I'm looking for some route advice from Villa Park to down town.
i occasionally commute from Humboldt Park to Downers (am out, pm back in). not all of my route would overlap with yours, but i rode kedzie south to franklin, west on franklin to central park south. through garfield park to washington, then washington all the way west into Oak Park.
Once in OP, south on East (or one of it's eastern parallels) to Cermak where you hit Riverside Drive/Longcommon all the way to Forest/Washington/Harding westbound to the Salt Creek Path. That takes me over to York rd, and then the 31st street pathway to the office. Reverse is exactly the reverse.
Washington on the west side to me was easier than Lake mostly due to presence of bike lanes, lack of broken glass and the noise of the trains overhead. I'd try taking the prairie path to forest park, neighborhood streets up to Washington and then that all the way in.
There's traffic, parked cars and a higher speed limit (30 mph) on Washington thru Oak Park, so I tend to avoid that street in rush hour.
Always remember if you need to you can always hit the Blue Line at Forest Park. Go out the back (west) exit towards the cemetery. Go north the Madison and take that West to 1st Ave. Go back south on 1st Ave to head of the Prairie Path.
You may not be aware of this, but when you take the back (west) exit from the L station (street is called Van Buren), you can continue west thru the parking lot and that leads you to a path thru the cemetery which takes you to a pedestrian bridge over the river, and that goes to Maybrook Dr, which goes to 1st Ave and the Prairie Path. There's no need to go all the way around on Madison St.