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Re: (OT) chicago

"Mark S. Reglewski" wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 21, 2002 at 02:38:21PM -0800, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > on Thu, Feb 21, 2002, Mark S. Reglewski (markregl@megsinet.net) wrote:
> > >  On Wed, 20 Feb 2002, dman wrote:
> > >
> > > > The details aren't finished yet, but it looks like I'll be working in
> > > > Chicago (Elgin, actually) next quarter.  Is anyone here in the Chicago
> > > > area?
> > >
> [snip]
> > > Elgin is about forty miles NW of the Loop. . . .
> > > If you don't have a car out here, you won't actually be  *in*
> > > Chicago very much, though it's an easy drive on I-90 if you do.
> >
> > I'd recommend Metra Rail over driving -- far less hassle, no parking
> > problems, drops you straight into the Loop, and you can hack for an hour
> > on the way in and out ;-)
> >
> > ...just beware the mid-day service blackout -- 11 am - 1pm or so.
> > Otherwise, coverage is great.
> Don't know if there is service from Elgin per se, but a co-worker
> commutes into town via Metra from Crystal Lake, which is just spitting
> distance from Elgin.  Well, easy driving distance.  If you were mad
> enough to try to  walk to Crystal Lake from Elgin, you'd show up in the
> Loop picking corn stalks out of your hair.

I've been out that area. I believe Metra has an Elgin stop (right along
the river, about 2 miles past the riverboat casino). There's a pretty
good bus network to get you to the station, or there's a park and ride.
Got a real damn long red light at one of the intersections there though.

> If you rail into the city, there are many money-losing bus and train
> routes to get around, but bus and train schedules get sparser and
> sparser with each passing year as the annual losses erode service.
> You could use cabs to get around the city, but you might have to speak
> languages other than English, C, or Python to make yourself understood.
> And you *may* find out that you have a better idea of where you are
> going than the cabbie. Also understand that it is next to *impossible*
> to get a cab pickup in some Chicago neighborhoods (mine is an example).
> So you might take a cab to a destination and find out that you can't get
> a pickup to go back where you came from.  So a Chicago-newbie should
> plan any excursions from Elgin carefully.  My opinion: the flexibility
> of having a car makes driving a clear win for the Chicago novice, even
> with the cost of parking and the hassle of the drive figured in.

Depends on time of year. In the summer, you can get to almost anything
interesting on the free shuttles. Biggest hassle with commuting in is
the hike across the river from the train station to get to the red line
if you're heading to a Cubbies game.

If the weather's decent, you can really do some hiking downtown. We've
hoofed it both ways from the train station to Navy Pier. Everyone else
was looking in the stores, at ESPN, at the N*SYNC buses that blew by us.
I was trying to figure out where the Ameritech NAP was and trying to
decide if I've seen an uglier building than IBM. Occupational hazard I

Biggest hassle is the late train schedule back out of the city. If I
remember correctly, we could hit an 6:00 PM or a 10:30 PM train or
something like that to head back to Palatine (one stop before Elgin).
Gotta decide to head back to the suburbs early or stay pretty late, not
much of a happy medium on the schedule.

I do love driving the Chigaco area freeways though. Watch "Road Warrior"
before you go and you'll be ready for the evening traffic. Nothing like
following someone doing 85 on 355 (speed limit supposedly 55 MPH) and
seeing someone even crazier rocket by on the right while burning
wreakage sits on the right. Just make sure you've got a lot of quarters
(or get Ipass).


Rich Puhek               
ETN Systems Inc.        

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