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Still In Chicago To Avoid Snow In St. Louis

February 17, 2015 Featured, Transportation, Travel 7 Comments
Looking east along Erie St at Fairbanks, Chicago IL
Looking east along Erie St at Fairbanks, Chicago IL, click image to view in Google Maps.

My husband and I had planned to return to St. Louis from Valentine’s weekend in Chicago via Amtrak late Sunday night — well technically just after midnight Monday morning. Sunday we realized the weather would make it difficult for me — arriving so late there wouldn’t be MetroBus service and getting the nearly 3/4 of a mile home on un-shoveled sidewalks in frigid temperatures wasn’t an option.

We tried to reserve a wheelchair taxicab from both companies that offer that service — but cited the coming storm as to why they couldn’t pick me up. My husband needed to be able to go to work Monday, so he left on our scheduled train but I changed my ticket to Tuesday morning — today. I’ll arrive later this afternoon.

The temperature will still be frigid and the sidewalks unusable, but I’ve arranged for a wheelchair taxicab to pick me up.

As a first, this post was started as a note on my iPhone Sunday night and finished at a Panera on my iPad Monday morning. The snow was good in that it forced me to learn to post from my iPad on the go.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    The snow wasn’t as bad as predicted, here, but it will be cold . . . good luck with your trip!

    On a related note, your challenges with getting home from the station illustrates one of the challenges with train (and bus) travel versus air travel – extended parking. IF you two could’ve parked your car at the station (for a reasonable fee), you would have avoided these challenges. In an ideal world, Metro would run 24/7, but it doesn’t, and taxis get expensive for anything other than short trips.

    • Your comment shows you think you understand the problem — but you don’t.

      First, just an inch of snow can be a huge problem when the sidewalks remain covered and street plows block ramps. My chair weights 235lbs plus 225lbs for me and you’ve got 460lbs trying to get up a slick curb ramp — winter tires & chains aren’t an option.

      Second, even if we could’ve parked our Honda Civic at the front door for free it wouldn’t have mattered — a power wheelchair requires a custom low-floor vehicle with a ramp.

      I would like to have MetroBus & MetroLink service run a little later, I’ve run into a lack of service before returning from flights & trains. But we must start building a city where most everyone is willing to use public transit.

      • JZ71 says:

        So, you needed your power chair in Chicago, but don’t need it when you drive around St. Louis?

        You missed my point – since people dont have many long-term parking options around the St. Louis train/bus terminal, and if you don’t live close to mass transit, trying to use the train or Greyhound bus for most trips is way harder than driving to Lambert and parking and flying. I agree, a better transit system would give all local travellers more and better options, but, as it stands now, adding more long-term parking at the multi-modal station would make intercity bus and train travel more attractive, especially to potential suburban users.

        • What’s wrong with the long-term parking lot for the Gateway Center?

          • JZ71 says:

            It’s not advertised nor publicized, unless you count this: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/comptroller/office-functions/GTC-Frequently-Asked-Questions.cfm . and it only has 42 spaces!

          • And what’s thr occupancy on those 42 spaces? Is it at 20% or 90% daily? Based on your commenrs it sounds like you assumed no long-term parking existed.

          • JZ71 says:

            I’d heard that there was a small lot. And if I had to have my whole trip hinge on finding an empty spot in a small lot the day that I’m leaving town, I’m not sure if it would be worth the risk of buying tickets in the first place. (And, unfortunately, Kirkwood is no better.) EVERY trip, local or further, boils down to door-to-door travel time and hassles. My mom used to live in Louisville. It’s a 3.5 hour drive or a one hour flight, but adding in getting to the airport, getting tthru security, then getting a rental car on the other end negates most, if not, all of the time “saved” by flying. The same goes with using the Gateway Center – by the time I jump all the hurdles, it’s just easier to drive to Chicago than it is to take the train, take the bus or to fliy.


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