The next RTA ADA Advisory Committee meeting will be held on October 17, 2011 from 1:30 PM until 3:30 PM in the RTA Board Room. Pease contact Michael VanDekreke at (312) 913-3204 (voice), (312) 913-3122 (TTY) or by email at
if you need an accommodation to attend the meeting at least three (3) business days before the meeting.
On Monday, July 18, 2011 the RTA ADA Advisory Committee met. This memo is a summary of the items covered.
Welcome and Introductions: Mr. Michael VanDekreke welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked all in attendance to introduce themselves.
Reading and Approval of the 4/18/11 Minutes: Michael VanDekreke asked for a motion to accept the minutes as submitted. Emily Karry made the motion and Barry Taylor seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Public Comment Request for End of Meeting: Heather Garland, Garland Armstrong and Steve Hastalis asked to make public comments at the end of the meeting.
Chairman’s Report on RTA Activities:
Senior Ride Free Update: Rosemary Gerty provided an update on the recent changes made to the Seniors Ride Free Program. Beginning September 1, 2011, the Seniors Ride Free program will be replaced by the Circuit Ride Free program. Seniors will be required to be enrolled in the Illinois Circuit Breaker program in order to receive the RTA Circuit Ride Free card. On August 1, 2011, Reduced Fare and Circuit Ride Free cards will be sent out to seniors, depending on their eligibility. If seniors are ineligible for the Circuit Breaker Ride Free card, they will automatically be sent out a Reduced Fare card. Amber Smock suggested sending out materials on the updated program to community service/advisory agencies so that they can explain the changes to applicants. Commissioner Karen Tamley offered to place program materials out on tables at the Disability Pride Parade on 7/23/11. Brian Barnes also suggested that the RTA distribute materials at senior centers.
RTA Eligibility Review Board Update:
Michael VanDekreke explained that the RTA trained the new Eligibility Review Board (ERB) members in May 2011. He thanked the Committee for their assistance in electing the new ERB.
JARC/New Freedom Update:
Michael VanDekreke briefly explained the JARC/New Freedom programs and explained the timeline for the selection of the next round of JARC/New Freedom funded projects. He explained that the RTA is currently reviewing proposals and on August 18, 2011 the eligibility decision will be released for public comments.
Legislative Update: Jordan Maytas:
Jordan Maytas, the Deputy Executive director of the RTA explained that the governor is expected to sign House Bill 585, which will outline funding of ADA Paratransit and resolve the ADA funding debate. Mr. Maytas explained that the “Technology Bill” includes adding Wi-Fi on Metra, requiring that bus and train trackers are on every bus and train in the RTA system, and by Jan. 1, 2015 an open fare/universal fare card system must be implemented in the RTA region; furthermore, a study on a transfer fare policy must be implemented by Jan. 1, 2013. Lastly, the RTA is working on sales tax legislation that stops businesses from billing from outside of the six (6) county region for services provided in the region in order to avoid taxes that fund the RTA system.
Terms Ending in October Discussion:
Michael VanDekreke explained that three members of the ADA Board Committee’s terms are expiring in October, and that they are eligible to re-apply to begin a new term. Michael requested that those whose terms are ending inform him of whether they would like to continue so that he can open up the positions to the community if they do not wish to continue. Michael also requested that committee members think about the ways in which the committee could be improved. Brian Barnes suggested that committee members be individuals who are senior staff at agencies, and not just members of the community who have personal issues they want to bring to the table about paratransit.
Priority Sign Project Update:
Rosemary Gerty provided an update on the Priority Sign Project at the RTA, which entails developing a unified suite of signage for priority seating for seniors and people with disabilities, that will be used by CTA, Metra and Pace. Rosemary showed a poster of the different signs that will be used. The signs will start being placed in the region this fall.
Barry Taylor volunteered to be the RTA ADA Advisory Committee representative on the marketing sub-group to develop the pubic education marketing plan for the Priority Sign Project. Greg Polman asked when the RTA will start using the standardized audio message regarding disability seating.
RTA Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Presentation- Heather Tabbert:
Heather Tabbert provided a presentation on the RTA’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning programs. The goal of the TOD planning programs is to make communities more walkable and accessible to using fixed route transportation. Heather explained that the studies have been conducted in the city of Chicago as well as different suburban communities. Amber Smock and Brian Barnes suggested that the RTA TOD projects include suggestions on accessibility for people with disabilities. Heather Tabbert explained that the RTA does make accessibility recommendations, but building codes set the accessibility requirements. The RTA focuses on the higher level planning aspects of community development.
Universal Design Update:
Michael VanDekreke reported that at the previous meeting he requested that committee members let him know if they want to be on a sub-group to develop a matrix of various accessibility needs within the disability community as it relates to transit in the region. To date, only one committee member expressed interest in participating in the matrix sub-group. The committee suggested that instead the RTA develop the matrix and provide updates to the Committee.
Travel Training Program Expansion Update:
Michael VanDekreke described the RTA Travel Training program’s upcoming expansion which will include the addition of the Classroom Training and Travel Companion Programs; these programs will be open to the public soon. Michael VanDekreke requested that committee members forward an email that he will be sending out to them regarding the new programs in order to spread the information about the new programs to their contacts/clients. Michael also explained that he is working with Chicago Public Schools to assist them with developing a more robust and improved travel training program for Chicago Public School students.
Updates on Service Boards’ ADA Committees:
Sandra Saunders from Pace Chicago ADA Committee informed the Committee that they recently had their committee’s elections. Kevin Irvine from the CTA ADA Committee informed the committee that in their last ADA meeting they discussed that new L train cars are being put on the Pink Line L, and replacing old inaccessible CTA rail cars on the Blue Line L by the end of the year. Also, six (6) or seven (7) CTA escalators will be rehabbed and therefore will be out of service for a while. Kevin also stated that the CTA’s ADA complaints have increased this year. Brian Barnes from the Pace Suburban ADA Advisory Committee informed the committee that at their last meeting they discussed revisions to their bylaws. Jim Ferneborg, Metra Staff, stated that at the last Metra ADA Advisory Committee they discussed their by-laws and priority seating signage.
- Heather Armstrong stated that this past weekend the Rivers Casino opened. She stated that Pace buses 606, 230, and 223 should pull in front of the casino on Devon Ave., instead of dropping passengers off on Higgins Rd, since that requires a couple blocks walk, which is difficult for people with disabilities.
- Garland Armstrong stated that he heard that Metra may eliminate service in their weekends, weekday, and/or evening service. Garland stated that he and his friends are concerned about Metra’s service cuts.
- Steve Hastalis stated that he agrees that travel training should encourage people to take public transportation and present it as a positive thing. In addition, he requested that the RTA asks CTA and Pace to come up with a common policy on strollers on buses, as open strollers make it hard for people with disabilities to maneuver down bus aisles.
- Jamal Powell stated that he concurs with Steve Hastalis’s statement that he would like CTA to have the same policy as Pace to require people to fold strollers and not block the aisles on fixed route. He requested that the RTA requires that CTA and Pace have the same common policy of requiring that aisles are not blocked on fixed route.
Because some committee members left the meeting early, there was not a quorum to vote on the adjournment of the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 PM.
Voting Committee Members:
Pam Heavens via conference call
Greg Polman as alternate for Dr. Janet Szlyk
Non-Voting Committee Members:
Commissioner Karen Tamley
Sandra Saunders via conference call
Kevin Irvine via conference call
Other RTA and Service Board Staff:
Anne LeFevre, RTA
Rosemary Gerty, RTA
Deane Rosen, RTA
Heather Tabbert, RTA
Carrie Behrens, RTA
Mike Horsting, RTA
Al Cacciottolo, Pace