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The Chicago Traveler

Chiding Chicago

by Matt B on September 19th, 2007

angryThe folks here at b5media are generally a friendly, cheery bunch, but on occasion even we need to blow off some steam. So this month, we’re taking the opportunity to rant about the things that frustrate or annoy us.

Now, I love Chicago and just about everything about it. I was born and raised here, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. So what could I possibly have to complain about?

snow storm' Winter: Where do I even begin on this? The winds of the Windy City are cruel and painful during the cold winter months. I don’t know how the meteorologists here manage to keep their jobs, because Chicago winters are ridiculously unpredictable. Chicago has been known to get anywhere from 9 to 87 inches (23 to 221 cm) of snow through the season, making walking or driving an absolute mess. To all the people who think snow is beautiful, try traveling through 6 inches (15 cm) deep of sludge and slush. All while coping with incredible wind chills. In January and February, it is not uncommon to spend several days below 32'F (0'C). In fact, Chicago usually spends at least two weeks below 0'F (-18'C)! So to all those West Coasters who start griping when it dips below 60'F (16'C), suck it up.

lake shore drive' Lake Shore Drive: Again, this is another one of those categories that could be a blog post all by itself. To this day, Lake Shore Drive scares the bejeebus out of me. During rush hour, I think the average speed along LSD is less than 15 mph (24 kmph). Millions of Chicagoans crawl along at a snail’s pace on their way to/from work, all while honking their horns and using language that would make a sailor blush. However, it’s the non-rush-hour periods that give me nightmares. Chicago visitors drive leisurely along Lake Shore Drive, paying more attention to the lakeshore than to the road in front of them. Chicago natives zip right past them, weaving in and out of traffic, completely ignoring the 45-mph (72-kmph) speed limit. Sitting in the passenger seat, the combination of the two leaves me with a vice grip on the cushion beneath me and my foot firmly planted on my imaginary brake. And as a driver? Well, when I’m driving, I try to find an alternate route. Heh.

cta' Public Transportation: First, let me start by saying that I think Chicago has one of the best public transportation systems in the country. You can get just about anywhere within city limits with the vast network of buses and trains. However, is it really that difficult to keep the buses running on time? Some bus lines, like #49 (Western) and #66 (Chicago), I have never had a problem with. But others, like the #65 (Grand), #80 (Irving Park), and #78 (Montrose), I often wonder if I would have gotten to my destination faster had I just walked there instead! Dear drivers of the #22 (Clark) line, I would much rather see one bus every 10 minutes than wait for three buses every 30 minutes. And eL riders, please take a tip from Jon in D.C.: if you let me get off the train first, there will be much more room for you to get on the train. This is much more effective than trying to push me out of your way. At over 200 lbs (91 kg), I am not a man you want to be pushing around. Especially when I have every intention of pushing back.

Chicago is my home, and I love it dearly. However, no city is perfect, and there are always things that can be improved upon. What about you? Is there anything about Chicago that gets your goat?

For more ranty goodness, check out The Geeky Traveler.

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) foamcow, Araceli Arroyo, pantagrapher, brownphoto

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9 opinions for Chiding Chicago

  • Jon - The DC Traveler
    Sep 19, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I agree that the weather is issue #1. Great post!!

    But what? Nothing about Chicago politics? Chicago’s love em, hate em relationship with the Cubs? And let’s not forget people who put kechup on a Chicago dog.

    PS: I was born on Lake Shore Drive near Belmont, in a VW Bettle. I;ve always loved the “outer drive” as my folks called it.

  • Matt B
    Sep 19, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Haha, I probably could have found plenty of things to go on about (especially the ketchup!!), but I didn’t want to get TOO long-winded.

    You were born ON the Drive? Wow, craziness. lol. I was born at University of Chicago Hospitals.

  • Art Kay
    Sep 20, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Chicago does have some frustrating things about it… traffic probably would have been #1 on my list. If you think LSD is bad, try driving around the Skyway. Oy.

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  • Matt B
    Sep 20, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Art, I completely forgot about that! I actually head to Indiana and Michigan at least once a month, so I’m all too familiar with the Skyway. It is incredibly frustrating, especially with all the construction.

  • Jon - The DC Traveler
    Sep 22, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Yes, “ON” Lake Shore Drive, front seat of a VW bug!!! Got a police escort to the hospital.

  • Chicago: City on the Move
    Dec 8, 2007 at 8:17 pm

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  • Slow Down!
    Apr 9, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    […] myself) would argue that the change of the speed limit is a farce anyway. As I've noted before, most Chicagoans completely ignore the speed limit signs along Lake Shore Drive anyway. Something […]

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