Chicago Commute

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 14, 2012 11:10 PM GMT
    Anyone live in the city and commute to University of Chicago? I haven't found a place yet, but I will be working at U of C Medical Center and don't want a car. Was wondering best places to live and best way to commute to and from work. BTW, don't want to live in Hyde Park.

    PM me responses if you want. Thanks!
  • Puppy80

    Posts: 451

    Mar 15, 2012 12:10 AM GMT
    I live in the burbs and have a car myself, so it's hard for me to give you the best advice to you.

    If you are planning on moving to the suburbs, your best starting point is looking at the Metra Rail site http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home.html. It's the local commuter trains that go in and out of Chicago from the burbs. If you planning on being in the city somewhere then your best bet is to look at the CTA website http://www.transitchicago.com/

    Not sure about where to live. I think I'll leave that up to some of the city dwelling guys icon_smile.gif

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    Mar 15, 2012 12:26 AM GMT
    If you're thinking South Loop, Loop, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wrigleyville or Boystown, the CTA Red line will be your best friend. Or Lake Shore Drive express buses, not sure which one goes to Hyde though. As far as good neighbor hoods, Gold Coast, East Lincoln Park Wrigley and Lakeview are my favorite. What kind of atmosphere/people do you want to live around?
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    Mar 15, 2012 12:36 AM GMT
    I grew up in Chicago and lived there until my first year of college.

    It is possible to not have a car, but, if you're going to be traveling at various hours of the night, or in bad weather, sometimes it is really nice to have one. You're going to want to go to the suburbs sometimes too, because as large as the city is, you still can't find everything you need/want within city limits and CTA service areas.

    Same goes for the friendships you make and the parties or events you want to attend. Half of those folks will be suburbanites, and not close suburbs either, but places like Naperville. So, consider a car. An old Honda or Toyota could be a very reliable and cost-effective choice. At the very least, consider Zipcar.

    The best website I've found out for moving advice is the forums on city-data.com. You'll get great responses to your questions. I've been a member on it for probably five years. Check it out.

    In a nutshell, if I were you, I'd consider the South Loop if you wanted something modern/downtown-ish/trendy and you want to live near others who are new to Chicago. If that isn't a priority, consider Bridgeport, which is a close-knit south side ethnic city neighborhood that is safe and interesting. It'll be mostly locals there. You can get a lot more house, or apartment space, for the money if you pick a real Chicago neighborhood.

    Since you're going to be in medicine which I'm guessing will be high stress and long hours, I don't think the north side would be a great choice for you because of the distance. It's possible, and I love those areas, but the commute would be tiring.

    It is too bad the neighborhoods west of Hyde Park along 55th street are not in better shape. When my parents and grandparents lived in the city, it was safe to take the Garfield/55th bus all the way down to the lakefront and those neighborhoods were thriving. Now those areas are among the worst in the city. If you go due west from U of C, you won't find a pleasant neighborhood until you get to Midway airport.

    Good luck with your move!




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    Mar 15, 2012 2:36 AM GMT
    I'll be attending UChicago this fall and will be living in the loop at Millennium Park Plaza (MPP). I also checked out Columbus Plaza and Aqua (pricier). MPP is right on top of the Millennium Station red line which goes directly to UC. All of these buildings offer UC and/or student incentives. I won't be bringing my car to Chicago so proximity to public transit was key.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Mar 15, 2012 3:08 AM GMT
    Arfurnas saidIf you're thinking South Loop, Loop, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wrigleyville or Boystown, the CTA Red line will be your best friend. Or Lake Shore Drive express buses, not sure which one goes to Hyde though.

    It has been a few years since I lived in Chicago, but when I did, no one in their right mind would take the elevated to Hyde Park/55th. Is it no longer dangerous to do so? Did you mean that one should to transfer to an express bus downtown?
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    Mar 15, 2012 3:15 AM GMT
    My price range is about $1200/month max. I don't mind an hour commute to and from the hospital, cause I can do most of my studying then rather than at home. I have to be at work at 6 am most days and am off around 4-7 pm most days (no set schedule, but usually 12 hrs/day 6-7 days/wk). I was thinking either South Loop, West Loop, Lincoln Park, or Lakeview.
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    Mar 15, 2012 3:18 AM GMT
    morpheus85 saidMy price range is about $1200/month max. I don't mind an hour commute to and from the hospital, cause I can do most of my studying then rather than at home. I have to be at work at 6 am most days and am off around 4-7 pm most days (no set schedule, but usually 12 hrs/day 6-7 days/wk). I was thinking either South Loop, West Loop, Lincoln Park, or Lakeview.


    You're going into a residency and you want to make it harder? Try East View Park in Hyde Park. It's condo's but you can rent one.

