Two elected leaders wheelchair-bound for a day to save Connect Transit route

NORD CRABILL 1
Disabled Connect Transit rider Bradley Morris leads Bloomington City Council member Jeff Crabill (green shirt) and Normal Town Council member Stan Nord) (yellow shirt) on a half-mile trek to a Connect Transit bus stop in north Normal. (Facebook photo courtesy of Bradley Morris)

 

By Howard Packowitz

NORMAL – Normal Town Council member Stan Nord claims he was literally sick to his stomach this weekend.

Nord and Bloomington City Council member Jeff Crabill experienced first-hand what wheelchair-bound bus riders would have to do if Connect Transit eliminates the Olive Route.

Nord and Crabill said they used wheelchairs to follow disabled rider Bradley Morris for nearly a half-mile, navigating streets and sidewalks from near Orlando Avenue and Northbrook Drive to a Main Street bus stop in north Normal.

“Jeff and I are about worn out. (Bradley) has to do this all the time, every day. He doesn’t have a choice. He doesn’t have the option to get up,” said Nord, who made his comments in a video posted on his Facebook page.

“Now we want to take this bus stop away from these folks? I’m literally sick to my stomach now after experiencing this,” said Nord.

I think it should be mandatory training for anybody in public service, and especially in public transportation that they do this route at least once, so that way they have perspective,” Nord said.

Connect Transit General Manager Isaac Thorne is scheduled to appear before a Bloomington City Council committee-of-the-whole meeting at 6 p.m. Monday and Normal Town Council’s regular meeting an hour later.

Transit leaders said the Olive Route has very few riders, and eliminating the line will save $156,000 a year.

Both councils will discuss whether to reject Connect Transit’s budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 unless the transit board delays getting rid of the Olive Route, which runs from north Normal to east of Veterans Parkway.

Connect Transit also plans to implement a series of fare increases starting in October.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said rejecting the budget is a nuclear option because it’s not clear whether bus service can continue running without a budget.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

Blogs

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…

Everyone counts and you could make the difference

By Mike Matejka How many federal dollars will there be for road repairs?  To feed hungry families?  How many Illinois representatives will there be in Congress?  Are Illinois communities going to get their fair share? There’s only one way to ensure our community gets treated properly – answer the census. The every ten year U.S. census,…