Chesterton Tribune

South Shore a bad ride for commuters and not used by tourists

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Voice of the People

 

As a Chesterton resident who commutes daily to Chicago, I wanted to throw my two cents into the debate surrounding the expansion of the South Shore line.

In its current configuration, the South Shore is a totally inefficient means for commuting into the city. If you board at the Dune Park stop, the ride takes an hour and twenty minutes if everything is on schedule and working. That doesn’t include, driving to the station, waiting for the train and the 15 minute walk from the station in Chicago to my office. It winds up being close to a two hour commute each way.

Once on board, the seating in the cars makes it difficult to work on a laptop especially once the train is full, so working during the trip is difficult. The trip is further complicated by the usual South Shore hazards like couches and other obstacles thrown across the rails, rock throwing kids on the south side of Chicago, the occasional collision with a car and the ever present possibility of downed wires.

The ride eastbound in the evening has its own set of challenges. During peak times, most of the riders who board at Van Buren are standing until Hegewisch making the commute the equivalent of a very long, $6.50 ride on the subway. The METRA trains that run on the same lines are all double deckers with plenty of capacity, making the South Shore cars look like relics.

Many of the people who work in my office commute similar distances via METRA in about half the time, which makes me think that there is a better, faster way to serve the residents of Duneland.

If you think that the South Shore brings tourists from Chicago to Duneland to spend money, think again. We have no infrastructure in place to support these riders, no cabs, no busses, no way to get from a station to a destination unless they have someone waiting to pick them up.

Before we spend millions of tax dollars to extend the line and add to the congestion, why not improve what we have and make it more efficient and more appealing?

As for me, I stopped riding the South Shore on a regular basis a while ago as did all of the other commuters I know in the area. Driving is quicker, even during the Dan Ryan construction, and if you carpool it is more cost effective then the train.

Andy Rowe

 

Posted 12/19/2007