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Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Old Jul 15th 2019, 3:53 pm
  #31  
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Thanks - much appreciated. We are coming over in August so we can get more of a feel for things on the ground. Did you children go back into the UK school system then or were they past that? I was awake in the middle of the night catastrophising over schooling and guncrime and all kinds of insane witching hour things!
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 4:10 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Thanks - much appreciated. We are coming over in August so we can get more of a feel for things on the ground. Did you children go back into the UK school system then or were they past that? I was awake in the middle of the night catastrophising over schooling and guncrime and all kinds of insane witching hour things!
Yes, the girls - all born in Chicago - went into a small Church of England village primary school here in the UK and they love it. So do we.

If you've already made the decision to move to the US, I wouldn't sweat the things you're sweating about. It is true that gun crime and violence in schools is one of the BIG things we breathed a sigh of relief about when we came to England. But if you're moving, you're moving - now you have to figure out the best place to live which fits into your priorities. I've learned that the quality of school districts vary widely from area to area, and unless you have a lot of money for private schools, living in the city is a non starter from this standpoint. If you do have the money, then Chicago has some incredibly good schools. They also have the British School of Chicago (again expensive) if you want your children to follow an English curriculum instead of US. The kids that go there are ones of families who are only in the US temporarily and plan to move back at some point in a couple years.

I would seriously look at Schaumburg (not Hoffman Estates, for example, which is right next door but in a different school district). It's a massive town, lots of bars, restaurants, cinemas, parks, one of the biggest malls in the country, easy to commute to city, and great schools. We wouldn't move back there, but thats nothing against Schaumburg. When (if) we move back we want to go somewhere warmer. The winters are brutal :0) but there's a novelty factor to it for the first couple years!

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Old Jul 15th 2019, 4:33 pm
  #33  
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

How old were your daughters went they went into primary school if you don't mind me asking?

And yes - I think we can do 2 or 3 winters and think of it as a novelty and adventure (I say that now..!) but the plan, at least for now, is to be back for secondary school.
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Old Aug 29th 2019, 3:15 pm
  #34  
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Hello! We are back from a week in Chicago and, in a nutshell, loved it and looked at Oak Park, various areas on the N Shore and Evanston.
We have loosely decided on OP, Evanston and S North Shore (due to naively imagining there would be more access to the lake than actually available).

My question is: how safe is the commute on the train from Oak Park into the Loop? I've read lots of great reviews of the area as a place to live and also the concerns about bordering 'bad' neighbourhoods etc but can't find much info about the safety of those using the train, rather than car, to commute downtown. Any help, thoughts, evidence would be really helpful or, in fact, anything about the areas mentioned.

Thanks so much, the help here has been invaluable
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Old Aug 30th 2019, 3:21 am
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Hello! We are back from a week in Chicago and, in a nutshell, loved it and looked at Oak Park, various areas on the N Shore and Evanston.
We have loosely decided on OP, Evanston and S North Shore (due to naively imagining there would be more access to the lake than actually available).

My question is: how safe is the commute on the train from Oak Park into the Loop? I've read lots of great reviews of the area as a place to live and also the concerns about bordering 'bad' neighbourhoods etc but can't find much info about the safety of those using the train, rather than car, to commute downtown. Any help, thoughts, evidence would be really helpful or, in fact, anything about the areas mentioned.

Thanks so much, the help here has been invaluable
North shore. Oak Park borders Chicago's West Side, which you have to go through if you take the "L" or Metra into Downtown. Why risk it. Portions of Chicago (North, Northwest, Southwest) are safer than London, others are a lot more violent (South & West Sides).

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Old Aug 30th 2019, 3:29 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

That bad? Arghhhhh
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Old Aug 30th 2019, 9:10 pm
  #37  
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Our situations are different as I'm in the process of a spousal visa, but should it all be approved I will be living in Oak Park. I've not been to Evanston or North Shore to be able to compare though!

My wife has lived around 10 minutes away from the Harlem Lake L station for about 5 years, she's always kept herself safe, and touch wood will continue to do so. She's not had any "personal" incidents on the trains, and frequently uses it on her own at night to get back from the city after concerts, and I've been to a few concerts while there with her too and got the late night experience myself. In all of my visits there I've not felt unsafe, so far. It's about 30 minutes direct into the middle of the loop on the green line, and there's the Oak Park station not far for the blue line, and so far it's just been normal, in other words everyone was just minding their own business. We've had plenty of walks all around the neighbourhoods there with the dog and I find it a very peaceful and friendly village overall. Of course, I would again touch wood that nothing ever happens to her, me or us together in the area, and I would be careful about letting us get into situations where we might wander off into the wrong/unsafe direction late at night or something, but overall I'm not worried about settling in that area. Visiting her for the first time some time ago was my first ever trip to the USA, and I was surprised how comfortable I felt on practically the edge of a huge city. Still getting used to the width of the roads though lol.

Not really any solid advice to give here anyway, just 2 pennies from a potential future Oak Park resident

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Old Aug 31st 2019, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Uktous19 View Post
Hello! We are back from a week in Chicago and, in a nutshell, loved it and looked at Oak Park, various areas on the N Shore and Evanston.
We have loosely decided on OP, Evanston and S North Shore (due to naively imagining there would be more access to the lake than actually available).

