Driving in Chicago
I recently saw a list of The Ten Most Difficult Cities to drive in and Chicago was on the list.
I will readily concur with that.
Besides being the third largest city in the country, there are three things that make Chicago challenging to drive in:
1) The EL
2) The Chicago River
3) Bullets flying through the air.
Okay, I made the last one up.
First of all, the EL: A driver must be able to NOT crash into the EL supports which are huge, steel beams embedded in the middle of the busiest streets. Merging from one lane to another is difficult enough in downtown traffic. But Chicagoans have to contend with giant I-beams sticking out of the street, none of which have any markers. They’re just there. Thousands of them.
Next, the Chicago River winds its way through downtown and has 25 drawbridges crossing it.
Double-decked streets are confusing enough, but actually, there are numerous triple-decked streets to negotiate as well. The top level will cross the river over a drawbridge, the lower level is for through-traffic on either side and the lowest level is for delivery access to basements of the big buildings.
For example, here is a triple-level intersection of Stetson Avenue, Lower Stetson Avenue, South Water Street and East South Water Street. (South Water Street runs east and west – got that?)
With the maze of lower-level streets, it’s really difficult to tell where you are since you’re unable to see any buildings as reference points. GPS devices and cell phones don’t work on the lower levels, so you really have to know where you're going. One wrong turn, and you’ll be down there for hours, eventually ending up in the basement of the Sears Tower.
Here’s a handy, utterly confusing map of triple-level streets for you.
Then, when you do finally make your way up to the upper level, BAM!
You’ve crashed into an EL support.
So, here’s some advice if you’re ever traveling to Chicago:
Use the EL.