‘CTA Got This One Wrong,’ Cuts Service on #11 Lincoln Avenue Bus

By Patty Wetli | Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Heather Way, executive director to the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, presented 2,000 signatures protesting cuts in #11 Lincoln bus service. Credit: Patty Wetli

So much for power to the people. After listening to dozens of residents’ complaints at a public hearing last week and receiving a petition signed by more than 2,000 citizens, the CTA board rejected a bid to save the #11 Lincoln bus, voting today to approve the “Crowding Reduction Plan,” which will eliminate service on the #11 route between Western and Fullerton Avenues.

“I feel like we really put our best foot forward to communicate to CTA how important the bus is to Lakeview and other communities,” said Heather Way, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce (LCC). “Our pleas for them to reconsider fell on deaf ears.”

In eliminating the Western-to-Fullerton segment of the Lincoln Avenue route, CTA reasoned that transit riders are already served by “duplicative” Brown Line stations. To be sure, stations such as Paulina sit right along Lincoln but others are a mile away. Speaking before the CTA board last week, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) argued that  senior citizens and people with disabilities can’t be expected to easily negotiate such distances.

Commenting on today’s vote, Pawar expressed his disappointment: “We fought very hard to change minds at the CTA. ‘Efficiency’ trumped the concerns of our community. The CTA got this one wrong.”

LCC’s Way is worried that the loss of the #11 bus will undo all the recent progress made by businesses along Lincoln Avenue between Belmont and Diversey, where a tenuous economic revival is under way. “Hopefully we’ll be able to sustain and spur growth.” Her tentative plan of action is to publicize alternate transit routes, as well with walking and biking along Lincoln. Another option is to identify additional parking sources. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to encourage people to drive,” she said.

The Lincoln Avenue route has been rescued from the chopping block before, which is one reason Michael Salvatore, owner of Heritage Bicycles at 2959 N. Lincoln Ave., was shocked to learn the #11 would no longer pass by his store. “The year I move in, it gets cut.”

One of the biggest champions for reinvigorating the corridor of Lincoln situated south of Belmont, Salvatore isn’t ready to throw in the towel on the #11. “I’m thinking about doing weekly rallies, slow rides down Lincoln,” he said. Though Heritage draws largely from cyclists and neighbors who walk to the store for a cup of coffee, Salvatore understands the importance of the bus to his fellow business owners.

“To get more business in this area, you want to promote transportation,” he said. “It’s extremely shortsighted for CTA to cut this bus now.”

Given that the #11 runs through a major commercial corridor, along a diagonal street no less, Salvatore is mystified by the board’s decision. “I don’t understand how cutting off a bus mid-route is going to save money…. It just blows logic away.”

The changes in transit service are expected to take effect mid-December.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jkulovsek Justin Kulovsek

    This is totally wrong…shame on the the CTA for doing this…I’d love to see the data they looked at to make this cut.

  • Mimihaha

    I normally treat Claypool like he’s just another guy riding home from work when I see him, which is pretty often. Guess what Forrest? That ends today. I’m going to start talking to you when I see you.

    • Tafter

      What are you going to say to him? That he doesn’t listen to the riders? When you are facing the budget problems that the CTA is, having Mimihaha irritated with you is probably small potatoes.

      There is a lot of emotion wrapped up in this, but very few here are arguing from a position of facts and the reality of a system facing growing ridership with less and less money. Hard choices have and will be made.

  • fran

    This is just wrong! There are many businesses along Lincoln Avenue that will be impacted, as well as many dentist and doctor offices. And, by the way Mr. Claypool and company, not all of us drive in the city! And some are not comfortable transferring on and off the el and navigating those stairs with packages! It’s a sad, sad situation indeed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584004575 Jeanine M. Caughlin

    My concern is for people with disabilities. The bus is much more viable for most folks with disabilities. They can board and deboard buses much more easily and with dignity. Have you ever seen someone in a wheelchair being assisted to board a train? While everyone is patient, it is a real hassle because the attendant has to come up and place a bridge over the gap between the train and the platform. And heaven help them if the elevator is down. The busses are all outfitted with the automatic ramp so unless the bus’s ramp is broken, they are accommodated. Even if for some reason the ramp is broken, as least it is likely that if they wait for the next bus, its ramp will be operational. I have a friend who is blind and he was very disappointed to hear about the service cut. He lives near Fullerton and Lincoln and it was a very useful bus for him. Navigating busy intersections is something he tries to avoid because, I am very sorry to say, most drivers act as if every pedestrian should look out for them and not the other way around. My friend can not “look-out” for cars speeding through intersections, cutting around other cars or otherwise driving unpredictably. My friend does qualify for the paratransit service, but those services have to be reserved in advance and the timing is not always reliable. Well, he’s a good egg and I am sure he will do his best to adjust to the new reality, but it is disappointing. The brown line is far from a “duplicative service” for him or other disabled folks.

  • tracey

    The CTA’s choice to cut #11 service between Fullerton & Western is outrageous. I have never seen an empty #11. Did CTA managers drive by Trader Joe’s on an average day with 5 people waiting for the bus with their groceries instead of climbing what 40 stairs with not even a fare card entrance on Lincoln entrance at Addison stop? Same at Whole Foods on Roscoe & Lincoln? Jewel at Lincoln & Berteau?
    Um, bus routes that run parallel to the red line haven’t been cut, like the #22 and #36. Why aren’t their riders expected to use the red line to pick up their lost bus service??

    Thanks CTA for the message that anybody who wants to use a merchant /service along Lincoln Ave between Fullerton & Western better drive to that merchant or service. You will really hurt the businesses in an area that’s just come back from a long period of decline that counted on the extra appeal of having a bus line to bring them customers. Badly done CTA, badly done.

    • berkeleygirl

      I’m in a similar boat – a carless Chicagoan who used the #11 after my Whole Foods runs, especially in inclement weather. When I have at least 2 bags of groceries, it’s far easier to catch the #11, then walk 6 blocks home, then schlep back up to the Paulina stop and transfer to the #49, and walk 5 more blocks home. It was also my preferred transit to transport my cat to the vet.

      Most of all, I’m concerned about the good number of seniors and moms with strollers that I see on the #11. Contrary to what the CTA would have you think, it’s not easy for everyone to walk those extra 6-10 blocks. Moreover, all those transfers can add up for someone on a limited income.

      As for the #22, that route doesn’t need more buses – it simply needs them to run on time. When I take it, about 2-3 times a week, the buses invariably arrive in twos. Just last week, I was lucky when one #22 driver saw me wave her down. I was stuck at a light – again, with grocery bags – when I just missed one bus, and the other was racing down the street behind it.

  • tracey

    PS I don’t have a car, and the #11 is my primary bus line.

  • te ko

    Why not send these signatures + to our Mayor who appointed Mr, Claypool.

  • tracey

    The CTA’s response to my email:

    Thank you for your comments. On 9/12/12, the Chicago Transit Board approved a wide-ranging plan that will add bus and train service to high-demand routes across the entire city, reducing uncomfortable crowding and helping meet growing ridership demand. Although, it was a difficult decision to reduce service, the additions to service will reduce the time between trains and buses and lower peak crowd loads by 10 to 15 percent in most cases. As the implementation date of December 16, 2012 approaches, we will be providing more details. For more information, please see the following link: http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?Month=&Year=&Category=2&ArticleId=3082 We appreciate and value your use of the transit service. CTA FEEDBACK TEAM

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