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Old 08-13-2009, 03:14 PM
 
8,961 posts, read 13,004,780 times
Reputation: 6919
People complain about the L CONSTANTLY, but honestly in rush hour it almost always runs at near full speed unless you're going through a slow zone, which they're actively getting rid of right now. They come every 2-5 minutes at rush hour, so the whole "on time" thing doesn't really matter at, there's always a train coming.

As for off-peak, they normally run at their set "every 6-7 minutes"..... or "ever 10 minutes" if it's really late or on a route with low ridership. I think from 2am to 4am is when the lines only run like once every 15 minutes. The issue now is they're doing a ton of construction all over to remove all the slow zones, so the work is all done off-peak and on weekends.

Metra (which runs from the city to burbs) is extremely anal about being on-time, and from what I've read they have one of the highest on-time rankings in the country. The only issue is if someone gets plowed over by a train or it hits a truck (doesn't happen much), then you're kinda screwed for an hour or two until they get things moving. With all the trains and buses in the city, if something is off-line you can normally just tweak your route and still get home fine.



About the commute time, like I said it almost entirely depends on:

1) where is your job located
2) where is your house located


Yes commutes can be very bad in Chicago, but it all boils down to how far and where do you have to drive. The urban area is a few thousand square miles. I find the train a much more relaxing trip (if you work downtown of course), since you can sleep, listen to music, read, etc. Driving lets you have more freedom, but you have to sit there and be "aware" the entire time. The train is my personal time to just think about whatever I want, play games, crosswords, the paper, books, music, etc.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Logan Square
1,912 posts, read 3,395,678 times
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Ugh, this thread is tiresome.

If you are happy in San Diego and do not want to commute more than 15 minutes; do not move here. Most peoples commutes are longer than that.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:19 PM
 
92 posts, read 169,610 times
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Most people's commutes are longer than 15 minutes. But if you really wanted to you probably could find an apartment 5 minutes from his office if a short commute is your top priority. The winters are very cold and long but it is a truly great urban area and the people are awesome.
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:35 PM
 
128 posts, read 186,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesCatsandDogs View Post
Most people's commutes are longer than 15 minutes. But if you really wanted to you probably could find an apartment 5 minutes from his office if a short commute is your top priority. The winters are very cold and long but it is a truly great urban area and the people are awesome.
Not likely we would be living right in the city of Chicago, and especially not downtown which is where the job would be. Rent/mortgage would be higher than here in SD. While his commute is not THE top priority it is important. Long commutes tend to shorten the day you know? You like the people in Chicago eh? Curious, awesome people compared to where?
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Lake County IL
63 posts, read 106,490 times
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By awesome (duuuuude) he means Chicagoans are supposedly all "friendly" and "eclectic" or whatever other condescending language these "open-minded" and "cultured" people are using these days. The rest of the midwest (even the suburbs of Chicago) and the coasts are often described by some Chicagoans as narrowminded, flakey, rude, provincial, or just plain crazy. As far as your move to Chicago, think twice. Think a thousand times. This city attracts elitist knobs like stank on a monkey! Other reasons not to move here? 6 feet of snow every week in winter which lasts from late September-May. How about the way the city is run by thugs?
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Chicago
15,589 posts, read 12,423,842 times
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^Wow now people are claiming winter lasts 7 months.^
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:20 AM
 
2,228 posts, read 1,732,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whinniethezen View Post
Sorry, I guess I should have clarified. We did everything that was worth doing there in one week.
Thanks for the information about your friend's commute times in San Diego, although we are kind of aware of the commute times here. Ours are not that bad. We are more interested if someone can honestly tell us if the average commute time in Chicago is horrendous or not. Overall, you know. I mean yeah it depends on where you live. drrr. I ask because we keep hearing the "el" train system is slower than snail poop and never on time. Is that true?
The upside of the el is it is faster than driving during rush. The downside is that it is no faster during non-rush.

The bus system is always slower than driving a car, but it sometimes has other advantages(like not having to worry about parking after a snowstorm). Metra (city to burb commuter rail) is often on time but like any system they can have delays.

The thing to remember is that downtown Chicago is not a place that most people drive to. Parking is too costly. If you work downtown then you take public transit.

This is one of those situations where averages can be useless. For instance if you live in forest park you can take the green line(an el), the blue line(an el), the union pacific west line(Metra) or drive.

The drive is about 25-30 mins during non rush, but almost an hour during rush.

The Metra train can get you downtown in 20 mins, but you are tied to Metra's Schedule (i.e. Trains leave about once an hour non rush but are about once every 30 mins or so rush).

The el trains offer faster frequency but are slower(i.e. trains every 4-8 mins rush). The blue line runs 24 hours a day but will take you about 30 mins to get downtown. The green line runs between 4am adn 12:45 pm and will take a little longer than the blue line but maybe more convient depending on where you live/work.

