CTA Red Line Extension Campaign
For the last six years, DCP, a faith-based organization serving Greater Roseland, has conducted its most far-reaching community organizing effort: the CTA Red Line Extension Campaign. This campaign addresses a 38-year history of neglect by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to extend CTA's Red Line to Chicago's far south side city limits, the most job inaccessible area of Chicago.
In 2003, Clee Lowe, former chair of the Area Wide Task Force (AWTF), brought to the AWTF the idea of addressing transportation needs as the result of a CATS (Chicago Area Transportation Study) meeting that he attended in South Shore. The meeting was an effort to gain neighborhood support for improving transportation in that community. Mr. Lowe informed the AWTF of his experience and CATS' plans for a subsequent South Shore meeting . DCP members attended the South Shore meeting where lots of maps and visuals were presented but no one was present from the community. Given there was no obvious community interest, DCP challenged CATS and Northeastern Illinois Transportation Authority to bring their plan to the Far SouthSide. CATS and NITA representatives came to DCP's Community Congress in May 2003 and made a Power Point presentation to over 200 persons. Greater Roseland embraced the plan and the rest is history. To see recent case studies click here.
Transit money and plans have "passed by" Greater Roseland; yet, the 95th Street terminal generates more revenues than any other in the city. DCP is fighting for the Red Line because of its potential for a revitalized community through transportation access and properly facilitated business and workforce development. According to Robert D. Bullard, author of "Highway Robbery: Transportation, Racism and New Route to Equity" in the January/February 2005 issue of The Crisis, "transportation investments, enhancement and financial resources, if used properly, can bring new life and revitalization to urban areas where they are much needed and can aid in lifting families out of poverty. They can become key ingredients in building economically viable and sustainable communities." This is the only mass transit capital project among the five approved regional projects to benefit underserved, poor, and mixed-income, predominantly African-American communities. To see recent case studies, click here.
Red Line Campaign Milestones since 2004
- DCP serves as key facilitator of public involvement in the Red Line Extension planning process.
- DCP conducted a petition drive, putting democracy to the test, to get an advisory referendum for the Red Line placed on the November 2004 election ballot that resulted in 39,000 votes in two wards - an overwhelming victory and a record turnout
- DCP pushed the CTA Red Line Extension project forward from selection as a capital project in the Regional Transportation Authority's 2030 Shared Path Regional Transportation Plan to, through Senator Barack Obama and Congressman Jesse Jackson, getting the project listed in the new 2005 Federal Transportation bill that provides 80% of the extension costs.
- DCP collaborated with researchers at the Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the UIC, to produce the report, "The Case for Transit-Oriented Development in Greater Roseland" that substantiates the need and potential for community improvement. The Red Line Campaign, driven by DCP's Red Line Oversight Committee (ROC) continues to make significant milestones.
- July 2005 - August 2005: After three years of organizing, Congressman Jesse Jackson and Senator Barack Obama get Red Line Extension project listed in the $286 billion transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU and passed by Congress. President Bush signs transportation bill in Aurora, Illinois and the Red Line Extension is listed under Preliminary Engineering for FY 2005-2009.
- November 2005: Members of the Red Line Oversight Committee (ROC) meet with Congressman Jackson and Senator Obama in DC. A week later, Congressman Jackson issues mass mailing brochure supporting the "Community Route" (the DCP choice) for the Red Line Extension. Jackson stated in his brochure, Making Tracks in the South Side and South Suburbs: Bringing commuter train service to Chicago's Southland, that "...[the] Red Line Extension will help reduce commute times, and improve the quality of life, strengthen our communities, and unify the region." He described the benefits of the Red Line extension: access to jobs, access to downtown, transit-supportive development, access to a broader labor pool, and an enhanced local tax base.
- December 2005: DCP sponsors two events: a Ministers' Breakfast and a Press Conference. Area pastors sign Red Line Extension support pledge at breakfast and city, state and federal public officials sign pledge at Press Conference that was aired on Channel 7 news and extensive coverage was in the local Citizen Newspapers.
