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The Impossible Dream [Updated]

[Update: Readers have requested a graphical representation of my quest. Here it is:

Black dots represent stops “sincerely” visited. Consider all stops in the Loop detail checked off.]

Readers frequently e-mail me asking how my quest to maximize the number of L stops I’ve used is going. I haven’t had much to report recently, but today I made a major breakthrough: the nearly impossible-to-get Jarvis stop on the Red Line. That gives me the entire Red Line north of Roosevelt.

If anyone would like to get some good Middle Eastern food for dinner tonight, I can get the elusive Kedzie stop, thereby completing the Brown Line. My complete record is “below the fold.”

By my own rules, stops with multiple lines don’t have to be used with every possible line. I’ve used every Loop elevated stop — Lasalle/Van Buren was tough to pull off, but lunch with The Girl made it possible. She is also moving to what I characterize as a “transit dead zone” equally inaccessible from several L stops, so I may be able to significantly help my stats if I visit her a few times.

Red: Howard through Roosevelt, 47th, Garfield
Brown: All but Kedzie
Blue: Clinton through through Belmont (save Chicago), Jefferson Park, O’Hare
Green: Kedzie (bad idea), 51st, Garfield
Pink: 18th
Orange: Midway
Purple: Dempster, Davis, Central
Yellow: Seriously, who uses the Yellow Line?

If anyone knows of good destinations that would count as “sincere usage” for missing stops, feel free to let me know.


September 17, 2008 - Posted by | public transit


  1. I hesitate to make such obvious proposals, but why not use a White Sox game as an excuse to visit Sox-35th (the season ends soon, you know, and they’re presently leading the AL Central), and a trip to Chicago’s uninspired-yet-adequate Chinatown as an excuse to visit Cermak-Chinatown?

    Comment by transportinburma | September 17, 2008

  2. Those are two good options that I’ve considered but obviously haven’t acted on yet.

    I’ve also heard the Conservatory is nice, including even the stop itself.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 17, 2008

  3. “Seriously, who uses the Yellow Line?”

    Jews, seriously.

    Comment by APS | September 17, 2008

  4. Didn’t you used to deliver pizza up in Skokie for a while, Anthony? Did you use the Yellow Line then? I guess you would probably just drive.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 17, 2008

  5. Did you accomplish the brown line goal tonight?

    What’s at Jarvis that calls for “sincere usage”?!

    Comment by phil | September 18, 2008

  6. There’s actually nothing there, but my friend thought that the restaurant she was thinking of for lunch was closest to Jarvis. Sadly, the Brown Line goal remains unfulfilled.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 18, 2008

  7. You can always come out to visit me in Oak Park. That would give you either the Harlem stop on the Green line if we met during the day or the Austin stop on the Blue line in the evening or weekends.

    Comment by Rob B | September 18, 2008

  8. God I wish I was in America… Would you guys hang out with me if I was?

    Comment by Amish Lovelock | September 18, 2008

  9. Rob, Both of those would be very difficult stops to get otherwise. I may have to take you up on that.

    Amish, Yes, of course. We’d hang out with no one else.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 18, 2008

  10. Why do Jews use the yellow line?

    Comment by ben | September 18, 2008

  11. Skokie is reputed to be a heavily Jewish community.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 18, 2008

  12. That was not a good punchline.

    Comment by ben | September 18, 2008

  13. I was gonna say…I think the only roger’s park stop for sincere usage (that doesn’t include one living off of it), is Morse…for the Heartland.

    Comment by phil | September 18, 2008

  14. I wish you would post a graphic, like a map of the L with the completed stops indicated. That would be useful for those of us who are not familiar with Chicago-area public transit, and would make tracking your progress so much more satisfying.

    Thank you for considering my request.

    Comment by jms | September 18, 2008

  15. Here you go, jms.

    Comment by ben | September 18, 2008

  16. This may be better.

    There are concerts out by the Rosemont Blue Line stop. I think I saw Bob Dylan there.

    Comment by ben | September 18, 2008

  17. I lived a half block from the Jarvis stop for like six years. Now there is, apparently, a very good wood-burning oven pizza place there.

    Comment by oudemia | September 18, 2008

  18. Or this.

    Comment by hugh | September 19, 2008

  19. “A monk has cancer” and “cermak-chinatown” aren’t actually anagrams of each other.

    Comment by ben | September 19, 2008

  20. Maybe that’s how I’ll phrase it when I move: “I know it’s in the middle of nowhere, but just think–you, too, can increase the percentage of El stops you’ve visited! Just think how cosmopolitan you’ll sound!

    That said, I’ve been to very few stops, all of which are decidedly “safe” and “boring,” with the exception of the aforementioned Morse stop, which I didn’t visit for the Heartland.

    Comment by The Girl | September 20, 2008

  21. Main street – Brothers K coffee
    Main street and South – Recyclery (if you want to work on a bike)
    Foster – visit the Northwestern lakefill
    Noyes – One of Northwestern’s free art collections
    Oak Park – there’s a Mediterranean restaurant called Grape Leaves that my friends rave about

    Comment by rachel | September 21, 2008

  22. Which Oak Park?

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 21, 2008

  23. IIRC, the Blue Line Chicago stop is the closest one to the Matchbox.

    Comment by ben | September 21, 2008

  24. It’s between the Ridgeland and Oak Park stops. You could hit both stops semi-legitimately.

    129 s. oak park ave

    Comment by rachel | September 21, 2008

  25. Sorry – The Green Line Oak Park

    Comment by rachel | September 21, 2008

  26. I am not Jewish! And I have legitimately used the yellow line! And it was even before I dated the Jewish girl! I had a job interview in Morton Grove, so I took the yellow line, got off, bought coffee at the Starbucks right there, hopped on the Pace bus and voila! Morton Grove! I have also legitimately used every single stop on the Red Line, as well as every Blue line stop between Lake and O’Hare. It shocks and disturbs me how superior this makes me feel …

    Comment by Liz | September 30, 2008

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