PULLMAN — A new Wal-Mart left without public transportation in Pullman will get bus service starting Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) announced Tuesday.
"I want to thank CTA for providing bus service first thing tomorrow," Beale said to applause at the grand opening of the store at 10900 S. Doty Ave.
Earlier this year, the CTA eliminated bus service on 110th Street east of Cottage Grove. The nearest bus stop now is almost a one-mile walk from the store.
Emanuel joked Tuesday that he was late to the event due to the unaccommodating buses.
"This is a great day," Emanuel said. "I would've been here a little earlier, but I got dropped off about five blocks away on the CTA and had to walk."
The No. 111A Pullman "shuttle" will run every 20 minutes 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays, according to the CTA.
“This service has been put in place as we continue to develop a final service plan with the developer and the community," said CTA president Forrest Claypool in a statement.
Emanuel touted the project in March, though he was vague about public transportation to the area.
In July 2011, the CTA agreed to extend the 111 Pullman bus route to the strip mall at 111th and the Bishop Ford Freeway, and the developer added the necessary bus turnarounds and stops connected to Wal-Mart's parking lot, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives President David Doig said.
“We’ve done everything we’ve been asked to do as a far as installing infrastructure, and our expectation is that bus service will be extended. We have an agreement that says that,” Doig said.
Last week, Beale expressed his own frustration.
“I’ve been talking to CTA for weeks about getting this done, and it’s like talking to a wall. No results,” he said. “This is just common sense, the right thing to do, and we have a signed contract. I don’t know why they’re trying to get out of it."
Despite transportation issues, spirits were high Tuesday as local officials and company employees gathered for the store's grand opening. Audience members clapped and danced while a youth marching band provided up-tempo beats.
The new Wal-Mart "means jobs, jobs and more jobs," Beale said, adding that about 40 percent of the store's 400 new employees come from the 9th Ward.
"Not only is this store going to address the jobs, but it's also going to address the high crime rate in our community," Beale said. "It's going to address the high obesity rate in our community, the high blood pressure rate in our community, the high diabetes rate in our community, the high cholesterol rate in our community."
The Wal-Mart is set to open to the public Wednesday.