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Thread: how much of chicago to avoid?

  1. #1
    blake
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    how much of chicago to avoid?

    i may not even make it to the rally, but if i do it's going to be a short trip and i'll need to get up there quick, see some friends for a bit, then quickly get back home.

    how wide a berth should i give chicago? the shortest route has me going from gary around the coast thru chicago and up toward milwaukee.

    i've been to the area before for business and remember not wanting to ride thru.
    any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Transition
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    Thumbs up Chicago construction

    If going to the rally stay clear of the (Dan Ryan, 90-94). It is under consruction and will not be finished untile Jan. Take 294# the tollway. If coming from the south, southwest or southeast of Chicago.
    CW

  3. #3
    BMW MOA co-founder bmwdean's Avatar
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    How much of Chicago to avoid? All of it!

    From Nashville, head to Bloomingon, Illinois, and then go north in I-39 past Rockford. Then you can take I-43 at Beloit northeast and there are numerous routes to West Bend from that point.
    Last edited by bmwdean; 06-30-2007 at 02:19 PM.
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  4. #4
    Rally Rat Sue's Avatar
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    Blake -

    From Nashville, I would go west on Hwy 24 into Illinois, and then north through Champaign, over to Bloomington, and then north. It's a little longer ride but the time is the same when you factor in the Chicago slow down. I've done both ways when I go to Daytona, and prefer the western route to the Indianapolis and Chicago route.

    YMMV.
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  5. #5
    blake
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    thanks guys. the western route only adds a bit over 120 miles or so, but that will beat sitting still for sure.

    here's the google maps link. gotta love the new ability to drag your route around for quick planning.

  6. #6
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    Avoid Chicago? Why?

    I must be the exception to the rule because I have yet to have any problem with Chicago traffic.

    Oh sure, you get a log jam of traffic every once in a while but, like sales, it's all about timing. You don't go through Chicago at 5:00 PM after 7 million people get out of work. You breeze through at 10:00 AM.

    People in Chicago KNOW how to drive on the freeway - 90 MPH is not uncommon and it's like a NASCAR race so if you don't have the stomach for such aggressive urban driving, traffic and speeds by all means take the bypass - They probably don't want you either. Lollygaggers are crushed under the wheels of tractor trailers, busses and Fed-Ex trucks - they won't even stop to pick up your mangled body - they'll keep driving over your carcass until there's nothing left. "Was that a rabbit I just ran over or a R1150GS Adventure?...Hmmm...Oh Well, I'm late for work...gotta go."

    Do a side trip driving up Lake Drive and take in the skyline or, better yet, stop for lunch at Ditka's (in the heart of Downtown) for a mega sandwich and those giant onion rings.

    I love Chicago.
    "During Prohibition I survived on nothing but food and water." - W.C. Fields

  7. #7
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    Thumbs up ditto, gs metal!

    for the umpteenth time; yes, chicago traffic is, at times, really horrible, BUT if you avoid the morning and evening rush, you can usually scoot. If you avoid the construction you can scoot. There are some really pleasant drives that take you through the heart of the city and suburbs, and give you an opportunity to enjoy some of the great things the city has to offer. They're described in detail in other threads. We don't live here solely because we're nuts, and just really dig the congestion, noise, fires and burglaries. We live here because it's a great city despite all the inconveniences.

    In brief; weekdays during the hours people are typically coming and going to work, there's a lot of traffic. It goes real slow. A lot of trucks come through Chicago. Many are either empty or full and on their way again by 2:00 p.m. They go slow. BUT! Between about 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. there's a window. Saturday a.m. traffic is lighter, but by mid-day people are out doing things. Sunday a.m. traffic is very light, but by mid-afternoon they're all coming home from Home Depot and Wisconsin with their boats and kids and sunburns trailing behind. Whether the traffic's moving well or not, drivers are more aggressive than in small towns and rural areas.

    Don't make yourself crazy. Do what makes you feel happy and safe, but don't neccessarily avoid the city at all costs. Go around if it makes you feel better, but if your timing and temperment match with the traffic patterns, you can have a nice ride, a great meal, and see some stuff you won't see anywhere else.

    I love Chicago, too !
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
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  8. #8
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Chicago

    Gene:

    My wife goes to Chicago for meetings every so often, and she is a big fan of your city.

    I agree that timing is everything in transiting big urban areas. I have driven both the Paris inner ring and the Amsterdam inner ring at off peak times, and it wasn't particularly difficult.

