Friday, April 10, 2009

Speak Up! Show Up! For Uptown Red Line Funds

Sick of the state of the Wilson, Lawrence and Argyle Red Line stations? Yeah, we are too. So here's something you can do that can actually help get some funding for improvements. A reader writes:

"Rep. Harris and other local elected officials are hosting a meeting next week to discuss the need to pass a new State of Illinois capital transportation construction program. I've met with Joyce Dugan, Rep. Harris, Alderman Shiller and Alderman Smith to stress the importance of advocating for funds to be directed to the CTA for the long overdue rehabilitation of the Red Line stations in our community (Wilson, Lawrence, Argyle). Everyone is on board and the consensus is remarkably clear -- the Red Line north of Addison has been shortchanged for decades and the opportunity to obtain funding for major improvement is now.

We must act promptly to ensure that our priorities are included in the State's next capital transportation construction bill. If not, it could be another 5 to 10 years before the State considers another bill. It would be great if concerned residents could show up en masse and speak up as well. It's estimated that the renovation to the Wilson Station alone could cost upwards of $60MM. Since we're effectively competing against other unfunded projects, such as the extension of the Red Line on the South Side, it's important to show significant community support for our initiatives. An online petition drive is also being organized. Please encourage readers to attend and speak out!"

Click on the flyer for a full-size version you can distribute to your neighbors. And please try to attend! This is an opportunity where you, by showing up and speaking up in real life -- not just on a community blog -- can make a huge difference in deciding our neighborhood's future.


  1. What happened to the capital funds directed at the Wilson and Lawrence "L" stop the last several times this was tried? (((((poof))))) gone.

    Larry McKeon used these capital funds allocations as election campaign "success stories," as I remember.

    Look at the bridges on LSD. Other wards have brand new bridges, landcaping, near perfect asphalt and architect designed guard rails. The 46th Ward has emergency props to keep cars from falling through, a maze of potholes last summer and concrete construction barricades as guardrails.

    Until Alderman Shiller is gone, the 46th Ward will always struggle to receive a dime of state funding, unless it is absolutely necessary.

    We were fortunate that Ron Huberman lived in Uptown and saw the need to put a new paintjob and small improvements on the "L" stops. Hopefully, Heather Steans and Greg Harris will also look past Shiller to see that any improvements will be fully to their credit. It worked with crime. It can also work with state funding of infrastructure.

  2. Poppycock! The whole lot of it!

    There are so many things wrong with this, I'm not even sure where to begin.

    Shiller should be downright ashamed to need the people of the ward to do her job for her, again! That wonderfully and astonishingly expensive voter packing module she's building at Wilson Yard is being fought by some of her constituents for the misuse of funds, and there's the Truman College garage using our money, and we have to go and beg for money to repair stations on the Red line (one of which RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO HER OFFICE)?!?!

    She can represent us, without listening to us when she amends TIFs, but can't represent us on a matter such as this?

    Pardon my french, but what the flying flavin does that woman do?

    She had to be embarrassed into appearing at a town hall meeting since she wouldn't address violence, and now we're being asked to represent ourselves in a matter that is wholly her responsibility?

    Will she be attending, or does she have something more important than to meet to get funding for her ward?


    Don't the conditions of these stations speak for themselves?

    Does the state REALLY need to be CONVINCED that these stations need immediate assistance? Wouldn't a picture suffice?

    And this from Harris' newsletter this week:

    The CTA was allocated $495 million. I, along with Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Harry Osterman, and Aldermen Helen Shiller, Mary Ann Smith, Pat O'Connor and Joe Moore have already been meeting regularly with CTA officials to stress the importance of making improvements to the Red Line and its stations a top priority.

    Is this different money, Greg? Because, the way I read it, the CTA's got the cash, but we need to go to an event to get more money form the state?

    What in the hell is going on here?

    Why doesn't this message come from Helen, too? Is she coming? Will she be sending Lil' Mz Weave and/or her buddies from COURAJ to this?

    To be perfectly honest, I don't trust any of those state reps, any more. And it's THEIR job to represent us, too.

    Why do we need a mob mentality to get things done around here?

    If Helen won't go do her damned job and represent us, I'm not going either.

  3. I love your perspective and insights Zesty, but am curious about one comment---"It worked with crime." Two questions: First, what worked? A meeting? Second, did it work? I don't think crime is down but I do think its easy to confuse winter in Uptown with successful crime-fighting.

