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Service of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Access and Transit Task Force, Chair James Withrow, and its website
"Resources" includes a link index to all our transit and access pages, as well as links to many transit and related sites.

Transit and Access Website Homepage, Latest News and Updates
HPKCC program home. Committees. About HPKCC. Accessibility Hot Topics. Quality of Life Hot Topics.
Transit and Access Committee page. ALERTS- SEE ALERTS PAGE

From HPKCC Transit Task Force. Transit Task Force updates, reports. 2014 HP Parking and Transportation Study
To Parking Improvement District proposal page.
Al Klinger says Investment in transit, infrastructure key to building a world class city.
Contact service boards: see in CTA, Metra, RTA pages or the Transit Links pages.
Link index of active transportation pages: Links/Resources.

So Lakeft Cor Transit Study in pdf. Links, contacts... SEE ABOUT THIS AND PROP. JEFFERY RAP. BUS PILOT HRG. IN CTA PAGE.
Red Line Ryan closing planned
WALK AND ROLL 55TH ST. SIDEWALK SURVEY- read in pdf. Most of the issues have been addressed, a few have proven intractable.

Give Pace Feedback on Current Changes to Chicago Paratransit

Below you will find four opportunities to give Pace feedback on the current changes to Chicago Paratransit, along with the opportunity to discuss any personal concerns or problems you may have with the Chicago Pace ADA service. After brief budget hearings, Pace will conduct "listening sessions" for Chicago Pace riders to express their opinions, comments, concerns, and complaints. The two hearings closest to HP-K are at:

Budget Public Hearing - Thursday, October 20, 2016
3pm-5pm Arturo Velasquez Institute, Conference Center
2800 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60608

Budget Public Hearing - Monday October 24, 2016
6pm-8pm Olive Harvey College,Cafeteria
10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628

HPKCC with most other southeast and citywide transportation-intersted organizations, December 2015 released a letter calling for Metra Southside Improvements. See letter and signatories. The HPKCC Board passed the Resolution at its November 2015 meeting. HPKCC is a member of Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric.
HPKCC late 2015/Jan 2016 has signed on to the Letter for Metra improvement and joined the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric (CMME).
April 26, Tuesday, 11 am. HPKCC Transit Task Force meets with Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric at 1000 E. 111th St.

HPKCC, with CECD and the Southeast Coalition testified at the Metra board meeting July 22 2015 to push for a real seamless transfer system, as in the intent of the 2011. Read background, testimony and results, and media articles in Metratransferability. We believe this is an affordability and social justice issue.

No CTA cuts or fare increases for 2016. Budget hearing Nov. 16, 6 pm at hq 547? W. Lake St.

METRA FARE INCREASES COMING IN EARLY 2016 (once board approves; heaarings set. Proportionally more in Hyde Park Zone B- starting with one quarter per ride/ $3.75. CTA SAYS NO FARE INCREASES OR SERVICE CUTS ARE ANTICIPATED.

Metra announced its proposal, Thursday, to increase ticket costs by 2 percent for 2016 instead of the 5 percent increase that was originally proposed.

Hyde Park riders that use the Metra Electric line could be looking at paying between 2.5 to 7.1 percent more for their commutes downtown. Currently, a one-way ticket costs $3.50, but will be $3.75 with the new rates.

For riders who use the 10-ride option, a ticket increase of $1.75 will happen if the rates are passed, and monthly passes will increase by $2.50 at $102.25 per month.

The prices do not include the $3 sub charge for buying a ticket on the train, which will increase to $5 when Metra fully implements their mobile ticketing app.

The changes in rates are much less than the 2015 increase Metra implemented this past year, which was a 10.8 percent fare increase.

Metra will host a series of hearings this month to discuss the proposal. Chicago’s hearing will take place from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4 at Union Station, 500 W. Jackson St. Additional hearings are scheduled to take place in Joliet, Homewood/Flossmore, Hanover Park, Geneva and Woodstock.

CMAP has a new interactive site visualizing the gridlock points, needs, and GOTO2040 in various trans. modes-

Fare increases to Metra averaging 11% started Feb and March 2015 and similar increases the next 10 years to fund infrastructure, rolling stock and other needs was approved by the Metra board. The fare increases for close-inzones wil be a higher percentage (eventually c 168%) because the fares are said to be disproportionatly lower.
If Gov. DRauners' cuts were to enacted fares wil go through the sky and much service cut on Metra, CTA, and PACE.

Somehow in 2014 the federal government created a disparity between work-benefit pretax program for drivers and for transit riders (whose employers are in the program). The maximum pretax set side for transit riders is 130 ($?) vs 250 per month for parking. A coalition called Commuter Benefits Work for Us asks tranist riders to contact elected officials. Their website is

The big news in March 2014 were a crisis in confidence over Metra operations and the recommendtion by the Governor's Public Transportation Task Force to replace the 3 service boards and RTA with a super-agency. This will be long, possibly hardscabble fight.

Trolleys in our future? In August 2014 7 HP-K-W museums forming the new Museum Campus South are running a free trolley weekends 11am-4pm on a route covering these museums (MSI, OI/Robie House, Smart, Renaissance Soc., Logan, and.

SSA 61 tax district for 53rdd and 55th St. running a trolley service from the last weekend in November through December. A pkg and transp. study shows that 53rd is largely a walking street (yes traffic is bad) but not al can walk far and the business district is stretched out. A test is under considertion for the post Thanksgiving Small Business Saturday. to get linked to the survey contact South East Chicago Commission, 663 324-6926,
Trolley trial coming 2014 holiday shopping season (and the Shop Locally as announceced in next item). Presumably free, it is sponsored by the SSA 61 Special Tax distric commission.

The trolley goes both ways on 53rd between Lake Park and a turn around west of CVS at Kimbark with a loop east to S. Hyde Park, south to 55th, west to Lake Park, north on Lake Park and west again on 53rd. Should take about 15 minutes per circuit with stops at CVS, eastbond at Blackstone, Lake Park, 55th, Cornell, S. Hyde Park and 53rd, Harper, and CVS (or so it seems on a marked map.

Fridays and Saturdays 9 am-7 pm, certain Sundays- 10 am-6 pm on Nov 30 and 10 am-4 pm on Dec 21 and 28.
November 28, 29, 30, December 5, 6, Deceember 12, 13, December 19, 20, 21, December 26, 27, 28.

