Bus route change strands Lake Park group

Herald Intern

A change to a Hyde Park bus route has some residents, including Ald. Will Burns (4th), worried. Service on the No. 28 bus, which travels south on Lake Park Avenue, has been restricted between 47th and 55th streets. As it stands, the bus turns onto 51st Street instead of continuing south. Some Hyde Parkers, especially seniors, say the change makes it difficult to get to businesses on 53rd Street.

“It was a mistake to reduce service on Lake Park Avenue,” Burns said in a prepared statement. A group, mainly of seniors who live in two buildings on the route, presented a petition with around 500 signatures to Burns, asking that he work with the CTA to restore the route. He said he would do so at one ward meeting.

“The X28 was merged with the No. 28 because the routes were duplicative. The No. 15 is also available as an alternative for former X28 riders,” a CTA spokesperson said in an e-mail to the Herald. In response to the concerns locals raised, the spokesperson said the CTA was in conversation with Burns, and would “look into” adding to the No. 15 bus’ new route.

The seniors knew they could use the No. 15 bus to get to 53rd, but saw this as inconvenience.

“Most seniors my age can’t walk, and waiting out in the cold weather for a bus has been quite difficult for us this season,” said Mary Levinson, who helped start the petition drive. In order to reach 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue via the No. 15 bus, riders would have to exit the No. 28 on the north side of Hyde Park Boulevard, cross and board a No. 15 headed south.

Levinson referred to the bus as the “snail, snail slow 15.”

Organizers hoped that their voices might get a boost from local businesses who count on the seniors’ patronage.

“The theater — they have a senior rate for the matinee. Most of us would love to be able to go up there,” said Joy Atkins, who lives in one of the affected buildings. Atkins added that many seniors in the area have doctors or banks on 53rd Street.

The route cut is part of a larger effort at the CTA, begun in December. About a dozen routes have been eliminated to focus resources on 48 high-demand routes.