  4. Yo, with all due respect to you and your very reasoned out viewpoints, I'll be there.

    As you can probably tell from my comments, I'm no fan of Ald. Shiller. But - on the off-chance that the community's presence might squeeze some more millions towards the repair of the Wilson, Lawrence and Argyle stations - I want to be there and see what I can do to help that along.

    This is how I look at it: I'm here for the long run. Ald. Shiller will be gone in two years at the most. I'll be taking the el long after she's doing whatever she does after leaving office. To ignore this meeting is, to me, biting off my nose to spite my face.

    If my showing up and gathering the courage to speak at a meeting helps Uptown get a cleaner, shinier, not-embarrassed-to-take-the-visitors-there el stop, it's worth a couple hours of my life.

    Shiller is an irritant and, at best, insignificant. Let's remember the working mantra of the 46th Ward residents: If you want anything done, do it yourself. I see this as yet another instance where we have to step around her and take matters into our own hands... as usual.

  5. TSN,

    I hear ya', and I wholly agree with your viewpoint, as well.

    I'm just fed up with the horrific representation that we rec'v in this ward, city and state.

    After reading your post, I've been reconsidering my tact, and think maybe the best course of action would be taking pictures of the 3 stops, enlarging them and bringing them to the meeting.

    Put 'em up on an easel and then ask the group: "What else do you need to know?"

    That, and I'm a little bewildered by the estimated $60M cost for the Wilson stop.

    If FWY needed more ammunition for their argument, that would be it.

    $60M for housing people who don't live in the ward, or $60M to repair a dangerously neglected outpost of public transportation?!

    Unless, of course, that $60M figure is complete bung water. And based on the cadre of representatives, who knows?

    Shiller is quite vocal about recycling and environmental issues. Instead of promoting and working vigorously to get funding to support her concerns, she gives $10M to Truman which effectively promotes higher use of carbon based fuel.

    Then she spins a few amendments to the WY TIF to allow her to slide ~$60M to a political ally to concentrate even more people into an already crowded area, which is sure to explode the carbon footprint.

    I seriously doubt that the green roof on this mythical Target store will make up for the increased cloud of pollutants which will be spewing into the air by the increased traffic in the area from both the WY housing and the students/faculty/staff who forsake taking the CTA and elect to drive to Truman.

    It's simply mind-boggling as to how well this woman integrates a complete disregard for logic with complicated hypocrisy.

    And Harris continues his trend for enabling her bad behavior.

  6. "Pardon my french, but what the flying flavin does that woman do?"

    Well, with the weather getting warmer I've seen Helen in walking in the neighborhood a few times recently and can tell you one of the things I've seen her doing. Muttering to herself. And quite loudly. With no one around and nothing in her ears. She was simply muttering. What about, I couldn't tell. It was muttering.

    The stress must be getting to her. Could she be counting down the days to the end of her term, too?

  7. God I hope Helen and her crew reads these comments!!! Just fabulous!!!!!

  8. The fact that Helen, and her staff, are so close to the Wilson stop and it continues to crumble is telling.

    There is no way to claim that they understand how to manage the ward when you look at the Wilson stop. They have watched it crumble and done nothing.

    There is no way to claim that they are working as hard as possible for the ward when you look at the Wilson stop. They have watched it crumble and done nothing.

    She increases the population density of the poor, who need public transportation, and then completely ignores their right to have sanitary public transportation.

    It is disgusting and pathetic. Nothing in the ward makes me more embarrassed than the Wilson red line stop.

    Shame on you Helen.

  9. During the next aldermanic election I think Helen's opponents should camp out at these dilapidated stations and hand out information on Helen's lack of interest in providing adequate public transportation to the poor people (not the condo owners) who live in her ward.

  10. "It's estimated that the renovation to the Wilson Station alone could cost upwards of $60MM."

    I'm curious to know which Uptown Update reader seems to know this. The quotes look like they're from a Rep. Harris press release.

  11. "Since we're effectively competing against other unfunded projects, such as the extension of the Red Line on the South Side, it's important to show significant community support for our initiatives."

    Why set this up as a competition between two important projects? We shouldn't pit repairing the North Side Red Line (desperately needed) against extending the South Side Red Line (also desperately needed), or any other of the many essential public transit investments out there (the Gold Line, the Crosstown El/Mid-City Transitway, bus rapid transit, etc).

    Instead, transit riders and environmentalists should be working *together* to increase the amount of resources devoted to transit, at the expense of highway projects that encourage sprawl and global warming. HIstorically, transit gets only half the funding of roads. But if we fight together, we could get equal funding for transit - as the chairman of the IL Senate Transportation Committee proposes. Then we wouldn't have to bicker over which deserving project gets the money.