Commuting from Chicago to Lake County?

May 11th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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Commuting from Chicago to Lake County?

I may have an opportunity to work in the Buffalo Grove area, the north side of Buffalo Grove about 3 miles west of I-94 on Half Day Rd. Is there anyone who commutes to this area from downtown Chicago? I have been to Chicago several times and really like the Lincoln Park and Lakeview areas, for example. About how much time would I expect to spend in the mornings heading outbound and in the evenings Heading Inbound.

I have been to the GCM Corridor website, and based on that it looks like probably just under an hour in the mornings and a bit over an hour in the evenings. Is that about right?

saluki00 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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It would be an hour minimum. Two hours one way would not be an uncommon occurance. Is there any way you can take the train? There's a station in Buffalo Grove, though I don't know what options there are to get to the company. Perhaps there's a shuttle or fixed route bus service if it's part of a large corporate park.
flamingomonkey is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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We lived in Deerfield for many years. I commuted downtown via METRA train and it worked very well. Reverse commuting could be a bad nightmare. As I recall the train schedules were not really conducive to reverse commuters and where would you board the train? Most METRA trains run out of NW or Union station, not eactly close to Lincoln Park. Be prepared for a minimum of 60-90 minutes each way. I am going to guess you will be working at Hewitt, do they have resources to allow you to telecommute several days/week? Reverse commuting might not be so bad if you only do it 2 times/week. Or, can you work a compressed schedule, say 4 10-hour days to shorten the impact. Many large companies have flexible work schedules that allow you to design your own schedule. Or, the northern suburbs are very nice, you may change your mind about living so far from work. Good Luck!
aliska is offline  
May 14th, 2006, 09:50 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Kind of confirmed my fears. Hewitt is adjacent to my company's HQ and there is a Pace Bus from the Metra to Hewitt. Still looks to be 1-1/2 to 2Hrs each way, counting 1/2 hour to get to Union Station or one of the stations further up the Milwaukee North Central.

Would be open to a neighborhood farther north, perhaps Lincoln Square, Andersonville, or Uptown. They do seem popular, but not as familiar with them. Did go to Uptown to eat some good Vietnamese food once.

I suppose getting close to a Metra station would be ideal. I know Union Station is in West Loop. Anyone familiar with the neighborhoods near the Healy, Grayland, Mayfair, or Forest Glen stations. I am really clueless on those areas. Passed through on the Metra once from Buffalo Grove to downtown. They looked pleasant enough, but perhaps a little too quiet for me. I really do want a pedestrian friendly place that is in the middle of it all. Lived in the 'burbs here in Dallas for 2 years and hated it. Nice places, just not for me.

Anyway, a lot to think about. If the opportunity does materialise it would be a step forward in my career, and I would love to live in Chicago. But it may not be meant to be. At least not in this career.
saluki00 is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 04:03 AM
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I would consider looking for a place to live in the west loop so you could be near Union Station. It's a dynamic area now, continuing to grow with new shops and restaurants, and it puts you, literally, right in the center of the city.

Another option would be one of the suburbs that borders the city to the north. Evanston and Skokie have very urban environments, and would be significantly closer for you to drive to work. Especially Skokie, which is on the Edens. Plenty of parking is available at the Howard red line station when you want to go into the city. This line takes you through Lakeview going to the Loop.
flamingomonkey is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 04:15 AM
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As for Healy, Grayland, Mayfair, or Forest Glen, I believe Forest Glen is one of the quietest areas in the city. The other three would be worth looking at. They certainly aren't Lakeview, but they are in the city. They have a diverse population, plenty of people can, and do, walk to stores and restaurants, decent public transportaion is available. I don't know if you were in a "traditional" suburb in Dallas (the kind made up entirely of sub divisions and strip malls off the highway), but if you were you may well find these neighborhoods, as well as Skokie and Evanston, to be plenty exciting. If you were in a more urban area there and were still bored, then these areas in Chicago are probably not going to work for you. In that case I would check out the West Loop.
flamingomonkey is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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If you are seriously thinking of taking the Metra every day, the West Loop is a good, though expensive, option. The problem with Healy/Grayland/Mayfair is that they are little-used stops which the express trains frequently bypass. They are good areas for younger people, with quite a bit of new development along the RR corridor; the public transportation options in the area are excellent, as it runs parallel to the Kennedy expressway and O'Hare Blue line trains.

There are a fair number of singles living in Wheeling and Buffalo Grove, so I wouldn't rule those areas out.
patg is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 01:11 PM
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get the job to get out here and live in lakeview or Uptown. See if you can get some flex hours like 7am to 4pm vs. 8-5 and that will let you beat some of the traffic. GOod luck!
eroz is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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I would not recommend Skokie for what this poster is looking for. I lived in Skokie for 15 years, just moved away last year to Buffalo Grove, so I know these two areas very well.

As a suburb, I enjoyed Skokie very much, and it is growing wildly in the last few years, and is truly a great place to live. However, while Skokie has many virtues and is the perfect location to be adjacent to the city for easy access, it is not the "pedestrian friendly place that is in the middle of it all" that the poster emphasizes that he/she wants. Parts of Evanston would provide this, yes, but I personally would not want to commute from Evanston to Buffalo Grove everyday. There is no major route going east/west and there are few alternate routes to the few main thoroughfares that do exist. I know a lot of people who do it, but personally, that commute would get old real quick for me.

