Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Press Release - Bridgeport, Chinatown Community Groups Continue to Push for 31st Street Bus, Address CTA Board

June 28, 7:30AM

Monday evening, Jun 27, members of Bridgeport Alliance and Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community met with 11th Ward Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson, requesting that he sign on to a letter addressed to Dorval Carter, president of the Chicago Transit Authority, and the CTA Board.

The letter [attached] expresses gratitude that the years of work community groups put into lobbying for the restored route paid off, but disappointment that the six month pilot route (first expected to be a 12 month pilot) is lacking in morning commute hours, evening access, and access to the beach, leaving stranded seniors, students, and other active and potentially active community members.  

Upon interview, emphasizing the need for a full bus route, Debbie Liu, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, noted “31st St has changed in the two decades since the original CTA bus #31 has been axed. The demographics of the neighborhoods have changed and more Asian Americans who often are first generation immigrants and may be low-income (and seniors!) have settled in the area. Additionally, there is a trend of people are choosing not to own cars, creating a need for good, reliable public transportation options. The current ‘approved’ bus route is inadequate and will not serve the morning rush hour, the late nights, the weekends and is falling short of our expectations as it does not go to Museum Campus nor Mercy Hospital. We have hopes that we can come to a consensus with elected officials and city agencies to create a bus route and schedule that works for everyone.”

Esau Chavez, an IIT student, noted “I need the 31st street bus route to be better serviced as a resident of the southwest side to better connect me with my university; and as a student to open up shopping and leisure opportunities along the 31st street corridor.”

Benjamin Huey, Bridgeport Alliance member, and Rev. Tom Gaulke, pastor at First Trinity Lutheran Church noted that with the current proposal, people can still not get to church, to meditation, to bible study, or to morning worship services, as the route will not begin until 10AM. 

Quade Gallagher, Co-Chair of Bridgeport Alliance along with Suzanne Goebel, expressed that "the bus is essential for folks looking to move around the neighborhood easily and safely, to get to work, to get to essential services and public amenities. Bridgeport Alliance has made this very clear to Alderman Thompson and we look forward to his continued to support of our campaign and our community."

State Representative elect, Theresa Mah, signed onto the letter earlier this week, and the group is hopeful the the Alderman will sign on this afternoon, after review. 

"I'm excited about working with the Alderman to ensure the needs of the community are met, and we get a bus that will get me and my neighbors to work, play, the beach, hospitals,” said Brian Cerullo, BA member, and Bridgeport resident and enthusiast. 

The group plans to mail the letter to President Carter and the CTA, and to deliver it person, with their officials, at the next board meeting, July 13, 10AM, 567 W. Lake St. 

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