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Driving to Chicago

GPIA7RGPIA7R Registered User
edited October 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'll be driving into Chicago this weekend for a concert on Saturday night. What should I expect? I've never driven anywhere outside of Indiana.

I keep hearing bad things about crime and violence in Chicago... are there certain areas to avoid? Will be going to Park West, which is in the Lincoln Park district/area.

I'm not sure, but I want to say that there's a parking garage right next to the venue. Otherwise, I have no idea where the best/safest place would be to park.

Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas?

Thanks

GPIA7R on

Posts

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Lincoln Park's not a bad part of town, so you shouldn't have worries there. You'll probably want to just plan on a place to park ahead of time rather than driving around looking for parking, because driving around Lincoln Park usually isn't all that fun. Just get the address/location of a couple parking garages ahead of time so that if the first one is full you can go to the next.

    Really, crime in Chicago isn't that bad. I used to live in a neighborhood on the south side, and worked in Hyde Park, which aren't the best areas, but didn't have any problems for 3+ years (aside from being egged one halloween).

  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    One thing I noticed while I was there was that some intersections have working traffic lights, but then they'll also have traffic cops. As a pedestrian I really didn't get it but it seemed like maybe a lot of drivers ignore both the lights and the traffic cop, so drive defensively?

  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Four-way stops in Chicago don't operate on right-of-way, it's who wants it the most.

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Hypatia wrote: »
    One thing I noticed while I was there was that some intersections have working traffic lights, but then they'll also have traffic cops. As a pedestrian I really didn't get it but it seemed like maybe a lot of drivers ignore both the lights and the traffic cop, so drive defensively?

    This is usually in the downtown areas during morning and evening rush hours. It's because a lot of the intersections either don't have turn lanes/arrows or they are far too short for the number of cars waiting, so to prevent huge backups, they put traffic cops at problem intersections to try to help reduce congestion during peak times. The effectiveness is up for debate. I personally don't think it's all that helpful, but who knows. It most likely won't be a problem for the OP because he's going on a weekend.

  • KetarKetar Duke of Weaseltown Like an agile peacock!Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    GPIA7R wrote: »
    I'll be driving into Chicago this weekend for a concert on Saturday night. What should I expect? I've never driven anywhere outside of Indiana.

    I keep hearing bad things about crime and violence in Chicago... are there certain areas to avoid? Will be going to Park West, which is in the Lincoln Park district/area.

    I'm not sure, but I want to say that there's a parking garage right next to the venue. Otherwise, I have no idea where the best/safest place would be to park.

    Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas?

    Thanks

    Even the worst neighborhoods in Chicago really aren't that bad these days, and you will be just fine in/near Lincoln Park. There aren't any bad areas to park as far as safety is concerned in the area of that venue, but actually finding a spot in that area on a Saturday night is difficult because of the proximity of one of the most popular strips of bars in Chicago, and the new parking regulations/payboxes are somewhat annoying, so a nearby lot may just be your best bet.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    If a guy in a tow truck tells you that its cool to park in a parking lot across the street from the venue and that he'll just collect $5-$15 when you're leaving, don't believe him.

  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2009
    Park West is in a very safe neighborhood, I wouldn't worry about it too much. On a saturday night near where you'll be, there's a ton of bars and restaurants that'll be full of Depaul students, so running into a drunk college kid is probably the worst you have to worry about.

    definitely plan on where you're going to park ahead of time, as it's not going to be easy around there. I know there's a garage in the Century Shopping Center, but that's like ten blocks (just over a mile) north of where you're going to be. not a terrible walk, but you should be able to find something closer.

    Piper's Alley Mall is closer to the south on North Ave. and Wells, and I think they have a garage, but I'm not sure what the rates are or how crowded it is. It's on Wells, so I'm assuming it'd be pretty packed.

    if you wanted to, you could park elsewhere in the city if you planned on doing any sightseeing or touristy stuff, or just eating somewhere that isn't Lincoln Park, and then hop on a Red Line train towards Howard and get off at Fullerton. it's about a 6 block walk from there down Lincoln Ave, which is where most of the nightlife is anyway.

