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Friday, June 22, 2018

Washington Monthly: South Side story

The Chicago Neighborhoods
 Sorry to have sat on this since the spring. A story about the Pullman neighborhood. Or "How a historic Chicago neighborhood became a national model for community revitalization."
Yet one lower-income South Side neighborhood manages to defy the ironclad logic of the favored quarter: historic Pullman, a vibrant enclave in the middle of the South Side that is home to equal numbers of African Americans, Latinos, and whites. (Not all South and West neighborhoods are poor, but most of those doing well economically—Hyde Park, the Near West Side, Bridgeport, and Beverly—are predominantly white and Asian.)

Strolling down Pullman’s St. Lawrence Avenue, whose shaded sidewalks are fronted by side-by-side duplexes, you notice the same redbrick charm that characterizes the North Side. Yet in Pullman, you can land a well-kept three-bedroom duplex down the block from a cozy café and around the corner from one of the city’s top-rated public elementary schools at a price that wouldn’t go far in swank precincts across town. Residents enjoy many of the conveniences of North Side living, too. At the new Pullman Park development, there’s a Walmart (watering this former food desert), a clothing store, a Planet Fitness health club, a locally owned dry cleaners, and Pullman’s first sit-down restaurant in decades.

The relative peace and prosperity of Pullman in the midst of the hard-hit South Side highlights the promise of “asset-based” community development—the idea that focusing on the strengths of a particular place is just as important as targeting the problems. This model offers practical lessons for other neighborhoods across the country suffering from economic disinvestment and social unraveling. In Pullman’s case, a remarkable degree of resilience has arisen from these assets: high levels of civic engagement; a physical environment that encourages walking and social interaction; access to resources tied to historic preservation; and an ambitious community developer planting stakes in the neighborhood.

If the name Pullman sounds vaguely familiar, it’s likely because of the legendary railroad sleeping cars built here from 1881 to 1955. Pullman was no grimy slum, but actually one of the most celebrated urban planning projects of the nineteenth century—providing a good place to live was part of owner George Pullman’s mission to elevate the character of his workers. The London Times declared the elegant public buildings and squares flanked by single-family homes for managers and handsome brick townhouses for workers “the most perfect town in the world.” The other reason you may have heard of Pullman is that in 1894 the company’s workers responded to wage cuts with no reduction in rent at company-owned housing with a historic strike.
Read the whole thing!

A streetcar named retire

According to an ig post from CTA the last streetcar ran in Chicago on June 21, 1958 - 60 years ago. The last streetcar route was the 22A which after that date was converted to buses and survives currently as the 24 Wentworth. The 22A was split from the 22 Clark in 1957 according to - relevant page here. Note that many of the numbers for CTA bus routes are derived from the streetcars that formerly ran throughout the city.
While buses replaced streetcar service 60 years ago, evidence of streetcars exist throughout the city. Michigan Avenue was once host to a streetcar route. You may see former streetcar tracks near the intersection of 95th & Michigan which often surface once the pavement is worn down. I snapped this shot for The Sixth Ward over 10 years ago.
Pic from The Sixth Ward May 2008
BTW, just think there's a current light rail - a more modern name for the streetcar - proposal on the north side. Question to ask is whether or not transit starved areas of the south side can get some action as far as light rail. Especially in those areas that doesn't have ready access to the L. Some of which are located in Chicago 8th, 9th, and 10th wards.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Chicago Reader: Roseland’s transformation captured in 1970 student film

I tweeted about this last week and unfortunately it doesn't say about when this film will see the light of day. Roseland - like say Englewood - had seen better days though residents of both communities I'm sure want to see better days returns. And certainly Englewood is working to make their community better.

On the other hand Roseland is looking for a jumpstart which could be the red line extension whenever CTA gets the necessary funding to start the project. However, that future project will be one development among many to bring Roseland back to what it used to be 50+ years ago.

Read this article from the Chicago Reader also there is a podcast where these students two men who shot this film in the 1970s were interviewed talking about this film. Give it a listen.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chicago Reporter: Instead of extending the Red Line, some see promise in the Metra Electric

Red Line Extension
The future of the greater Roseland area will be affected by the future CTA red line extension. It's something that I'm very excited for and evidently the debate continues over whether or not this is the transit project the far south side of Chicago needs right now.

