View Full Version : Getting through Chicago - Sanity intact? (INCL COMMENTS BY CECIL)
08-25-2009, 10:40 AM
First, I'd like to say that I am absolutely not trying to bash Chicago. From what I hear it's a wonderful town, I just HATE HATE HATE driving through it.
I'll be driving through on Thursday morning. I just need to get from the NE side to the SE side. Coming in on 94 south, leaving on 80 going west. Last time I did this I found myself in stop and go traffic for about 3 hrs.
But, about a month ago, I was coming in on 80 and leaving more west than north. I was planning on heading up 295, but I stopped at the Oasis to try to find an address. I talked to the lady at the counter and she said that 295 was a mess and I should take 355(I think?). Turns out she was right and I breezed through.
So, is there any reliable, up to the minute traffic guides out there? Something I can check before heading out on Thursday? I tried Google maps traffic option last time and it didn't seem to help - but, maybe it was just a fluke.
Also, I was planning on getting an I-Pass before this trip. But, I put it off until last week when I found out it'd take more than two weeks to get to me. I read that I could pick one up at the Oasis on the way in, but the times they're available is limited. Anyone know where I can find the exact hours? Or, if I can count on something being there Thursday morning between 8-10AM?
Any other suggestions that I am not thinking to ask are welcome.
08-25-2009, 10:46 AM
Neta - 295=294
08-25-2009, 12:43 PM
****I'll be driving through on Thursday morning. I just need to get from the NE side to the SE side. Coming in on 94 south, leaving on 80 going west. Last time I did this I found myself in stop and go traffic for about 3 hrs. ****
So you're entering the area via I-94 (sounds like you're coming from Wisc.) and leaving via I-80.
Without knowing any more specifics, sounds like you should take I-294 (tri-state) south and bypass the city proper. Even with I-294's current construction, it's generally better than heading through the city and worth the tolls IMHO. Once rush hour's over I-294 generally has no stop-and-go traffic....and you can always rest at the rest stops along the way.
****So, is there any reliable, up to the minute traffic guides out there?****
see also, www.gcmtravelstats.com (to get an idea of typical drive times)
WBBM radio 780 AM
Find a Jewel (the local grocery store chain) that's along your route.....you should be able to pick up an I-Pass when the customer service desk opens for biz.
Remember I-94 in southern Wisconsin is under construction as is I-94 in Illinois and various parts of I-294.
Whatever your route.....pack a lot of patience and if possible try to travel at off-peak times.
08-25-2009, 12:54 PM
forgot one more option....
depending on your origin/destination, perhaps taking I-43 (from Milwaukee towards Rockford) and then taking I-39 south towards I-80 may work for you as well.
Only two?? tollbooths around Rockford.
08-25-2009, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the suggestions! Yeah, I'm coming from WI - straight down from Milwaukee and heading for Ohio. I'd love to bypass the city and go through Rockford, but that'd add about 120miles to my trip.
Google maps (and my GPS) sent me down 90/94 through the center of the city last time. I'm guessing that was my first mistake.
I am planning my departure time to put me into Chicago either at about 10AM or 12:30 PM. Which would be better. I know morning or afternoon rush hour is a bad idea, but would I be better off to go before lunch or after? Or does it really matter?
Thanks for the tip on the Jewel store. I'll look one up and give them a call before I leave to make sure that can help me out.
Tim R. Mortiss
08-25-2009, 04:03 PM
I would have guessed that rush hour traffic would be easing by 10 am, but you never really know. Lunch time would probably be better. But if you delay your trip until Friday, all bets are off! Traffic will suck all day long then.
You might (emphasis on might) want to try surface streets. Get off of I-94 around Touhy and take Cicero Ave or another major north-south street down to the south side and directly to I-80. If your GPS has a "no highway" option it can guide you. But this would be a gamble, too. Sometimes the surface streets are better than the highways, sometimes not. At least you can pull over to a McDonald's any time and have a good cry.
Good luck! And I don't envy you.......TRM
08-25-2009, 07:31 PM
Mr. Mortiss, I've heard that surface streets can be quicker. And my GPS does have the "forbid highways" option, but I think I'll be sticking to the expressways. I think, under the right circumstances, it could work well. But, for me, it'd likely end with me crying at a McD's!
Maybe if I hit gridlock, I'll look to it as an option.
Thanks, And I don't envy me either!
08-26-2009, 12:32 PM
I usually take Ashland to avoid the Dan Ryan. Works pretty well during rush hour, actually.
08-26-2009, 02:45 PM
I called two Jewels in Milwaukee - both seem to have been closed. I did find out that I can pick up an I-Pass at the Lake Forest Oasis during office hours - which is when I'll be there.
So, is there any tolls before this Oasis while coming south on I-94? IIRC, there isn't. But, if there is, I'll just eat the extra dollar or two.
08-26-2009, 05:37 PM
I drive far and wide across the Chicagoland map all the time for my job. At that time of day, I'd just take the 94/90 (Tristate/Edens/KennedyDan Ryan/Skyway) route.
The reverse trip is less clear with long delays likely from 35th through the loop. I think I'd go via 294 unless it was pretty late at night.
C K Dexter Haven
09-11-2009, 08:40 AM
Cecil has provided some info, although I wouldn't call it the Definitive Word: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090910.php
Still plenny room for discussion. Congrats, brewha, on attracting the attention of the Master!
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