Walmart supercenter will open in Pullman without the CTA service
By ROSALIND ROSSI AND FRAN SPIELMAN Staff Reporters September 9, 2013 7:26PM
Updated: October 11, 2013 6:21AM
A long-sought Walmart supercenter will open Wednesday in Pullman , but without the CTA bus service Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said the transit agency promised in a written agreement.
Walmart workers have been walking 5 1/2 blocks from two bus stops to Walmart at 109th and Doty Road to prepare the store for opening, even though the developer spent $20 million on rebuilding Doty to create a natural turnaround for buses, Beale said.
Beale said he had reached the “boiling point’’ in his efforts to persuade the CTA to honor its commitments in a June 16, 2011 written agreement to extend bus service to Walmart.
“They’re reneging on their agreement,’’ said Beale, chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee.
Once the superstore opens to the public on Wednesday, Beale said, “who is going to carry their goods five blocks?’’ Plus, Walmart will be open until midnight, making such a walk “a safety issue,’’ Beale said.
CTA bus service will not be ready in time for Tuesday’s ceremonial ribbon cutting with Beale and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, nor by Wednesday’s opening to the general public, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase conceded Monday.
But Chase said, “We’re going to implement service as soon as possible.’’ She could not be more specific.
The controversy surrounding the promised CTA bus service threatens to mar the opening of a store Beale spent years fighting to build and the beginning of a development he hopes will bring jobs to his ward. Pullman Park Development also has planned several big box stores, a full-service grocery, a hotel and residential units in the complex.
Beale said the CTA told him it would cost $680,000 to have two bus routes — the No. 106 and No. 111 — run the additional blocks to the turnaround.
“There’s no one in their right mind who would think it would cost $680,000 to run a bus five blocks and turn around,” Beale said.
Plus, Beale said, the additional ridership the CTA will accrue from Walmart workers and customers should offset any extra cost. Some 250 of the 400 employees Walmart will employ plan to use public transportation, he said.
Chase said the CTA does not have a cost estimate but a cost analysis will help determine what service to offer. She could not say why service would not be ready in time for opening day.