Monday, August 29, 2011

Growing Pains: The Red Line Extension - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

Growing Pains: The Red Line Extension - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

The Bass Furniture owned by Eddie Davis near 115th & Michigan  is mentioned in this Mechanics post as I've been there on several occassions. Could be one business that could benefit from an L stop near his store. It shows comments not from people outside of that area of the city but those such as Mr. Davis from that area.
"I believe for the unskilled eye it's a threat," said John Paul Jones, a field organizer for Developing Communities Project. "We can welcome and find mutual benefits in supporting the two ends. There are legitimate needs on the North Side."

DCP is a faith-based community organizing group that has led the grassroots push for the Red Line extension since 2003. The organization got its start with a young Barack Obama in the 1980s.

Jones said he thought combining the South Side and the North Side improvements along with enhancing service in Evanston and Wilmette was a shrewd move on the part of the CTA. He had faith that Sen. Dick Durbin would push for federal dollars to extend the Red Line, but Sen. Mark Kirk would be more inclined to support projects closer to his backyard on the North Shore.

"I think it was added to satisfy [Kirk]," Jones said. "It has two senators who agree on transit investment. The Civil Rights movement can help ensure there's real parity in transit spending."

The travel times for transit riders that would be served by the extension are currently among the longest in the city, averaging more than an hour. According to a 2005 University of Illinois-Chicago study [PDF], one-fourth of the households along the new route are transit-dependent, meaning without cars.

"During the Clinton period, when the economy was supposedly experiencing an economic boom, there were areas of the country that the economic boom bypassed, and the greater Roseland area is one of those areas that were bypassed," said Lou Turner, a political consultant for DCP. Turner believes one reason the Far South Side has struggled so much is because it is cut off from jobs in the rest of the city.

The area once relied on nearby steel mills and factories such as the Pullman Company, but most of those industrial hubs are long gone, and the city's job centers have shifted north to the Loop and beyond. The Red Line extension would shave 20 minutes off the commute to the Loop from 130th Street, not including transfer time and frequent traffic tie-ups on Michigan Avenue and 95th Street.

"I'm not looking to that as a savior, but it will move people faster, and it'll give people access to get jobs," said Ladell Edwards, the owner of Edwards Fashions, which sells men's dress clothing on Michigan Avenue near Bass Furniture. "A lot of the jobs are not in Roseland."
Hat-tip Curbed Chicago!

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