Another part of this debate - especially with the uncertainty of funding for this project which is only expected to be built during the course of the next decade - includes improvement of the Metra Electric line. Better yet should the Metra Electric (or IC for you old timers) be converted to a rapid transit line operated instead by CTA.
In January, the city announced the final alignment for the 5.3 mile extension to 130th Street. That’s key for the CTA to secure $1 billion in federal funding needed for the project that wouldn’t see construction start until 2022. Though the city has proposed using transit TIFs (tax increment financing) to fund part of the extension, some transit advocates contend that wouldn’t be nearly enough to make a dent in the cost. And others question whether the Trump administration would give the city $1 billion for a project of this scope.

Some transit advocates say there is a quicker and less costly way to improve transit on the South Side by converting the Metra Electric District (MED) main line into rapid transit. Retrofitting Metra’s existing rail infrastructure to accommodate rapid transit, they say, could be completed in less time than it would take to build the extension and without displacing privately owned properties, as the Red Line extension would.

But putting the Red Line extension on the backburner where it has sat for decades would be a disservice to the Far South Side, community members say. Mayor Richard J. Daley promised to extend it beyond its 95th Street terminus when he cut the ribbon on the transit line nearly 50 years ago.
A former candidate for 9th ward alderman - well not identified as such in the article - was quoted in this piece:

South Side resident Michael LaFargue says extending the Red Line south is all about equity – transit equity, economic equity and environmental equity. The loss of manufacturing jobs, he said has devastated the Roseland community economically while lack of rapid transit has made access to jobs and opportunities even more difficult.

The 111th Street station, LaFargue added, could be branded as Greater Roseland Hospital Medical District similar to the Blue Line’s Illinois Medical District. The Michigan Avenue station could reinvigorate that mile-long business corridor, making it the ‘Magnificent Mile South,’ he said.

“This is a catalyst for economic development and branding,” said LaFargue, president of the Red Line Extension Coalition, a community-based group.
And what's the difference in cost?
Policy analyst Daniel Kay Hertz of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability says both projects are important and would have significant impact. He estimated a cost of $27 million per mile to convert the Metra Electric’s South Chicago branch into rapid transit. Hertz based that figure off a 2012 Chicago Department of Transportation report  which puts the cost of converting MED’s South Chicago branch to Millennium Station — not the entire line — at $350 million. Hertz said there’s no reason the per-mile costs would differ substantially to convert the entire MED line. In comparison, the Red Line extension would cost about $434 million a mile.

“It is basically logistical stuff that they need to do as opposed to the physical engineering and  construction of several miles worth of new rail lines and stations,” Hertz said.
Finally a brief history of the Metra Electric and the advocacy for it's conversion to a CTA rapid transit line:
The MED originally ran as rapid transit and the line’s South Chicago branch ran every 10 minutes during the 1940s under its then-operator, Illinois Central. That frequency reduced when it became part of the Regional Transit Authority. Now the line has frequent service during peak evening and morning hours but runs every one to two hours during the mid-day.

The idea to convert the commuter-rail into CTA-style “L” service resurfaced again when transit advocate Mike Payne touted the plan as the Gray Line in the 1990s. It has gained traction in recent years thanks to advocacy groups like Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric and Active Transportation Alliance who want the MED to run every 10-15 minutes. Last year Metra increased mid-day frequency on the line to every 20 minutes between Hyde Park and Millennium Station.

But Metra’s fare structure could create a burden for low-income riders. Metra’s fares are distance-based where CTA charges a flat fee. And since there is no fare integration between Metra and CTA, riders would have to pay two full fares. There’s no fare discount to transfer from one transit system to the other.
What do you all think? Metra Electric (especially serving segments within the city) converted to the "grey line" operated by CTA  or the red line extension which certainly could benefit residents south of 95th through to Altgeld Gardens or perhaps there is a way to make both happen?

Found this article via

Tribune editorial: US Senators give Emanuel a pass on CPS scandal

Found this editorial on the sex assault scandal within CPS via Newsalert:
Days after the Chicago Tribune began publishing stories of alarming and unreported sexual abuse and assault within Chicago Public Schools, Illinois’ two U.S. senators fired off letters demanding accountability and transparency.

But something — or rather someone — was missing from their missives. No mention of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Must have been an oversight.

