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Old 02-12-2013, 10:59 AM
 
11 posts, read 28,071 times
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Chicago commuters - I need your help!

I will be moving to town in the coming month and beginning a role that is based off of Joliet Rd, very close to where it meets I-55.

I am in my mid-20s, don't know anyone in the city, and don't want to confine myself to the burbs. I will have to drive because there is no reverse metra commute out there.

I have read that the traditional "reverse" commute on I-55 is much more tolerable, and from what I've studied on the traffic maps, this is true (except when accidents, rain, or snow occur).

It's a 30 minute drive in normal traffic from my job to downtown Chicago.

I wanted to ideally live in Lakeview, Boystown area, or Lincoln Park. From what I've surmised, Lake Shore Drive is much more doable traffic-wise than I-90/94 - would I be able to keep my commute under an hour if I lived close to Lake Shore Drive and took that through downtown to the I-55 interchange?

I was contemplating living downtown, but it's SO expensive - would the extra money be worth my sanity? Is Lake Shore Drive really that rough of a commute?

I've kind of found myself at these 4 options:

1) Pay $1200-1400 for a studio in the Loop area & $250 for garage spot - 30-45 minute commute. Not ideal because of the high cost. (This scenario will only leave me with ~$150-250/month in restaurant & bar money, which I hear goes FAST in Chicago.)

2) Pay $800-900 for a studio in Lakeview or Lincoln Park, pay $250 for garage spot downtown - Car commute 30-45 minutes to/from downtown, then take the train 20-30 minutes up to my studio. This one seems to be the best compromise.

3) Pay $800-900 for a studio in Lakeview or Lincoln Park CLOSE to Lake Shore Drive on/off-ramp and commute 45-60 minutes to work minimum, then on the return commute home fight for street parking or pay $150-200 for a spot.

4) Pay $800-900 for a studio in West Lakeview, parking less of an issue, but fight traffic heading East to LSD, then LSD to I-55 - possibly a 1.5-2 hr commute?


Any advice is appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,335 posts, read 22,323,466 times
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1) Don't live in the Loop. It's boring and there's not much there. It's mostly office space and faster food types of places. There are some theaters and shopping and what not, but in reality..just don't live there.

2) It sounds like you're on a budget so I don't recommend paying $250/month for parking. Did you think about money for emergencies? $150/month extra might not be enough to survive here if you have random stuff that comes up and also for saving money. Also, how about public transit? If you're doing stuff in Chicago, you won't be driving many places depending on where you live. Public transit here is second to NYC, and let's just say in many neighborhoods when you go out and drink, you either walk, take the bus or train, or take the cab. The people who drive there are the ones from the further away places who don't have great access to public transit.

3) Are you working in La Grange? If so, there's a Metra (commuter rail) stop up the road and your workplace might have shuttle service to get people from there to the office (you never know). Check with them on that. If they do that, you could probably eliminate your car all together and save even more money.

4) Why not somewhere like Bridgeport or Pilsen? They have some stuff going on and are more neighborhoody. They are also cheaper than the other places, and you won't have to pay $250/month for parking. You'll have much more spending money, but more importantly these neighborhoods are right near I-55, making your commute more tolerable.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:24 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,887,210 times
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The location the OP is working at is probably closer to Burr Ridge than LaGrange -- train not an option.

I would recommend a spot like Chinatown, Pilsen or Bridgeport for easier access to Stevenson and cheaper rent / easier parking with pretty decent trade-offs for access to nightlife ...


If you simply MUST MUST MUST MUST MUST live in close to northside hotspots you might actually be better off living extremely farthest eastern parts of Old Town for easiest access to LSD which does indeed make for best route to Stevenson and then the Burr Ridge / Willowbrook / Indian Head Park... Of course the liklihood of finding on "old style" studio that might be suitable for like students at Moody Bible Instiitute WITH PARKING has grown increasingly slim as most of Old Town has become essentially an extension of the Gold Coast with gentrification...

