Take advantage of spring by walking between DePaul campuses

walking
(Max Kleiner & Julian Hayda / The DePaulia)

With both of DePaul’s main campuses ever expanding, more students are finding themselves splitting their time between classes in the Loop and classes in Lincoln Park. The Red Line is ubiquitous to the DePaul experience, and though it provides welcome shelter from Chicago’s rain, wind and snow, the delays and claustrophobia become somewhat of a chore. As students wait for signal clearance somewhere under the Chicago River or choke on some unidentifiable stench around Clark and Division, Chicago’s most interesting landmarks and neighborhoods sit a mere 30 feet overhead.

With the spring finally upon us, and the snow (mostly) melted, take those few hours you have between classes to opt for the great outdoors and walk. You read that right. Walk. Stretch your legs. Take a hike. Mosey on down.

You won’t regret it.

Walking around Chicago is easy. Illinois is famously flatter than a pancake—and that’s no idiom, either. The American Geographical Society’s journal “Geographical Review” published a peer-reviewed study by the University of Kansas and the science humor magazine “Annals of Improbable Research,” comparing the relative elevation differences of all 50 states to a typical IHOP pancake. Illinois ranks third, and yes, it’s proportionally a lot flatter than a pancake.

With an elevation of 597 feet above sea level at the Loop campus, and 595.85 feet at the Lincoln Park Welcome Center, the net altitude change of a walk to class is barely more than the stack from which you took this newspaper—that makes the stairs onto an ‘L’ platform look like a mountain by comparison.

The distances range from 3.8 to 4.2 miles, depending on how scenic a route you want to take. At the average walking speed, that means you’d get from one campus to another in the span of time it takes to listen to a good podcast.

If you feel like your Discover Chicago class didn’t quite live up to its promise, then walking between campuses will prove why Chicagoans can’t be more proud of their city. With two major campuses like open arms, DePaul hugs the trendiest, most historic, and some offbeat neighborhoods in the city. You can walk through Greektown, Gold Coast, Streeterville, Goose Island, Old Town and River West, depending on what you’d like to experience.

If the cultural aspect isn’t enough, then consider the health benefits. The American Heart Association suggests that the health benefits of running, jogging and walking are comparable, so long as they’re for the same distance. When researchers analyzed studies of 33,060 runners and 15,045 regular walkers last year, blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin levels were found to be nearly identical, and in far better shape than people of like demographic who don’t do either.

The six-year studies were so compelling that the American Heart Association hypothesized that life expectancy increases by two hours for every hour a normally sedentary person walks. Other studies suggest regular walking can help increase memory, reduce the risk of certain cancers, prevent arthritis, and, of course, spare you from judgmental looks as you hobble onto a treadmill at the Ray.

So, after several test walks between Lincoln Park and the Loop, here’s one intrepid reporter’s top three ways of getting from one campus to another. Of course, these are only some suggestions—the beauty of Chicago’s grid system is that you can wander off-course anytime in pursuit of an interesting discovery, and still never be too far from the route.

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PEDAL THESE ROUTES

With the city out of the icy clutches of winter, it’s time to get back outside and be free of the dreaded Red Line. Emancipate yourself from the smells and sounds of hundreds of strangers and get in some physical exercise at the same time. Riding a bike between campuses is quick, fun, and completely above ground. Here are some good routes to ride between the Loop and Lincoln Park by bicycle.

Some good spots to lock up in the Loop can be found outside of 14 E. Jackson, or on the opposite side of the street at 1 E. Jackson. Bike parking around Lincoln Park can be found around the Student Center and Levan Center.

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