Summer 2014- RTA is extending renewal/switchover of the Benefit Access (was Circuit Breaker) free ride pass system for income-qualifying seniors and persons with disabilities. Those due July 1st ard now September 30, those in September now November. Request has to be done online at
The service agencies are complaining about the rising costs of free rides as riders have increased since the stasrt of the recession by tens of millions.
Metra is transitioning to a system in which people with Ventra cards can use them or contactless credit cards to pay for Metra rides. When rolled out by January, For Ventra at first it will work only from the retail credit card side, later from the debit card side.

Will Metra fares go up for 2015 YES and for each of the next 10 years- said t be for capital, but some dispute that.

The 43rd and 41st St. bridges over Lake Shore Drive (to the beach) will be constructed, at $22M ($8M more). 35t is under construction. And the #35 bus will go to the 31st beach (via 39th?) in summer.

In April 2014 Cook County put out it's recommendations of integrated projects.

A shuttle serves those with UC ID - 53rd St. (westward), Ellis, the Midway and back starting November 1. From Nov. 1. 7 am-6 pm.

****May 8 2013 the CTA Board approved a 5-year renewal of the contract between U of C and CTA to operate the 4 local routes- 170, 171, 172, and 192.

Woes of the #28 and #15. People including shoppers who go to Lake Park and 55th or 53rd seeking the 28 are still dismayed a year later to find it not there but on S HPB during rush hour and there seeming not to be dependable switchover times.

University, SECC, and 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns inaugurated a Parking and Transportation Study Committee, with broad representation from community organizations. Pedestrian and all-modes friendliness, and determination of real parking needs with development in progress or planned in the 53rd Ellis to S Hyde Park Blvd. and Lake Park E. Hyde Park to 55th St. corridors that are the main focus. The committee commissioned a study from T.Y. Lin that was expected to be finished by early 2014, with public meetings on any recommendations to be held.
Transportation and parking are important to our business and community and development and safety- SECC and an advisory council, funded by U of C, contracted with TY Linn to conduct a study. The findings and strategies were unveiled at the July 24 2014 TIF meeting. Next steps and actions will be worked out by SECC, meetings with the city, and public forums. Find the report and Power Point in PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT. Also the Hersal (Andrew Holzman) videotaped the meetng- that's avaiable at
According to Herald summary (July 30),
the Study found plenty of parking, but hidden or inaccessible to the general public. In all HPK there are 4,429 spaces-- 1,759 on streets and 2,670 in lots (all private- HPK has no public lots since that at Harper Ct. was sold and developed). The Report says that the premise of the report's commissioners (SECC) is that any traffic or parking problems from development can be absorbed, or reduced by discouraging automobiles, making parking more efficient, and encouraging alternative ways of getting around. (The Report indicates this is mostly true, but not for heavy development in the west-central part of HP- see below). Weekdays free on street parking is at 77% of capacity, 82% on Saturday while the paid on street parking is only 51% filled on weekdays- though 77% on Saturday, same as for the free. Public paid lots (almost equal in volume to paid street) is just 37% full weekdays and just 26% on Saturday.

Richard Gill of SECC board led the advisory group and moderated the July 2014 presentation. Presenter was Jim Considine of TY Lin. The later was the only responder to the RFP and by far the "gold standard." Lin works for communities, not developers, but gives findings and strategies based on conditions,metrics and best practices, not recommendations- communities have to determine their plans. It works worldwide, locally in Evanston and DesPlaines. Noted was that funding and time were limited, even considering that UC students and resident volunteers were engaged for on-ground surveys (starting with areal surveys). So they focused on parking (which really does matter in a community's well being and development) but did not ignore the whole "complete streets," transit, and multimodal picture. Noted: this study was a snapshot with only Harper Court of the big 3 expected developments, and that barely open and its public parking as yet little utilized.

Existing conditions. The track was to look at assets and conditions, produce strategies that the community could use to determine changes based on community preference. Pointed out is that CMAP (the regional land and transportation planning agency) has outdated projections-- little population or job growth for HPK over the next 30 years-- with result that unless they can be convinced to update, will limit the resources available to adjust change or adjust to change here. Noted also was that Hyde Park is much more dense than the citywide average as well as jobs per square mile. Yet our use of transit (especially the rail-- Metra at a meager 50% of utilization and especially low for people coming INTO Hyde Park) is lower than most of Chicago and while we have one the the strongest job centers on the South Side (UC) we have poor connections to such others as Midway Airport, IIT and UIC university and medical center. The connections are mostly north-south in general and specifically to downtown.

Parking inventory. A starting point is that 85% utilization of a street or facility is considered the full capacity point-- after that people are circling. (Roger Huff pointed out that parking is too cheap if the facility is at 95% and too expensive when much below 85%, according to such experts as Mr. Shoup of California). Parking was divided by type: free on street, metered on street, public pay lots or garages, private-use lots or garages, and shared-use. Some patterns that emerged are that parking supply is heaviest nearest the Metra/Lake Park Avenue spine.
Onstreet parking, especially free, tends to be full and at the capacity mark.
On street parking is the largest proportion of parking west
(away from transit)- and there there are few off street lots and most of them are private and difficult to make shared-use. Some the findings are likely skewed by low use of the public parking in Harper Court, which charges $4 an hour. Noted by others- valet parking for the Theater at $4 an hour was also shunned.

Complete Streets. 53rd appears to be attractive to walking already-- half of the traffic is pedestrian vs. vehicles. (Audience members pointed out that many find it hard or inconvenient to walk several blocks to spread-out favorite stores or restaurants and would like a "3rd choice" beyond bikes, like a trolley. But is was noted there is room for more friendliness to bikes and recommended was modern zebra striping of crosswalks.
Lake Park, on the other hand is definitely an auto street.

Possible Strategies.

Improve parking utilization (don't increase supply) by such means as sharing institutional lots via 3rd party management.
Use demand pricing as possible.
Get as many private facilities as possible to share use including at night.
Look at eliminating or waiving public regulations such as those requiring developers to have too much parking (resulting in expensive oversupply for which they have to charge high, resulting in tenant/owner flight to overfill free street parking). Noted- some of the new developments are indeed providing more even than the regulations require.
In connection with above, push developers to reduce their parking and share with other facilities. NOTED- IN WEST HYDE PARK THERE ARE FEW SUCH FACILITIES OR SHARABLE ONES AND ON STREET PARKING IS HEAVILY USED- that is a limit needing attention.
Tied to above- encourage transit-linked development, develop close to the Metra-Lake Park spine. (question raised but not addressed- to what extent do the internal and external bus routes act as transit applicable to these equations?)
Make 53rd St. greener, safer, more multi-modal. (Any strategies for Lake Park and its expected increase in signals?)

