For the last five years or so, I have had an ongoing project of trying to visit as many stops on the Chicago “L” system as possible. I have developed a series of rules for myself in this regard:
- Sincere usage: I cannot go to the stop simply for the sake of checking it off my list — there must be a good-faith destination for my trip.
- Transfers count: As long as it’s part of a good-faith trip, getting on or off at a certain stop always “counts” (whether the stop is my final desination or I’m transfering from a bus or a train).
- Stations, not lines: There is no need to attempt to arrive at each station via all the lines that serve that station (a requirement would make completion on the Loop Elevated all but impossible).
This evening, I reached a major milestone: completion of the Purple Line. I had despaired of ever getting “sincere usage” of the South Blvd. stop, which serves a primarily residential area — but then it turned out that the Dean of Shimer College, who had a get-together for faculty this evening, lives two blocks from the stop. Here is a map documenting my progress as of tonight (black dots indicate stations I’ve visited):
My greatest achievement in this project thus far, which is unlikely ever to be equaled, came in connection with the recently-opened Morgan stop on the Green and Pink Lines, serving the West Loop. The Girlfriend texted me one day asking if I wanted to meet at a restaurant in the West Loop, and I agreed — and when I checked to see if the Morgan stop would be available, it turned out to be the very day it opened. “Sincere usage” on day one!
If anyone has suggestions for plausible destinations at stops I have not yet used, I’m all ears. I’m particularly curious about Racine and Addison on the Blue Line, which seem to be my most notable gaps within the regions I’ve achieved good coverage in.