Instead of directing their concern at the person who actually oversees CPS, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth sent letters to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Illinois schools Superintendent Tony Smith expressing their alarm and requesting more data collection at federal and state levels. By threading the needle carefully, they honed in on narrow aspects of the Tribune’s investigation that touched on state and federal data collection and transparency, not CPS’ failures.

Interesting indeed! Read the whole thing.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

City stickers sale on June 18, 2018 #Ward09

City stickers will be on sale at the office of 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. No only city stickers, also parking zone stickers and parking visitor passes. Here's the where and when:

  •  Monday, June 18, 2018
    From 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • 9th Ward Service Office
    34 E. 112th Place

Want more information give the service office a call at (773) 785-1100

Refer to flyer below. Refer to flyer below. Also visit the city clerk website to buy your city sticker online via EZ>Buy.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Chicago Dept. of Aviation Community Career Fair June 13, 2018

Chicago Dept. of Aviation Community Career Fair. The city's Dept. of Aviation will host a community career fair to meet representatives from those companies looking to hire people to work at O'Hare and Midway Airports.

  • Wednesday, June 13, 2018
    9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

  • Kennedy-King College - Gymnasium
    6301 S. Halsted Street

Refer to the flyer below to see what areas those companies are seeking to hire in.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Operation: Help-A-Hero #Ward09

I'm sorry I didn't trot this out on Memorial Day which is one of those holidays that we celebrate the sacrifices of America's military personnel & veterans. If you have an item to donate to homeless - or transitioning from homeless - military veterans you can do so at any Aldermanic office, any Jewel-Osco store or select Chicago Park district locations. A complete list is available at

If you've subscribed to either Ald. Sawyer's or Ald. Beale's e-mail distribution lists you will see variations of the flyer below. If you want more information call your respective Alderman. This flyer contains the contact information for Ald. Beale.

Refer to the flyer below to see what items to donate. This "operation" continues through the Fourth of July!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

TODAY: 2nd chance adult & juvenile expungement summit

Also a job info rmation seminar for ex-offenders to take place at Kennedy-King College 6343 S. Halsted in building W on Saturday June 2, 2018. Registration at 8:30 AM doors close at 6:00 PM. Also this applies to non-federal crimes committed in the state of Illinois. For more info call 312.603.5200 or 4641. Also visit the webpage of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County at

Here's an ig post from Kennedy-King College

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

CPS Students Traveling To Memphis #MLK50 #HarlanFalcons

[VIDEO] I'm sorry I missed this from last month. A group of CPS students from three high schools including Harlan (Go Falcons) & Hirsch High Schools observed the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination paying a visit to Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Martin Luther King on April 3, 1968 died at the Lorraine Hotel which is now the National Civil Rights museum.

These students will also visit four historically Black colleges where according to Harlan Principal Ramona Outlaw:
“There’s a nurturing that goes on at those campuses that is indeed unmatched. The students, I want them to feel like they’ve come home and that place that they will call home for the next four years is something that they will be proud of.”
I sincerely hope these young people soak in the importance of that journey from last month.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day

Photo via The New Yorker
After the odd weather we had from that late heavy snow in February to the unseasonably cold weather in April to the wetness of this month we have finally arrived at the unofficial start of summer. Hopefully you all are enjoy the nice weather of the weekend and of course having a nice BBQ on this Memorial Day. Have a happy and safe one!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"The American Nurse" at SMG Chatham

Got this e-mail with a flyer to be posted below about an event this coming weekend at Studio Movie Grill Chatham on 87th.
NursingInspired🏾‍ is intentionally hosting an event during National Nurses Week 2018, as an effort to increase interest in the career of Nursing among underrepresented youth in Chicago!

ATTENTION organizations serving urban, underserved & African American youth (age 14-24),

high school students, pre-nursing, traditional & non-traditional college students, professional nurses and community members are all welcome:

Announcing a NursingInspired🏾‍

1st Annual Movie and Educational event Screening the documentary "The American Nurse (2014)"
at the Studio Movie Grill-Chatham, Chicago, IL

Mark your calendar

The event is on Sunday, May 6th
Doors Open at 2pm, Film starts at 2:30pm

NURSES| 1 CE credit for watching the film through Walden University!
Flyer below: