Making Streets Better in Chicago’s 1st Ward

Many Chicago politicians claim they have the solutions to all of our issues.  Their arguments are so compelling that it’s hard not to be excited over each way they are going to help.  Once elected to office it seems like their promises vanish, only to deal with issues and concerns deemed more important.  Frankly, most care more about their personal situations, leaving the community with the status quo.  Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a wonderful gentleman who hasn’t forgotten about the people who elected him to office.  Alderman Joe Moreno of Chicago’s 1st ward has stayed true to his word, and he has gone above and beyond to improve his community.

This past Saturday Alderman Moreno was the key guest at the Chicago Driving Survival seminar.  In just a short time it was easy to see why he has been so valuable to the community.   Last week in the midst of Chicago’s biggest snow storm in decades, Alderman Moreno stepped up by using his money to clear the alleys of the 1st ward.  He took on such an action even though the majority of the city left this issue unaddressed.  According to Commissioner Thomas Byrne from the Dept. of Streets and Sanitation, “We do not plow alleys”.  While residents were stuck manually shoveling feet of snow, Alderman Moreno helped his residents avoid the dangerous cold through his initiative.  This isn’t the first time the Alderman has gone beyond the call of duty for his driving residents.

In June of 2010, Alderman Moreno started a free text message alert system to warn residents of the 1st ward of upcoming street cleaning days in their area.   This genius service sends a text message to your phone the night before a street cleaning to remind you to move your car.  That could be $50 back in your pocket, just by avoiding a street cleaning ticket!  1st ward drivers interested in the service can find more information on this through the Anti-Tow’s Chicago website.  The Alderman was able to institute this new system only months after being elected to office.  His initiative with the text message alert system and his funding of snow removal from the alleys shows how committed he is to helping the residents in his ward.

I was very impressed with the Alderman and wanted to learn more about his goals and direction after meeting him.  His personal website speaks volumes about his priorities.  The layout is clean and easy to follow and the first button you see allows you to register to “Volunteer”.  The registration process is painless, and even gives you a list of options of the things you can do to help.  What a better way to help the community than to ask them directly for their support?   There is a big button right below the volunteer option for “Upcoming Events”.   Residents can see where the Alderman will be, and how they can get a chance to meet him.  His reach to the community doesn’t end there.  The Alderman runs a very interactive Twitter account as a way of keeping the community posted on issues and actions in the 1st ward.  I sent him a tweet and I had a response within the hour.  That is impressive.

The City of Chicago is very lucky to have such a wonderful person in office.  Alderman Moreno has done wonderful things for the residents of the 1st ward, and he continues to show his dedication to the community.  His initiatives of plowing the alleys, setting up a text message system to warn residents of street cleanings, and his highly interactive website are all ways he working to serve his community.  We wish the Alderman good luck in the upcoming election, and a big thank you for his commitment to excellence.