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Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Trail Connect Chicagoland kicks off

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Active Transportation Alliance is undertaking a new, broad-reaching advocacy campaign called Trail Connect Chicagoland to mobilize our members and supporters around our vision for a seamlessly connected regional trail network.

As one of the first steps in this new campaign, Active Trans recently convened grassroots advocates, allied organizations, local bike clubs, as well as federal, state and local government agencies to kick off a new regional coalition focused on trail advocacy.

The kickoff meeting was held at the offices of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). After Active Trans introduced the campaign and our goals, CMAP transportation planner John O’Neal shared CMAP’s recent update to their Regional Greenways and Trails Plan. This plan is a compilation of all existing and planned trails in the region and will help inform the priority trail gaps and connections the new campaign will focus on.

We concluded the meeting with a series of group discussions about creating a vision for the regional network and how to make that vision a reality. During these discussions, we worked to identify persistent issues found throughout the existing regional trail network such as infrastructure problems, large gaps, inconsistent wayfinding, community access problems and dozens of other issues in between.

In the coming months, the next steps for this campaign will be the development and release of a plan to showcase our collective vision for the regional trail network, meetings to discuss trail gaps in several of the region’s highest-need areas, and a regional summit to take place later this summer, where Active Trans will bring together members and supporters from around the Chicagoland area to help them take action in support of our regional trails.

If you have thoughts or questions on the summit, please contact Matt Gomez at matt@activetrans.org or (312) 216-0474.