Public transportation can help create environmental and climate justice as well as just economic development. LVEJO’s Transit Justice campaign works to improve access for ALL of Chicagoland’s Riders, with special attention focused toward transit dependent, low-income riders in Chicago’s communities of color. Locally we are working to reestablish a CTA 31st Street Bus Route. We are member of Transit Riders for Public Transportation, a national campaign to increase mass transit funding, civil rights and environmental justice. We strive for democratic, rider-driver self-management of transit.
Busy Building Buslines
LVEJO’s efforts to improve public transit Published in Institutions & Infrastructures on April 15, 2010 by Mackel Garrison
Public transit is basic urban infrastructure, though not every community in Chicago enjoys adequate services. Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) works to better understand the transportation needs of our community. Our work around public transit began back in the 1990s by doing a 2-year, door-to-door survey of neighbors. The results of that effort led to our participation in coalition efforts to defend Cermak Blue Line Service. The coalition won a $479 million rehab of the 54/Cermak El branch and the restoration of weekend train service.
In 2008, we wanted an update on people’s transportation needs. Partnering with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), we held a series of charettes, or community-based planning sessions. People gathered around maps to visualize what they wanted for their community in the coming decades. Among many ideas put forth, Little Village students and families suggested a new bus route. Little Village Lawndale High School (LVLHS) had recently been built, the victory of a hunger strike by area mothers in 2001. Yet, CTA had no regular service to the school. In 2006, LVLHS students petitioned the CTA Board to extend bus service to the school. The result was that a few Pulaski buses were extended beyond the normal route at school start and dismissal. Still there was no regular bus service for before and after school hours for students in tutoring, detention, sports, theatre, etc.
In 1997-8, CTA had cut 31st Street Bus Service. It was claimed to be a low-performing route. Ridership was deemed insufficient to justify the cost of operations. What CTA failed to take into account is that for transit dependent riders, routes like 31st Street are a lifeline to work, school, stores, etc. After 10 years without service, new developments like the high school and a new shopping center meant increased demand for a route. Organizers and volunteers began mapping out a route, based on community input. We decided to go beyond a simple local route and designed one to connect Little Village with the rest of the city. It would make a connection with 3 El Lines (Orange, Red, Green), and continue on to the 31st Street Beach. From the beach, the route could run express to McCormick Place, Soldier Field, the Museums, Northerly Island. This would provide the West and South Side with improved access to jobs,education, and recreation….read more
Contact Chicago Public Transit Organizer: firstname.lastname@example.org