So basically depending on time of day and method of travel it can take anywhere from 20-50 mins to cover the same distance. And likewise the fastest method of travel varies.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:58 AM
 
Location: Edgewater, Chicago, USA
48 posts, read 65,570 times
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Whinniethezen, it sounds like you have an unusual, and beneficial, setup in San Diego. I would think long and hard about abandoning that. But if you decide to make the move, and pick the right place to live, you'll love Chicago. There are events everyday, there is always something to do. And we have plenty of water, which is something San Diego can't quite say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmcgirk3 View Post
By awesome (duuuuude) he means Chicagoans are supposedly all "friendly" and "eclectic" or whatever other condescending language these "open-minded" and "cultured" people are using these days. The rest of the midwest (even the suburbs of Chicago) and the coasts are often described by some Chicagoans as narrowminded, flakey, rude, provincial, or just plain crazy. As far as your move to Chicago, think twice. Think a thousand times. This city attracts elitist knobs like stank on a monkey! Other reasons not to move here? 6 feet of snow every week in winter which lasts from late September-May. How about the way the city is run by thugs?
Yeah, elitist knobs that are open-mined enough to know that the healthcare bill does not contain death panels.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:41 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,745 posts, read 14,254,219 times
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Chicago Metro MSA is 9 million. I was in SD and LA a few times recently. The routes I was on was the I and I-5. I can think of 5 Interstates in Chicago; I am sure there is more. Chicago is white and cold in the winter. Chicago has a diverse culture, diverse history, and a very diverse religious community. Chicago as Trader Joe's, Costco, Whole Foods and probably IKea. Chicago has Frank Lloyd Houses. Compared to the Pacific, Lake Michigan is small, but it is one of the Great Lakes. Chicago has some of the best food and tallest skyscrapers. Food ranges from fast food and pizza to world class upscale restaurants. Chicagoans do not measure distance in miles, It is by time. If you work in the Loop you might like a condo on Lake Shore Drive. Oak Park is 8 miles. Chicago is a rowdy, bawdy kind of town, but it is my kind o town. It never sleeps. It has world class music, performing arts, comedy, and food.

According to what I read Chicago's population is a million less than LA, but it is as compact as LA., maybe more so. You will either love Chicago or hate it. The best way to find out is fly in, get a hotel downtown with a view of the lake, rent taxi's and spend 3-4 days.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:45 AM
 
128 posts, read 186,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
Chicago Metro MSA is 9 million. I was in SD and LA a few times recently. The routes I was on was the I and I-5. I can think of 5 Interstates in Chicago; I am sure there is more. Chicago is white and cold in the winter. Chicago has a diverse culture, diverse history, and a very diverse religious community. Chicago as Trader Joe's, Costco, Whole Foods and probably IKea. Chicago has Frank Lloyd Houses. Compared to the Pacific, Lake Michigan is small, but it is one of the Great Lakes. Chicago has some of the best food and tallest skyscrapers. Food ranges from fast food and pizza to world class upscale restaurants. Chicagoans do not measure distance in miles, It is by time. If you work in the Loop you might like a condo on Lake Shore Drive. Oak Park is 8 miles. Chicago is a rowdy, bawdy kind of town, but it is my kind o town. It never sleeps. It has world class music, performing arts, comedy, and food.
According to what I read Chicago's population is a million less than LA, but it is as compact as LA., maybe more so. You will either love Chicago or hate it. The best way to find out is fly in, get a hotel downtown with a view of the lake, rent taxi's and spend 3-4 days.
Thanks so much for EVERYONES observations. We pretty much knew most of this stuff about Chicago though. Much is available online about things to do, history, and so forth.
It's a bit harder to find feedback from lifelong Chicago natives who are able to temper their eternally optimistic opinions of Chicago with any kind of real criticisms. We've heard all the pros, and I was hoping not to rely on the forums which BASH Chicago for some of the cons, as those websites can be very biased and unfounded. The only negatives listed here so far is that the weather is cold and gray and the el trains are slower when it's not rush hour. That's it? That's all that's wrong with Chicago?
I will try this instead. I will list a few things that I've heard that are supposed negatives (and yes every city has negatives I know) and just let us know what you think. I'd prefer a lifelong Chicagoan to answer.

We've already covered commute times, so I'll leave that out. Here are some criticisms we've heard:

1. In Chicago the weather goes from blazing hot/humid to freezing cold with only a short seasonal change, then winter drags on forever. While I love snow, if I want it in San Diego, I can drive to the snow no problem.

2. The congestion. Again there is congestion in all cities, but we are talking about a Chicago metro area of over 10 million people. Thats more than the CITY population of New York. From what I've read, Chicago has the second worse traffic snarls only after L.A.

3. The people. For everything I read about friendly midwesterners, Chicago seems to be the exception. I've heard that Chicagoans will often look/talk down at people from the suburbs or from neighboring states. That seems like a very New Yorkish thing to do. I've also heard they are bad drivers, like L.A.

4. We have heard by a few that salaries in Chicago do not keep up with the high cost of living, taxes, etc. I know this depends on where you work, but are there really these crazy sales taxes and property taxes? Where do these ideas and opinions come from?

5. The beaches are dirty/sometimes closed. obviously being from California, this one's huge. I've seen pictures of the beaches (with palm trees?) and they look nice. But if there is pollution issues that's not good.

6. The housing is overpriced. I keep hearing that unless we find an expensive condo, we will probably end up in an older house that is severly overvalued. I guess that is America right now. Like I said, we have a good housing situation in San Diego and pay less that $700/mth for our house.

7. The lack of vegetarian options. I hear that there are great veggie/vegan restaurants in Chicago and suburbs but they are scattered and not very plentiful. Also I've been told that if you go to most restaurants, they have only one or two veggie options. That would hurt since I don't eat meat.

8. Air quality. Last I checked Chicago had some of the worst air quality in America. So-cal is not much better, and L.A. is worse. But it's worth considering.

9. The vast majority of activities in Chicago revolve around drinking beer or eating. This one I highly doubt. I know Chicago has a great theatre and shopping scene, even though we are really not into broadway type shows. We also hate opera and classical music. We also know the parks are great, which is cool because we have a dog, but the main complaint seems to be that they are only really used for 3-4 months out of the year.
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