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  1. #1
    ews
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    Anyone live in Oak Park, Illinois . . .

    and commute to the Chicago Loop? Is this a viable option? I'm considering my next home and commutability is important. Is there a safe passge to the Loop or do I have to ride through some terrible ghetto? Distance, weather mean nothing. I'm concerned about safety and I am not going to get a ***.

    If so, what's your route?

  2. #2
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    From there...you are fine

    I'd imagine it would be a straight shot down madison into the loop...even if there *were* bad neighborhoods in the middle, you are on a bike so it would not be a problem

    I am about the same distance but to the south and I often ride king drive and it has never been any trouble compared to riding the lakefront. You don't see many bikers but the whole thing has a bike lane and the side streets are empty around there and red lights are super visible in both directions so you can intelligently skip red lights. That ride will take you through far worse stuff than you will see on the way out to oak park

  4. #4
    ews
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Uh, thanks I guess, but it would have saved me 20 minutes if you'd have just posted the Chicago Mag article.

  5. #5
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottothecow View Post
    From there...you are fine

    I'd imagine it would be a straight shot down madison into the loop...even if there *were* bad neighborhoods in the middle, you are on a bike so it would not be a problem

    That ride will take you through far worse stuff than you will see on the way out to oak park
    No, no, NO.

    Austin and the Garfield Parks are some of the worst hoods in Chicago and match anything on the Southside for crime rates.

    There has been a string of biker assualts where hoods whack passing cyclists (see Barrettscv's link for one example). There is very little you can do to prevent these attacks, other than turning around whenever you see a group of thugs milling about.

    In general, it gets much safer north of North Avenue. Grand is decent.

  6. #6
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    I second Envane. When I lived on Chicago just east of Humboldt Park, I would not have ridden a bicycle down Chicago to my job out in Oak Park. Division/Madison were shaky too.

    I haven't lived there for 8 years, and I've heard that I wouldn't believe the changes that've taken place since, but still- that's rough turf.

  7. #7
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ews View Post
    Uh, thanks I guess, but it would have saved me 20 minutes if you'd have just posted the Chicago Mag article.
    Would you rather have a bad event?

  8. #8
    ews
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Would you rather have a bad event?
    My point was that post was largely irrelevant to my question. I don't plan on riding where that guy got creamed. Sweet pics though.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    Any direct or closely direct route will take you through either the 25th, 15th or 11th Districts, three very violent areas loaded with people who would think nothing of attacking you in broad daylight for pure sport. Highly unrecommended.

    Try north or northwest where you can use routes like Milwaukee or Elston Avenue to and from the loop.

  10. #10
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    Please disregard (almost) everyone above. Try the ride in the morning, then try the ride in the evening. If you're comfortable with it, then keep doing it. If you're uncomfortable with it, try a different route. Madison, Jackson, Augusta, Lake, Grand, Division, Roosevelt are all possibilities depending on where you live in Oak Park. Avoid Chicago Avenue and North Avenue at all costs, as there are regularly potholes that could eat an armored tank, plus 4 lanes of busy, distracted traffic.

    In Chicago, as in many big cities, there is always a chance that you'll get jumped. As for me, I know people who've been car-jacked, who've been mugged while walking down the street, who've had their homes broken into, who've been assaulted by police officers while shopping in a drugstore, etc. None of these things happened while they were riding a bike. Many of them happened in higher-income areas on the North and Northwest sides. My point is vague, but just do what you're comfortable with and don't discount the idea of riding a bike through a neighborhood because you've never been there, and it seems like it might be scary.

    Try it, you might like it. And if you want tips on where to get a good peach cobbler or vegetarian breakfast on the west side on your way into or out of downtown, feel free to ask.

  11. #11
    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    My buddy lives on 3100 Franklin Blvd and I mentioned riding my bike to Koster Ave where my Schwinn was made, he looked at me a made it very clear it's not a option...I worry riding from his condo to the lakefront, you're gonna get killed.
    IGH's, Dyno Hubs, LED lights and old frames

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    Some people are just more scared than others...excepting groups of thugs who are just looking to jump people, if you are confident and look like you know where you are going, you should be fine.

