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Roughly every three days, one person biking or walking is killed by someone driving a car in the Chicago region.

Active Trans 2010 Member Meeting

It was wonderful to see almost 250 members last night at our annual member meeting as we celebrated the work our members have made possible. Your passion as members, volunteers and supporters truly moves us forward. We enjoyed some quality social time while eating before beginning the program for the evening.

Following is a recap of the evening for those of you who couldn’t make it…the full presentation and some photos are attached. Active Trans member and volunteer, Serge Lubomudrov, also helped to document the event on Flickr.

Active Trans board president Jane Healy welcomed members and reminded us that we’re all part of the same organization because we share a common vision: a region with 50 percent fewer crashes and where half of all trips are by biking, walking and transit.

Hall of Fame
Jane introduced the 2010 Active Trans Hall of Fame inductees. We were excited to add the League of Illinois Bicyclists and Alex Wilson. Established in 2006, the Hall of Fame recognizes individuals or organizations who have moved our mission forward in the region through their hard work, dedication and passion for better biking, walking and transit.

Ed Barsotti and Al Sturges accepted the honor on behalf of the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB). In its 18-year history, LIB has built itself into a formidable statewide champion for bicyclists’ rights, equity in grant funding, policy change and community bicycle planning. The wins we claim in our state legislature would not be possible without our partnership of LIB and their members. LIB has worked in Springfield to pass Illinois’ 3-foot passing law, and they collaborated with us on IDOT complete streets advocacy and implementation. They’ve assisted dozens of towns with bike planning and educated more than 1,000 planners and road designers on bike accommodations. To educate the public, they’ve developed a Share the Road driver education video and lesson plan used in Illinois and around the country. LIB has distributed bike safety information to more than 200,000 Illinois fourth graders for four consecutive years. They’ve also saved millions of dollars in funds for Illinois bikeways and trails by serving as a watchdog for grant programs. We are so grateful to have LIB as a partner and as an advocate for our state.

Alex Wilson is the founder and executive director of West Town Bikes. He also serves on the board of Working Bikes Cooperative and Break the Gridlock. Alex has done so much for cycling in Chicago outside of the great work he’s done so far at West Town Bikes that we wanted to recognize him individually. He has been hugely influential in getting people on bikes, and has also been very influential in getting people to become bike advocates. Alex has run numerous bike education workshops, published the Derailleur (Chicago Critical Mass’s unofficial publication) from 2000-2004, and has printed thousands upon thousands of stickers, flags and t-shirts to promote cycling (which he gave out for free). He’s a key organizer in grassroots movements such as Bike Winter, Cycling Sisters and Chicago Critical Mass. He was a Program Manager for Active Trans on the CDOT Bike Program's Student Marketing Program from 2001-2004. He co-created and piloted the landmark youth earn-a-bike program, BickerBikes and the After School Matters bicycle Junior Ambassadors program (which partners with Mayor Daley's Bicycling Ambassadors). Alex has always led by example by creating a warm, nurturing, friendly environment for cycling in Chicago. There is a reason why Chicago Critical Mass is exemplified by Happy Friday! instead of negative messaging. Alex is the heart of that. He is thoughtful, caring, and inspiring. West Town Bikes is the culmination of much of what Alex values and we are honored to have him join our Hall of Fame. Alex shared this video about West Town Bikes with our audience.

Year in Review
Active Trans Executive Director Ron Burke shared some highlights from Active Trans’ accomplishments in 2010 and the past 25 years. Our big legislative wins in 2010 included the must stop for pedestrians law; enabling municipalities to lower speed limits and keep traffic safe with red light cameras; and more opportunity for enforcers to keep bicyclists and pedestrians safe from motorist harassment.

In Chicago, alderman have been using their menu money to fund biking and walking improvements and Illinois recently doled out $45 million in federal funding for Chicagoland bicycle and pedestrian projects.

The Active Trans Better Blocks program continues to improve safety and infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods and we are heavily involved in a traffic-calming pilot on Humboldt Drive through Humboldt Park.

Around the region, we were proud to launch a newly updated edition of our famous Chicagoland Bike Map this year with many new trail, route and lane recommendations. As a service to our community, we launched a Crash Support Hotline, 312.869.HELP(4357), that provides resources and referrals to bicyclists and pedestrians involved in crashes. We also provided bike and pedestrian safety education at schools, offices and events around Chicagoland.

We are pleased to have worked with seven suburban communities on bicycle and pedestrian plans along with partnering with the League of Illinois Bicyclists in developing several Bike to Metra Guides.

We developed 26 travel plans for schools around the region and trained more than 500 stakeholders on Safe Routes to School opportunities. More than 180 schools participated in Walk & Roll to School Day and 90 teachers are trained to teach bicycle and pedestrian safety thanks to our Walk Across Illinois program.

Looking Ahead
Here’s a small list of the ambitious and exciting plans and goals for the coming year that Ron outlined:

  • Educating Chicago mayoral candidates
  • More bike share
  • Organizing transit riders
  • Safe Park Zones
  • Mobility education for high school students in Chicago
  • More suburban bicycle and pedestrian plans

We will also prioritize infrastructure projects around the region including Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, Navy Pier Flyover, separated bike lanes (cycle tracks), Red Line extension, Skokie Valley Trail, Yellow Line extension, DuPage River Trail, Veteran’s Memorial Trail, Pennsy Greenway, Calumet-Sag Trail and improving bicycle and pedestrian access to Metra Stations.

We solicited feedback from members as well through an activity before the program to help us set priorities for next year. Some of the priority projects that came up repeatedly were the Bloomingdale Trail, the Navy Pier Flyover, separated bike lanes, expanding bikes on transit, re-striping faded bike lanes, fixing potholes in bike lanes and installing more pedestrian bulb-outs at intersections. We're glad that our members are thinking of similar challenges and projects that we are hoping to address in 2011.

And finally, we are excited to be bringing on board a staff organizer to help bring Open Streets back to Chicago thanks to a grant from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust!

Keynote, Geoffrey Baer
We enjoyed an engaging and humorous keynote from WTTW’s Geoffrey Baer, offering some background on our region’s cycling roots and perspective for the future of advocacy for biking, walking and transit. Geoffrey also shared a clip from his upcoming show “Biking the Boulevards.” Check out a preview of the show here. The show premiers on Monday, Nov. 29, be sure to set your DVRs!

Crafting Our Legislative Agenda
Finally, Dan Persky, education and advocacy director, talked about our 2011 legislative agenda. Our survey of members gave us plenty to build on and helped shape some of the efforts we will undertake next year. We plan to introduce legislation that will reform crash reporting (guess what, doorings don’t count according to IDOT); provide zero-tolerance for speeding in school and park zones; ensure that rumble strips won’t deter bicycle access; and equitably distribute motor fuel tax so that bicycling, walking and transit projects are better funded.

Dan noted that Active Trans is partnering with other organizations on the motor fuel tax effort and that it will definitely be a multi-year fight. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to pushing these legislative efforts in 2011.

At the end of the meeting, we asked our members to join us onstage for a photo opportunity. The group was shot in front of a slide thanking Chicago aldermen for supporting bicycling and walking with their menu money…we’ll send copies of the photos with a thank you card to those aldermen who went above and beyond.

Sincere thanks to all our members for their support!

Lee Crandell, membership director
Active Trans