ELMHURST – Inching his way south along Robert T. Palmer Dr. toward York St., local resident and Metra commuter Doug Trout told reporters crammed into the backseat of his Audi S5 Sportback on Tuesday that after an exhaustive search to find the fastest route home from one of the city’s 17 parking garages, he has officially surrendered to the Palmer underpass, joining the long and slow-moving line of SUV’s and luxury sedans headed toward south Elmhurst each weekday between the hours of 5-7 p.m.
“I hate using the Robert Palmer underpass,” said Trout, referring to the curved downtown Elmhurst roadway that runs under First St. and the train tracks and is named after the British singer-songwriter known for his 1980’s hits like “Addicted to Love” and “Simply Irresistible”. “But I’ve been burned too many times by using other ways home.”
Like thousands of Elmhurstonites who ride the Metra each day and all live within one square mile of each other on the city’s south side, Trout has tested every railroad crossing and side street in his struggle to find the quickest drive home, including unconventional paths like Route 83 and Taft Ave. in Berkeley.
“I’ve been ticketed about 5-6 times in Berkeley,” continued Trout, noting the town’s 30 m.p.h. speed limit on St. Charles Rd. that is strictly enforced against outsiders. “That’s also the reason I stopped getting Chinese take-out from Moon Temple.”
Local crossings of the Union Pacific West rail line and the inconvenience of driving through residential neighborhoods riddled with stop signs and pedestrians have also led Trout to using the underpass.
“I don’t know why so many people are outside just walking around or on their bikes,” said Trout, who added that the residents who live immediately east and west of York St. should be quarantined during rush hour. “Don’t they see that there are a bunch of cars doing 40 (m.p.h.) down their street? What are these people thinking?”
At press time, Trout told reporters “Hold on tight. I’m going to try something,” as he turned east on Adelia St.