I am not as anti-Loop as others and if you extend the "boundaries" of the Loop to include Printer's Row /River North/ Greek Town / Museum Campus is not really that bleak (lumping South Loop / West Loop / River North and even Chinatown into "Loop" is pretty common for hotel listings though most rentals are not as deceptive / non- descriptive). Access from basically anything south of where LaSalle Dr enters LSD will save LOTS of grief for both AM & PM commutes...

Last edited by chet everett; 02-12-2013 at 12:49 PM..
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:30 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
1) Don't live in the Loop. It's boring and there's not much there. It's mostly office space and faster food types of places. There are some theaters and shopping and what not, but in reality..just don't live there.

2) It sounds like you're on a budget so I don't recommend paying $250/month for parking. Did you think about money for emergencies? $150/month extra might not be enough to survive here if you have random stuff that comes up and also for saving money. Also, how about public transit? If you're doing stuff in Chicago, you won't be driving many places depending on where you live. Public transit here is second to NYC, and let's just say in many neighborhoods when you go out and drink, you either walk, take the bus or train, or take the cab. The people who drive there are the ones from the further away places who don't have great access to public transit.

3) Are you working in La Grange? If so, there's a Metra (commuter rail) stop up the road and your workplace might have shuttle service to get people from there to the office (you never know). Check with them on that. If they do that, you could probably eliminate your car all together and save even more money.

4) Why not somewhere like Bridgeport or Pilsen? They have some stuff going on and are more neighborhoody. They are also cheaper than the other places, and you won't have to pay $250/month for parking. You'll have much more spending money, but more importantly these neighborhoods are right near I-55, making your commute more tolerable.
Thank you for the reply. My after-tax income will be around $3600/mo. I wanted to try and keep housing costs to 30% of that, which is ~$1100.

Ideally I wanted to be close to Boystown, or close to a Red or Brown Line stop for ease of getting up to the North side if I wasn't actually going to live there - What about the Gold Coast or River North if I lived relatively close to Lake Shore Drive?

The job is in Bolingbrook/Lemont area. I would be willing to stomach a car commute of up to 1-1.5 hrs, but anything over that will wear on me.

Theoretically if I did live in East Lakeview, driving to/from Bolingbrook/Lemont area, should I anticipate a 2 hour commute? "Normal" driving time according to Google Maps is ~40-45 minutes. I know some people commute to Hoffman Estates and can usually do it on the Kennedy in 1-1.5 hrs.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
15,335 posts, read 22,323,466 times
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What is the exact address of your work place? Never trust Google Maps with a morning commute and especially afternoon.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:47 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,071 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
What is the exact address of your work place? Never trust Google Maps with a morning commute and especially afternoon.
Not sure of exact address but it's close to the intersection of Joliet Rd & Internationale Pkwy if you want to use that.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:57 PM
 
28,460 posts, read 80,887,210 times
Reputation: 18660
Default Holy MOLEY!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwestern7 View Post
Not sure of exact address but it's close to the intersection of Joliet Rd & Internationale Pkwy if you want to use that.
DUDE!!!!

The trip from your work location (which is the WESTERN EDGE of WOODRIDGE!) is not going to be pleasant to any spot inside Chicago -- It would take nearly an hour to get even to MIDWAY AIRPORT in rush hour!!!!

You are going to have deal with working out WEST OF I-355.

The only spot I would recommend would be Pilsen and even then you are looking at yucky options.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Uptown
1,520 posts, read 2,439,815 times
Reputation: 1236
Chet is right...nightmare commute in the making
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:11 PM
 
11 posts, read 28,071 times
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Thanks guys. I was hoping I-55 would be better off than the Kennedy, but it sounds like that isn't the case.. Do you think it's doable if I get any sort of flex-hours to avoid rush hour traffic?

Thank you Chet - I am thinking a compromise of River North or Old Town area. Maybe find a cheap spot to rent (~100-150ish) downtown somewhere for my car and just take the train up to my studio.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Johns Island
2,417 posts, read 3,989,988 times
Reputation: 3565
Wait a minute... Are you guys saying that there is no "reverse commute" on I55?

Bolingbrook to Lincoln Park is about 36 miles. Where are the bottlenecks on the inbound evening commute? I55 inbound certainly USED to be a wide-open drive in the evenings, when compared to I88/I290.

Are you guys SURE that I55 is so bad?
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