Author Archives: Maya Norris

Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson focuses on healthy transportation

Mayor Katrina Thompson has been planting the seeds for sustainable transportation and active, healthy lifestyles in Broadview, Illinois, over the last three years.

As the village improves its walking and biking infrastructure, her efforts clearly have taken root in this west suburban community as more of the people in the community take up walking and cycling.

Because of these successes, Thompson will be receiving the Public Leadership Award from Active Transportation Alliance at the Movers &

Groundwork begins for an e-bike incentive program

Electric bicycles could have the potential to encourage more people to hop on two wheels as their primary mode of transportation, but their high costs remain a deterrent for many.

That’s why Active Transportation Alliance and Ride Illinois are advocating for an e-bike incentive program in Illinois — the first type of program in the state that would offset the cost of purchasing an e-bike.

Such a program could go a long way in harnessing the rising popularity of e-bikes and reaping the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants,

Chicago, Bike Grid Now! pushes for easy-to-implement bicycle infrastructure

Creating bicycle friendly infrastructure can often take years due to a lack of political will, scarcity of funding and frustrating government bureaucracy. But it doesn’t have to be that convoluted, according to Chicago, Bike Grid Now! The bicycle advocacy group is pushing for bicycle friendly, traffic-calmed streets that it says can be achieved sooner rather than later with minimal effort.

Active Transportation Alliance recognized the impact that Chicago Bike Grid Now!

Commuters Take Action presses CTA to improve unreliable service

Commuters Take Action has only been around since April 2022. But in that short period of time, the resident-led advocacy organization has made a name for itself, representing a movement of frustrated commuters fed up with the slow and unreliable service of the Chicago Transit Authority’s buses and trains.

Micah Fiedler, Olivia Gahan and Fabio Göttlicher co-founded Commuters Take Action after experiencing long waits and service gaps during their own commutes on the CTA’s buses and trains.

Making the case for bike rooms 

More people than ever are bicycling around Chicago, thanks to the bicycling boom that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic enticing people to hop on two wheels. But how do we maintain that momentum?

One way to keep people on their bikes is to have secure, accessible, and functional bike rooms in commercial and residential buildings—a key piece of infrastructure that may make the difference as to whether these new riders stick with cycling in the long term.

Brookfield showcases its efforts to improve walking and biking

The residents of the Village of Brookfield and neighboring towns got the chance to learn about the village’s current and future pedestrian and bicycle improvements during a recent walking tour and discussion that Active Transportation Alliance helped organize.

During the tour, village staff, local leaders, and community advocates shared behind-the-scenes stories about planning, funding, and building support for various active transportation initiatives around Brookfield, including the village’s bicycle boulevard — the first in the western suburbs.

Bringing it all together

Violeta Valadka faced a dilemma that many ardent supporters of Bike the Drive face. What to do with all those Bike the Drive T-shirts she has amassed over the years.

Her inventive solution: Create a quilt out of those collectible T-shirts as a lasting memento of one of her favorite bicycling events of the year.

Valadka (pictured left) has been riding in Bike the Drive every year since the event debuted in 2002.

Sustainable transportation expert brings vast planning experience to new role

David Powe is a self-professed transportation nerd — a moniker he wears proudly. After all, he has devoted his entire career to sustainable transportation planning and activism, shaping walking, biking, and public transit conditions in various cities across the United States to help create equitable, healthy, and thriving communities.

And now he brings that vast experience and deep expertise to Active Transportation Alliance as its new director of planning and technical assistance.

Powe (pronounced “po”) joined the organization in March,

A successful campaign to replace a dangerous bridge in Lake Bluff

State Sen. Julie Morrison and Lake Bluff scored a major win in their quest to improve walking and bicycling safety and connectivity in the village.

The senator for the 29th District and village officials successfully pushed for the upcoming Illinois budget to include $1.25 million for a new pedestrian bridge between North Chicago and Lake Bluff on Green Bay Road (Illinois route 131).

Morrison led the funding effort after local residents in this north suburban community voiced their concerns about the existing bridge’s lack of safety.

Ralph Banasiak’s second act as a bicycling advocate

Renowned novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Ralph Banasiak is proving him wrong. The retired math teacher is staging his second act as a bicycling advocate.

As a bicycling columnist and an active member of the Bike Palatine Club, Banasiak is working to make bicycling safe and encourage more people to take up cycling — earning him the Public Service Award from the Active Transportation Alliance.