Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke (from left), Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski, and Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger stand next to the agency’s first electric bus. (Photo courtesy of Pace Suburban Bus)

Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke (from left), Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski, and Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger stand next to the agency’s first electric bus. (Photo courtesy of Pace Suburban Bus)

Pace debuts inaugural electric bus route in south suburbs

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By Bob Bong

First it was electric cars, then trucks, and now, buses.

Pace, the suburban bus transit agency, last Friday introduced its first electric bus at its Southwest Division station in Bridgeview.

The state-of-the-art Gillig bus is now operational on Route 381 95th Street serving riders in the southwest suburbs, including Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Bridgeview, Hickory Hills, and Palos Hills, and providing connections between the CTA Red Line and Moraine Valley Community College.

The bus was delivered last year and had undergone rigorous testing before becoming operational. It is part of Pace’s Project Zero initiative to reduce its carbon footprint and convert the Pace fleet of over 700 buses to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

“This is a tremendous milestone in our Project Zero initiative,” said Pace Chairman Rick Kwasneski, the former mayor of Lemont. “Already, 22 more electric buses are on order thanks to federal funding.”

“By embracing cutting-edge technology, Pace is not just transforming its fleet; it’s catalyzing a broader conversation about the intersection of public transportation and environmental responsibility,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “Pace’s leadership in embracing clean energy showcases the potential for transformative change, and aligns with our shared vision of propelling our communities towards a greener tomorrow.”

“Pace’s legacy of progress and innovation has led us to this vehicle you see today—which is better for passengers, easier for our bus operators, and cleaner for the environment,” said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger. “This marks a pivotal moment for Pace and our commitment to sustainable mobility solutions.”

End of an ear as Kean brothers retire

Once upon a time, motorists everywhere had to pump their own gas.

Attendants not only filled up the tank, they checked the oil, water and air in the tires. They even washed the windows all while you sat comfortably in the car. SUVs hadn’t been invented yet.

Today, only New Jersey still prohibits motorists from using the gas pumps. Last year, Oregon dropped its prohibition when it allowed stations to begin offering self-serve pumps.

Even years after the overwhelming majority of stations in Illinois went self-serve, there were a few full-service holdouts.

Park Mobil in Lansing was a full-serve station before it was sold a couple of years ago. Another one was Kean Bros. in Chicago’s Beverly community.

That is probably over now that station at the corner of 111th Street and Talman Avenue has been sold.

On January 8, brothers Raleigh and Jim Kean sold the station their family operated for 73 years to Kishore Matthew.

He has announced the station will be rebranded as a Shell gas station. He will continue to accept Kean gift certificates.

No word on whether Matthew will continue to offer full service.

Chicago Andy’s still on course

Readers who have asked about the status of the Andy’s Frozen Custard that was announced for the Southwest Side back in November of 2022 can rest easy, according to Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd).

Workers began cutting down trees at the site the other day and Tabares said Andy’s is expected to begin renovations next month on a former bank building at 6366 S. Archer Ave. The new location is scheduled to be open by the end of June.

It would be the first Andy’s within the city limits of Chicago. The building had been home to Bridgeview Bank, which was later sold to First Midwest Bank, which itself was later acquired by Indiana-based Old National.

Before it was a bank, the building was home to Archway Café restaurant.

The bank building was erected in 2007

According to a spokesman for Andy’s, the shop will employ about 45 people in the summer season and about 20 in the off-season. Most jobs at the location will be part time.

Founded in 1986 in Missouri, Andy’s today has more than 100 shops in 14 states including nearby locations in Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Burbank, Countryside, LaGrange Park, and Orland Park.

New doctor on staff at Little Company

OSF HealthCare announced the addition of Dr. Robert C. Lawler, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with more than 20 years of experience, to its staff to serve the south side of Chicago and surrounding communities.

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Robert Lawler

Lawler will join the teams at OSF Medical Group – Obstetrics and Gynecology, primarily seeing patients at the OSF Center for Health at 6700 W. 95th in Oak Lawn. Patients can call 708-974-7301 to make appointments.

Lawler will also assume the role of Medical Director overseeing labor and delivery, neonatology and gynecologic surgeries OSF Little Company of Mary, as well as OB-GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine clinics. In this role, Lawler will help to further the continuity of care across all women’s health service line offerings throughout the Evergreen Park service area.

Previously practicing in Downers Grove, Lawler is a graduate of Creighton University Medical School and completed his Internship and Residency at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, where he served as Chief Resident. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as an active member of the American Association of Prolife Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Catholic Medical Association and the Chicago Catholic Physicians Guild.

If you see a new business in town or wonder what happened to an old favorite, drop me a line at bobbong@hotmail.com.  

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