  • GameHatGameHat Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Keep in mind the driving time too

    I'm in Chicago's northwest suburbs; I drive through Chicago into Indiana quite frequently

    Depending on when you plan to be driving - add up to two-three hours to account for traffic.

    Chicago traffic isn't the worst in the country, but it sure isn't great. Saturday afternoon/night will probably be moderate traffic. Add at least an hour to whatever google maps tells you, two to be safe, three to be sure.

  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2009
    GameHat wrote: »
    Keep in mind the driving time too

    I'm in Chicago's northwest suburbs; I drive through Chicago into Indiana quite frequently

    Depending on when you plan to be driving - add up to two-three hours to account for traffic.

    Chicago traffic isn't the worst in the country, but it sure isn't great. Saturday afternoon/night will probably be moderate traffic. Add at least an hour to whatever google maps tells you, two to be safe, three to be sure.

    this is good advice

    honestly I'd just plan to come into the city early afternoon, park your car in the underground lot at Millennium Park (which might actually be pricey now. used to be $14/day, but it went up and I'm not sure what they changed it to), go get yourself something to eat in the loop, then take the red line up to lincoln park for the show.

    you're looking at a ~20 minute ride on the Red to Fullerton if you get on at Monroe, and then another ~25 minute walk, but at least you'll be in the city and won't be pressed for time or scrambling to find parking

    it will also cost you $2.25 each way, and (this is important), the CTA transit card vending machines do not give change. if all you have is a $20, you're getting a card with $20 on it. you can just pass it back to pay for everyone else, but if it's just you and another person you only need $9 and you'll be stuck with the remaining balance

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    When my family went there, we found the best way to travel was by taxi. Its a bit expensive but no where near as expensive or time consuming as finding and paying for a parking spot in a garage.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited October 2009
    Four-way stops in Chicago don't operate on right-of-way, it's who wants it the most.

    Yeah, this actually isn't a joke.

    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
  • ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Honestly since it sounds like you've never been I would recommend making a day of it, getting there at like 10 or 11AM, check out Navy Pier or some of downtown. Don't have to worry about traffic and you'll see a ton.

    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.
  • GPIA7RGPIA7R Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to leave central Indiana until 3pm. Ideally, I'll arrive and be parked around 7pm =/ as the show is at 8pm.

    Then, drive back around 12-1am... which I'm definetly not looking forward to, but I also don't want to stay in a motel.

  • ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    GPIA7R wrote: »
    Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to leave central Indiana until 3pm. Ideally, I'll arrive and be parked around 7pm =/ as the show is at 8pm.

    Then, drive back around 12-1am... which I'm definetly not looking forward to, but I also don't want to stay in a motel.

    Honestly man I never had a problem driving to Chicago in Saturday traffic conditions. You should be fine.

    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.
  • GPIA7RGPIA7R Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Wanted to give an update on this trip:

    So the drive to Chicago was pretty decent. I didn't take the hour lsot into consideration, so we got there a little early. Once we were on 90, it really slowed down to a crawl. Directions were decent, though.

    Hung out at a Starbucks until the showtime. Went in and got the closest seat you could possibly get.

    First up was Paul and Storm - Paul serenaded my girlfriend during "Frogger: The Frogger Musical", which was great. Then Jonathan Coulton, which was awesome as always.

    By now we were at around 12:30-1:00 AM. Unfortunately, I needed to get gas before we could start leaving Chicago (surprised how much traffic there was at that time). Very few gas stations were still open to walk-in, so I stopped at one and made it quick. Of course, I was approached by a man begging to pump my gas for money. Sternly told him "no", and finished up.

