Wilmette ranks as Chicago's second most transit-friendly suburb

A recent Tribune article alerted me to a report from DePaul's Chaddick Institute ranking Chicago's top 20 transit suburbs.

Wilmette ranked second on the list, behind west-suburban La Grange. It ranked first on a measure of "community connectivity to transit." The report's summary:

More public transit users walk or bike to the Wilmette station than any other suburban facility, giving the suburb a community connectivity score (88.1) that is truly in a class all to itself. Wilmette nurtures its transit culture by providing top-flight bicycle storage facilities next to a well-maintained station that is nearly spotless and filled with amenities. Wilmette was also one of only two communities that earned a top score on the "white glove test."

The number of walkers and bikers is remarkable considering that among eight finalists with the greatest amount of walk / bike activity, Wilmette has a smaller residential population within a half-mile of the station. The station grounds are less extensive than other top-tier transit suburbs, partially due to the area being hemmed-in, and Wilmette's "Walk Score" is only above-average. However, Wilmette stands out as one of the top transit suburbs in the region due to its orientation to commuter rail, with the presence of the CTA Purple Line several blocks east of its downtown district being a notable "bonus."

The report doesn't note, but it's worth a mention, that parts of southern Wilmette are closer to Evanston's Central Street Metra and CTA stops than to downtown Wilmette, and parts of northern Wilmette are better served by Metra's Kenilworth station.

Residents of western stretches of Wilmette often attach more value to the area's proximity to the Edens Expressway than to Wilmette's so-called "transit culture." Many residents, of course, partake in the North Shore's fondness for vintage automobiles.

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