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Old 05-05-2010, 05:00 PM
176 posts, read 212,312 times
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Yes, I'm hearing at work that the Aurora BNSF at 59 may be an option. SOme fuzzy info about buying parking tags and leaving them laying on the dash. I'll call them. Thanks for the info.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:22 AM
10,672 posts, read 20,288,017 times
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Originally Posted by rusty2006 View Post
Yes, I'm hearing at work that the Aurora BNSF at 59 may be an option. SOme fuzzy info about buying parking tags and leaving them laying on the dash. I'll call them. Thanks for the info.
This would be a good option - or you could even get off earlier at Route 47 and park at the new Elburn station.

My parents come in 2-3 times a year over long weekends, and have never driven into the city once. They parked for years at Route 59, and then switched to Elburn once it opened - just because you don't have to deal with ANY urban driving or the possibility of traffic. Elburn is a newer station on the extreme fringe of Chicagoland.

They've never had a problem finding parking at all, and if my mom can figure out the pay boxes and leaving the little tickets on your dash - ANYONE CAN. I believe you just put 2-3 days worth of tickets on your car. I would call the station to check though - but I don't think this is going to be an issue. They love taking the Metra in.

It's extremely reliable, usually the schedule is correct within a minute. The trains are perfectly safe at all hours of the day, but with luggage it might be easier to try and time your arrival at non rush hour. For you though, all that means is not arriving into the western fringes at 7am, and not leaving on your return at 5pm.

You can easily get a cab at either Ogilvey (from Elburn) station or Union (from Route 59) stations to Michigan Ave.

One thing to think about - make sure you jump on Interstate 88 when you get to the Quad Cities instead of making the trek over on Interstate 80. That's the interstate that leads to those stations, and also has almost NO traffic compared to Interstate 80. One thing though is you'll have to pay around $4 in tolls if that means anything to you. I've never cared about a random $4.

Good luck! When are you coming?
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:23 PM
176 posts, read 212,312 times
Reputation: 112
Well, we're back home and I thought I'd post my impressions, might be a help to others.

We took Metra from the 59 station. The signage on 59 wasn't that great, we were using our GPS, so it didn't hurt us any. If you're finding it the old-fashioned way, keep an eye peeled. Once we arrived, we discovered that there is another lot on the South side of the tracks. These lots are not connected, you have to go back out to 59, cross under the tracks and then navigate to the other lot, if you desire to do so.

When we arrived at approximately 12:30 pm, the North lot was completely full. When I called the parking attendant earlier from my cell, the person I spoke to (who was actually very helpful) said if the lot is full, "find one of the attendants and they'll let you park in the long term lot, but you need to talk to them first - so they won't have you towed". Hmm - we never saw any attendants and didn't locate anyone. Luckily, someone was loading their car and leaving, so after 5 minutes of circling, we had a spot!

I made my way to the ticket machine. I knew it didn't give change from my conversation with the parking person earlier. I decided on four tickets, so I found 8 dollar bills. Took me awhile and three machines, seem to be some bill reader problems (just like at the car wash etc). Can't seem to find the ticket. Aha - seems that you have to stick your hand up in the chute to get the ticket, it doesn't drop down. Maybe it keeps them from blowing away. All three machines did the same thing. Back to the car, put the four tix on the dash, load up and into the station.

Bought a round trip ticket for each passenger. They don't expire (at least not in a few days). Now since we're off-peak, we wait for the train.

Train arrives, lug the suitcases and the train. No place to put them, like we expected. Throw them next to you, out of the aisle. Car is clean, no problems with passengers, other than loud cell phone talking (puh-leeze - will this ever end!). Settle in for the trip.

Arrive at Union Station. Quite busy, not having fun with the suitcases in the crowd. Follow the mob up two levels and we're streetside. Get a cab, off to the hotel. Pleasantly surprised at the less than $10 fare.

Return trip, even easier. Caught the 8:50 outbound. Left the hotel at 8, arrived Union Station at maybe 8:15. Oh no! - taxi left us at a completely different entrance and we're in a different part of the building. Looked at the monitor and see we're on track 8. The even tracks (Metra) are on the South Concourse. Odd track (maybe Amtrak?) on the North. Wandered around and found track 8. Waited until around 8:30, starting seeing others walking down track 8 from the station. Walk down, wait a few minutes, the doors to the train open and we board. Just over an hour later, back at our car and we're headed home. We're crossing the river from Illinois into Iowa at 12 noon sharp. Unbelievable! No way we're driving out in the car and we're in Iowa at noon.

We had a great time, ate some great food, shopping, geneaology research at Newberry Library. Thanks for the information and support.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:27 PM
176 posts, read 212,312 times
Reputation: 112
Forgot to comment on Elburn. Thanks for the tip, we'll check it out - might be a possibility for the next trip.
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