    On the way back home, a VERY interesting occurance... We were on the highway back in Indiana (which, by the way... we hit two tolls on the way INTO Chicago, but 4 on the way out?!), I was in the left lane going about 75. Suddenly I'm yelled at, and ahead of me there's an SUV (this is at 3 AM) flying toward me going full speed... I swerve out of the way to avoid killing us all... and now I'm awake.

    Some drunk must've got on an exit ramp or something. Fucking ridiculous. He/She was on OUR side of the divider, doing normal speed, going the wrong direction, in the left lane (our left). Great stuff.

    All-in-all, great little trip. Didn't have to drive TOO much on the Chicago city roads, but it's definetly different from what we saw.

  • TopweaselTopweasel Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    GPIA7R wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    The tolls could be worse. The way I hear it there are no Tolls to get into New Jersey but like one every couple miles to get out.

  • jamesrajamesra Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Without knowing what part of Indiana you're coming from, good advice is harder to give.

    If you can take the train (say, from Northern Indiana) and stay in the city over night, I recommend that; its not much more expensive than parking. The South Shore Line runs from South Bend into the city (and right by my home! Be sure to wave as you pass through Hyde Park), is pretty quick, a pleasant right, and not very expensive. I take the in-city portion of the line all the time, and recommend it highly. Plus, this way, you can drink if it suits your fancy, get a good nights sleep, and see more of what I firmly believe to be the best city on the North American continent. (I'm an transplant. We're biased).

    If you have to drive: come in early. Chicago traffic isn't awful, but its not great. Parking isn't that pricy, although I wouldn't use Millennium park. Its not so much that its pricy as that without a native guide (or at least a smart phone app and some experience with urban public transit) it could be a challenge to get to the Park West. Or not, its not hard to get to. But in any event, you don't need to park that far away; my old building at 1455 N. Clark[1] provides overnight garage parking for $20, which is not a bad deal at all, and from there its an easy walk or short bus right up Clark to the venue.

    As for violence: Chicago, like any big cities, has it rough spots. But its really not that tough a town; for what its worth, the most horrific violence I ever experienced happened in Indiana. Certainly none of the places you plan to visit are all that rough. The usual rules of city safety apply: keep your wits broadly about you, avoid empty areas. But really: despite the best efforts of the LP neighborhood association, Lincoln Park is a perfectly safe area even for underage drunken DePaul girls[2].

    [1]For pedantic Chicagoans: technically, Sandburg terrace, but that would be unhelpful in this context.
    [2]Which I should unpack, again for Chicagoans: the success of rich 32nd Ward homeowners at keeping the street-lights out between Halsted and Clark will never cease to make me angry.

    WTF?

    How did this pop up as current? I swear, if I did something that caused it, I'm sorry. But I was just looking at the H&A thread, and it seemed like something I had useful advice on. Damnit. Again, sorry.

    jamesra on
    "Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction. . . . This tremendous friction . . . is everywhere in contact with chance, and brings about effects that cannot be measured, just because they are largely due to chance" Carl Von Clausezwitz. (1832),
  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Chicago apparently has four of the worst neighborhoods for crime in the top twenty-five.

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/most-dangerous-neighborhoods/3657391/

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    It was a lot safer back in 2009.

    Excision wrote: »
    My girlfriend is going down tonight!

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • KetarKetar Duke of Weaseltown Like an agile peacock!Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    Chicago apparently has four of the worst neighborhoods for crime in the top twenty-five.

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/most-dangerous-neighborhoods/3657391/


    Anyone actually from Chicago would tell you those are all part of the same neighborhood.

    I can also say that while I wouldn't particularly want to spend time there, I used to take the Green Line el train to the Garfield stop 5 days a week. It's 4 blocks straight east of what's listed as the second most dangerous neighborhood. I would get off at that stop every morning and walk east from there to the U of C campus. Then I'd come back anywhere from 7pm-4am and take the train back home. In several years of doing so I only felt unsafe once. If that's actually the second most dangerous neighborhood in the country, well, we're all doing a lot better than I thought.

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