Wheaton is one of the top transit suburbs of Metropolitan Chicago, according to a study released Wednesday by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development based at DePaul University.
The city ranks sixth amonth 20 suburban communities in the report, and is described as a strong performer in all categories of the study, including station buildings and platforms, station grounds and parking, walkable amenities and services and community connectivity to transit.
"The station is a contemporary architectural showpiece that adds to the ambiance of traveling by train," the report states. "Commuters have access to a more spacious waiting room than most as well as gourmet coffee, power outlets and other amenities uncommon in a middle-size suburb.
While parking is not "immediately adjacent" to the station, nighttime users benefit from the best lit parking lots among the top suburbs, including Elmhurst (No. 5) and Downers Grove (No. 7).
"The community also has a distinctive transit culture," according to the report. Among the eight finalists of suburbs 24 miles or more from Chicago, it is second to Naperville in the number of walkers and bikers to the train.
The DePaul University team considered 45 measurable factors to rank the best transit suburbs. These factors were station buildings and platforms, station grounds and parking, walkable downtown amenities adjacent to the station and degree of community connectivity to public transportation, as measured by the use of commuter rail services.
The team made at least three visits to each of the 25 finalists before narrowing the rankings to 20. Scores for each community were also derived from published data for all 250 suburbs in the metropolitan Chicago region.
Top 20 Transit Suburb Rankings:
3. Arlington Heights
7. Downers Grove
9. Des Plaines
10. Mt. Prospect
11. Glen Ellyn
13. Park Ridge
15. Western Springs
19. Highland Park
20. Tinley Park