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Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Ride to O’Hare

posted by on October 18 at 7:47 AM


Traffic crawling along. Thank God—or thank Chicago’s taxpayers and competent-if-corrupt leaders—for extending the El’s Blue Line to O’Hare fifteen or twenty years ago. A cab to O’Hare is $40ish bucks. The El is $2. So why would anyone cab it?

Oh, and it’s going to be 80 fucking degrees here today—in Chicago, in late October. Something’s not right. And, yes, I realize that I’m making climate change worse by flying from Chicago to Boston and not biking or skating. I did stay in Chicago for two extra days this week to avoid flying all the way back to Seattle from Chicago before flying to Boston. But, yeah, I fly too much, I’m part of the problem, I’m the reason it’s going to be 80 degrees in Chicago today. But it still freaks me out.

And here’s a comforting headline—courtesy of Matt Drudge—to read right before you step on an airplane at O’Hare International Airport…

Most fake bombs missed by screeners

75% not detected at LAX; 60% at O’Hare

RSS icon Comments


Dear Dan (in case you're checking your comments in transit),
So we know where The Stranger is on Prop. 1. But where are you on Prop. 1?

Seeking signs of Stranger sanity

Posted by cressona | October 18, 2007 7:49 AM

Hey Dan,
Did you see the Fullerton stop? The one where you can switch red, green, purple, maybe brown? They're replacing the track entirely!! Great 5 min layover there- lumpy construction guys measuring styrofoam for nailing to the 2x6 bracings in order to ease I assume tension pressure against the rebar. fascinating

Posted by June Bee | October 18, 2007 7:50 AM

The train also goes to Midway Airport there in Chicago which is equally fantastic. It's a much more awesome trip into the city that way than by cab--at least I think so. And the train in DC takes you right to Washington National's door. Sigh. I love trains.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 18, 2007 7:50 AM

It IS late October. The only seasonal cues we've had in the midwest, it seems, are the shorter days and changing leaves. My job's mostly an outdoor job, and it's been crazy warm. Yesterday I wore short sleeves. Today it's going to be in the mid-70s. Wacky!

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 18, 2007 7:55 AM

"Wacky"?... If I were in the midwest right now, I'd call that freaky.

Posted by James | October 18, 2007 8:12 AM

I've been saying for ages that Chicago is going to become the new resort hotspot as the global climate changes... Buy your villa on lake michigan before everyone else figures that out!

Posted by eloise | October 18, 2007 8:16 AM
Posted by James | October 18, 2007 8:21 AM

@6 "Wacky" makes it sound less scary. Freaky would induce panic. Our winters have been pretty warm (no long underwear!) these past few years for at least half the winter and then normal the other half. And the USDA plant hardiness zones keep changing, too. Plants overwinter here now that NEVER used to make it through our winters.

And here we thought it was only our economic status that was making Michigan part of the American South!

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 18, 2007 8:26 AM

And by @6 I meant @5. I need more sleep. . .

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 18, 2007 8:31 AM

My one beef with the Red Line to O'Hare is that it has no accomodations for luggage. In Paris the Metro to DeGaulle has luggage racks (if they haven't blocked them off to prevent terrorists from putting bombs there yet).
My favorite mass-transit ride from an airport is in Mexico City, where it's a blast trying to squeeze into a packed metro-car with a bunch of luggage. But there I realize that the main reason the metro stops at the airport is to provide airport workers with a way to get there and back.

Posted by kinaidos | October 18, 2007 8:37 AM

Drudge is STILL online in 2007? Why?

And did anyone actually think the security screening at airports was successfully stopping any would-be terrorists?

Posted by Peter | October 18, 2007 8:37 AM

No no no! The Blue Line is a god-awful mess since nearly the entire track is considered a "slow zone." I've been to Chicago twice in the past month. The first time I flew into O'Hare and it took us almost 2 hours (!) to get to Lakeview via the el (blue to brown). Last weekend I got smarter, flew into Midway, and cut my travel time in half (orange to brown). That said, on both return trips I had to take the horror that is Metro bus 174, so maybe the blue line wasn't so bad after all.

