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Old 06-02-2014, 01:42 AM
 
6 posts, read 14,295 times
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I'm starting a new job at UIC/Medical District. I'll be moving from Southern California to Chicago. I have found a nice little studio in Oak Park (Cuyler and Madison) that I'm interested in and was wondering what you lovely folks think about the area in terms of safety and what you think about the commute to UIC.

From google maps, this apartment looks like it's about 7 miles away from campus and from my extensive experience with LA traffic, I assume that as long as I avoid peak rush hour times, it shouldn't take an hour to drive to work. Is this a correct assessment? I've looked up travel times for public transportation and it's closer to a 40-45 minute commute and might be a bit of a walk from the building to the train station.

As a single 28 yr old female, safety is a huge concern. Although I've spent quite a bit of time in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles which sees a fair amount of crime, I've been more recently living in Irvine, CA -- a city that has been named the safest city of its size for the last several years. I'm very comfortable walking around in the evenings here alone. Anyway, I've read several of the other threads on the safety of OP and I'm afraid that the location of this apartment isn't in the best area of the village. And, it appears that this apartment does not have a designated parking lot or garage so, I can imagine there might be evenings that I end up parking a little further from the building and will have to walk alone to the building. How safe is this part of OP? Should I be worried about parking on the street and walking alone at night from my car to the building? Will being extra vigilant be enough to keep safe?

I appreciate your input in advance! Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:20 AM
 
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Not just for safety but general quiet vs convenience you might want to consider other spots. Madison is thoroughfare that does have lots of traffic which I suppose means that you won't feel isolated but a few block can make a big differnce in being just more pleasant...

Is this only spot with units in your budget?

If you plan on driving daily designate parking is nice.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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The drive will be significantly shorter than an hour.

Location wise, its not bad, although its not really in a nightlife and young-adult hotspot area. If I were driving constantly would prefer to have guaranteed off-street parking.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:10 AM
 
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That drive could be as short as 20 minutes. While I'm not crazy about the Madison Street location of your apartment, you are on the right track looking in Oak Park. I think that town would be a great option for you, and there are a LOT of rentals available there that are generally nicer/more spacious than what you would find closer to UIC.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:12 AM
 
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Agree with both of the above comments -- when roads are open this could be a very quick commute. I am not a fan of taking public transit to UIC from Oak Park. AM is OK but evening is sometimes rather less than professional group on Blue Line. If you have designated parking hassles go way down.

Oak Park is not as varied mix of nightlife as Chicago but the trade off is you do have a more responsive police force (which also is another reason to consider value of designated parking -- ticket writing can be expensive!), generally a nicer mix of rentals and single homes, good local shopping, a sort of "cultured" mix of neighbors in most parts of town.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:12 AM
 
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I'm not too concerned that the apartment isn't in a nightlife and young adult hotspot area. One of the limitations for the apartment was that this one is available when I need it to be available. I think my biggest concern (after safety) is parking. Out of curiosity, where do you park overnight if you do not have night permit, yet? Are there any parking areas that allow un-permitted overnight parking in Oak Park? I am very concerned about parking for the first week or two.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,523 posts, read 13,304,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckings86 View Post
I'm not too concerned that the apartment isn't in a nightlife and young adult hotspot area. One of the limitations for the apartment was that this one is available when I need it to be available. I think my biggest concern (after safety) is parking. Out of curiosity, where do you park overnight if you do not have night permit, yet? Are there any parking areas that allow un-permitted overnight parking in Oak Park? I am very concerned about parking for the first week or two.
There's a handful of pay-per use lots, but its gets pricey. There's also a limited number of passes allowed for overnight guests (including you when you first move here). There are small areas of town which allow permitted on-street overnight parking. There are also a handful of off-street village owned parking lots (which require permits). Of course, you may also be able to find an off-street private (i.e. non-village) option as well.

When you move here, call the village parking office and give them your car location and plate number. They will put it in a registry to prevent you from getting ticketed. You have a handful of days to get your permit. FYI, without a permit, you cannot park in the areas designated permit parking, but your temporary pass will allow you to park on an unpermitted street. You'll still have to follow all street restrictions (loading zones, handicapped parking, street cleaning, time restrictions, etc).

Parking is a perennial issue in Oak Park. Here's a map for the village-owned parking (| Village of Oak Park). I'm not sure how tight the situation is on that end of town, so you're best off calling village hall to enquire as to the likelihood of getting a spot.