    Its true, I can't speak for going west any further than Western but I am not particularily concerned in most places. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and things can change fast in a couple of blocks--the apartment I just moved out of was both a couple hundred feet south of obamas house (and the associated 24/7 secret service) and a couple hundred feet east of somewhere where you don't want to be *any* color after dark.

    Biking down major streets during the day, especially commuter hours is not an issue. If you decide your route is a little iffy at night, every bus in chicago can hold 2 bicycles and every train allows them outside of rush hour so you are free to CTA it through the sketchy bits.

    I also happen to be a fan of not letting it get to me...neighborhoods aren't going to get any better if non-criminals keep avoiding them. People might look at you like you are crazy but the odds of you being fine are in your favor.

  13. #13
    50/50 Road/eBike Commuter kmcrawford111's Avatar
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    What is with these shady areas in Chicago? No American city should be like that. How about getting more police there and cleaning house? And yes, if paying more taxes would be required for that, so be it. If I lived there.

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    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottothecow View Post
    ...Its true, I can't speak for going west any further than Western but I am not particularily concerned in most places....
    Hmmmm, and you're pretty sure it's OK to commute on a bike through Austin and Garfield
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  15. #15
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmcrawford111 View Post
    What is with these shady areas in Chicago? No American city should be like that. How about getting more police there and cleaning house? And yes, if paying more taxes would be required for that, so be it. If I lived there.
    Every major city has hoods, some worse than others.

    The locals do not cooperate with police. Its hard to fight crime if no one wants to be a witness to a murder.

    If police become too aggressive, the locals cry racism.

    Throwing more money at the problem will not solve the problem. These areas are enormous tax sinks as it is.

    Daley had the right idea when he demoed some public housing and shipped the residents to Section 8 downstate. Of course, then Peoria and Urbana are stuck with the problem.

  16. #16
    Very, very Senior Member JPprivate's Avatar
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    Uh, thanks I guess, but it would have saved me 20 minutes if you'd have just posted the Chicago Mag article.
    naah, barrettscv just wanted to show you how compassionate he can be to our fellow BF members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by envane View Post
    Every major city has hoods, some worse than others.

    The locals do not cooperate with police. Its hard to fight crime if no one wants to be a witness to a murder.

    If police become too aggressive, the locals cry racism.

    Throwing more money at the problem will not solve the problem. These areas are enormous tax sinks as it is.

    Daley had the right idea when he demoed some public housing and shipped the residents to Section 8 downstate. Of course, then Peoria and Urbana are stuck with the problem.
    This kind of discussion always quickly degenerates into this, so this will be my last response.

    If you want to ride through a neighborhood, then do it.

    If you don't want to, don't do it.

    If you want to write little internet posts about things that you saw on "The Wire" and assume to be true of everyone in any middle-class (yes, much of Austin is pretty solidly working and middle class - if you spent a little time there, you'd figure that out pretty quickly. or maybe not) to poor black neighborhood, then do it.

    My chances of getting hit by a Land Rover in Lincoln Park (happened to me almost twice on Racine within two blocks the other day) are astronomically higher than some of "the locals" doing anything to me more threatening than saying "good morning" on any random block of the West Side or South Side that I happen to be riding through. Let alone being murdered, and having none of those pesky "locals" wanting to snitch to the 5-0. Which, I admit, would suck.

    The rest of your post, if I'd had several more beers, would be something to reply to as well. I'll leave it alone. And any response of "well, I used to live in a tough neighborhood, I have a lot of black friends, I'm a cop, I know what I'm talking about, one time I heard about this one guy that this bad thing happened to, etc" will go without a response from me. But feel free.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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  19. #19
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by threecarjam View Post
    This kind of discussion always quickly degenerates into this, so this will be my last response.

    If you want to ride through a neighborhood, then do it.

    If you don't want to, don't do it.