    In deciding whether to transit a big urban area on a bike, however, my decision would depend on how many freeway changes in the built up area that I have to make to get to where I'm going. I don't want to be looking down at my map or GPS while riding on a multi lane freeway at high speed. For example, going from downtown San Francisco, then across the Bay Bridge to Oakland, and then north towards Sacramento, is a tricky exercise. In a car, I'll do it because I can put the route numbers and direction changes on a big post - it at the top of the steering wheel hub, and just glance down at it.

    But the most difficult city transition I have experienced is not in a big centre; it's the east west route through Eugene, Oregon. Even the locals have told me it's a screw up.

    Rinty
    Last edited by rinty; 06-30-2007 at 02:53 PM. Reason: change text

  9. #9
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    Thumbs up good call

    good call, Rinty! It really really helps to have some clear idea of where you're going. Route numbers, and approximate distances might be helpful, too.

    Also a willingness to get off at the next exit and drive a couple blocks, park and have a coffee till the traffic clears. Tho' once again, you'd want to have a vague idea about which way you're headed after you exit. I suppose it'd be easy to get into a neighborhood that'd make you feel uncomfortable whether it was really dicey or not. Or you might go the wrong way and drive 20 or 30 stop lites before you found a Starbucks.

    For those coming thru the city, take a look at a detail map and get an idea of some of the major street names i.e Stoney Island Ave, Lake Shore drive, Ohio, Ontario, Division, Fullerton, Addison (BTW, Chicago's a grid and the numbers have meaning ie from the Lake or N/S of center) and know that you may be in a residential area that doesn't look like where you live. But the lights generally move the local traffic along even if the line seems long by your standards, and there's usually a diner or mall or Starbucks by the time you'v gone 2 or 3 lights.

    There are lots of urban pioneers in recent years so even if the buldings appear old, look for moms w strollers and cool little shops and real estate offices. You're safe.
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
    used to own: 1982 R100T, 1984 R65, 1986K75C, 1997 R1100RT, R850R, K75S, 1978 R100RS... what was I thinking?

  10. #10
    Blocking the slow lane
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    Blake, just get to Champaign and then hop on Rte. 47 north straight up to Lake Geneva. You can even stop off for a hamburger at our house if ya want.
    Jon Diaz
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  11. #11
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    It is all about timing.

    And a ride up Lake Shore Drive is about the best you will ever find in any city.

    Stay on the road when it turns into Sheridan an follow the Lake Michigan circle tour signs. You will see some wonderous sites.

    Chicago is GREAT!

  12. #12
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    avoiding chicago traffic

    A bit off thread, but still same city.

    Can anybody suggest a decent route for a rental car trip from O'Hare to West Bend on a Tuesday evening after 8:00 pm local time? Approximate distance from
    ORD to West Bend? Approximate driving time at that time of evening?

    Same questions for travel from West Bend to ORD, arriving ORD around 3:00 pm
    on a Monday.

    Thanks for the local knowledge.

    Friedle
    Ride fast safely

  13. #13
    Nickname: Droid
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    Well, let's see. Once in the past 15 years (just recently in fact) I spent only about one hour from the first toll booth (Gurnee) to the last one on the Skyway. Otherwise, I always add at least 1/2 hour to my trip time to allow for Chicago traffic.

    To me, it makes no difference what day or time of day, there will always be some delay (rare exception noted) going through or around Chi-town. That's the main reason I will never work down there or live anywhere near it. Bad enough just to get to our offices in Lincolnshire.

    If I am going east, or coming back from the east, I favor the Skyway/downtown route as much as the bypass (in Chicago terms that's an oxymoron).

  14. #14
    bored, bored ... dlowry's Avatar
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    OK, so pardon the ignorance, but IF I get an EZ-Pass, would that make the 294 route around Chicago better?? I'm still not sure what route we're gonna take and the more I hear of this the more I want to route via the UP even if it's 200 miles longer...

    Cheers!

  15. #15
    REBECCAV
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlowry View Post
    OK, so pardon the ignorance, but IF I get an EZ-Pass, would that make the 294 route around Chicago better?? ....
    The answer is 'yes.' I have I-Pass, I go through Chicago by bike or car at least once a month and I ALWAYS take 294. Period.

    Traffic can back up around I-80 but it is still not anywhere near the potential nightmare that I-94 is through the city. And IMHO you are still saving time over a lengthy bypass such as I-39 through Rockford.

    I've found Chicago drivers to be generally more attentive then in WI too but YMMV.

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