Also, FYI, an alternative you may not have considered is Forest Park. Its directly adjacent to Oak Park, has similar amenities (except for the public schools), and generally lower rental rates.

Last edited by oakparkdude; 06-02-2014 at 08:34 AM..
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:55 AM
 
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Thanks, chet, lookout, and oakparkdude! I appreciate your help. I submitted an application last week for this apartment and over the weekend, I was started getting cold feet about it (I have family that lives in the burbs to the north Chicago that have been making me worry about everything!) but, I do feel better now hearing from people that are more familiar with the area. I was considering pulling my application from the place but, I think I'll wait to see what happens.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:17 AM
 
2,458 posts, read 3,274,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckings86 View Post
I'm starting a new job at UIC/Medical District. I'll be moving from Southern California to Chicago. I have found a nice little studio in Oak Park (Cuyler and Madison) that I'm interested in and was wondering what you lovely folks think about the area in terms of safety and what you think about the commute to UIC.

From google maps, this apartment looks like it's about 7 miles away from campus and from my extensive experience with LA traffic, I assume that as long as I avoid peak rush hour times, it shouldn't take an hour to drive to work. Is this a correct assessment? I've looked up travel times for public transportation and it's closer to a 40-45 minute commute and might be a bit of a walk from the building to the train station.

As a single 28 yr old female, safety is a huge concern. Although I've spent quite a bit of time in the Mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles which sees a fair amount of crime, I've been more recently living in Irvine, CA -- a city that has been named the safest city of its size for the last several years. I'm very comfortable walking around in the evenings here alone. Anyway, I've read several of the other threads on the safety of OP and I'm afraid that the location of this apartment isn't in the best area of the village. And, it appears that this apartment does not have a designated parking lot or garage so, I can imagine there might be evenings that I end up parking a little further from the building and will have to walk alone to the building. How safe is this part of OP? Should I be worried about parking on the street and walking alone at night from my car to the building? Will being extra vigilant be enough to keep safe?

I appreciate your input in advance! Thanks!
I'd like to suggest a little different perspective on this...

I realize you have a car, but really, why do you want to drive to UIC? You can get directly to UIC from the southern portion of Oak Park in ~ 15-20 minutes using public transportation (Blue Line el). For the most part, if you ride the Blue Line during business hours (i.e., 7:00am - 7:00pm) it is perfectly safe. Find an apartment in South Oak Park, away from Madison, in a quiet, safe neighborhood around Oak Park Avenue. There are a lot of nice courtyard apartment buildings which line 1-290 frontage roads (Harrison and Garfield). For reference, the Blue Line goes directly down the median of 290, aka the Eisenhower Expressway. All this said, if you work late hours, of course, you would have to be more alert and careful, but the same could be said of almost any location.

I get the safety factor (walking to/from el), but the Blue Line drops you off at the UIC Medical Center and if you get an aprtment near OP Aevenue, you'd have a very short and safe walk to the el, even at night in OP.

BTW-- Madison and Cuyler is not the best neighborhood in OP, but it's not like it's a crime-infested area. Still lots of single family homes, block parties and whatnot. It's a decent area, it's just that Madison St. is a cut-through artery from Chicago to other burbs, so it's a bit loud and perhaps not the most attractive of streets. Oak Park itself is still one of the more desirable suburbs in Chicagoland. Scan the Chicago burbs subforum threads and this will quickly become apparent.

Somebody also mentioned Forest Park, which would enable you to likely get lower rents than OP. Forest Park is still a decent suburb.

Last edited by BigLake; 06-02-2014 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:15 PM
 
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Although some folks tout the good access that Oak Park has to CTA transit lines (which is undeniable) my experience is that most folks that utilize CTA from Oak Park for work still have personal vehicles to get shopping / errands done. If you do have a nice Prius or similar eco-minded car you still need to park it somewhere and without designated parking that is where things get tricky.

The other factor is that even if the area around UIC itself is well policed (which is also generally true) the relative presence of unsavory folks on the Blue Line from rather unpleasant area on the west side is a factor that many folks just don't want to deal after the work day. A half an hour or so of noise / rudeness / intimidation is not fun after slaving away at work. The fact is that the "mix" of folks one the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line is not really similar to folks on the O'Hare branch. There are office workers and travelers heading out to/from jobs and flights at the west end of the O'Hare branch while the Forest Park branch really goes not have that "draw"...
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