Apply Complete Streets principles and strategies (see next section).
Persuade CMAP to revise its projections.

Complete Streets for Sustainable Development:
Retrofit, calm intersections and cross walks
Support and make room for alternative modes.
Move away from parking lots in front of retail.
Encourage employees and others coming to the neighborhood to use transit.
Encourage transit oriented, transit-close (1/4 mile) development

Questions and comments. Many focused on getting developers to limit or balance their impacts including shared use parking and not doing things that encourage tenants to turn to street parking while expensive lots/garages go empty. Also discussed was maximizing alternatives so all people's needs are met-- touted was trolley (there will be a survey on use). The Gray/Gold Line idea for Metra utilization upgrade and tying in to CTA was discussed.
Asked was web access to the study (in http.// and one or more forums on best plans-- will follow discussion with city experts and possibly a meeting of advisory board with SECC board. Note that Mr. Considine and Mr. Gill frankly said the study was focused (partly for reasons of funds) and the many more components have to brought into the mix.


The shocker in November 2012 wass transit fares. Metra's is not so bad, basically that you will now pay for 10 fares worth on the 10-ride pass.
CTA, despite agreement with unions to save $60 million, has sharply raised fares on the passes, 1 day all the way to monthly by up to 74%. Also steep on all discounted fares for the elderly and seniors (a small reduction for students). Most hurt will be poor and homeless people who will now have to pay $10 rather than $5.75 for a one-day or else have to pay for each leg of their journey under the standard one-ride ($2.25). Also hurt are working poor who depend on monthly or 7-day passes. Also hit are tourists coming from O'Hare (fare more than doubled to $5) and specialized trips such as the White Sox express.
Hearings- December 10, 6 pm, 567 W. Lake. Dec. 17, 6 pm Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd.

CTA and PACE are complaining about the skyrocketing costs of paratransit, called unsustainable as seniors multiply inter alia. Some are being trained to use regular transportation.

South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study final report meeting. Happened. project evaluation results and the draft recommendations of the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study. The study has focused on improving public transportation and enhancing Transit-Oriented Development in order to enhance mobility for residents and increase access to jobs within the South Lakefront Corridor. It is the third in a series of meetings. We want to hear from you. Mtg. Presentation (long doc in pdf). SHORT version.
For more information please visit our website and follow us on Facebook
WHAT happened? Final selection was not announced. There were plenteous poster boards that had additional info on selected example projects prioritized by one of the advisory groups. The PowerPoint slide shows will be posted online (not up yet July 3).
Of particular interest to HPK was the additional detail / research / estimates regarding:
-possible BRT on 55th Garfield to Midway Airport (seems to be mixed use east of Cottage to Metra) connecting with a BRT on Cottage Grove. They are seeking a 25-35% time reduction on 55th.
-Metra Grayline/Gold Line (to keep the cost estimate down they shifted the mid-day/off peak frequency from 10 min to 15-20 minute headings)
Final report was if issued may be the two below- but several bus and rail route improvements and the possibility of a CTA lease of Metra along the south lakefront was included both in the 2014 draft Cook County plan and the 2014 Centers for Neighbrohood Tedhnology study ways to cut down on whast it calls transit deserts.

Hyde Park's Divvy Bike Coral will be in front of Medici on 57th, 1372 E. 57th St. The 10-bike rack will take up approx. one parking space.

Walk and Roll sidewalk survey. Final report on the 55th St. inspection.




Where to go to find out reroutes, closures etc. NotifyChicago.
To sign up

Create account at or Twitter@CTA.



September 1. End has happened for "all" seniors ride free. It looks like the end is August 31 for those earning over $27,000 ($36,000 couple). You should have received either the new free card or a thin-plastic (very fragile) card with photo that you must put into the slot, either with the half fare or if it is loaded the fare will be deducted.

Some places to personally load the cards are at the Green or Red line 55th/Garfield stations, Via 55 bus or at Museum of Science and Industry by the elevator on the lower level. DON'T PUT MUCH MONEY ON THIS FRAGILE CARD- CRINKLES EASILY. And you have to put full fare on it-- the discounting is done by the insert machine on the bus or train.

But, you do not have to go to a CTA vending machine or selected CTA train and bus stops in order to add money to your Senior Reduced-Fare permit.
You can purchase reduced-fare cards online. They will initially mail fare cards for $15.30. You can also purchase a 30-day reduced-fare card online ($35 for one month). See and download the relevant pdf file at the CTA web site. It has instructions on cash, adding money to your permit, or buying the fare cards online.
You may insert the fare card when you get on the bus, and simultaneously you show your Reduced Fare photo permit to the bus driver.
This is the link for information about all of this including the pdf file: and this is the PDF file on their link which you can download:
Also, you can buy a pack of Reduced Fare cards at Walgreen's. For $15 you get a pack of two cards each worth $8.50. The I.D. card seems far too flimsy to go through a bunch of reloadings and Walgreens is so convenient. (Carry the ID in case you are asked for some ID.)
Also available at Museum of Science and Industry lower level by the west elevator, currency exchange at 1371 E. 53rd, and train stations on 55th St. or downtown or any.

Sign up for Chicago Card Plus I-Go Card and get a big discount. to Feb 29.

Sharp fare increases UP TO 25% expected on Metra for Feb. 2012- see in Metra page, including letters about. PACE says no increase.
And CTA at least not until well into 2012, says Forrest Claypool. And state still owes the agencies over $300M despite release of over $100M.
Will state's pattern of late payments to RTA lead to service cutbacks at PACE, CTA, and Metra? Already making cutbacks, layoffs. CTA also laying off.

Cost of Metra-CTA link up pass (paid to Metra) going up, higher proportion goes to CTA.

February 1, the cost of Link-Up connecting to CTA and PACE from Metra and sold by Metra goes up $6, from $39 to $45. The percentage to CTA increases from 70% to 85%. PACE will continue to get 15%. Link-Up serves 2.8 million CTA rides a year (88,310 passes in 2010) or less than 1% and 220,000 annual PACE rides. Still, it's important especially to many South Siders who work in suburbs and will tide over until 2015 rollout of universal cards (which fits into the Gold Line demands for improved Metra utilization). The increase in price and CTA share should raise $500,000 for CTA.


