About one-third of all work trips in Chicago are comprised of people biking, walking or riding public transit.
The North Suburbs include north suburban Cook County, as well as Lake and McHenry counties.
Get the latest updates on active transportation issues in the North Suburbs below and make sure to join our In Your Community: North 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 [email protected] or 312-216-0475.
Local Advocacy Groups & Bike Clubs:
Bike and Walk Park Ridge (Facebook Group)
Midwest Sustainability Group (includes the Go Lake County campaign)
North Shore Cycling Advocates (Facebook Group)
Active Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Projects:
Glencoe - Developing an Active Transportation Plan (final draft in progress)
Northbrook - Developing a Master Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (waiting for board approval)
Wilmette - Developing an Active Transportation Plan (planning process has just begun)
Bike Walk Socials in the suburbs
As part of our Bike Walk Every Town suburban advocacy program, this spring Active Trans teamed up with Bike Wilmette in the North Shore and Friends of Cycling in the northwest suburb of Elk Grove to host two Bike Walk Socials. Nearly 50 advocates and residents curious about improving biking and walking in their communities got the chance to network and mingle with like-minded folks. Visit our Bike Walk Every Town website for more information and future networking events.
Multiuse recreation bridge being built over Touhy Avenue
The Village of Lincolnwood began construction on a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will allow users of the Valley Line Trail to safely cross Touhy Avenue. Funded by a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality federal grant, the bridge is expected to be completed this summer. Thanks to advocate James Lamb for the photo!
Evanston advocates fight for the Dodge Avenue bike lanes
At the end of April, Evanston’s City Council discussed the possibility of removing the city’s protected bike lanes on Dodge Avenue. Fortunately, the aldermen voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the bike lanes. Shout out to the advocates, including representatives from Go Evanston, for showing up in high numbers and voicing their support for investing in safe, comfortable, dedicated bicycle facilities. Advocacy makes a difference!
Bike Walk Education in Schools Act passes the Illinois House and Senate
We’re happy to report that the Illinois House and Senate passed the Illinois Bike Walk Education in Schools Act this spring. The bill would add biking and walking safety education to the school curriculum in Illinois. Now, the bill moves to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature. Thank you to the hundreds of supporters who contacted their legislators to push for passage of the bill. Stay tuned for more opportunities to take action.
Bicycle Friendly Community awards announced
The League of American Bicyclists recognized Highland Park and Wilmette with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award, joining 450 visionary communities from across the country. Crystal Lake and Libertyville were also recognized with an honorable mention. Congratulations to all four communities!
‘Tis the season to enjoy the outdoors!
Local advocacy groups, bike clubs, schools, towns and Active Trans are organizing fun biking and walking events around the region:
Active transportation plans coming to the North Shore
An active transportation plan maps out a community’s vision of a connected network of low-stress bikeways, trails, sidewalks and transit access. Active Trans would like to see every village and city in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs develop and adopt one of these plans. Active Trans is currently working with the Village of Glencoe on a plan and will soon be kicking off the planning process with the Village of Wilmette. The Village of Northbrook has also been developing an active transportation plan, with its village board set to consider the plan on June 12.
Kids ride free on Metra this summer
Metra is now offering free rides to children age 11 and under who are accompanied by an adult between now and Labor Day. Check out the Metra website for a list of fun events and activities that you and your family can reach by train in June.
Advocates inspire bicycling in Elk Grove Village
One of the first steps to building a local movement is connecting with like-minded individuals in the community who also want to see safer, more comfortable transportation options. Organized events can be a great way to create this connection. We spoke to Dave Simmons from Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove about his group’s experience organizing bike pit stops in Busse Woods to encourage bike safety and good trail etiquette — an idea that could easily be replicated throughout the region.
Palatine’s Bike to School Day
Bike Palatine and Palatine’s School District 15 teamed up again this May for National Bike to School Day. Thirteen schools in Palatine participated with an impressive 1,480 student riders. Check out resources from the National Center for Safe Routes to School if you’d like your school to get involved in the next Bike to School Day in May or the International Walk to School Day in October.
Advocacy training webinars
As part of our Bike Walk Every Town advocacy program, we host lunch time webinars on how you can help organize and create change in your community. Visit activetrans.org/bikewalkeverytown to register for our upcoming trainings, including the webinar we will host on June 21, which will cover event organizing ideas and tips. Check out the recordings of our most recent webinars:
We’re looking for Active Trans Ambassadors from the suburbs
Want to represent Active Trans at future suburban events and help us spread the message about the importance of walking, biking and public transit to residents throughout the region? We’re training volunteers interested in becoming Active Trans Ambassadors. Those who complete the training sessions will receive special, limited-edition Active Trans Ambassador T-shirts. If you’re interested in learning more, please email [email protected]. Photo credit: James Lamb.
Local Community Resources:
Bike Lake County - regional bikeways map
Chicago Botanic Garden - bike to the garden
Go Green Illinois - collection of citizen's environmental groups in the north suburbs
Trails Linking Communities (Facebook page) - stay updated on local and regional trial and bikeway news
Please email suggestions for additional local community resources to [email protected]