(Photo: Hear ye, hear me.)
Today, interested readers can listen to my interview about the Chicago Transit Authority’s ill-considered holiday crackdown on homeless ‘L’ riders on WLUW 88.7-FM‘s independent weekly news and features show, Outside the Loop RADIO.
OTL team Mike Stephen and Andy Hermann invited me by to discuss my opposition in these pages and on Huffington Post Chicago to the CTA plan to throw “continuously riding” homeless people off trains and into Windy City winters at terminal stations.
Since last weekend, my efforts to raise the issue have resulted in coverage by a wide variety of traditional and Internet media, including Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax Blog, Chicagoist Chicago’s NBC 5 and the web-based Chicago Examiner, the international Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), major transit industry resource site TransitTalent, Seattle-area indie newspaper The Stranger, national feminist blog Bitch Ph.D., Progressive Rockies blog Colorado Hummingbird, socioeconomic pundit Marco A. Garcia, and most recently, the national homelessness watchdog page of Change.org.
In response to the issue, on Wednesday the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless announced on its blog that it will “track any efforts to crack down on homeless people riding the CTA.” That’s wonderful news.
Even better would be for the CTA to rescind it’s cruel and discriminatory policy–as the agency told me in writing, the continuous-riding ban may apply to all riders, but CTA staff will decide for themselves which riders to remove from the system.
At 3:00 a.m. at the northern Howard Terminal of the Red Line, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who those CTA employees may be ordering to exit the system. Considering budget cuts are causing the north side’s only emergency homeless shelter to shut down for the winter, that’s a pretty mean-spirited hardship to force onto this city’s most needy citizens.
The agency can do better than such a poorly compassionate policy. I’m calling on CTA President Ron Huberman to switch tracks here and implement a policy that treats homeless Chicagoans with the dignity and respect all human beings deserve.
I’ll let you know if and when that train ever leaves the station.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.