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Old 06-01-2014, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Chicago
15 posts, read 47,025 times
Reputation: 13

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Hello Fellow City-Data-ers,

I have read a few posts on here from years ago discouraging the public transit commute from the western suburbs to Hyde Park. I want to dispel the myth right here and right now. I recently moved to Chicago in mid-March. I immediately noticed how commute times were a topic of discussion ALL the time & people from Chicago seem to dislike traveling anywhere that takes longer than 30 minutes lol. Being from the South, (South Florida and briefly Houston), I found it strange and funny. We drive EVERYWHERE in the South and we drive longer distances so a commute time of 1 hour is not strange or unusual especially during rush hour traffic.

The public transit commute from Forest Park and Oak Park is not as bad as people are making it seem. Currently I live in Forest Park (& in the process of moving to either Oak Park or Berwyn) and from my location in FP, it takes me one full hour to get to work in Hyde Park in the morning. The afternoon is a different story. It can take up to TWO full hours in the afternoon from the time I leave my desk to the front of my door. To be quite honest, these commute times are normal for me. I'm just happy I don't have to drive anymore. Cars can be a real money pit. And with gas over $4.00 in all of Chicago, I was shocked to see that so many people still drive here. I mean last time I pumped gas in Houston, it was like @ $2.99/gal with a Randalls Card (Houstonians know what I am referring to lol) I do own a car which I plan to only use on wkends, once I get it transported up here.

For those of you interested in my commute. I take the Forest Park Blue Line to Clinton, from there I take the 192 Express bus which leaves at 7AM; 7:25am; 7:45am; etc and takes us directly to UChicago. That route takes me one full hour, sometimes an hour and 15 mins. There's also the Blue Line to the Green Line at Clark/Lake. That's approximately the same time as well and my estimates include walks to stations or up stairs or to offices or buildings, etc.

Some tips:

- If you have small children or several obligations before or after work, you may want to live close to your job. And that goes for anywhere in any city. But if you're single, no kids and don't have any obligations to get to once you get home, these commutes are a piece of cake.

-I do NOT recommend driving in Chicago during rush hour, if you can avoid it. And yes, I have driven in Chicago years ago, which is why I opted out of driving here now. A lot of posts on here focus on the driver and from my 15 years of driving, it is a totally different experience now taking the CTA trains &/or buses.

-Lastly, try to live as close as possible to either a Blue Line or Green Line station. Outside of Express buses, the CTA buses don't seem to have set times and in the winter, that could make or break your commute experience. I personally prefer the trains because they are more consistent but BOY is that Blue Line SLOW. It takes FOREVER.

I hope this post helps somebody out who may have wanted to live in the Western Suburbs while working at UChicago or Hyde Park but was discouraged. Don't be discouraged, it's the drivers doing the most complaining even though their commutes are supposedly shorter lol
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:05 PM
 
12,918 posts, read 17,692,980 times
Reputation: 9076
Do you read on your ride? You find one of the advantages, aside from less stress, is the ability to use your commuting time, even if it does not save time. I am surprised how many won't consider transit unless going "right downtown.". I am happy for you.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:23 PM
 
165 posts, read 285,626 times
Reputation: 180
I commute to Hyde Park from Brookfield via car. Obviously the commute completely depends on what time you are going. If I leave for work a few minutes past 7, it takes about 50 minutes. Leave at 6:45 you beat that one wave and it only takes 35-40 minutes or so on most days. But sometimes I have to get to work pretty early and leave at 4:30 or 5 and it only takes 25 minutes. I usually don't leave work til well after rush hour, but even if I leave earlier at like 6:45 it only takes about 25-30 minutes. Plus there are a few sneaky backroad tricks, PM me if you're interested. With the number of hours I work I probably couldn't live much further out than where I'm at, but its totally doable from Brookfield. Very few of my colleagues live in Hyde Park, they mostly live on the North Side and are surprised to learn they have a similar commute time to me and others who live in Oak Park, Riverside, etc. IMO, one pro of Brookfield vs. OP is that you take I55 instead of 290/94 which I find to be much more of a headache especially on the way home.

Its true that public transportation allows you to be productive while you commute, and its a great benefit. But sometimes its nice to just crank up the radio on the drive in or do "mental work" on the way home aka draft emails in your head, decide what you're going to make for dinner, figure out how to get rid of your slice...
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