Notes from NLCCC Comments for the November 14th CTA Board Meeting

I had an opportunity to attend the November 14, 2016 CTA Board meeting and testify during the public hearing on the 2017 budget. There were 5 people from the NLCCC in attendance including myself. Three of the 5 were from the Transportation Subcommittee, and 2 were from the Economic Development Subcommittee. I didn’t have the opportunity to prepare written testimony, but I will share my recap below.

I introduced myself as a member of the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, a group charged with facilitating community planning for the North Lawndale community. I indicated that this was our first comprehensive plan in 58 years, and that transportation is an integral part.

We are working with CMAP, and that, while we have not yet begun planning in earnest, we have received a draft of our existing conditions report. Data gleaned from the report suggest that between 2010 and now North Lawndale ridership on the Pink and Blue lines increased at a significantly faster level than the citywide average. North Lawndale ridership on the Pink Line increased by 26.2%. Blue Line ridership from North Lawndale increased by 19.4%. Citywide, ridership increased by 14.6%. In spite of the fact that ridership in North Lawndale grew faster than city averages, 9 stations were closed on the Blue Line east of Austin, 5 of which serve North Lawndale, Austin, East Garfield Park and West Garfield Park. (Figures on closed stations from Thom Alcazar, a local business owner who is looking to open a new grocery store on the West Side). CTA has effectively created an express line where they “fly over” predominantly African American communities on the West Side, while providing local service to communities beyond ours to the east and in the Western Suburbs. We admonished the CTA Board that, while they lobby for increased state and federal funds, they also address the apparent inequities in their transit service to local communities.

We respectfully requested that the closed stops be restored, particularly in light of our planning process, and the Mayor has designated one of our industrial corridors as a Manufacturing Growth Zone. You can’t attract employers that will hire locally if local residents can’t access public transit near work in their own communities.

North Lawndale is more dependent on public transportation than the average community in Chicago. While bus ridership declined system wide, our bus ridership has been steady on most lines, with a few lines losing ridership. Even when we lost ridership, it hasn’t been as low as city averages. (Bus ridership citywide has decreased 10% while bus ridership for North Lawndale has declined 3%) Yet, the Ogden bus stops at California, and doesn’t go further into the neighborhood. About 2 miles of Ogden Avenue between California and City Limits has no bus service. (This is essentially the width of the community from east to west)

There have been a number of developments along Ogden Avenue that were not in place when the service was cut. Impacted businesses and institutions include local schools (Collins, Crown, Legacy), Mount Sinai Hospital, Cinespace, Lagunita Brewery and Lawndale Christian Health Center. Residents have been cut off from efficient and safer routes to work, school and recreation. We respectfully requested that the Ogden bus line is restored to where it was before it was shortened. This would mean that the bus would run as far west as Pulaski, and turn around at the Pink Line Pulaski stop on 21st and Pulaski.

We expressed thanks and appreciation for programs like Second Chance, that provides training and employment opportunities at CTA for ex-offenders. (NLEN is a partner). However, we requested that CTA work with local community organizations to create opportunities for adults who would like to re-tool their skills and change careers. We also asked them to work with local schools to develop a curriculum and training programs to prepare our youth to work for CTA upon graduation from high school.

We noted that CTA is hosting a large scale city-wide procurement fair on November 15th at the Chicago Cultural Center Downtown. We asked the CTA Board to host a similar event in North Lawndale and offered to help coordinate it. We indicated that we wanted our focus to be employment (for people including ex-offenders, college graduates and career changers); procurement for small businesses and opportunities for local artists to have their work commissioned for bus and train stations.

In closing, we asked for a meeting with staff to share our plans and how we can incorporate transit into our strategies.

We were referred to Jeffrey Wilson, who works with CTA Intergovernmental Affairs. After the meeting, we were approached by Rev. Johnnie Miller to discuss our concerns in more detail.

I will debrief with members of the Executive Subcommittee and the Transportation Subcommittee, and set up meetings with Rev. Miller and Mr. Wilson.

Respectfully submitted,

Valerie F. Leonard

Valerie F. Leonard
Chair, Transportation Subcommittee
Member, Executive Subcommittee

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RTA Regional Transit Public Hearing

We thank Charles Paidock, of Citizens Taking Action for Transit Dependent Riders, for the following announcement.