5800 Stony southbound bus stop eliminated during construction (to mid 2013)

Gov. Quinn signed into law mandate for universal fare card by the end of 2013.

U of C/CTA routes, schedules/routes/changes and about. See UC Routes page. UC interface is that the CTA UC contract runs out summer 2011.
Gold Line update
State passes 5-year capital program.
Call for innovative ideas, April 2010

All routes and their maps:
Here is the link for winter cta routes and schedules now in effect:




Construction starts incl. removal of c 50 parking spaces late week of June 18 or week of June 25- 55th St. Bike Lanes.

HPKCC convenes a quarterly meeting of neighborhood civic organizations. Here is what they think is ahead or needs watching: March 2012:

Expected is a public meeting soon on recommendations of the RTA South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study. Transparency seems, according to this group's members to have vanished. Watch for bus-rapid-transit recs. for 55th and for Cottage Grove, but the RTA seems to be backing off Metra/Gold Line recommendations, saying they would cost a billion and result in only a 10% increase in ridership. The group SOUL will be meeting with Ald. Burns on these matters.

More information is needed on the mandated universal transfer between transit services.

The transit group wants to work with other breakout groups, Conference committees and organizations on a bike safety education program. This affects also disabilities, safety, and schools.....

Identify intersections needing traffic studies, especially of pedestrian crossing (incl. with Active Transportation Alliance)- another cross-disciplinary initiative. 53rd and Kenwood was pointed out.

Convene an interorganizational, interdisciplinary (incl. safety, disabilities, schools, business) meeting and task force for congestion and multi-modal interaction planning-- bikes, cars, trolleys, parking, ped, transit-- for an integrated neighborhood transportation system. Action- meeting planning to start

Chicago Kidical Mass banded family bike rides and training. The next is in Washington Park Aug. 26, Sunay, 10:30 am. Can registre ahead at

South Lakefront Transportation Corridor Study (Gold Line being one consideration). April 13 2011 there was an input opportunity and presentation at IIT 4:30 and 6:30- Almost all conceivable concerns were being taken into consideration or were raised. Input is still being taken and will proceed to recommendations by the end of the year-- probably quick fixes and a set of recommendations with costs. Comment at Brenda McGruder at CDOT, 312 744-6139.
Here is the link to the post meeting city report
See report by Gary Ossewaarde of HPKCC.

See report on 2nd meeting in CTA page.
Study's report on Sept. public meeting-

South Lakefront Corridor Transportation Study opportunity for public input and information. Information in a March 30 Red Eye- More links:

Hyde Park Herald report April 20, 2011. South Side transit fixes examined. By Sam Cholke

The public transit agencies want to solve the transportation problems in neighborhoods between 22nd Street and 95th Street east of the Dan Ryan expressway, but first they're tying to figure out how residents ride teh buses, el and trains and what solutions people would use.

The Chicago departments of Transportation and Housing and Economic Development have hired five consulting firms to compile studies from Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority an other agencies to get a holistic view of the Southeast Side. The first results were presented April 13 a the Illinois Institute of Technology and showed that, though transit options largely serve the area well, it is not clustered around people or jobs.

In the 12 neighborhoods being studied, most people live in South Shore -- one in five Southeast Side residents -- and more than half of the jobs are in Hyde Park, with a significantly smaller job hub in Douglas [IIT].

Many residents still have to travel out of the area for work and because fewer households own a car than the city average, more trips are by public transit, usually a bus downtown. The No. 6 Jackson Park Express bus, with 11,200 riders yearly, serves nearly as many passengers as the Green Line. The Jeffery.. Express [#14] from South Shore serves more than both. For these riders, the system works relatively well -- there are a lot of good options to get downtown. But as the Illinois Medical District and Midway Airport continue to hire from the area, the local transit options continue to be bad at connecting to the Southwest and West Sides.

The transit system was found to be worst on South Cottage Grove Avenue between 35th Street and Garfield Boulevard, especially at Pershing Road, a commercial strip where officials have aggressively pursued developing retail. [The study also cited congestion on Cottage at 58th St.] To shop, most residents don't use the public transit system, unless an errand requires going downtown, the study found.

During the open call for solutions, the audience repeatedly suggested the Gold Line project, an idea for Metra's South Chicago Electric Line first broached by Michael Payne in the 1990s. "It would be functionally the same as an el line. The only difference would be riding one of the new high-liner cars with a Metra decal on the side." Payne said, standing before the audience of about 100. Payne's idea for a CTA fare system and 10-minute wait times for the line gained attention during the run-up to Chicago's Olympic bid and continues to be advocated by many in the area. "It could probably take 20 minutes off my commute time," said Lamar Scruggs, who lives in Hyde Park and commutes downtown to DePaul University for school. After the meeting, representatives from transit agencies said that even if the current study recommends the Gold Line, each agency would need to do its own lengthy study of the project, and there are more immediate concerns.

To keep the current transit options running in the area running without any expansion, CTA will need $1.3 billion over the next 10 years. Metra will need $1.8 billion to keep the two southern branches of he Electric District running for the next 10 years. "I would like to see the study concentrate on what can be done without focusing on physical facilities, things like policies," suggested Richard Gill, a member of the South East Chicago Commission. The transit agencies are quietly hoping for the same thing as Gill. Agency reps said they were hoping the study would suggest smaller solutions they could implement immediately, like improving the underutilized bus lines connecting Hyde Park and the el lines in Washington Park. ...

Public-Private Partnerships and regulation bill passes, awaits signature.

by Peter Skosey, MPC. Chat & Mobile Text[Hide]I am Available1 Online Contact[Add]Gary Ossewaarde - Not Listed? New Chat1 Mobile Contact[Add]Randy Ossewaarde ammeraalusa.comNot Listed? New TextSettings
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ReplyReply AllMove... Flag this messagePublic-Private Partnerships Legislation passes in Springfield!Friday, June 3, 2011 10:19 AMFrom: "" <>Add sender to Contacts To:

Thanks to all of you, the Illinois General Assembly has passed the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for Transportation Act (HB 1091), an it's now on its way to Gov. Quinn for signature. Many thanks to the bill's chief's sponsors, Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines) and Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), for their commitment and leadership.

But wait, we still need your help! Please call Governor Quinn's office at (217) 782-6830 and urge him to sign this landmark legislation.

What is the PPP Act?

The Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for Transportation Act (House Bill 1091) promotes the sound development and operation of transportation facilities in Illinois, by authorizing public-private partnerships for construction of new transportation infrastructure projects and limiting the lease of existing infrastructure assets. Authorizing public-private partnerships will allow Illinois to seek new sources of investment capital and more efficiently deliver infrastructure improvements, to improve our transportation system to better serve the needs of Illinois residents and businesses.

"Tolling, pricing, and public-private partnerships present effective strategies on their own. But when they're linked, they offer enormous opportunities to address the transportation challenges facing our country."
~Victor Mendez, FHWA Administrator, U.S. DOT

What does the PPP Act do?

· The Illinois General Assembly must approve all potential PPP projects prior to issuing RFQs or FRPs.
· All projects considered for public-private partnerships must be consistent with the corresponding region’s plan, provided the region has a Metropolitan Planning Organization.
· The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will conduct an independent review of all project proposals prior to final approval of a public-private partnership to ensure it serves the public’s interest.

· The Illinois Tollway cannot lease existing assets.
· In cases where the project pertains to an existing transportation facility, the contractor will adhere to all existing employee contracts and obligations.
· Property belonging to the State of Illinois is not subject to taxation.


Governor Quinn has signed the law change so seniors will pay half fare rather than free unless they are under the circuit breaker (c. 27,000 a year single, 36 couple, 45 3 or more). Here are details from the RTA Feb. 25, 2011.

Those with circuit breakers (ind. under $27,610, couple under 26,635, 3+ under $45,657) and have cards will seamlessly continue to ride free with their cards. There will be various notice procedures for those who may have to show qualification.

Those who do not qualify under circuit breaker but have senior transit cards will continue to use their current cards until 180 days or notification and will be notified. There will be an RTA administered procedure for them to get new cards and pay the following fares:

.85 or $1 on CTA, .85 on Pace, and 1/2 of as-published on Metra (but $1.00 for within Zone A).


Airport service as of October 2010

Two local companies, GO Airport Express and Omega Airport Shuttle, have announced a joint venture starting October 25, that calls for Omega’s south side O’Hare and Midway services to operate under the GO Airport Express banner.

In addition to greater frequency and more convenient scheduling, Hyde Park and near South Side residents will be able to book on-line for door-to-door pick ups and returns from home or office as well one of Omega’s regularly scheduled Hyde Park stops.

Omega’s Jeff Smith will retain ownership of the company along with Illinois Commerce Commission authority for the routes. Omega will continue to operate its scheduled shuttle service between O¹Hare and Midway.

Our customers will enjoy a better, faster service, explains Smith, who has owned Omega for 13 years. “They’ll also have the ability to book return trips at the walk-up counters at O’Hare and Midway.”

Other new benefits include membership in the GO Airport Shuttle Preferred Rider Program, which offers free rides as well as AAdvantage® miles.

Among the service areas are the South Loop, Chinatown, Hyde Park, University of Chicago, IIT and other near south locations. Regular stops are made at Q Club, 1155 E. 57th Street; Rockefeller Chapel, 59th & Woodlawn; International House, 1414 E. 59th Street; Windermere Hotel, 1642 E. 56th St.; Shoreland Hotel, 5454 South Shore; DelPrado Hotel, 5300 S. Hyde Park Blvd.; Market in the Park bus shelter, 5050 S. Lake Shore Drive, and Ramada Inn, 4900 Lake Shore Drive.

GO Airport Express is part The GO Group, the nation’s largest airport transportation provider, serving some 60 airports in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe and transporting more than 13 million passengers per year.

Reservations for the new South Side service can be made by calling 888-2THEVAN or at

Transportation enhancements for the area were announced by Rep. Currie November 15, 2010.

"Our District did well in the competition for federal Transit Enhancement Projects. The legislature has appropriated the federal funds, and the winners were announced last week. The Illinois Department of Transportation will develop a separate bicycle track along Stony Island Avenue between 69th and 77th Streets. Parking lanes will be reconfigured, so that opening the car door won't risk harm to a cyclist, and a bike lane will be installed along the curb lane. Next, a bicycle trail from Stony Island to the existing lakefront trail will be built near 59th Street. These two projects, with several other improvements, will provide a protected connection between Hyde Park and other southeast side neighborhoods to the lakefront trail---thus all the way to McCormick Place, downtown Chicago and beyond. Our third winner is the continuation of the streetscape on Lake Park Avenue, between 47th and 56th Streets. Safer bus stops and attractive embankments are on the drawing board as are new lighting, new sidewalks and improved landscaping for the 47th and 56th Street viaducts.

"Courtesy of I-GO, our nonprofit car-sharing program, I had a chance to drive the all-electric Mitsubishi i-Miev last month. I-GO plans to add 30 all-electrics to its current fleet of 250 fuel-efficient cars. I-GO, an affiliate of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, is focused on reducing the number of cars on city streets and cutting down pollution. The car was a treat to drive, but it's unbelievably quiet. I worry that, without adding a bell or a whistle, an unsuspecting pedestrian could be in trouble. The biggest problem with the electric car is the need for car-charging stations. Home chargers are impracticable. Some gasoline stations are looking into the opportunity to install them, and the City of Chicago has asked companies to bid to provide them. The bid includes 36 car-chargers for I-GO."

August 2010. Opportunity is gone to comment on CMAP's Regional transportation and development/resources plan.
Go To 2040 is up for adoption final adoption and submission the feds in October 2010. There are five goal/subjects.
The plan is avowedly conservative in the sense of mentioning only fundable and high-consensus projects (except those for Lake Co. may have fights), and favoring upgrades and upkeep over large new starts. It shifts the balance somewhat toward managed and congestion-priced corridors and toward transit. Congestion and pollution mitigation are big. There is some for alternative transportation. It calls for scrapping the 55-45 downstate-NE formula. The plan also has much stressing sustainable and transit-friendly development and resource and land management.
It appears not to have anything for the southeast quadrant of the city except Red Line extension from 95th to 130th.
See the plan at

GO TO 2040 will guide growth in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties for the rest of this century. In addition to land use and transportation, GO TO 2040 also addresses the full range of quality-of-life issues, including the natural environment, economic development, housing, and human services such as education, health care, and other social services.

Between June 11 and August 6, 2010, partners, residents, and stakeholders have an opportunity to provide input on the draft GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan for northeastern Illinois.

