Chicago

Getting here

From O’Hare International Airport

Public transit is from O’Hare to the 18F Chicago office is cheap, fairly quick, and convenient. Blue Line trains run from the airport to downtown 24/7 and take about 50 minutes. The closest stop to the office is Jackson.

From Midway Airport

The smaller of the two Chicago airports, this one is a little closer to downtown– it’s only a 25 minute ride down the CTA Orange Line. The Library/State & Van Buren stops are the closest to the 18F office on your way in, though we recommend getting on at Adams/Wabash on your way out (unless you want to get a tour of the entire Chicago loop). While the Orange Line doesn’t run 24/7 like the Blue, it does have regular service between 4:30 a.m. and 1 a.m., covering pretty much any reasonable flight departure/arrival times.

Walking

Chicago is a very walkable city; plenty of hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars are within walking distance of the office. Grant Park and the lakefront (including the lakefront path) are all close by.

Biking

Short-term bikes can be rented via Divvy. $9.95 buys a 24-hour pass with unlimited 30-minute rides.

Public transit

Chicago is extremely accessible by public transportation. Taxis are available but aren’t generally necessary for getting around.

To take full advantage of Chicago’s CTA trains and buses, we recommend getting a Ventra card, available at any CTA train station. Ventra cards require a $5 deposit, which is refundable after registering, and the card stays valid for 5 years.

Fares from (but not to) either airport cost $5. All other normal fares are $2.25, and include one transfer to another CTA bus or train for $0.25 plus one free additional transfer if made within two hours of boarding.

Parking

Garage parking downtown is very expensive. “Early bird” rates start at $18, and normal rates start at $30. Street parking is hard to come by. See above recommendations on public transit.

How do I…?

Enter the building for the first time (or if I don’t have a GSA badge)?

During business hours (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), pass through security as a normal visitor. If arriving outside business hours, arrange for an 18F team member inside the office to escort you.

Get my fingerprints taken and badge made?

Fingerprints and badge can be done at the security office on the second floor (Room 212 in the NE corner of the building).

Enter the building with a GSA badge

Your GSA ID grants you access to the building at any time between 7 a.m. and 6 a.m.. After-hours access is allowed, but you will have to log your name in a guestbook. There are no gates like in the D.C. office; simply show your badge to security at any entrance, and they will let you through.

Attend onboarding?

GSA onboarding is typically done on alternating Mondays at 1:00 p.m. in Room 3722, in the NW corner of the 37th floor. 18F onboarding varies by division– you should receive an email confirming the times that you will meet with your team. To allow yourself enough time to get set up on the GSA network, please arrive at 8 a.m. on the second day of your first week, and Ethan Heppner (18F Chicago’s office operations coordinator) will help walk you through.

Access the building after hours?

After-hours access between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. is allowed with a GSA badge. Log your name with security, and use the handicap-accessible south entrance.

Book rooms for meetings?

In Chicago, you can book rooms using Google Calendars:

  1. Create an event, and click Edit Event. Google calendar with 'edit event' selected
  2. Above the box where you would normally add guests, click Rooms, etc. List of rooms on Google calendar
  3. Click R05 to see rooms available in region 5. You’ll see a list of available rooms below.
  4. Select Show only available so you don’t try to reserve a room that is already booked!
  5. Look for rooms that have “JCK” in them, as those are the ones that are in the same building as the 18F office. Make sure that you’re not booking a room that is literally in Ohio.

Alternative: Use the search bar. For example, Room 3380 (the one that we normally use for the all-hands) comes up when you type in 3380.

Search bar in Google Calendar

If the room that you want isn’t coming up, that means it’s probably been booked already. Feel free to ping Ethan if you have any difficulties.

Recommended rooms: 3380: room used for All-Hands on the NE corner of floor 33; it seats up to 10.

Connect to the Wi-Fi

See Networks for details.

Where are the…?

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are just down the hall from the 18F office.

Mail

Incoming mail is delivered to and outgoing mail is collected from the office twice daily.

Conference rooms

Conference rooms: the 18F office has four quiet rooms (soon to be two quiet rooms and one conference room).

Lockers

Lockers are to your left and right when you walk inside the door.

Supplies

If you need pens, paper, and other office supplies, there are a few items above the coffee making area.

Printers

Refer to our printer information document for more details.

Amenities

Transit subsidy

All GSA employees are eligible for transit subsidies which cover the cost of your Metro travel. To receive a transit subsidy, for Ventra, fill out GSA form 3675. Email it to Joyce Thomas, and cc Ethan Heppner.

Bike parking

Bike parking is available at the Metcalfe building, which is the federal building on the other side of Jackson Street from JCK. Entry to the bike garage is on Van Buren Street just east of Clark. There are two steps to this process:

Key Card Access

To update your key card to get access to the parking garage you need to fill out this form to have access.
A few things to note:

  • Your supervisor should sign both the Supervisor and Authorized Agency Approver sections.
  • You will need your PIV card PIN to get access.
  • If you forgot your PIN, go to Room 212 to reset your PIN

Bike Sticker

You will also need to get a bike sticker to place on your bike.

Go to the Metcalfe Field Office (77 W. Jackson Suite 441) to fill it out an application.

(You can bring your completed Key Card Access application with you at the same time.)

Note you will need your the following info to secure a bike sticker:

  • bike’s make
  • bike’s model
  • bike’s serial number

Health Center

There is a health center on the 3rd floor.

Gym

There is a gym inside the Federal building that you can access by paying a yearly fee. Email Mark McConnaughhay for more details.

Recycling

Recycling, including battery recycling, is available on the 2nd floor of our building

Food and coffee

Here is a Google Map with a lot of options.

Dollop and Intelligentsia are the current fan favorites for coffee. If you like darker roasts, Lavazza may be up your alley.

Who works here?

We keep a list of people who work in the Chicago office.

Potlucks

Have guests you want to bring to mingle with 18F? Invite them to our monthly potluck. Potlucks are the first Tuesdays of each month (unless there is a holiday that Monday i.e. July 4 or Labor Day).