Navigating the CTA: A MOVING Tale

August 21st, 2012 § 2 comments

The CTA L System

So, you’ve settled into Hyde Park. It’s quiet and luscious and quaint. You’ve already decided whether you’re Team Jimmy’s or Team Cove and have picked your favorite Z&H sandwich. Now, how the heck do you get out of here? There are a few options for traveling to and from Hyde Park, and we thought it’d be good to give you a brief rundown of how best to navigate your way to the Loop and beyond.

Buses:

The CTA Buses are probably your most consistent and convenient modes of transportation to and from this lovely little Hyde Park bubble, but there are some things to know about each. If riding the bus instills a sense of terror in you (for fear that something like this might happen on your first jaunt into the Loop) see the CTA’s helpful “How-to” guide for conquering the steel beast:

6: Jackson Park Express – The 6 runs along the east side of Hyde Park, making stops along Stony Island Ave, South Hyde Park Blvd and Lake Park. It is the only bus with Hyde Park Service that runs all day and on the weekends (service generally stops around 12:30am).  The 6 runs express between 47th Street and Museum Campus, which makes it one of the fastest ways to get downtown. It makes several stops along Michigan Avenue, which gives you easy access to most L lines.

2: Hyde Park Express – The 2 is a great option if you’re an early riser, or if you feel like braving the crowds of commuters. In Hyde Park, it runs along 60th Street and makes its way up to East Hyde Park Blvd, so if you are travelling from campus, it might be your closest option.  It makes a lot of the same stops in the Loop that the 6 bus does. The caveat with the 2 is that it only runs on weekdays from 7am-9am and from 4pm-6pm (otherwise known as “rush periods”).  As overheard by one insightful commuter the other day: “You love the 2 when it’s here; you hate it when it’s not.”

X28: Stony Island Express – Like  the 2 bus, the X28 runs only during weekday rush periods (7a-9a and 4p-6p).  From the looks of the website, it is on “Temporary Reroute” for the time being, so be sure to check the CTA website before scheduling an outing on the x28, or you might get the scenic route. Also, do NOT confuse this route with the regular ol’ 28 bus, which stops service at 47th Street – you won’t get very far!

For those of you with Smart Phones, there are a couple of great (and eerily accurate) bus trackers that you can download to help you get around:

Catbus

Bus Boy: Gives you the most up-to-date arrival information for buses to specified stops.

Transloc: This is a nifty little app that combines the CTA routes with the University of Chicago bus routes

And don’t worry. This rarely happens on Chicago buses.

‘L’ Trains:

Your best options for using the CTA L trains to Hyde Park are the Green Line Garfield stop and the Red Line Garfield stop. Both of these stops are far enough away that you probably do not want to walk, so you’ll want to get acquainted with the 55 Bus. If you are traveling to somewhere along the Red or Green Lines, these are probably the most direct routes. We would caution you, however, to use your judgment when using these routes, as they sometimes attract some unsavory people at the wrong times of day. Try to avoid these routes at night, especially if you are traveling by yourself. And remember, while phone apps can be convenient for getting you from Point A to Point B, they don’t take into consideration the safety of the areas you are traveling through, so take your iPhone’s guidance with a grain of salt.

For those of you with bikes in Chicago, the CTA also offers some convenient options for traveling with your beloved hunk of steel. The Lakefront Trail offers some of the best views of the city and is a healthy and environmentally conscious way to reach your destination!

The Metra

When travelling to and from Hyde Park, you can also take advantage of the Metra, which is a commuter rail service. It is a speedy way to get to the Loop – it usually takes less than 15 minutes. Bear in mind, however, that the Metra runs on a schedule and the trains don’t come all that frequently, so you must plan accordingly. The Metra is NOT connected to the rest of the CTA system, so you will have to pay two separate fares if you are planning on transferring to an L train in the Loop. One great thing to know about the Metra, though, is that the last train leaves from the Randolph Street (Millenium Station) stop at 12:52am – just in case you miss that last 6 bus back to Hyde Park!

If all else fails, apparition is (of course) the easiest way to get out of Hyde Park. Just be careful not to splinch yourself.

 

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