I plan on visiting a shrine in the 3100 block of Jackson Street. It's about 3.5 miles west of Union station. The blue line and some busses go fairly close to the shrine. Does anyone know if this area is a safe section of town? Also, would it be safe to spend an hour or so walking either to or from the shrine?
10 years ago we went to Chicago and wanted to see the museum of science and industry. The red line went close but required maybe a half mile walk. A local advised I take the bus directly to the museum as the nearby neighborhood wasn't very safe.
You're, of course, talking about the historic Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, still staffed by the Servites. It's an amazingly beautiful and huge church building which is good to have around, as so many others are closing. It was a major site, especially, for local pilgrimage during WW2. Of course, the neighborhood population was a lot different then: Irish and Italian Catholics. Today it serves as a center for the West Side African American population and Latinos.
While the west side isn't the nicest part of town these days, I'd have no problem taking either the 82 Kimball or 126 Jackson bus there, especially during the day. You could take the Blue Line to Belmont and get on the 82 going south there, if you want to wait/board in an area where you may feel a bit safer, but I think you'd need to walk a couple of blocks extra east at Jackson. The 126, alternately, should take you right there. There is a bus garage across the street from the church on Kedzie where a lot of drivers wait outside to change shifts. Take the Jackson bus a few blocks west to Central Park after visiting the church and walk north to see the grand old park district headquarters gold dome (go inside too), then continue north under the Green Line L tracks to the Garfield Park Conservatory. The spring flower show should be ongoing, assuming your visit is within the next couple of months. Take the Green Line (right at the corner) back downtown (if that's where you're staying.) You can get off at Clinton and walk back to Union Station, if you need to return there.
As others have noted, you want to watch where you're going and stay aware on the west side. But, I wouldn't be too scared of it, either. Act like you belong, know where you're going, and set out to get there, and everything ought to be ok...particularly during daytime. Between downtown and just a bit east of the basilica, around Western, it has significantly revived and regentrified along Jackson. The further west one continues, though, the more poverty you'll witness.