RTA Regional Transit Public Hearing, Wed., Nov. 30th, 4:00 PM, 175 W. Jackson, Chgo
RTA 2017 Proposed Regional Operating Budget & Capital Program Informational Presentation

Regional Transit 2017 Budget – Public Hearing
Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
Wednesday, Nov. 30th, 4:00 to 6:00 PM
RTA Headquarters
175 W. Jackson Blvd., 16th Floor, Chicago

 Copy of the Budget Summary:

http://rtachicago.org/files/documents/Budget%20Summary%202017%20Pages.pdf

rtachicago.org
Summary of 2017 Proposed REGIONAL BUDGET AND CAPITAL PROGRAM CTA, Metra, Pace, ADA Paratransit, and RTA 2017 Budget Impact on RTA Customers The Service Boards …

Public comments may be submitted by email to communicationsemail@rtachicago.org

 

Informational Presentation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1E_rBwOhlg

 

From Citizens Taking Action for transit dependent riders:

http://www.ctariders.org/

A citizens advocacy group for transit dependent riders in the Chicago, IL metropolitan area.

Photo Credit: RTA

From the Chicago Tribune: 10-year-old girl missing from Lawndale

Photo: Nariyah Wilson (Chicago Police Department)
The following article appeared in the Chicago Tribune November 7, 2016.

A 10-year-old girl has been missing from Lawndale since Saturday, police said.

Nariyah Wilson was last seen in the 1400 block of South Karlov Avenue wearing a white shirt, black leggings and black and white shoes.

She is a black girl standing 5 feet tall and weighing 120 pounds, police said. She has brown eyes and brown hair and a scar above her left eye.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call detectives at 312-747-8380.

Juvenile Protective Association Representatives Present Findings at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo

We thank Rochelle Jackson, a member of our education and transportation subcommittees, for sharing the following information regarding JPA, one of our partnering organizations.

JPA congratulates Executive VP, Stephen Budde, Ph.D. and Akadia Kacha-Ochana, MPH, JPA’s Research and Quality Improvement Specialist, who were invited to present on their work “The Psychiatric Rehospitalization Outcomes for Children in Substitute Care” at the prestigious annual American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo, held earlier this week on November 1st, 2016, Denver, CO.

Way to go, Steve & Akadia!!!

West Side policy expert named game-changer

Photo credit: Norvell Tolbert. Left to Right: Angelique Orr, Mark Ferguson, Valerie F. Leonard, Rodney Brown, Dr. Dennis Deer.

Valerie Leonard was honored by the New Covenant Community Development Corporation

We thank the Austin Weekly News for their coverage of the New Covenant CDC Game Changers Award Dinner. The following article appeared in the November 2nd issue of the newspaper.

 

 

By Igor Studenkov
Contributing Reporter

Long-time North Lawndale community activist and community development consultant Valerie Leonard received the first-ever Game Changer in Community Service Award on the evening of Oct. 27.

This was one of the several awards that were given out by the Homan Square-based New Covenant Community Development Corporation at its third annual Game Changers for Economic Impact gala.

The event was held in Austin’s Columbus Park Rectory, 5701 W Jackson.

The awards usually go to innovative North Lawndale businesses, but this year, the NCCDC decided to add an award to recognize those who work hard to improve the community. As the NCCDC officials readily admitted, there was never any real question as to who this year’s recipient would be.

Leonard has been working to help North Lawndale for the past few decades. According to the bio on her official website, she founded the Lawndale Alliance, which has advocated for school improvements, fairer Tax Increment Financing fund usage and aid to homeowners affected by the 2008 mortgage crisis, among other initiatives.

Most recently, Leonard became one of the three co-founders of the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, which is working to create a comprehensive development plan for the North Lawndale community.

Dennis Deer, a fellow NLCCC co-founder, serves as a NCCDC’s president. As he explained in the opening remarks during the gala, the organization has been around since 2012. The money raised from the gala, Deer said, will allow NCCDC to offer classed provided by its Small Business Development Center for free.

“[The center] provides small business consulting services, business advisory,” Deer said. “We teach people who desire their own businesses how to have them. [The program includes] entrepreneurship classes, one-on-one advising [and] consulting services.”

NCCDC also launched the North Lawndale Chamber of Commerce. Deer said it wasn’t the first time someone tried to create one, but this one has survived the challenges so far, and he was optimistic about its future.