    TRUST ME YOU DON'T WANT TO TAKE THE L EVERY DAY TO SUCH AN INTENSIVE PROGRAM!!!

    Also look at Zillow rentals.

    Lastly, I know many of the Northwestern residents rent at McClurg Court.
  • dannyboy1101

    Posts: 977

    Mar 15, 2012 3:55 AM GMT
    Half the people you will meet won't live in suburbs (for your sake I hope it's not even a quarter). You can live without car easily. I wish I could, but my commute would be impractical by train and cost more money in the end than gas. Believe me when I say, there is NEVER a weekend I think to myself, "Gosh, I really wish I could drive out to Naperville to go to that house party." The city has anything you could want unless you're dying to go to a Red Lobster or go shopping at an outlet mall. Snore.

    A long commute via the el train doesn't seem so bad until you think of the usual winter that luckily didn't show up this year: bitter cold, snow, and when the snow melts, disgusting slush lakes on many corners of sidewalk. It's doable, but you have to be prepared.

    $1200 a month is totally doable (seems even on the pricier side depending on the space). Just make sure to shop around so you can compare places. The Chicago Reader website has a pretty sweet apartment search application (spacefinder I believe it's called).

    Be careful about Wrigleyville. If you need your beauty rest, it's very easy to land in a place that has d-bag frat guys who party til 3 AM on a Tuesday night on the porch that you share. I wouldn't get too close to Wrigley Field if you are a light sleeper.
  • gcoastmark

    Posts: 83

    Mar 15, 2012 4:07 AM GMT
    You may want to go to the CTA website and look at the routes closest to the buildings you'll frequent in Hyde Park. I believe the 76 Jeffrey bus runs to Hyde Park from the Loop but not sure how close that will get you. The good thing about the UofC campus is you have access to multiple commuting options.

    I would suggest looking at the different routes and the approximate run times against what you expect your schedule to be...then ride those lines to get a feel for the neighborhood and the commute.

    If you like, send me a message off line and I can try to help more...good luck...and congrats for landing at U of C! Great job!!!
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    Mar 17, 2012 7:41 PM GMT
    RowBuddy is right about the CTA being an unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant experience. It's very hard to study when you're next to a bum, keeping your eye on the gang members who just got onto your car, or on the days you're packed like sardines into the train (or bus.)

    It's not like Metra or the South Shore. A lot of days you're not going to even find a seat. Leave earlier and you might luck out.

    Most of the time, I think CTA adds to stress, not reduces it. As soon as I hit sophomore year of high school and got my driver's license and my car, I avoided public transit like the plague. Takes twice as long, with twice as many headaches.

    The plusses of the South Loop is that you have lots of buildings populated by Columbia College, Roosevelt, and UIC students. You'll find plenty of friends and things to do. From there it's not a long drive, cab ride, or CTA ride to the north side.

    I've said this to anyone who asks: if you are limited to your immediate surroundings in ANY location (city, suburban, or rural) you're going to be bored and frustrated at least at times.

    Back to the car vs. no car issue. You might not think you will, but you could end up meeting a special guy at a festival or concert or club, and it turns out he's from Antioch or Joliet or Northwest Indiana. If people are interchangeable to you, then I suppose it wouldn't matter. But if that relationship meant something to me, I would want to have a way to stay in touch and go see him.

    And the person who invites you out to that party in Naperville might be your boss, someone from your board of trustees, or it might be that city friend you made who had to move back home to the 'burbs. It might be someone who matters.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 17, 2012 7:51 PM GMT
    So my boyfriend and I talked about pros and cons with getting a car vs CTA. I've decided that the annoyances of commuting via CTA + daily unsafe circumstances at very late hours on CTA are not worth it, and that I'd rather deal with the cost of a cheap car + insurance + gas + possible parking charges.

    Next question...where to live? Looking for: short commute via car + street parking + neighborhood feel (NOT annoying like Wrigleyville) + most things within walking distance + relatively cost-effective (ie $700-900/month for a studio or 1-br...or find a roommate, which is fine too).

    Aaaaaaaand...GO!
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    Mar 27, 2012 12:02 AM GMT
    morpheus85 saidSo my boyfriend and I talked about pros and cons with getting a car vs CTA. I've decided that the annoyances of commuting via CTA + daily unsafe circumstances at very late hours on CTA are not worth it, and that I'd rather deal with the cost of a cheap car + insurance + gas + possible parking charges.

    Next question...where to live? Looking for: short commute via car + street parking + neighborhood feel (NOT annoying like Wrigleyville) + most things within walking distance + relatively cost-effective (ie $700-900/month for a studio or 1-br...or find a roommate, which is fine too).

    Aaaaaaaand...GO!


    First, GREAT MOVE ON THE CAR!!!