My question is: how safe is the commute on the train from Oak Park into the Loop? I've read lots of great reviews of the area as a place to live and also the concerns about bordering 'bad' neighbourhoods etc but can't find much info about the safety of those using the train, rather than car, to commute downtown. Any help, thoughts, evidence would be really helpful or, in fact, anything about the areas mentioned.

Thanks so much, the help here has been invaluable
People hugely exaggerate the dangers of Chicago - it certainly has an appalling rate of violence, but the segregation is such that other communities remain virtually untouched and also, even though the relative rate of violence is so much higher than the UK it's still far more dangerous, in terms of things actually happening to you, to drive to work every day than it is to walk down the street in some of the most difficult neighbourhoods in town. I used to live in one, and like everywhere 99% of the people are just trying to live their lives like everywhere and everyone else. Vast quantities of people commute to and fro from Oak Park daily on the train.. The thing about the ghettoized neighbourhoods of the US is that the problems associated with them tend to remain contained within them - that is the nature of a ghetto, as appalling as it is for the residents of those places. There is a lot of manufactured fear about poor people, and, unfortunately, poor minorities especially in this country. Don't let that get to you. Oak Park is a splending place to live - my boss at work lives there, a senior executive in an international charity. You'll be fine.
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Old Aug 31st 2019, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
People hugely exaggerate the dangers of Chicago - it certainly has an appalling rate of violence, but the segregation is such that other communities remain virtually untouched and also, even though the relative rate of violence is so much higher than the UK it's still far more dangerous, in terms of things actually happening to you, to drive to work every day than it is to walk down the street in some of the most difficult neighbourhoods in town. I used to live in one, and like everywhere 99% of the people are just trying to live their lives like everywhere and everyone else. Vast quantities of people commute to and fro from Oak Park daily on the train.. The thing about the ghettoized neighbourhoods of the US is that the problems associated with them tend to remain contained within them - that is the nature of a ghetto, as appalling as it is for the residents of those places. There is a lot of manufactured fear about poor people, and, unfortunately, poor minorities especially in this country. Don't let that get to you. Oak Park is a splending place to live - my boss at work lives there, a senior executive in an international charity. You'll be fine.
What a sensible and helpful post LiW. Like you, I used to live in a (Perth) suburb that didn't have a good reputation. It wasn't unknown for people to shriek 'I wouldn't live there if you paid me!'. Lived there for 20 years and never had any issues with personal safety, the only thing that ever happened in all that time was the theft of one of my sons' bike which he'd left outside the front gate one night.

Even that turned out ok, I was walking to the shops one day and saw a young man peddling along the road. 'Excuse me mate, that's my son's bike'. He handed it back with a 'sorry missus, was on my way home from a party, was a bit pissed and my legs gave out'.
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Old Aug 31st 2019, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
What a sensible and helpful post LiW. Like you, I used to live in a (Perth) suburb that didn't have a good reputation. It wasn't unknown for people to shriek 'I wouldn't live there if you paid me!'. Lived there for 20 years and never had any issues with personal safety, the only thing that ever happened in all that time was the theft of one of my sons' bike which he'd left outside the front gate one night.

Even that turned out ok, I was walking to the shops one day and saw a young man peddling along the road. 'Excuse me mate, that's my son's bike'. He handed it back with a 'sorry missus, was on my way home from a party, was a bit pissed and my legs gave out'.

People are just people everywhere

In the house my son is sharing with three other students in Portsmouth (in a very run-down-looking area with no Waitrose customers at all, or a Waitrose if it comes to that, just corner shops that look as though they've escaped from the 1970s), the young woman's window in her room stuck shut because the mechanism broke. The landlady, who now lives in Wales, said "just ask a neighbour". She was too frightened to ask the man next door, who looks hard as nails and has tattos from head to foot, so I knocked on his door for her and he came right over with his tools and fixed it and then had a cup of tea with us. People make all sorts of incorrect assumptions based on income and appearances.

When I first moved to the US, to New York, people in England thought I would be dead within the week!

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Old Aug 31st 2019, 3:13 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Originally Posted by Lion in Winter View Post
People are just people everywhere

In the house my son is sharing with three other students in Portsmouth (in a very run-down-looking area with no Waitrose customers at all, or a Waitrose if it comes to that, just corner shops that look as though they've escaped from the 1970s), the young woman's window in her room stuck shut because the mechanism broke. The landlady, who now lives in Wales, said "just ask a neighbour". She was too frightened to ask the man next door, who looks hard as nails and has tattos from head to foot, so I knocked on his door for her and he came right over with his tools and fixed it and then had a cup of tea with us. People make all sorts of incorrect assumptions based on income and appearances.

When I first moved to the US, to New York, people in England thought I would be dead within the week!
Lovely story Yes, those assumptions can mean that everyone misses out. I met some of the nicest people and had the best times in Liverpool areas that people make lazy assumptions about. I miss the sense of community there, Perth's basically a huge suburban sprawl with a very mobile population. Much harder to connect with people.
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Old Sep 1st 2019, 5:39 am
  #42  
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Oak Park is the neighborhood of choice for a large proportion of UIC faculty and medical professionals, almost all of whom commute on the Blue line. I second everything that LiW said. Plus, as a foreigner, I would even recommend such a neighborhood, due to its international mix. What some people call 'safe', I call 'middle-American nightmare'.
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Old Sep 1st 2019, 5:51 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Chicago suburbs please

Thank you everyone - exactly what I needed to hear.
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