To share GO TO 2040 in more detail with the region's residents, CMAP will host a series of public meetings and we hope you can join us to learn more about and provide feedback for the regional plan at the following informational event near you:
Chicago/Cook County
August 3, 2010 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
CMAP Office Cook County Room 233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60606

Each open house features a short plan overview presentation by CMAP staff, followed by a question-and-answer period. This is the final public meeting but if you are unable to join us for this informational meeting, you may also review the plan and submit comments through August 6, 2010 on the GO TO 2040 website,

We will also hold smaller briefings for partner organizations. Please contact me at or 312-386-8816 for information. After incorporating this final public input, we will present the GO TO 2040 plan for approval by the CMAP Board and MPO Policy Committee in October. And then the work of implementing its recommendations will begin, and the region will be counting on your continued support and involvement.

Be sure to have your say before the comment period closes. We look forward to your involvement. Remember we cannot plan for the future without you!

Best Regards, Erin Aleman
Senior Planner

July 12 the 53rd TIF supported with $87,000 engineering and design study to open Harper Ave. to through traffic, and wider inpact of the same. Said to be desired in addition to necessity for Harper Court redevelopment.

Shoesmith School held a test during the remainder of the school year 2010 of limiting traffic on 5oth St. to school drop off and pick up only for each 15 minute peak periods (morning 8:45-9 am). It worked.

Zipcars has expanded to 14 cars on campus. Between Zipcars and I-Go, there is plenty of opportunity from several locations in Hyde Park to have occasional use of a car. See in ShareCar page.

Some have cited evidence that the South Side is being disproportionally hit by the CTA cuts. Overall, effects have been uneven. There is little likelihood so far that the unions will make concessions despite lay off of over 1,000. Is a worse crisis coming with non-payment by the state? And the House voted Thursday to eliminate free bus rides except to truly needy seniors, but it is unclear that the Senate or Governor will go along.

March 2010 Congress passed the HIRE bill that funds the Surface Transportation Fund through 2010 and makes it solvent through 2011. So the remaining 58% of allocations can now go forward. The general transportation reauthorization bill has not yet passed.

Depending on which way you look at it, seniors lucked out or again fail to pull their weight as a state Senate committee fails in April 2010 to pass return of seniors to half fare except those who qualify for circuit breaker tax relief. Actual seniors appear divided on the issue.

Starting Sept. 9 09, you can now buy Metra tickets on line with credit cards. CTA passes are available at many local stores

Will there be an effect from 1) the early 2010 resolution introduced in the State Senate for Metra trains stopping at all stations and creating some competition and service increase by allowing the South Shore to pick up any passengers at their Illinois stops or from 2) a lawsuit in early 2010 alleging funding and service bias against minority communities throughout the region, including by an alleged unfair share going to Metra?

Doomsday is partly averted again in 2010-cuts in frequency may be the big problem. Meanwhile there is on going conflict with PACE over disabilities service. Also, Metra Electric fares are going up.

Some highlights of CTA doomsday from print media: Rides cost $7 and tax take is down %30 percent. Lost to seniors and others free: $39m.

Fare hikes: Averted: Fare hikes, fares being frozen for two years under a bond issue agreement brokered by Gov. Quinn, RTA, and CTA.

Service cuts: Some are finalized some not.

110 of 150 routes and trains- less frequent service -waiting times could increase dramatically. Presumably the strongest impact will be in mid day and later evening.
Certain: Cut in hours on 41 bus routes (morning and evening, 25 mins. to 3 hours + but here mainly #6, #15, #28 will start at 4 am (vs 3:30 for 28) and end at 12:30 vs present 1:30/1:45 ).
Certain: Elimination of express service on 9 routes, here X3, X4, X55.

UC students have created website "heat maps" of changes in travel time by neighborhoods and blocks. Effects seem to be light at rush hour but not so good at night even with no cuts to "owl" night routes.

HPKCC supports RTA South Lakefront Corridor Study.

(This will be undertaken RFP went out summer 2010; whether there will be progress on Gold Line or other options is a guess. Meanwhile resolutions and lawsuits seek more access to service along lines in minority communities or to rebalance the taxing powers and subsidies. )

Sent October 20, 2009 to RTA Funding Programs Public Comment

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference wishes to communicate its support for RTA's proposed study of the South Lakefront Corridor:

Whereas public transportation is vital to the residents, businesses and non-profit institutions located in Southeast Chicago, and
Whereas it is important to take advantage of all the existing transit resources in Southeast Chicago, and
Whereas Southeast Chicago enjoys an unusual, for Chicago, combination of Metra and CTA transit operations, AND
Whereas the Regional Transit Authority is best-placed to encourage collaboration among the transit agencies to improve the speed and reliability of public transportation in our region,
the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference hereby resolves that the RTA should be encouraged to commit to the South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study.

Jay N. Ammerman, President

HPKCC has requested a community meeting on reopening 57th St. Stony to Lake Park to 2-way traffic. Such a meeting is being planned.

Conversion of the Lakefront to pay parking progresses. But Ald. Hairston made a deal to use ald. menu money to keep 100 spots free at 63rd St. beach. Lots of people are upset with this and the parking machines and charge increases in general.

U of C has returned route 171 to its original route in East Hyde Park thus again limiting its interface for people wanting to go to 53rd St. business district but increasing daytime frequency even though all the public routes now end at 6 pm. The new route #200 southwest into Woodlawn is private, not CTA. 173 to north side and 174 to rapid transit are gone, replaced by a student shuttle to Roosevelt Rd.

The watchword now is "Complete Streets." Any changes and planning must now take into account everything from property line to property line including walks, striping, signage, proper accommodation for all modes and needs of less-abled and elderly.

Stimulus funds will help CTA with new buses, the Blue Line, maybe more. Some is surely for Metra.

Call for projects that enhance... April 2010

Dear Partner For Transit, from Moving Beyond Congestion. April 7, 2010.

We are soliciting prospective projects for our Funding Programs Call for Projects which will begin today, April 7, 2010. These programs provide financial support for planning, operating, and capital transit projects.

The Call for Projects will allow potential applicants an opportunity to pitch project ideas that are innovative and will increase transit usage, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the region's current transit system, provide for better mobility for seniors and people with disabilities, or improve job access.

Prospective projects should be located within the six-county RTA service region which consists of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Last year, the RTA allocated more than $11 million in federal, state and local funding to support innovative projects that offered a plethora of transit options to applicants through transit-oriented development and local transit improvement plans, introduction of services and capital improvements.

