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Old 05-11-2013, 01:37 AM
 
400 posts, read 940,293 times
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I commute from Arlington Heights (Rand/AH Road) to downtown Chicago (Lake/Wabash) I want to know if there is another way to commute that is more cost-effective, involving either less driving, a quicker commute, or less money.

For the last five months, I've been commuting to the Rosemont Blue Line Station, and it takes me, in total, one hour and thirty minutes one-way. I drive (30 m), then subway (40 m), then walk (10 m) to my office. It costs me anywhere from $240 (parking in a free lot near Blue Line Rosemont, but extra walk) to $390 (paying at Blue Line Rosemont lot). How did I calculate these numbers? These figures account for driving (~12 cents/mile with my MPGs), possible parking (5), and CTA costs (round trip 4.5); this figure also accounts for 30 days of working because I am a teacher, so I have thirty classes. I expect these costs to be the minimum, since I'll obviously come in for meetings, ceremonies, etc. outside of my normal class days.

Below I made possible commutes and I would like your opinions on them. I gave up analyzing the costs until I could hear some advice or travel tips from anyone. Thanks.

Starting point: Rand/AH Road
Ending point: Lake/Wabash

Option A: current commute (drive to Rosemont, subway to Clark/Lake, walk to Lake/Wabash)
Option B: drive to Skokie Yellow Line, subway to Chicago, possible walk
Option C: drive to Linden Purple Line, subway to Chicago, possible walk
Option D: drive to Arlington Park Race Track, Metra to Chicago, bus? walk to Green/Pink Line at Clinton?
Option E: drive to Arlington downtown, Metra to Chicago, bus? walk to Green/Pink Line at Clinton?
Option F: drive to Mt. Prospect, Metra to Chicago, bus? walk to Green Line at Clinton/Lake?
Option G: magic carpet

Option A: pro - simple, have done it before, known costs; con - mileage on car, expensive long-run parking (5)
Option B: pro - cheaper parking (4) if needed, access to express purple line; con - mileage on car, I miss out on the express hours
Option C: pro - cheaper parking (4) if needed (or 80 monthly pass also), access to express purple line; con - mileage on car, I miss out on the express hours
Option D: pro - less driving, cheaper parking, more comfortable ride; con - Ogilvie rather far from Lake/Wabash, possibly longer commute, lots fill fast
Option E: pro - same as above
Option F: pro - pro: cheaper train rate due to distance; same as above
Option G: pro - no driving, no expenses except initial purchase; con - open to elements, unsafe, initial purchase may be expensive

PHEW! I know this is long and quite detailed and if you read this far, I appreciate it; I'd be grateful for any help. As a part-time teacher, I feel a lot of my pay is going to just traveling; I'd like to explore my options and try a new thing. This "new" commute will help me see what's better for the summer school session, which I'll be in Chicago from 9 am to 2 pm (so commute times will be obviously before and after that). I know I gave a lot of information (not just about me, probably too much) but I was getting rather fed up with my entire commute overall.

Questions I have:

Is Metra any faster than the ~ 40 minutes I spend on the Blue line from Rosemont?
Would morning commute from AH to Skokie or Linden Station be longer than 30 mins?*
Is parking difficult to find at the above stations in the morning? (I hear horror stories about Naperville, and that lots fill by 8 am elsewhere)
How would you get from Ogilvie to Lake/Wabash? (which bus, like 124, 20, etc.? Green/Pink Line? magic carpet?)
Is Purple Line express actually fast and "express"?
Is free parking around Skokie or Linden Station hard to find? (I am willing to pay, but I'd rather not)
Should I get a Turkish or Kashmiri carpet?


* - I know on weekends, the drive to Skokie takes about 30 to 35 minutes using Palatine/Waukegan or highway/Dempster. I cannot say I've driven to Skokie or Linden during the weekdays.

Last edited by Aerio; 05-11-2013 at 02:24 AM.. Reason: Added information
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:16 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,526,258 times
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I love Metra.

Faster (like 41 minutes on best express train) Union Pacific / Northwest (UP-NW) Schedule

Relatively cheap ($10.50 a day or less)

Ogilvie transportation center is super easy walk to Lake and Wabash.

Comfort level is much better than CTA.

Parking at Arlington Race track stop is plentiful. No AM races!

