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Old 04-15-2012, 09:12 AM
 
36 posts, read 67,241 times
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Default Having a car in Chicago

Hi all, I will be moving to Chicago in August (as my other thread suggests!) without a car. However, it seems that having a car might save a lot of time for my boyfriend and I...

I am brand new to this... First, how is having a car in Chicago? In terms of how many apt comes with a parking space, and if not, how much it would cost (and how much parking space availability there is). At this point, I am considering living in South Loop, although having a car may mean that many more neighborhoods will be feasible (to commute to both Feinberg and UChicago campus)

Secondly, in general, how much does it cost to rent/buy a car?? With insurance (for someone in their mid-20's), maintenance, and whatever other fees that are involved. We do not have much money to pay upfront, though we can manage ~$200-400 monthly installments. What would be the best option??
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:46 AM
 
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Generally, the only apartments with onsite parking available are modern high-rises with a parking garage. There are also low-rise buildings on the north side known as "four plus ones," which are four floors of apartments with a level of parking on the semi-sunken first floor/basement. Most high rises and four plus ones are on or very close to the lake front, which would suit your purposes very well for commuting. Note that a parking space is almost never included in the price of rent. The space comes at an additional monthly cost, which can range anywhere from $100 to $300 per month.

It's also pretty common to live in an apartment building that does not have onsite parking, but rent a space at another property nearby. This obviously would require more leg work to set up.

Given your budget, owning a car and renting a space is probably not an affordable option. So if you're going to own a car, you need to live in a neighborhood where free street parking is available. The closer you are to the lake and to downtown, the more difficult it is to park on the street. By that, I mean that finding a parking space can involve driving around for 15-30 minutes. This is what happens in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and Lakeview. Once you get further north to neighborhoods like Andersonville and Ravenswood, on street parking is much easier. I live in Andersonville and everyone who has a car in my building is able to park on our street or right around the corner with no problems. We live half a mile from Lake Shore Drive, so commuting downtown or to Hyde Park would be very easy from here.

One thing you have to remember about parking on the street, though, is that it means you have to deal with snow in the winter. That can mean occasionally digging your car out of the snow in order to leave (not that common) or scraping ice off your windshield and rear window (more common).

If you're not paying for parking, the cost of owning a car depends on the purchase price of the car. I'm sure you could find something in the price range you mentioned, most likely used. Average insurance cost for each driver would be around $800 a year.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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When we lived in lake view we spent $165 for a private spot. But I think you would spend a lot more in extra rent to live in downtown. I would really look at parking cost as part of the rent. If an area is permitted it will generally be pretty easy to park. Even in non permit areas it may not be too difficult to park.

I spend about $600 for 6 months on one car with two drivers. Chech geico website and get a free quote. A new car will cost 300-400 per month but you will own it outright after 5 years so true cost is probably closer to 200 per month. Also consider a cheap used car

Overall Chicago is much more car friendly than new York I am a believer that in your situation a car makes sense. You will be able to save significant rent over south loop by living elsewhere. However I am not a south loop fan at all
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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After gas, parking, insurance, and car payments your probably looking at $400-500 a month. I'd question if you would save that much in rent to make up for the car costs.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:16 PM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
6,939 posts, read 3,005,808 times
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800 to 1,000 per month to buy a new car, insure it, pay for gas and repairs and park it.

I gave-up my car 15 years ago and put my money into my 401k plan. When I absolutely need a car I rent one for the weekend at 10 dollars a day from Enterprise. The rest of the time I use the CTA/PACE mass transit system. This works well for me.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn,NY/Bayonne, NJ
30,104 posts, read 7,353,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomexico View Post
800 to 1,000 per month to buy a new car, insure it, pay for gas and repairs and park it.

I gave-up my car 15 years ago and put my money into my 401k plan. When I absolutely need a car I rent one for the weekend at 10 dollars a day from Enterprise. The rest of the time I use the CTA/PACE mass transit system. This works well for me.
That is actually a very smart plan, good for you.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Andersonville, Chicago
7,491 posts, read 6,950,627 times
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We have two cars and we are moving in to the 5000 block of Ashland ave tomorrow. We just paid both cars off a few months ago after years of paying $500 in car payments. It sucks that now we have to start worrying about parking to the point that we are thinking of getting rid of at least one of the cars. My father in law lives out in the middle of nowhere and he offered to let us park the cars at his place. I just might take him up on that offer.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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I dunno I have had a car since I was sixteen living in both city and suburbs. I would not like to be without one but I do note that those zip cars are nice. you can try to buy a used car which would be less expensive. Live in a neighborhood that has either free parking on the street or permit parking which can be a hassle in my opinion. Also living near wrigley is horrendous for parking. do not plan on it unless you are going to rent a space its pretty bad.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:12 PM
 
994 posts, read 862,328 times
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What is your monthly budget for apartment + car (including all costs - parking/payment/gas/insurance)?

Then we can tell you where you can afford to live.

I don't think you can afford it on a two student income unless you have huge loans helping you and/or family.

Is there an older car of a family member that you can "inherit" or be loaned?

And of course, it is your boyfriend that should be the driving commuter. You can't commute to Northwestern Law School cheaply by car either. You would have to buy some sort of monthly parking pass there as well. At U of C, your boyfriend could probably find street parking.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
1,490 posts, read 984,604 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomexico View Post
800 to 1,000 per month to buy a new car, insure it, pay for gas and repairs and park it.

I gave-up my car 15 years ago and put my money into my 401k plan. When I absolutely need a car I rent one for the weekend at 10 dollars a day from Enterprise. The rest of the time I use the CTA/PACE mass transit system. This works well for me.
Not trying to bust your balls, but I couldn't find any rental cars for less than 37 a day and then add on city rental tax and it's getting up there.
How far out are you booking a car, what branch do you use? Any other tips for getting this deal?



Also, I'm surprised in this discussion of owning a car in the city no one has brought up the ticketing. City stickers, spots by stop signs, driveways, street sweeping, etc etc. The city can and will ding you, and it's best to budget a little bit for the friendly orange envelopes. The more desirable the area, the harder they ticket for any possible reason.
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