- January - March, 2006: DCP hosts three public meetings to educate Greater Roseland residents on the status of the Red Line Extension and to launch a letter writing campaign. At the second meeting, Alderman Carrie Austin signs pledge to bring the Red Line project before the City Council transportation Committee. At the third meeting, CTA officials make presentations and answer questions in mock public hearings.
- April 2006: ROC members and staff attend meeting hosted by Representative Constance Howard at the State Capitol to discuss measures to assure that the match is included in next year's State budget. Representative Julie Hamos, State Transportation Committee Chair attended.
- April - May 2006: The Citizen Newspaper provided front-page coverage for the Walk and earlier, The Chicago Tribune (4/27/06) and the Chicago Reader (5/17/06, with a front page teaser) published articles describing the campaign, specifically the link between transit resources and economic development on Chicago's southeast side.
- May 2006: DCP receives 2006 Faith-Based Community Impact Award from ShoreBank.
- May 2006: The deadline, after seven postponements, of the LIQ (Request for Letters of Interest and Qualifications) for the Red Line Alternatives Analysis was set for May 1, 2006 but again circumvented in favor of three public meetings for the Circle Line on May 2,3,4.
- June 2006: DCP hosts a Second Red Line Walk-A-Thon. State Representatives Robert Rita and Constance Howard and 9th Ward Alderman Beale participated.
- July 2006 - August 2006: DCP invited to serve as a community outreach site by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), giving Greater Roseland a recognized voice in transportation policy. DCP hosts community meeting to unveil the RTA's 5-year plan for the Far South Region in November. DCP executive director is spokesperson for a RTA radio public service announcement aired on 12 local stations.
- April 2007: CTA hosts first Alternatives Analysis screenings presenting an assessment of transit improvement options for the Red Line.
- May 2007: DCP receives 2007 Community Organizing Award, a grant of $50,000 from local foundations, for its Red Line work.
- June, 2007: Graduate interns complete masters' theses around land use options and architectural possibilities at and around the proposed station stops.
- July, 2007 - RTA, Voorhees Center and DCP advance proposal for Greater Roseland Red Line Extension Equity and Transit Linked Community Development Project that includes a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) and a Political Advisory Panel (PAP)
- October & November 2008: RTA grants $150,000 for study to identify the economic and community development opportunities that can result from the proposed Red Line Extension. DCP oversees deliverables of the study conducted by the Voorhees Center. The project team meets to review progress on report. TAP is convened.
- December 2008: CTA hosts second series of Alternatives Analysis screenings on the Red Line in the community. DCP proposed "community" route is among three remaining alternatives out of nine original.
- April 8 2009: DCP testifies before state legislature to advocate for inclusion of Red Line Extension in state capital budget to meet federal match.
- April 30, 2009: DCP hosts Red Line update meeting with grassroots leaders and key community stakeholders to introduce the next organizing phase of the Red Line Campaign: the Community Visioning Sessions.
- June 3 & 4, 2009: CTA hosts final Alternatives Analysis' Open Houses. DCP advocated route is chosen as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).
- August 12, 2009: CTA Board approves extension of Red Line to 130th Street as the LPA.
- September 22 & 24, 2009: CTA conducts Scoping Meetings on LPA as part of federal environmental process overview.
- December 9, 2009: DCP releases "Transit Equity Matters: An Equity Index and Regional Analysis of the Red Line and Two other Proposed CTA Transit Extensions" at Press Conference.
- December 10, 2009: DCP celebrates progress on Red Line Campaign at Victory Celebration & DCP Reunion.
- March 2010 - Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) included the Red Line Extension as the only CTA transit extension project in its five-year transportation plan draft recommendation to the Federal government.
To sign the petition to extend the CTA RedLine, please access: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/extend-the-cta-red-line