I really doubt that any commute that involves driving to a "midpoint" El line could ever really be time efficient -- every traffic light that you hit makes it so slow compared to be on any express train that it would be like adding extra stops

Last edited by chet everett; 05-11-2013 at 02:26 AM..
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:16 AM
 
12,934 posts, read 17,874,192 times
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You are blessed in having so many options. Beats working in Woodridge! Metra is a good fast option. Present fare $150 a month. I think parking is $2 a day. How athletic are you? Biking to the station eliminates parking fees. Can't help you out on carpets, though.

Last edited by pvande55; 05-11-2013 at 06:48 AM.. Reason: Carpet comment
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:32 AM
 
400 posts, read 940,293 times
Reputation: 300
Thanks for the replies.

Chet: You're not the first to tout Metra, in fact my friend took it for a while when she worked downtown. I guess I'll have to try it, since it really does cut back on my driving times by 90%; however, the less time I spend driving, the more time I spend getting from Ogilvie to Lake/Wabash, though I wonder if it really will be more time since the Green/Pink line (or bus?) seem close and convenient. This will take an experiment and trial and error to verify.

Pvande: You're right, the options are bountiful yet can be overwhelming, analogous to a quality vs. quantity problem. In this case, the quantity is there, but what quality and value do I get from each option? As to your question, I am fairly athletic so biking will be considered, now to get a bike actually... (I sold mine in college) I hesitate to do this though, because of the oppressive heat and humidity and my body's lack of any useful AC. By the time I walk into class, I'll be disgusting; however, trial and error first.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Chicago
3,337 posts, read 5,658,752 times
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I would also take Metra. I used to take the blue line everyday and after moving now I take Metra. I will never go back to a CTA commute if I can avoid it. Metra is much more comfortable and you don't have to worry about someone stealing your purse/laptop/iphone. Plus, the less I have to drive, the better. Driving is much more stressful than sitting on the train with a book is.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:58 AM
 
28,460 posts, read 81,526,258 times
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I assume you are walking to Harold Washington College. it is a very pleasant stroll from Oglivie Transportation Center. There is an enclosed walkways that will have you mostly walking "downhill" in the AM toward Randolph when you exit on the north end of Riverside Plaza it is under 7/10th of mile. The google estimate is 15 minutes of walking and honestly unless you have physical limitations you can make shave at least 3 minutes off that...

I would take Randolph to State so that you are not walking under the Wabash El and yes, the Lake St is quieter :
W Randolph St to N Wabash Ave & E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601 - Google Maps
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:24 PM
 
21 posts, read 63,403 times
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I am going to second (third? fourth?) the suggestion for Metra. I am at Olive & AH Road, I park in the lot on Vail St. just west of the library ($1.50/day), take the 7:16a train in (arrives early, usually 7:52) and I walk all the way to Monroe & Michigan. That takes me 75 minutes total, relatively stress free and as long as you're dressed appropriately the walking is a nice start/end to your day (there is the occassionally rainy/windy day, but really not very often).

One advantage I see of Metra over CTA is that more often than not you can find a seat on Metra and it's relatively easy to continue working if needed, which I find more difficult on the El. (Plus the added bonus of quiet cars during rush hour!).
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Johns Island
2,428 posts, read 4,066,782 times
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To the OP, can you run the numbers for options D, E, and F, assuming you will walk from Ogilvie to Lake/Wabash? I would like to see how much this improves things for you, in terms of cost and time.

Also, I'm not sure why you used 12c/mile for the driving portion of your commute - that seems way too low. And even if you were to totally eliminate the driving, you still would own the car and have some fixed costs.
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:33 PM
 
179 posts, read 474,111 times
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Seems that one option which is conspicuously absent is just driving all the way. Depending on your hours, this has the potential to be a lot faster. The Ohio feeder will take you right to Wabash...
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,479 posts, read 11,690,644 times
Reputation: 2825
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophidian14 View Post
Seems that one option which is conspicuously absent is just driving all the way. Depending on your hours, this has the potential to be a lot faster. The Ohio feeder will take you right to Wabash...
My brother and DW much prefer Metra to driving. Brother used to drive but he found that the inconvenience of being on their time table was far surpassed by being able to make use of the commuting time by reading relaxing or catching up on work. Impossible to do that while driving.
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