Loiter Squad: Chicago Loses Bus Shelters to Avoid Loitering

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Monday, September 16, 2013
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(Courtesy StreetsBlog)

(Courtesy StreetsBlog)

Waiting for the bus was getting just a bit too pleasant, so it’s a good thing the 46th Ward removed benches from at least three locations in Uptown—an anonymous tipster told StreetsBlog that Alderman James Cappelman’s office apparently relieved several bus stops of their benches to prevent loitering. That’s the same Cappelman accused earlier this year of waging a “war on the poor” for pressuring the Salvation Army to stop feeding the poor in his ward.

But look at who’s tugging at his ear. A married couple of lawyers just tried to sue Cappelman and the Chicago Department of Transportation for besmirching the sidewalk in front of their condo with a Divvy bikeshare station. A judge dismissed their request to yank the station immediately, but they’re up for a hearing at the end of September. Another month of these blue beacons for bikers? Just think of the loiterers!

One Response to “Loiter Squad: Chicago Loses Bus Shelters to Avoid Loitering”

  1. Ald. James Cappleman says:

    The concern about the benches in this area was focused on the unusually high amount of public drinking that occurs. From past observations, regular bus riders were never once observed sitting on the bus bench. It was almost exclusively used by public drinkers.

    The bus shelter shown in this picture is directly in front of a child daycare center, and parents were complaining about the public drinking, yelling, cursing, and fighting that occurred there in front of the young kids. There was one public drinker there who would get taken via ambulance several times a week when she was passed out from her drinking.

    We tried getting the police to address this, but it took them away from dealing with the gangs in the area that were shooting one another. It was the police who suggested getting the bench removed, and once done, the problem cleared up overnight.

    As for situation of feeding the homeless in the park, my meeting with Salvation Army was asking them to collaborate better with Night Ministry, Northside Housing, Catholic Charities, Heartland Health Outreach, Thresholds, Dept. of Family & Support Services, and several churches in the area that were all providing services to the same small group of homeless individuals under the Wilson viaduct. All of the agencies were duplicating efforts to get them interim shelter, SSI, Medicaid, medical care, drug treatment, their identification, food, clothing, and counseling. Other areas of the City were receiving no services. As one who is also a social worker who founded a homeless shelter, I believe it’s more important than ever that we make the best use of the resources we have and take the steps to coordinate the care that’s given.

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