Roughly every three days, one person biking or walking is killed by someone driving a car in the Chicago region.
The South Suburbs include south suburban Cook County, Will County, as well as Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana.
Get the latest updates on active transportation issues in the South Suburbs below and make sure to join our In Your Community: South Suburbs e-newsletter list. The e-newsletter comes out quarterly and offers a quick read on issues related to bicycling, walking and transit in your area.
If you are interested in learning more about any of the information provided on this page, please feel free to contact Maggie Melin at Maggie@activetrans.org or 312-427-0475.
Local Advocacy Groups & Bike Clubs
Bike Walk Every Town
Over the last two months Active Trans hosted four regional suburban summits across the region to give residents tools and resources to advocate for better biking and walking in their community.
The south suburban summit was hosted at the Flossmoor Station Brewery. Overall, 65 advocates from 44 municipalities participated in the in-person trainings. If you missed the summit, you can watch the recorded online training here.
Salt Creek Greenway: Connecting Trail Gaps Lecture
Earlier in November, the Frederick Law Olmsted Society hosted a free lecture about the future trail development of the Salt Creek Greenway. The Salt Creek Greenway spans nearly 27 miles from Busse Woods to the Brookfield Zoo through several counties. However, there is a critical gap in the trail in southwest Chicagoland between Brookfield and Lyons. Drawing a crowd of over 50 people, bicycle path design expert David Landeweer discussed the potential future of the scenic trail and what it might take to close the trail gap and connect the Greenway to the Centennial Trail on Willows Springs Road.
Burnham Greenway Trail Gap Dispute in the News
In case you missed it, back in August the Chicago Tribune published a report on the four-year-long battle with the railroads to close a two-mile gap along the 11-mile Burnham Greenway. Once completed, the Burnham Greenway would connect Chicago to Lansing, Illinois and fill in a major gap in our regional trail system.
While $5 million in federal and state funding is currently available for the project, the issue hinges on crossing five railroad tracks. Trail advocates and the village of Burnham want to see the sidewalk at the crossing expanded from 5-feet to 10-feet and include railings, crossing gates and signs. However, the railroad operator, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), believes building such a crossing would be dangerous. A resolution to the conflict will eventually be made by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which oversees railroad crossing changes. Active Trans will keep you updated as we learn more about any scheduled hearings.
2018 Pace & Metra fare update
Due to public transportation funding cuts in the state budget, Pace Bus and Metra both voted to increase their 2018 ticket prices. This November Pace’s board approved a 25-cent fare hike for all trips while Metra’s board approved both fare increases and cuts in service. A regular bus trip on Pace will now cost $2. Under Metra’s new budget, all ticket fares will increase including one-way tickets which will go up 25 cents and monthly passes which will increase by $9 to $12.50 per month depending on the zone. Cuts in service were approved to the North Central Service, SouthWest Service, Rock Island Line and Milwaukee District North Line.
Highway expansion advocacy
While widening highways may at first seem like a good solution for congestion, research and experience have shown that expanding roads leads to more traffic congestion in the long run and undermines efforts to make our communities better places for walking, biking and public transit. As part of our advocacy around this topic, Active Trans recently published a letter in the Chicago Tribune about the problems of highway expansion, similar to our previously issued statement opposing the extension of Route 53 in Lake County.
2017 Bicycle Friendly State Report Card – Illinois ranks #16
The League of American Bicyclists ranks Illinois 16th in the country and third in the Midwest for biking and walking. The state finished first in the Legislation & Enforcement category – thanks in part to the strength of Illinois’ Cyclist Anti-Harassment and Must Stop for Pedestrians laws, which Active Trans helped pass in 2010. Illinois ranked 45th, however, in Infrastructure & Funding, as the state lacks dedicated funding for bicycle infrastructure and has limited bike facilities on state roads. Active Trans continues to talk with leaders at the Illinois Department of Transportation and elected members of the general assembly about the need for progress on these and other state priorities.
Suburban Bikeways for All
At the end of June, Active Trans released our Suburban Bikeways for All report, which lays out our vision for biking in the suburbs and action steps on how to achieve it. The priorities in the report will lay the foundation for the new Bike Walk Every Town initiative. Check out the report: Despite progress, biking options limited in suburbs.
Local Community Resources
Trails Map: Google Map of planned and completed trails in Northwest Indiana and Will County