Posted by mary-kate | October 18, 2007 8:54 AM

Hey, Mary-Kate: Did you take the Blue Line all the way into downtown and then transfer to the Red or Brown line? That's a mistake--too much backtracking. Instead take the Blue Line to Sheridan or Addison and then grab a bus or a cab heading East to Lakeview.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 18, 2007 8:59 AM

@10 - You're taking the Red Line to O'Hare? Boy. I'd love to take a look at that "map" you're using...

Posted by Wowza | October 18, 2007 9:25 AM

meanwhile, amtrak passengers are being bussed between seattle & portland because a freight train derailed on the only rail line linking metropolitan regions of 2 million & 3 million people.

in front of the anderson island ferry dock, which is also blocked.

Posted by maxsolomon | October 18, 2007 9:27 AM

Even dead-as-a-doornail cities like St. Louis, Cleveland, and Baltimore have rail lines that run directly between the airport and downtown. Easy, convenient, inexpensive.

Meanwhile, in Seattle...

Posted by N in Seattle | October 18, 2007 9:34 AM

I had an overnight layover in Chicago with my wife and kids, and we had a blast. Took the train downtown, did touristy stuff, and then had a nice ride back to the airport hotel. It was brilliant. We wanted to move to Chicago after that.

Of course, in Seattle we live near the new light rail that's almost finished, and we are very excited about that, too. It's so close! I'll take it to work, to the airport. Very exciting.

Go Prop 1!

Posted by SouthSeattle | October 18, 2007 9:42 AM

The El is great. And the #6 bus is my best friend.

Posted by UC | October 18, 2007 9:44 AM

And they try to make Global Warming as being bad. Send some of the 80 degree October weather here. Frigin' idiots they are - warm good - cold bad - Got it?

Posted by Touring | October 18, 2007 9:52 AM

@7 Hmm, my bad, I guess all those summer floods in the chicago area threw me off... but just give the polar ice caps a little more time and our water levels will be up and at 'em!

Posted by eloise | October 18, 2007 9:55 AM

The train from Amsterdam Centraal to Schipol is lovely as well. MMMmmmm. Highed up train riding to the airport.

Posted by C | October 18, 2007 10:09 AM

Hey Dan, on our return trip we took the Belmont bus to the blue line and it really didn't save us much time. The problematic stretch of the blue line is between the last 4-5 stops before O'Hare -- which are really far apart.

Posted by mary-kate | October 18, 2007 10:09 AM

I'm with mary-kate @12 and 22. The Blue Line sucks ever since they have implemented the "slow zones" (primarily between Addison and O'Hare). The rails are in terrible shape, so the speed that the trains can travel at is significantly reduced. They are working on fixing the rails, but in the meantime, the slow zones turn what should be a 20-25 minute ride into 45-50 minutes.

Posted by Julie | October 18, 2007 10:32 AM

"Competent" may be stretching it a little but, yeah, something is better than nothing.

Posted by chi type | October 18, 2007 10:36 AM

You know the irony for me about this whole 80 degrees in October thing? I am sitting here in my office building freezing my ass off because the air conditioning is set to Arctic, so I can't even enjoy it (obviously, the irony is doubled due to the energy required to keep my office at 62 degrees).

And, Dan, I hope your flight is leaving soon, since we're supposed to have wicked storms this afternoon.

Posted by Julie | October 18, 2007 10:46 AM

It got up to 90 in DC while I was riding the Metro there a couple of weekends ago. Nice October weather.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 18, 2007 11:25 AM

Hey Maxsolomon @15 - where did you read that? Can you link to the story? I had a New Yorker friend leave from Seattle to Portland via Amtrak yesterday morning.

Posted by Callie | October 18, 2007 12:01 PM

It's great to hear praise for the CTA, BUT, it is going through a crisis. A bad one. No money, fare increases, service decreases, insufficient state funding...

The CTA could work great, but it's still a long way away from that.

Posted by sofita | October 18, 2007 2:56 PM

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