By: Rebecca Lee
“The commuter rail station is to a suburb what the airport is to a city–the gateway to the world,”
-Joseph Schwieterman, DePaul University expert on public policy and transportation.
Wilmette and Glenview were ranked among the top five optimal suburbs for commuters in a report from the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University.
The towns at the top of the list are generally older suburbs that settled years before cars were a popular means of transportation. Thus, train stations are located in central areas so that much of the population can walk or bike then take car-free commutes to work. The study also evaluated facilities, amenities and services available to those without cars, retail areas surrounding stations, clocks and community information accessible to riders, cleanliness of trains, and even nighttime light level of parking lots. Stations were also rewarded for power outlets, free WiFi, and coffee places. Evidently, the stations that ranked high on the list are of towns that prioritize residents who are commuters to work and school. Therefore, those seeking suburban housing who also want a variety of options of transportation should consider towns such as Wilmette, Glenview, Highland Park, and Winnetka.
Specifically, Wilmette boasts two transit service stations: CTA and Metra. CTA Linden Station, found at 349 Linden Ave, runs on the Purple Line and takes passengers to Howard Station in Evanston at various times all days of the week, or stops throughout the Loop in Chicago at rush hours on Monday through Friday. Specifically, the express transit services from Linden Station to the Loop begin at 5:20 AM until 9:25 AM, then run again from 2:25 PM to 6:30 PM. From the Loop to Linden, trains run from 6:05 AM to 10:10 AM, then 3:10 PM to 7:15 PM. All of these arrive and depart approximately every fifteen minutes. These trains, of course, primarily and conveniently serve those who work and study in downtown Chicago. Riders can park their bikes in a sheltered area or pay $4 a day to park their cars at the station. A single ride on the CTA costs $3, and riders can purchase passes for as many rides as they need. Metra Train Service, located at 722 Green Bay Road, runs from Kenosha, Wisconsin to downtown Chicago. Metra trains are almost continuously available and stop more frequently than do CTA trains. A one-way ride costs anywhere from $3.50 to $7, depending on the time and location. Similarly, a monthly pass costs from $95 to $200. Both the CTA and the Metra discount ticket prices for students. Clearly, a resident of Wilmette has convenient access to not only Chicago, but a variety of other suburbs as well.
The Metra Station at the Glen of Glenview, another North Shore suburb, was also highly lauded as an accessible, spacious, and even clean station. Both Amtrak and Metra trains depart daily from the station. Although most riders of the Amtrak are travelers, the Metra primarily serves commuters. As previously stated, the Metra arrives and departs during popular hours of commute from and to various areas of Chicago. The station stands at a prime location for residents of Glenview: the Glen. So, not only can one easily catch a train to virtually anywhere at almost any time, he or she can grab dinner, drink coffee, or even shop while waiting.