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Red Line 'Bill of Rights' Seeks To Ensure Quality Service During Redo

By Wendell Hutson | May 16, 2013 6:23am
 A group of non-profit organizations met Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in the Englewood community to discuss the upcoming Red Line South Reconstruction project by the Chicago Transit Authority.
Community Meeting
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ENGLEWOOD — Several neighborhood groups including the Sustainable Englewood Initiative plan to join the Active Transportation Alliance on Monday as it gathers signatures from CTA riders for its Red Line South Rider Bill of Rights.

"The goal of the Bill of Rights is to say that Red Line South riders have a right to quality public transportation even during the Red Line South reconstruction project," Brenna Conway, project manager for the alliance, said at a Wednesday community meeting at Kelly Library, 6151 S. Normal Blvd. "This Bill of Rights is a chance to bring together transit riders and community groups on the South Side of Chicago in a unified voice."

The organizations will be at the Green Line station at 55th Street and Garfield Boulevard gathering signatures from riders from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday.

The five Bill of Rights, according to Conway, include:

• Fast and reliable transit service, even during Red Line construction.

• Transparency from the CTA on temporary service performance, number of jobs created by the construction and the status of construction.

• Clear and proactive communication from the CTA that ensures local communities understand the changes to transit service.

• Stations and amenities that can accommodate the additional passengers along alternative transit routes.

• The opportunity to be listened to during the Red Line closure.

John Paul Jones, president of the Sustainable Englewood Initiative, voiced safety concerns for students at Team Englewood and Urban Prep high schools.

"I don't think it's safe for them to be going over to the Green Line at 63rd and King Drive. They're used to taking the Red Line or boarding the Green Line at 63rd and Ashland," Jones said. "Students from rival schools take the eastbound Green Line trains, and I don't want there to be any rift between students from different schools now riding together on one train."

Jones added that his proposal to the CTA to hire local residents for safety patrol would help elevate any friction that could occur between students. He noted that the Red Line South route runs through the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 11th, 17th, 20th, and 21st wards and that is where residents should be hired for safety patrols.

Other organizations at the meeting were the West Chatham Park Advisory Council and the Greater Chatham Alliance. A representative from state Sen. Mattie Hunter's (D-Chicago) office also attended. Hunter's district includes the Bronzeville community.

The Red Line South Reconstruction project is set to begin Sunday and expected to continue until Oct. 19, according to Steve Mayberry, a spokesman for the CTA.

But Sylvia Jones, president of the advisory council, is skeptical it will be completed on time.

"Try a year. That's how long I think it will last. They are just not telling us," Sylvia Jones said. "When have the CTA ever finished a project on time?"

John Ellis, who has lived in Englewood for 27 years, attended the meeting because he is concerned about how the Red Line project will affect his community.

"Anything that adversely affects the Red Line, affects us all," Ellis said.