    Second NOTHING beats Near North, best from 800 to 1300. You could even get a studio in the Hancock! If not, the Cock try for a one bedroom in the Mies bldgs at 800 North Lake Shore. McClurg Ct is full of residents. Move West as economics dictates.

    BTW of all these Chicagoans anyone else go to East Bank?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 01, 2012 3:50 PM GMT
    Near North would be cool (Gold Coast, and the Hancock... yeah, amazing) but I think you'd have to look really carefully at the parking situation. Can you get a deal where a garage space is included? Street parking is not easy there.

    Another place to consider is the high-rises along Lake Shore Drive (anywhere from Montrose south to downtown.) LSD should (in theory) get you to work/school pretty quickly. Those buildings are likely to have garage parking.

    From what I hear, South Loop is getting pricier, but developers are starting to promote buildings as far south as 26th street as "South Loop." Not really true, so be careful about that. The core of South Loop is Harrison to Roosevelt, basically. This area might be off your list because the rental prices seem to have gone up a lot. A year ago, I saw pages full of $600-$900 rents there, and when looking today, I'm not finding anything less than $1500... I'm shocked, really.

    Really you might find a terrific place in any of neighborhoods you mentioned. Wrigleyville/Boystown is not 100% douchey. There are quiet blocks and you might be able to score a cool older home with a garage or parking in the back. Lincoln Park, same story.

    And again, if you decide on something non-trendy and city neighborhood-like, Bridgeport is a very solid choice because it's so close to where you're going to be at work and school.

    Search Craigslist (apartments and subleases) for all these various neighborhoods and see what's available in your price range. It changes daily, but you'll get a really good feel for what's out there.
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    Apr 01, 2012 4:03 PM GMT
    dannyboy1101 saidHalf the people you will meet won't live in suburbs (for your sake I hope it's not even a quarter). You can live without car easily. I wish I could, but my commute would be impractical by train and cost more money in the end than gas. Believe me when I say, there is NEVER a weekend I think to myself, "Gosh, I really wish I could drive out to Naperville to go to that house party." The city has anything you could want unless you're dying to go to a Red Lobster or go shopping at an outlet mall. Snore.


    This.

    I'm grew up in the northern burbs and went to college in the city, all my friends lived in the city- for a very good reason. It's a pain (and expensive) to take the Metra in and out of Downtown everyday to to the city. Even taking the Purple Line Express up to Evanston become really annoying. (I had to take it to the end of the line at Linden station and then drive 3 miles to my parent since I was living at home still)

    There's only families and seniors in the burbs and you need a car to get everywhere, and I lived in a burb that was "walkble" but still no one would ever been seen walking more than a couple block other than jogging around the neighborhood. There's also no gay scene that I know of- need to go into the Boystown or the city for that.

    Rent is relatively inexpensive (well according to my NYer rent standards now at least) in North Center, Andersonville and especially Roger Park so if you can afford to live in the city do so. Easier for dating, making friends, going to work or uni classes; you'll thank yourself later. icon_wink.gif
  • Hard2hold

    Posts: 9

    Apr 01, 2012 4:11 PM GMT
    The "best" place to live depends on what you want. There are dozens of great neighborhoods in the city, but they are all a little different.

    I live right on the border of Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, and East Village, so if you want to know anything about that area, let me know.

    It would also be helpful to understand why you don't want to live in Hyde Park. I know lots of people there and they love it. There are tons of nice, large, vintage apartments there, rents are relatively inexpensive, and you're close to the lake. Barack Obama's house is in the area (Kenwood). A lot of smart, interesting people live there because of the University.

    The downsides I see in Hyde Park are, serious lack of parking in most parts of the neighborhood, no gay night life and you are far from downtown and boys town (if you care).

    As far as crime and gangbangers, they're mobile, and roam every part of the city.
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    Apr 08, 2012 2:47 PM GMT
    addstrap saidI'll be attending UChicago this fall and will be living in the loop at Millennium Park Plaza (MPP). I also checked out Columbus Plaza and Aqua (pricier). MPP is right on top of the Millennium Station red line which goes directly to UC. All of these buildings offer UC and/or student incentives. I won't be bringing my car to Chicago so proximity to public transit was key.


    The area where you are going to live is awesome. Really good. I am not far away from there...

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    Apr 08, 2012 2:50 PM GMT
    morpheus85 saidMy price range is about $1200/month max. I don't mind an hour commute to and from the hospital, cause I can do most of my studying then rather than at home. I have to be at work at 6 am most days and am off around 4-7 pm most days (no set schedule, but usually 12 hrs/day 6-7 days/wk). I was thinking either South Loop, West Loop, Lincoln Park, or Lakeview.


    Definitely Lincoln park or lake view. Dont even think about other areas, trust me. You will not make a wrong move.