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
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
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.