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Carless Commuting History

It struck me today how I feel like a suburbanite transplanted into the city. In one way, anyway. Suburbanites who move into civilization always marvel at how well they can get around without their cars. Not that they all give them up; old habits die hard in the Midwest, after all.

Meanwhile, although I’ve been an urban dweller my whole life, living in Marina City, squarely in downtown Chicago as it is, this is the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to walk everywhere with no need to take transit, much less drive (and without a license or the knowledge of how to drive a car, that would be an especially neat trick).

So I sat down and wrote out my transit commuting history prior to living in the center of it all so I could see…um…just how far I’ve come (I had to go there).
E train from Jamaica, Queens to Lower Manhattan. 60 mins./$1.50

Q train from Park Slope, Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan. 30 min./$1.50

2 train from Park Slope, Brooklyn to Times Square. 30 min./$1.75

Belmont bus from Lakeview to Avondale, Blue Line train from Avondale to Rosemont, Pace bus from Rosemont to Schaumburg. 75 min./$3.50

Blue Line train from Logan Square to Pilsen, 45 min./$1.75


Kimball bus from Logan Square to Avondale, Addison bus from Avondale to Lakeview, 35 min./$1.75

Walk from 300 block of N. State Street to 0 block of N. State Street. 11 min./Free.

Categories: LIFE TRANSIT Walking

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Michael Thaddeus Doyle

I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.

My Bio | My Conversion | My Family Reunion


2 replies

  1. Rich, thanks for reading. These days, I must admit that my partner has a car and we use it often for grocery shopping and trips into the suburbs. I still don’t drive, though, and we’ve decided to move north to Edgewater early next year. Besides easy access to LSD for my partner’s commute to work (he works in Berwyn–so LSD to Congress to the Eisenhower), we’re looking forward to easy access to LSD express buses, the 151, and the Red Line, for car-free trips up and down the lakefront.

  2. Mike-

    I enjoy your carless posts, as a kindred, carless spirit. I live in the outer neghborhoods (Dunning), about 8 miles from work, and largely avoid CTA, as well as cars, through biking. Pondering some of your posts, I think you might be well-served by some 2-wheeling, as well.

    Contrary to popular opinion, urban biking can be safe, can be done year-round, and can be a highly functional form of urban transport. I use a mountain bike for my commute to work, and most trips over a few miles. For these trips, I like to use higher end equipment, like clipless pedals, and (in winter) thermal bib tights, neoprene, and high intensity trail lights. Not necessary, but neither are the surround systems, heated seats, fog lights, and SUVs my 4-wheeled counterparts enjoy, and at a very small fraction of their price.

    For shorter trips and errands, I use a small folding bike — no lock required, just fold and bring inside. As needed, I alsouse a tow-behind trailer that assembles in about 2 minutes, and carries 80 lbs.

    These 2 bikes, by themselves, address 80-90% of my transport requirements, pretty painlessly, year-round, and fit easily into a 1 BR apt. They aren’t free, but they’re a whole lot cheaper than a car, with far less maintenance required. More exepnsive, and somewhat more complicated than walking, but cheaper, and generally faster, than CTA.

    For longer (a relative term, I know) trips, bikes merge nicely (with some planning) into CTA and Metra. All CTA buses have bike racks, all trains permit bikes aboard during non-rush hours, and Metra permits folding bikes aboard any time.

    I think it’s a great way to expand your “independent horizon,” and could probably cover some of what many address with car-sharing.


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