HR Administration

Grab a Bike or Hop the L to Check Out Chicago’s Neighborhoods During SHRM

By Aysha Ashley Househ

Jun. 1, 2018

Using taxis, Uber and Lyft are common ways to get around a city like Chicago you don’t know, but they can also be expensive.

Besides hoofing it, SHRM 2018 attendees in Chicago have more affordable options. One is Divvy bikes! It’s one of the city’s most popular options to travel from place to place and allows for convenience since you can dock your bike at any station around the city.

But if you’re not up for the exercise, then the Chicago Transit Authority, also called the CTA, is a relatively quick and affordable way to get around Chicago, with the trains and buses taking you basically anywhere at most any time of day or night.

DIVVY BIKES

Divvy bikes SHRM Chicago
Divvy kiosks to rent bikes are found throughout Chicago. Photo by Ave Rio

Divvy launched in 2013, partnering with the Chicago Department of Transportation. With 6,000 bikes and 570 stations around the city, it’s the “most flexible and fun way to get around the city,” according to Kelly Goldthorpe, director of marketing and rider experience at Divvy.

Right outside of McCormick Place there is a Divvy kiosk where you can pay to rent a bike. Single rides are $3 for 30 minutes. However, Goldthorpe recommends the company’s Explorer pass for visitors. It’s $15 and offers unlimited three-hour rides for 24 hours. The most common path visitors take from McCormick Place is to the Lakefront Trail, which riders can take north or south. With the Explorer pass you have “enough time to go to the top of the Lakeshore path and back,” according to Goldthorpe. Going north is a scenic route where you’ll pass by the Museum Campus that includes the Adler Planetarium, get a great view of the skyline, and head toward Navy Pier.

An option that is “a little less common, but fantastic” is riding through the city streets toward Chinatown to get to Ping Tom Memorial Park. If you have the time and are willing to trek a bit further, an option “for the really adventurous who want to really get far from the convention site,” Goldthorpe recommends the 606, a six-mile round trip trail through Wicker Park that goes toward Humboldt Park and is often less crowded than the lakefront.

“It’s a really beautiful addition to the city that just opened in the last couple years,” Goldthorpe said.

Tips and Rules:

  • You don’t need to wear a helmet, but it’s highly encouraged.
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalks (along the Lakefront it’s OK), there are designated bike lanes.
  • Be mindful of cars, ride with traffic and obey traffic signals.
  • Use the bell to warn people and get their attention. Stop for pedestrians.

You can also download the transit app to find stations, buy passes and check bike availability: https://www.divvybikes.com/how-it-works/app

Check out Divvy’s website for more information: https://www.divvybikes.com/

CTA

CTA L trains SHRM Chicago
CTA L trains are a great way to get an authentic feel of what Chicago is about. Photo by Andrew Kennedy Lewis

Another great option to explore the city is through the public transportation system.

The CTA “L” trains and buses not only take you from one place to the other, but they’re also “a really great way to get an authentic feel of what the city is about. It’s also an iconic symbol of Chicago’s identity as a hard-working innovative city,” said CTA spokeswoman Irene Ferradaz.

Out from McCormick Place and surrounding hotels, the main train station is the Cermak/McCormick Green Line stop, which is about three blocks west and will take you north to the downtown Loop. Nearby buses include the No. 3 King Drive and No. 21 Cermak routes.

In the summer, the city is packed with tourists and locals getting to work. The busiest times for CTA use will be during weekdays between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m., and afternoons between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. If possible, it’s better to schedule outings outside of those times, according to Ferradaz.

“It’s not that it’s impossible to get a seat, but if you want to do things at a more leisurely pace think about commuting at other times,” said Ferradaz.

However, based on personal experience, rush hour trains are packed and you may be standing for a while, depending on where you’re going.

CTA Purchasing Options (all of these passes allow for unlimited rides on both CTA buses and trains)

  • 1-day pass for $10.
  • 3-day pass for $20.
  • 7-day pass for $28.
  • Buses only: Riders can pay $2.25 cash or use their pass.

Ferradaz recommends a multiday pass as the best option for those staying several days.

Safety Tips for Public Transportation

  • Plan your trip in advance so you know where you’re going and what stops you are boarding/getting off.
  • Remain attentive to your surroundings, especially when being distracted by your phone. People get wrapped up with in their smart phones and don’t notice if someone is standing too close or they are alone in the train car.
  • Keep your valuables near you in a bag or pocket, and keep them zipped tightly.
  • Try to sit in the first car of the train since that’s where the driver is stationed, or near the front of the bus.
  • You may find homeless individuals asking for money; “ignore them and go about your business,” she said.

Ferradaz recommends reporting incidents to the operator of the train, bus driver or customer service representative positioned at every CTA station. If it’s of a criminal nature, call 312-745-4443.

Check out the CTA’s website for more information: https://www.transitchicago.com/visitors/.

Go here to read more of our 2018 SHRM coverage. 

Aysha Ashley Househ is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

Aysha Ashley Househ is a Workforce editorial associate.

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