    If you want to write little internet posts about things that you saw on "The Wire" and assume to be true of everyone in any middle-class (yes, much of Austin is pretty solidly working and middle class - if you spent a little time there, you'd figure that out pretty quickly. or maybe not) to poor black neighborhood, then do it.

    My chances of getting hit by a Land Rover in Lincoln Park (happened to me almost twice on Racine within two blocks the other day) are astronomically higher than some of "the locals" doing anything to me more threatening than saying "good morning" on any random block of the West Side or South Side that I happen to be riding through. Let alone being murdered, and having none of those pesky "locals" wanting to snitch to the 5-0. Which, I admit, would suck.

    The rest of your post, if I'd had several more beers, would be something to reply to as well. I'll leave it alone. And any response of "well, I used to live in a tough neighborhood, I have a lot of black friends, I'm a cop, I know what I'm talking about, one time I heard about this one guy that this bad thing happened to, etc" will go without a response from me. But feel free.

    These sorts of post always degenerate into smug liberals trying to impress everyone with how down wit da bruthas dey is.

  20. #20
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Bike safety is not a race issue.

    It is a practical matter that is urgent. We all know that a wide range of people disregard the value of a cyclist safety for a number of reasons.

    Whenever I ride, I concern myself with drivers who won't share the road, oblivious pedestrians who will randomly step in front of a cyclist and sometimes you even have to worry about other cyclist. Last night, I watched a cyclist go down after touching the wheel of another rider.

    I also worry about irrational criminal behavior. If you live among millions of people, statistics indicate that a few dangerous people will be in that group. Crime and anti-social behavior is not an issue of race.

    Be safe out there. I would rather be overly concerned about safety than allow my guard to drop.

    Michael

  21. #21
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    Oh yes, and here is Austin in all its "working class" glory:

    http://www.newcommunities.org/cmadoc...pitaIncome.pdf

    yes, much of Austin other than that northwest pocket is pretty solidly not working - if you spent a little time looking at real data instead of basing your impression on a couple of people you know from the area, you'd figure that out pretty quickly. or maybe not
    Last edited by envane; 09-17-09 at 07:49 AM.

  22. #22
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
    naah, barrettscv just wanted to show you how compassionate he can be to our fellow BF members.
    This thread degenerated into idiotic sarcasm after just a few posts.

    Michael

  23. #23
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Bike safety is not a race issue.

    It is a practical matter that is urgent. We all know that a wide range of people disregard the value of a cyclist safety for a number of reasons.

    Whenever I ride, I concern myself with drivers who won't share the road, oblivious pedestrians who will randomly step in front of a cyclist and sometimes you even have to worry about other cyclist. Last night, I watched a cyclist go down after touching the wheel of another rider.

    I also worry about irrational criminal behavior. If you live among millions of people, statistics indicate that a few dangerous people will be in that group. Crime and anti-social behavior is not an issue of race.

    Be safe out there. I would rather be overly concerned about safety than allow my guard to drop.

    Michael
    The chances of being the victim of robbery is small but not trivial. This is why you can have people biking through bad areas for years and have nothing happen to them and they come on a forum and say "its not that bad you're all racist". You need real data, not anectdotes. Using census and CPD data, I calculated that in the worst neighbourhood in Chicago the robbery rate is 25 per 1000 residents per year. In the best, its 0.1 per 1000 per year. You can decrease your chances of being robbed by two orders of magnitude, simply by steering clear of certain areas. Sounds good to me.

    I also found that the robbbery rates in the lowest-crime black areas were about equal to the worst white or hispanic areas at around 5 per 1000 per year. Most were 2-5 times worse than that. Race was the best predictor of robbery in an area, much better than income (weaker correlation) or population density (no correlation). That is what "race has to do with it."

  24. #24
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    We would still have crime even if we were a single race society.

  25. #25
    ews
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    Blah blah blah. Not to be an ass, but I'm not interested in bike politics.

    Do any of you people (or ANYONE else) actually commute from Oak Park to downtown Chicago? If so, what route (please be very specific) do you take?

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