Visit the RTA Funding Programs webpage at for general background information and to download an application.

All projects funded through the following programs are consistent with the legislative mandates and the RTA's updated strategic plan. The programs range from planning studies and initiatives to transit operating and capital projects.

Community Planning Program
The Community Planning Program is available to municipalities to create plans for local station area/transit-oriented development (TOD), local transit improvement, TOD guidelines, local coordinated paratransit plans and detailed implementation studies. More information regarding the Community Planning Program can be found at

Subregional Planning Program
The Subregional Planning Program is available to counties, townships, councils of Mayors, the City of Chicago, and the CTA, Metra, and Pace. Eligible planning projects include Subregional and market focused plans such as transit service restructuring studies or efforts focused on developing specific market opportunities; countywide or Subregional transit improvement studies, transit-oriented development studies and paratransit studies. More information regarding the Subregional Planning Program can be found at

Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) / New Freedom (NF) Program
The JARC/NF program is available to local governments, transportation agencies, and the CTA, Metra and Pace for operating and capital projects derived from the RTA Coordinated Public Transit Human Services Transportation Plan (HSTP) that enhance mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, and low income populations, address reverse commute markets and/or provide access to jobs. More information regarding the JARC/NF Program can be found at

Innovation, Coordination and Enhancement (ICE) Program
The ICE Program is a competitive funding program, established as part of the 2008 Mass Transit Reform Legislation. The program provides operating and capital assistance to enhance the coordination and integration of public transportation and to develop and implement innovations to improve the quality and delivery of public transportation. Projects funded through this program advance the vision and goals of the RTA Strategic Plan by providing reliable and convenient transit services and enhancing efficiencies through effective management, innovation and technology. More information regarding the ICE Program can be found at


April 2, 2009. A down payment on a state capital plan for transportation uses state funds to leverage federal stimulus funds- total $3 billion. Gov. Quinn has signed it. It includes $490 for transit and a sizeable amount to the city for streets and potholes. Known local projects so far include Lake Park Avenue. The capital package includes a mix of state funds and federal stimulus dollars received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to provide for a new multi-year capital program for roads, bridges and mass transit. The $3 billion state portion of the capital program is made possible by bonding $200 million in Road Fund dollars and another $100 million from the General Revenue Fund. RTA (Moving Beyond Congestion) says.
July 2009: It is unclear how much of the 5-year 31 billion state capital budget passed in July 2009 will go the CTA and the other agencies- much will go to start up high speed rail. $18 billion is for transportation, leveraging about $4 billion in federal funds and are partially covered by transportation user fees. The ratio for transit is improved to 1 in 4 dollars. The downside according to Metropolitan Planning Council, is that money allocated by the new capital plan is not coupled with spending reforms to evaluate the merits of projects against state goals. HB2359 - now HB4590 - outlines a process by which transportation projects should be selected and evaluated. The bill should have been passed in tandem with the Illinois Jobs Now program. Because it was never called for a House vote, lawmakers did not have the opportunity to approve these critical reforms that would change the way we spend limited capital dollars. Another question is how much is "shovel-ready."

Moving Beyond Congestion says, Northeastern Illinois' transit agencies will receive $2.7 billion in funding through a combination of investments approved in early April and the just-signed capital plan. The regional transit system needs to replace outdated vehicles and equipment, deteriorating rail ties and tracks and aging stations, resulting in slow zones and less reliable service.
The service boards have already announced plans for the state capital and federal stimulus funds they have received this year. Investments will include rehabilitating and purchasing new train cars and locomotives, new buses and paratransit vehicles, remodeling and expanding stations, parking lots and other facilities. Additional infrastructure such as communications, signals and electronic systems will also be upgraded. Riders should see improvements in service in the near term and throughout the five-year program. We will follow up to send details about the funded projects.

The state capital funds will help address critical maintenance needs and move the system toward a state of good repair, but additional capital dollars will be needed to expand the system and add new services to meet growing demand for public transit. Also at the federal level, the RTA is working with the service boards and the Illinois Congressional delegation to dedicate funding for northeastern Illinois transit in the surface transportation bill that is being developed in Congress.

For a full summary of the Illinois Jobs Now! plan, visit

The latest revival of the Gray Line Lite concept (now Gold Line) was cast in Olympics context, by the 5th Ward Olympics Task Force and by a wider Southsiders Organizing for Unity and Liberation, became part of a newly launched umbrella Communities for Equitable Olympics. The plan includes 10 minute service, Visit Chamber, HPKCC sign on. Kudos to James Withrow and Linda Thisted. (Description of similar concepts started by Mike Payne are in our Gray Line page.) Note: These kinds of transportation improvements, which involve getting agencies to work together and find areas where priorities can converge are always next to impossible.

April 13, 2011, Wednesday, 4-8 pm. South Lakefront Corridor Transportation Study opportunity for public input and information. Sponsors may include RTA, CMAP, MPO, CTA, Metra. At Illinois Institute of Technology's Atrium of University Technology Park #117, 3440 S. Dearborn St. Information in a March 30 Red Eye-

Here is an update drawn from the July 7 2009 Red Eye:

...a coalition of South Side activists also would like to commute for the Gold. Underserved by rapid transit, residents there would benefit from a proposed "gold Line," an innovative hybrid of both Metra and the CTA, according to Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, or SOUL. With the city bidding or the 2016 Games, the line also would serve key Olympic venues, say SOUL members, who represent more than 20 churches and community organizations. "The project would help support the needs of thousands of people on the South Side," said Dhyia Thompson, co-chair of the group's Gold Line Task Force. Although the Olympics served as inspiration, the real goal is better access to jobs -- especially downtown and in the suburbs -- as well as improve transportation options, supporters say. Parts of the South Side, particularly neighborhoods close to the lakefront and south of Jackson Park are among the city's most populated and the most in need of additional rapid transit, SOUL believes.

Under the group's Gold Line plan, more frequent trains would be provided on the Metra Electric District Line [South Chicago Branch}. The plan also calls for allowing transfers between Metra trains and CTA buses and adding a new station at 35th street. The proposal faces a number of obstacles. These include securing funding, overcoming a historic lack of cooperation between Metra and the CTA and even proving the line is needed.

