As a native New Yorker, and having spent just over a week traveling from west to east on our Whuffaoke tour, I must say that traffic as we travel through downtown Chicago at 6pm on a Thursday is making me very sentimental for my hometown.
This is my first trip to Chicago, and between the six-lane-wide traffic entering the city, the unfriendly drivers refusing to allow us into their lanes, the constant cutoffs from drivers zipping past us, and the utter gridlock of downtown, I can't help but miss good old NYC just a little bit.
Chicago Traffic, however, seems to be largely congestion-based, as opposed to the product of perpetual and omnipresent construction of many other cities. Boston Traffic, for instance, is marked by its association with the Big Dig, which understandably garners the rage of both citizens and denizens alike.
I actually didn't have too many problems with congestion. It only seems severe on the freeways, which can be avoided entirely if you know your way around the city. My problem is drivers don't look out for cyclists; I've been slammed by several doors and cars. One time it happened right in the middle of Clark Street, in the Loop! Chicago is a bicycle-heavy city, so drivers can't afford to fling their car doors open!