Author Archives: Jim Merrell

State legislators introduce bill to transform Illinois transit 

Speaking at a press conference in the Great Hall of Chicago’s Union Station, Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam and State Representative Eva-Dina Delgado unveiled a transformational package of legislation aimed at dramatically remaking how public transit is managed and funded in the state.

Chief among the proposed reforms is combining the existing four regional transit agencies (the Regional Transit Authority, the Chicago Transit Authority, Pace, and Metra) into a new consolidated Metropolitan Mobility Authority.

New law requires CDOT to identify contributing factors in fatal crashes

The Chicago City Council recently adopted an ordinance outlining strengthened requirements for the city’s reporting on fatal crashes.  

Spearheaded by 50th Ward Alderperson Debra Silverstein, the Fatal Crash Legacy Ordinance will require a detailed investigation after a fatal crash to identify contributing factors.

The law requires Chicago Department of Transportation to develop a list of recommended safety improvements that can address any identified contributing factors. 

This means survivors and advocates will have access to more detailed information as well as actionable steps on how to address underlying unsafe conditions on our roadways.  

Chicago’s bike network comes up short in national ranking 

People for Bikes recently released the 2023 City Rankings, and once again Chicago ranked near the bottom of the list of bike-friendly big cities in the US, a dismal 161 out of 163 cities evaluated.  

This echoes a similar result from a previous edition of the ranking

Chicago fared so poorly because our city is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the particular factors that People for Bikes evaluates in its rankings.  

Mayor Johnson’s transition report includes strong vision for walking, biking, and transit 

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration has an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of Chicagoans by expanding access to healthy, sustainable, and equitable transportation options.

Thoughtful, community-led policies, plans, and projects that make walking, biking, and public transit safer and easier can bring transformational impact to communities across the city.

During the 2023 municipal election cycle, Active Trans worked with dozens of civic and community partners to develop a shared vision for transportation equity in Chicago.

Advocates for safer walking and biking prevail: Speed camera threshold stays in place

Thank you to the aldermen who voted to reject efforts to raise the threshold for automated speed enforcement, which would have enabled dangerous speeding and put vulnerable roadway users at risk.

On July 20, a majority of aldermen defeated a measure that would have raised the threshold for speed camera ticketing, making it legal to travel 10 mph above the speed limit near parks and schools — during a time when there’s been a traffic safety crisis on our streets.

A triumph for safe biking: City commits to concrete protected bike lanes

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Transportation announced plans to upgrade all existing protected bike lanes with new concrete curbs by the end of 2023, a big step toward creating a connected and protected bike network for Chicago. 

The announcement comes after years of grassroots advocacy calling for more robust barriers for Chicago’s bikeways, as well as recent mobilization efforts in response to a devastating string of fatal crashes,

Now is the time for a transformative capital plan

The just-announcedChicago Works Five Year Capital Plan offers Chicago an extraordinary opportunity to show how walking, biking, and transit can help spark and sustain an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan highlights a number of inspiring and potentially transformational projects, including $159.2 million dedicated to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in 2021 and 2022 for Complete Streets improvements — like protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes.

Active Trans works to connect trails in Chicagoland

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago area residents have come to depend on trails not only as recreational assets, but also as transportation corridors that provide low-stress walking and biking connections within and between communities.

The Chicago area provides opportunities to enjoy more than 1,100 miles of trails that crisscross the region. But too often people walking or biking on our regional trails encounter dead ends, dangerous crossings, diversions onto stressful streets, and other gaps in the network.

The role bikes play in creating a better world

Chicago Bike Week is when we celebrate the role bikes play in creating a better world.

Over the past few months, we’ve been reminded again and again how the issues of biking and mobility intersect with broader movements for social justice.

We must continue to prioritize the needs of communities most harmed by an unjust transportation landscape, Black and Brown people, poor people, and people with disabilities.

We must also do everything we can to dismantle the white supremacy and structural racism that creates walking,

During Chicago Bike Week, let’s recommit ourselves to safer streets

As we begin the annual celebration of Chicago Bike Week, we are faced with tragic reminders of how far our region still has to go before people of all ages and abilities are able to enjoy the benefits of biking.

Over the past several weeks, two teenagers have been killed and one adult seriously injured while biking in our region.

Each and every fatality and serious injury is preventable.