At the Tuesday ribbon cutting for the city's first super Walmart in Pullman, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to throw the Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool under a metaphorical bus since there wasn't an actual one for blocks.
“I would have been here a little earlier, but I got dropped off about five blocks (away) by CTA and I had to walk” the rest of the way, the mayor said according to the Sun-Times, noting the lack of bus service outside the store at 10900 S. Doty Ave.
“Forrest ain’t here. Whatever. He’ll be here tomorrow to make sure that bus is here every 20 minutes. But, that’s actually a testament to Anthony [Beale] being clear and getting what he deserves and what is appropriate. You don’t build roads. You don’t build great stores like this so people get dropped off five, six blocks away. They’ve got to get in here.”
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) has been jockeying for a Walmart in his ward for years, and despite smoothing things over with unions, Beale said he struggled to make headway with the CTA.
"You can build a store, but if you can't get to it, what good is it," Beale told NBC Chicago at Tuesday's event after saying the CTA tried to "renege" on its promise to extend service to the store.
Bus routes for the No. 106 East 103rd and No. 111 111th/King Drive stop at Cottage Grove Avenue, more than five blocks from the new store. Beale said extended CTA service had always been part of the $135 million development, the Tribune reports. The retail developer even built bus access into the design, complete with a bus turnaround and nearby sidewalks for commuters.
After Beale publicly complained (and undoubtedly spurred by Emanuel) the CTA began installing bus signs Tuesday, according to ABC Chicago.
"We hope to have both route extensions up and running in short order," CTA spokesman Brian Steele told the Tribune. "We don't have a specific date at this point but will announce as soon as a schedule is set."
By Wednesday, a temporary fix called the “111A Pullman Shuttle” was revealed on the CTA's website with an effective date of Sept. 11.