Friday, December 5, 2008

Public Transportation to Chicago

On November 7, 2008 I took my daughter on a trip to Chicago. We set out to Millennium Park, Rainforest Cafe, and Adler Planetarium using public transportation.

We started of with the South Shore Line train. Both the Dune Park, in Chesterton, and the Portage/Ogden Dunes stops are wheelchair accessible. I prefer Ogden Dunes, because there is a covered platform at that stop. Dune Park has an aluminum lift the conductor has to drag to the train and crank up by hand. It is functional, but it seems like just one more step.

Once at the Portage/Ogden Dunes stop, you make your way up the ramp and press the red button on the East wall. This signals to the train that they have to pull up to the platform. The train doors will open, conductor will come out and lower a small yellow "drawbridge". This surface was within about 4 inches of the train door. I just popped a wheelie over the slightly uneven gap.

When you get on the train, there is a seating area with one seat removed. I'm pretty sure there is a spot like this on each car. Some cars have restrooms. Unfortunately, the one we were in did not. This meant we got the adventure of changing cars through those little doors at the end. This is not a good idea while the train is moving. The Isles are plenty wide enough for most manual chairs, the doors are a tight fit though. While the train is moving the doors are moving side to side where the diamond plate floors are, and seem like they could easily damage a chair if you got cought in between them . We went through as the train was sitting at a stop and it worked out well.

Once I was in the other car, it was time to try the restroom. It was tight, but my chair fit so it wasn't as bad as an airplane restroom. If you want to get on to the toilet, you have to be able to do a 180 degree transfer.

As of right now, the 12th St./Roosevelt Rd stop is not wheelchair accessible. To get to the museum campus or Solider Field, you have to go to one of the last two stops and take a bus or a cab back up to that area.

We got off at the end of the line, Millennium Station/Randolph St. There is an elevator that brings you up on the corner of Michigan Ave and Randolph. To get to Millennium Park, you have to cross north, then cross east, then cross south... it's a city thing. We checked out the Sky Cloud, or as I like to call it the "Bean" and took some pictures. It started to drizzle and get cold, so we headed to Rainforest Cafe next for dinner.

We were going to take the El to Grand St, but to our dismay the Grand stop is not accessible. This meant we were limited to taking a bus, or a cab. Bus i twas, part of the decision to use public transportation was to save a little bit on money. The buses are pretty easy to use as long as you can understand the bus routs and the bus schedule. I am pretty new to this public transportation thing, but we were able to figure it out and got off the bus about 2 blocks from the Rainforest Cafe.

1 comment:

Mr.Wall said...