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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Awardees take the spotlight at the Movers & Shakers Ball

Our recent Movers and Shakers Ball was a wonderful evening filled with good food, great company, lively music, and most importantly, a shared passion for active transportation.

We were delighted to see so many of our members, supporters, and partners come together to celebrate the progress we have made over the past year and renew our commitment to promoting walking, biking, and public transportation in the Chicago area.

The highlight of the evening was hearing from the awardees about all the exciting work they are doing. Here are some of their inspiring remarks:

 

47th Ward Chicago Alderman Matt Martin, Safe Streets Champion Award

Despite having decent bike and pedestrian safety infrastructure where he lives in Lincoln Square, Ald. Matt Martin said that his community — like so many others across the region — has experienced its share of tragedies involving people walking and biking.

In particular, during the past year two young kids and one older adult were hit and killed by drivers while they were walking and biking in the community.

“We don’t have to accept that reality,” Martin said. “We can have safe streets for all. We deserve it. And we need it.”

 

 

Martin (pictured above) said his office has performed a variety of walking and biking upgrades in the ward, including new pedestrian improvements around schools, the ward’s first concrete-protected bike lanes, and his office brought CDOT and IDOT together to reach an agreement that will bring numerous safety improvements throughout the city.

“And most recently, we passed a complete streets ordinance that requires the city to add pedestrian, bike, and transportation safety improvements whenever it resurfaces an arterial street,” he said.

Martin called out his staff for their key role in these successes. He also offered praise to the Active Transportation Alliance and other advocates in the room. “Thank you for being leaders and pushing local government to do better,” he said.

 

 

Marisa Novara and Roberto Requejo accept Advancing Equity Awards

Last year, Chicago City Council passed legislation that will promote more affordable housing near transit within the city’s South and West Side neighborhoods and improve safety for pedestrians and other road users.

The ordinance will reduce parking minimums, increase density/height limits near transit (including bus lines), and increase affordable and accessible housing options.

This transformative legislation, called the Connecting Communities Ordinance, lays the groundwork for what is known as “equitable transit-oriented development” or ETOD.

The ordinance came about largely through efforts of the Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara and Elevated Chicago, which is a collaboration of community-based organizations and others that work to advance ETOD in Chicago.

To recognize the people behind this important legislation, both Novara and Elevated Chicago received Advancing Equity Awards.

“Equitable transit-oriented developments provide people with access to consistent and reliable transit systems,” said Novara (pictured above, left). “ETODs make opportunities easier to reach, and livelihoods easier to improve. It is a big part of how we get to more equitable outcomes by race and income across this city.”

“Active Transportation Alliance is a very special partner and friend of Elevated Chicago, not only because they did a lot of work to make the Connected Communities ordinance happen but because they did it with a level of generosity, comradery and dedication that is not easy to find,” said Requejo (pictured above, standing between Novara and Active Transportation Alliance Exectutive Director Amy Rynell). “Affordable, walkable, high-quality development near transit should not be an exception, but an expectation for every Chicago resident.”

 

Public Leadership Award, Mayor Katrina Thompson

Mayor Katrina Thompson of Broadview is a true believer in the health, social, and economic benefits of active transportation and is a champion for complete streets, improving safety, and making Broadview a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly destination.

By hosting weekly walks and bike rides with community members, Thompson has set an example for other elected officials in the region. The events, she says, always allow for extended conversations with people in her community.

 

 

After COVID began isolating people from one another, she co-founded the annual Tour de Proviso bike ride and has gotten mayors and elected officials from the 14 villages across Proviso Township involved — plus hundreds of residents. Participants in this ride often comment on how it builds economic and social connectedness of neighboring communities.

Thompson’s leadership has also helped bring millions of dollars in new funding to Broadview, including a $2.9 million grant from CMAP for a side path and $120,000 streetscaping grant from Cook County, with several other projects in the works to create a safe transportation network for people walking, biking, and taking transit.

For all of these accomplishments, Thompson (pictured above, left) was given our Public Leadership Award.

“We should be able to live, eat and play where we live and not have to always get in a vehicle to do it,” she said. “And we can do it in a healthy way.”

 

A surprise performance by Mucca Pazza, a lively and sometimes frenetic marching band, ended the evening with a bang.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event and purchased our auction items. And a big thanks to our sponsors and partners. We would like to thank them for their dedication to our cause and for helping us create a successful and memorable event.

Together, we can make our communities healthier, more livable, and more accessible for all.