“We have 15 to 20 members already who are having a unified voice in the development of the community,” he said.

As NCCDC director Angelique Orr explained during the gala, the Game Changers awards are meant to do more than recognize local businesses.

“Every year, we have an opportunity to celebrate exceptional entrepreneurs,” she said. “They’re there to change game and they’re game-changers. You stepped out of nothing and made something happened – you changed the game.”

Deer said that NCCDC wanted to give Leonard an award to recognize how she changed the community, even though she isn’t a business owner.

“[We gave her the award] because of all the work she’s done in community organizing and community advancement,  all of the work she did in order to [create] a better community,” he said. “She is very, very deserving of those accolades, even though she doesn’t like them very much.”

NCCDC Vice-President Rodney Brown offered his own praise.

“She has the hart and passion for making sure things get done for the people who need it,” he said of Leonard. Deer said that Leonard wasn’t told she was getting the award until she arrived at the gala. When she came up to the podium, she found herself at a loss of words.

“I’m having an Oprah moment,” she said. “I’m speechless.”

The procession of honors for Leonard, however, won’t end with NCCDC. On Nov. 2, she’ll be recognized by the Chicago Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance for her work in social enterprise during a session held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Sankofa House, 4041 W. Roosevelt Rd.

Entrepreneurs who won the awards this year included Katros Consulting firm founder and CEO Lynn Sutton; Landon Williams and Jason Diggs, co-owners of Against the Grain Designs accessories maker; Elliot Porter, owner of the Grade A Car Spa car wash; and Michelle Sharp, owner of the It’s-Sooo [sic], an all-natural clearing products company.

Contact:
Email: igorst3@hotmail.com

 game-changers-montage

Business of Filmmaking in Chicago at Cinespace Chicago Studios

Regional Transportation Authority Joins Transit and Transportation Partners to Host 19th Annual Transportation Vendor Symposium and Business Exchange

We thank Hurley Green, III, Publisher of The Bulletin, for sharing the following information.

For Immediate Release

 

Date:        November 1, 2016

Contact:   Susan Massel, Director, Communications and Public Affairs

312-913-3256 ­ massels@RTAchicago.org

 

Regional Transportation Authority Joins Transit and Transportation Partners to Host 19th Annual Transportation Vendor Symposium and Business Exchange

Provides information to those seeking transit agency contracts

CHICAGO – The RTA, in collaboration with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, Pace, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Tollway, is proud to host the 19th Annual Transportation Symposium and Business Exchange.  The event will be held on Tuesday, November 15th at the Chicago Cultural Center, Sidney R. Yates Gallery, 78 East Washington Street, Chicago from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for businesses interested in working with local transportation agencies.  There is no cost to attend the event.

“Transit agencies in this region spend billions of dollars annually on goods and services needed to help keep our transportation system moving,” says RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden. “We are fortunate to work with a variety of businesses every year and see this symposium and business exchange as an opportunity to grow our network of vendors.”

The event is specifically aimed at transit-related businesses including construction companies, professional service firms, manufacturers, architects/engineers and suppliers. Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), Minority Owned Business Enterprises (MBEs), Women Owned Business Enterprises (WBEs), Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) and Small Business Enterprises (SBEs)  are strongly encouraged to attend to obtain valuable information regarding the best way to seek transit agency contracts.

“I know firsthand how helpful this event is,” says George Kinnison, president and founder of  Trinity Technology Services and scheduled event speaker. “I first attended the event 17 years ago and learned a great deal about the processes in place for MBE and DBE certified companies to become vendors in the transit and transportation sectors. Since then, I founded Trinity and, as a DBE, we now provide low voltage bus systems, such as GPS and communications systems, to CTA buses.  Information I gained at this event help make this work possible.”

Advance registration for the event is strongly encouraged. For more information, visit the RTA website at rtachicago.org or visit the symposium and business exchange website at http://illinoistransportationsymposium.com.  Event agenda is attached.

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About the RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit.    The RTA region serves two million riders each weekday in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.  The Agency also provides customer services including on-line and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities.  For more information, visit www.RTAChicago.org.

 

2016 Press Release TSBE by valeriefleonard on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/329684484/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-YO3pt5wCF6dpi7H1UcEj&show_recommendations=true