I wait for three to four El trains to pass before I am able to squeeze my way onto one of the over-crammed, slow-moving cars just to get home.  I often have the debate, with those who don’t frequent our public transportation system, if Chicago traffic on the highways is less stressful, and more quick-moving, than riding to-or-from the city on the El.  It is definitely a point that can be easily debated by any commuter in the city.

Cut backs from the Chicago Transit Authority have been postponed, but we may just be delaying the inevitable.  Fair increases and bus route cutbacks are threatening riders who depend on public transportation to get to work, school, and home.  The only other option is to drive, but are the city’s multiple highways any better?

According to a study by the Texas Transportation Institute, Chicago-area commuters lose more than 203 million hours a year in traffic.  For the forth year in a row, Chicago and northwest Indiana ranked second worst in the nation for the extra time they need to add onto their daily commutes.  This doesn’t even account for the first snowfall in October that has commuters at a standstill for hours.  On average, drivers lose five days a year to traffic jams.  The study stressed that there are “too many people, too many trips over too short of a time.”  Stressed being the operative word.

Without traffic, and avoiding all highways, it takes me roughly 10 minutes to get from my house to downtown.  However, when riding the trains — either during rush-hour or not, it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.  Simply because too many trains have to go by before any new riders are able to board.  I know I can’t offer a solution, so I try to listen to my music and not complain, and get to work with minimal stress.  However, I sometimes wonder if I would rather sit in my car during that hour commute in grid-lock, than have some stranger breathe down my neck.

The Mayor is pushing to have millions of people flock to our city for the 2016 Olympics.  I’ll be on vacation.  — Courtney Lawrence