If the poster is truly wanting that "pedestrian friendly place in the middle of it all," I'm afraid the city is what you are looking for, and you will have a long, long commute to work everyday. However, if you are willing to be closer to work, and commute to your social life in the evenings and weekends, then any of the suburbs mentioned will be a great place to live. Unfortuately, in Chicago, it is very difficult to live "in the middle of it all, within walking distance," and also work in the suburbs, unless you are right on the train line.

I agree with the poster who said that your commute would be an hour minimum from Lakeview or Lincoln Park to Buffalo Grove,and that 2 hour commutes will not be uncommon. Rain will slow you down, and a heavey snow will paralyze you, and could take more than two hours. Construction and car accidents will make you frequently late for work in the mornings. Remember to consider rising gas prices. Have you also considered parking for the neighborhood you want to live in?

For these reasons, this is why many people decide to give up the work commute, and commute for their social life instead. I think you're going to have to take a hard look at your priorities. good luck.
hweinerg is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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Another place you might consider is Arlington Heights. They have done quite a bit of development in the downtown area over the past decade. There is now a pretty robust rental market, and they've added some upscale bars and restaurants.

Arlington Heights is right by Buffalo Grove, and your commute would be minimal compared to other places closer to the city of Chicago.

I would also urge you to not discount Evanston. It really is a fantastic town with plenty to do for young adults. It also offers easy access to the city. The drive from Evanston to BG would probably take close to an hour with traffic.

Scott - are you moving by yourself, or do you have a family? If I were moving alone, I would definitely want to live in a vibrant community with an easily accesible social life. I think the extra commute would be worth it. Do you have friends already living in Chicago?

lizziea06 is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 10:14 PM
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Thank You one and all for your thoughtful responses. I promise to repay with a trip report in a few weeks when I get back from my upcoming vacation to Germany and Amsterdam.

My company flew me up Tuesday night to spend Wednesday at the office up there. I ended up staying in Old Town and driving up Wednesday morning. Took 1:20, leaving at 7AM in perfect weather. On the way back to O'Hare that evening it was raining so I got a bit of a taste of that. I think the message boards were saying over an hour from Lake Cook to Downtown.

Went back up this weekend to check things out, neighborhood wise. Evanston does seem pretty cool. But as was mentioned, east - west roads not so great. Same deal with Uptown and Lincoln Square which I did find rather cool.

West Loop is a good suggestion. I am familiar that it is up and coming, and of course that is where Union Station is. But, still, Metra plus Pace Bus is 1:30 each way. Had never been to Wicker Park / Bucktown before. I would love to live there. Western Metra not to far away either.

Also drove around Highland Park, Wheeling, Northbrook, and Glenview. Great places to raise a family I am sure. But as a single, no, basically could be a suburb of any large city.

Anyway, while the opportunity from a professional standpoint is promising, it is not overwhelming. I am at the stage where I am getting wanderlust, and have always been fond of Chicago. But I know me, and I know that the commute would get very old, whether I was driving or taking Metra. If I could have a situation like my buddies sister who lives in the Gold Coast and walks 4 blocks to work I would be there yesterday.

Anyway, while it is certainly not Chicago, not even close, at least here I live in Dallas in Uptown and have a 30 minute commute ( 40 min if weather or accident ) and have more "me time". Not much use living somewhere with so much to offer if you don't have the time to enjoy it.

Anyway, thanks again so much for all your advice. I think we can consider this case closed.
saluki00 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 04:56 AM
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Don't rule out Evanston yet. When we lived there, we thought it was great. Urban environment with lots of shops, restaurants, etc. Plus you have a different appreciation up there for the lake than you would in the city, with all of the lakefront parks Evanston has.

As for as East-West commuting, we thought long and hard about that. We decided that it was better to have a slower but predictable commute than a freeway-turned-parking lot one. Getting over to 294 on Dempster really isn't so bad. Plus, Chicago has great radio stations to get used to in the car

We also lived in Highland Park, which has a vibrant downtown and is gorgeous, but is decidedly more "SUV's and soccer moms" in feel. We enjoyed it but not saying it is for everyone.
HonestAbe is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 05:07 AM
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I can see where that would be frustruating. I sometimes wonder if the relocation of office parks out to the suburbs has cost some companies some potential good employees. I know that if my office were to relocate out there I would think long and hard about how badly I wanted the job.
Vittrad is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 01:18 PM
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Saluki, what field are you in? Surely there must be other career opportunities for you in Chicago?
CheBird is offline  
Jun 18th, 2006, 09:57 PM
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Hi, Sorry about the late reply but I was posting my Europe trip report and I saw Vittrad's reply and wanted to reply.

Vittrad, I totally agree with your point. However, it depends on who you are trying to attract. I am an engineer in the semiconductor industry. All of my co-workers and most the people I come into contact with at our customers see it the exact opposite. They would not want to have anything to do with being in the city. Here in Dallas they all live in the 'burbs or even out in the country.

Sometimes I hear the discussion about how hard it is to get young people interested in engineering as a career. Well I think things like this contribute to not attracting a broader spectrum of people quite frankly. It is certainly not a career that easily lends itself to a very interesting lifestyle.

I don't necessarily have my heart set on Chicago. San Francisco, New York, or maybe even similar places out of the U.S would greatly interest me. But my industry is centered in places like Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix, mostly in suburban office or industrial zones.

Oh well, time to start considering a re-adjustment in the career, or an out and out career change.

saluki00 is offline  
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