dweller from Indiana:
Would the Blue Line be safe? Specifically the Austin Station.
Would it be worth it to take the nicer apartment and just pay for parking near the Metra?
Are either locations actually safe?

Any other advice would be fantastic as this is all new to me. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:06 AM
 
2,581 posts, read 3,142,662 times
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Thoughts....

The Harrison St. area is a little hip and happening now, and has lots of little art stores, a few eateries and a nice vibe. Some nice apartments too, and parking (at least on the street/lots) is not impossible. It is also incredibly convenient to jumping onto the expressway to get downtown or taking the Blue line. The Blue line is totally fine for commuting during normal working hours. My mother did it alone for 30 years. I looked for an apartment here, but couldn't find what I was looking for at the time, but would have lived here in a heartbeat. I am a single female.

BUT.... You do need to be just a little more savvy living here. There is occasional nuisance crime (ex. breaking into garages) and there are occasional muggings/issues at the Austin Blue line stop. They are not frequent, and usually occur after hours.

The area near Fenwick is ok. Probably less nuisance crime, more nuisance high school students (!) but not as close walking distance to anything interesting. But a Jewel grocery store a few blocks away. That area will be harder to park, and a little noisier from the traffic. It will be a walk obviously to the Metra. However, many people love Metra. It is a much faster ride to the city, more comfortable and perhaps a tad "safer" - but pricier. My Dad used to walk a longer distance then this to the Metra everyday, and liked it. Good exercise too.

So you just have to balance what is important to you. Either area is fine. It seems a little odd to me to drive to Metra from the Harrison st. apartment, if you could take the Blue line instead. You would lose any time saved by taking Metra by driving to Metra.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,520 posts, read 11,972,763 times
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The blue line isn't particularly unsafe, although I guess it depends on what your personal definition of safety is. Yes, people get mugged occasionally walking to and from the blue line station. Very rarely people get mugged on the train. It doesn't happen every day, but may occur at a greater frequency than you are willing to tolerate. Crimes almost never occur on a Metra train, and the downtown OP is quite safe due to the high pedestrian volume. That being said, no place in Oak Park is completely immune from crime.

Personally, I prefer being closer to downtown OP for the numerous nearby amenities. In addition to the Metra station, there is also the Green line el which is a 5-10 minute walk from Fenwick. I wouldn't really have any qualms about the other location either, however. The Harrison St arts district is nice, although a lot smaller than downtown OP.

PS: If you take the Fenwick location, inquire about parking. On-street parking in that area can be difficult and is only allowed overnight in limited areas where a permit is required.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:07 PM
 
375 posts, read 847,464 times
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I take the green line; all my friends who commute on the blue line think the green is worse, while green line lovers think the blue line is worse. I would pick the place on Harrison. Easy commute on the blue, two great cafe options (Buzz and Eastgate) and a few good restaurants right nearby. Close also to the restaurants on South OP Ave as well (Kinderhook, Sen, custard in the summer, OP Bakery and the place next door whose name is escaping me).
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:51 PM
 
Location: North Jackson
1,867 posts, read 2,974,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kindrakindra View Post
I take the green line; all my friends who commute on the blue line think the green is worse, while green line lovers think the blue line is worse. I would pick the place on Harrison. Easy commute on the blue, two great cafe options (Buzz and Eastgate) and a few good restaurants right nearby. Close also to the restaurants on South OP Ave as well (Kinderhook, Sen, custard in the summer, OP Bakery and the place next door whose name is escaping me).
Yeah, you might be right about selecting the Harrison street apartment. The East ave place, while set in the very center of Oak Park, really isn't close to anything other than the Jewel supermarket. And would you really walk to Metra, walking right past the Green line stop at Oak Park Ave? I think it's a relatively long walk from Washington/East to the Metra station, and will be painful when it's cold and there is slippery unshoveled snow on the ground.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:54 AM
 
Location: Land of Ill Noise
929 posts, read 1,697,716 times
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From when I looked at a few crime statistic monthly maps a little while back on that part of Oak Park(from the Oak Park PD site), the crime near Austin Blvd. is worse the further north you go, and moreso when you go north of Lake/Austin. I think the OP would actually be fine with the Taylor St. apartment, since The Island has very low crime for a subsection of the Austin neighborhood, and have always gotten the impression that Galewood and The Island are the only decent sections of Austin at all. Plus Columbus Park(on the Chicago side) provides a buffer from crime in worser sections of Austin.

Between the 2 options you mentioned, I'd rather go for the nicer apartment, and go for the one on Taylor Ave. Plus, you aren't too far away from an 'Island' restaurant that I'm a fan of, The Depot American Diner.
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