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Bus riders account for more than 20 percent of people using Lake Shore Drive every day while taking up a fraction of the space that cars do.

Action Alert: Help make state roads safer for people walking and biking

The transportation committee in the Illinois State House is considering a bill that would make roads safer for vulnerable users, and we need your help to make sure it passes.

House Bill 270 eliminates the 20 percent local cost share for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads. The bill is scheduled to be called in committee on Monday, March 3, at noon.

Under current law, when the state is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for car and trucks, such as travel lanes and markings. But if the state’s analysis determines a sidewalk, side path, or bike lane should be added and there’s community support for it, then the local community is required to cover 20 percent of the cost. 

This results in an inequitable distribution of walking and biking infrastructure and many missed opportunities to add critical safety infrastructure. Many communities can’t afford the match so the walking and biking infrastructure get pulled from the final design. Or the community never even asks for it because they know they won’t be able to come up with the funds.

Learn more about the bill in a one-page fact sheet.

State roads are often major streets that provide sole access to retail and service industry jobs, grocery stores, healthcare centers, schools, and other important destinations. For many people, especially older adults and people with disabilities, sidewalks provide the only option for safely accessing these key places. 

By necessity, people are walking and biking on these roads already. They’re just often doing it in extremely unsafe conditions.

FILE A WITNESS SLIP 

To show your support for HB270 and more walkable, bikeable state roads, please fill out a witness slip as a proponent of the bill by Monday, March 1.

Illinois witness slips, which can be filled out by anyone who lives in the state, serve as an important tool for making your voice heard in state government.

Before a bill is shared in committee, the chairperson will read who has submitted witness slips and whether they support or oppose the bill. This helps legislators make more informed decisions when voting.

Here are a few tips for filling out a witness slip:

  • Identification: If you are representing an organization as an employee, include the name in the “firm/business” field. If you are not representing an organization as an employee, add “self.“
  • Representation: If you are representing a group, organization, or business, also add the name here. Make sure you have permission to do this! Otherwise, type “self” or “n/a.”
  • Position: If you support the bill, select “proponent.”
  • Testimony: Choose “record of appearance only,” agree to the terms, and then click “create slip.”
  • Confirmation: Once your witness slip is submitted, you’ll see a confirmation message and receive an email.