As a longtime reverse commuter to the northwest suburbs who’s back working downtown, I can now freely share this secret. Already known to savvy cabbies, it’s a reliable fallback at all hours. No matter the traffic or weather, it’s ten minutes from Lawrence to Harlem, so whenever traffic is crawling on the expressway, it should be considered. Get off at the Lawrence exit and take Lawrence left. Just past the railroad overpass, veer right onto Avondale, then left onto Ainslie, and jog across Milwaukee and onto Higgins. You can get back on the Kennedy at Harlem or, if traffic still isn’t moving, cross it and take Higgins all the way to Cumberland. Back in is an option as well, though traffic can back up as Higgins ends at Milwaukee. Of course, this route works best when the Lawrence exit is open and not under repair (it’s been closed much of the year), but the Foster exit can also get you to Higgins—there’s just a little more surface to this surface route.
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