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Decades of research shows that expanding roads doesn’t provide lasting congestion relief. More lanes means more traffic.

Active Trans shares priorities with city council

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With no Chicago City Council meeting this month, August is often vacation time for aldermen and their staff throughout the city.

But last week we learned several council members are already hard at work preparing for a busy fall.

On Wednesday, Active Trans hosted a series of briefings at Chicago City Hall to introduce our organization to newly elected representatives and update everyone on our bike/walk/transit priorities.

Topics included how to make progress on Chicago’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2022, what comes next for the city’s booming bike network and why we need more local funding for transit.

All of these subjects will be part of the upcoming discussion about the city budget, which Mayor Emanuel will present to the council on September 22. Before presenting the budget, the mayor will host three public town halls next week.

Residents can also share ideas on social media using #ChiBudget2016.

In our briefings we made the case for investing more resources in traffic safety by asking the city to establish a Vision Zero taskforce to evaluate progress toward its goals and determine which strategies are working best.

The work of the taskforce could lay the foundation for developing a two-year Vision Zero action plan with detailed goals and tasks for various city agencies related to street safety.

In discussions about the bike network, several members said their constituents are eager for more bike facilities and expressed an interest in partnering with Active Trans and working with the Chicago Department of Transportation to enhance the local network in their ward.

The mayor’s team also recently released a transition report highlighting the administration’s second-term priorities. Although the report lacks details on specific transportation goals, the mayor reaffirms his commitment to improving the city’s network to connect people to jobs and strengthen the economy.

The report also includes a section on expanding transit-oriented development (TOD) near stations to better leverage one of the city’s greatest strengths: our transit system.