SOUL estimates that implementing the Gold Line would cost $159 million [far less than the other new lines described later here and with a larger pool of riders]. this would pay for adding 26 Electric District Highliner cars for $91 million a well a for new tracks, station upgrades and fare equipment [all arguably desirable anyway]. But funding for big ticket mass transit projects is already scarce to non-existent, experts say. the Regional Transportation Authority has lobbied vigorously for a $10 billion, five-year capital plan to maintain and expand transit systems, but the legislature this spring came up with a "status quo" $2.7 billion capital package.

But the bulk of the money for the Gold Line or any other major capital project would have to come from the federal government. Metra and th CTA already have projects in the planning stages that those agencies say would help the underserved Southeast Side and south suburbs and would bolster public transportation for the Olympic venues.

One project, Metra's proposed SouthEast Service Line, would extend commuter rail service through the city on existing Union Pacific/CSX railroad tracks to 20 suburbs in South Cook and Will counties. A preliminary estimate puts the line's cost at more than $524 million, but the figure is likely to be much higher. Meanwhile, the CTA is looking at an extension of the Red Line that would connect the current terminus at 95th Street with 130th Street. Estimates for that project rang from $210 million to $1.1 billion, depending on the specific route.

Gold Line supporters say a key component of their plan calls for permitting transfers between Metra and the CTA. "It you put both Metra and the CTA to work, the problem is that there's no transferability," Thompson said. While the two agencies operate independently, the RTA has been working to implement a universal fare card that it hoed to start testing next year.

The Gold lIne, is similar to a Gray Line proposal, which transit advocate Mike Payne created and has promoted for years. The concept received little traction from the CTA an Metra. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has included it on a list of long-range planning projects, but the Gray Line isn't considered a high priority, a spokesmen said. SOUL has lined up support from community organizations, several aldermen and state legislators. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) has agreed to seek $995,000 in federal money to fund a Gold Line study.

Members of SOUL have met with transit agencies and the Chicago Department of Transportation. The RTA urged the group later this year to apply for funding to evaluate the need for the project, said RTA Executive Director Steve Schlickman. "We wil look at hat teh SOUL people are advocating and assess the value of all the options and see what makes sense," Schlickman said. But the Gold LIne will have to compete with other projects for money, he said. SOUL has also pitched the plan with Chicago's Olympics organizing committee. "We got involved originally because we were looking for a transportation idea around the Olympics," said Linda Thisted, chair of the SOUL task force. "We wondered what could benefit the South Side long-term and teh Olympics."

Even without the Olympics, SOUL believes the Gold LIne would be worthwhile, Thisted said, adding the group is prepared for the long haul. "We're just kind of plugging along," she said. "Nothing in transit goes very fast. These things can take years."

The article also compared getting to the proposed Lincoln Park Tennis Center and to the Aquatics Center in Washington Park. From an L line the former is a 15 minute walk, the latter a 10 minute walk. The former has several buses lines nearby, but mostly north-south, while the latter connects via fewer lines but equally on n-s and e-w axes (note that the 174 is gone).

SOUL, Communities for Equitable Olympics, legislators and aldermen along the line have joined forces to 1) seek a full costing out study 2) include the project in an Olympics Benefit Agreement. Main components are frequent service (will cost more rail cars), inter transfer, and a new station in Bronzeville at 35th.

SOUL defends Gold Line in June 17 Tribune

Your story, "Olympian effort by lobbyists," (June 7, Chicagoland) refers to the Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation Gold Line transit project as a "pork barrel spending project that has little or nothing to do with the city's bid." The Gold Line will improve transit on the South Side by providing more frequent trains on the Metra Electric line, allowing transfers with CTA buses and trains, and building a new station at 35th Street. This line will serve many of the proposed venues, including Soldier Field, McCormick Place, Jackson Park, Northerly Island and the Olympic Village. These venues have a combined seating capacity of 140,000, so more frequent train service along the Metra Electric line will help the city transport people to and from the games and will enable South Side workers to access the jobs that wil be created in building Olympic facilities in those locations.

With South Side residents having the longest commute times in the Chicago area, the Gold Line is an important priority for the South Side regardless of whether Chicago is awarded the 2016 Olympics.

Ben Booker Vance, president, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation; pastor, St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, Chicago


April 7, 2009. Gold Line dropped from CBA but still backed by Chicago Maroon- asks UC admin to push.

For the last few days, representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been wined and dined as city officials shuttled them between sites of proposed Olympic venues. IOC members have seen a host of glitzy proposals for multi-million dollar projects and infrastructural improvements. What they haven't seen is anything resembling a strategy for revamping the city's transportation system. Instead, the bid relies on the existing train network along with temporary shuttle services, but pointedly offers nothing in the way of long-term improvements.

For Hyde Parkers, this represents a wasted opportunity. The proposed "Gold Lien" -- an El route that would take the place of the South Shore [South Chicago] Metra Line in East Hyde Park -- would be a boon for the neighborhood. The line, which would run every 10 minutes and allow 25-cent transfers to other CTA buses and trains, has been pushed with an eye toward the Olympics (hence the name). The idea behind this initiative is that the Games would increase congestion and a new El line would be necessary to serve the massive influx of people. Most appealing to Hyde Parkers is that long after the Olympic torch is snuffed, the Gold Line will still be here.

the Gold Line is a good fit for Hyde Park whether or not Chicago gets the bid, but the Olympics present the best chance to push it through. An El stop, particularly in conjunction with Olympic-sized crowds -- an, in an ideal world, a new hotel -- would spur development in the neighborhood. Hyde Park would become a more attractive destination for retailers and restaurateurs, and a more convenient one for tourists. For students, meanwhile, freezing late-night waits for the 55 at Garfield would become a thing of the past. If the Gold Line materialized, Hyde Park would undoubtedly be a more appealing place to live. On a broader scale, new transit options would also be environmentally friendly, giving Hyde Parkers adn outsiders an incentive to leave their cars at home.

The U of C exerts considerable influence as one of the South Side's major institutions, and with its purchase of properties in Washington Park and with President Zimmer's seat on the 20156 Exploratory Committee, the University has been actively involved in the bid. Going forward,t eh U of C should take full advantage of its clout to push for new transit options for Hyde Park.

The Olympics wouldn't be a panacea for all of Chicago's problem. But it inarguably presents a unique opportunity for massive infrastructural improvements. The U of C and the city should not trip over the finish line when it comes to public transit.




A service of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Transit Task Force/ Transportation and Parking Committee and the HPKCC website, (email) Help support our work: Join the Conference! Join and work with the Task Force- contact chairman James Withrow.