Did You Know?

While the Chicago region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

Communicating with elected leaders

In recent months, much has been happening in the world of sustainable transportation advocacy.

At the federal level, advocacy organizations have been fighting to keep funding intact for bike, pedestrian and transit projects around the nation.

At the regional level, Active Trans has been working energetically to src= Transit Fast Forward, state legislation that would allow for much-needed improvements in the region’s public transportation network. Active Trans is asking people throughout the region to get involved in this campaign by contacting lawmakers and serving as volunteers.

Often, Active Trans hears from individuals who are eager to communicate one-on-one with their lawmakers and ask them to support active transportation legislation. If you’re someone who would like to learn more about this type of direct advocacy, here are a couple of resources that will prove useful.

A recent post on Oregon’s Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s blog about working with lawmakers emphasizes building a good working relationship with the representative's staff. This is because, in most cases, you’ll work with staff rather than the lawmaker.

Active Trans’ newsletter Modeshift ran an article in 2010 outlining strategies for working with lawmakers. One of the tips in this article is to cultivate a solid understanding of the issue before making contact. It also recommends knowing your representative’s positions, priorities and voting record —particularly as they relate to matters you want to discuss.

Photo courtesy of Brent Hugh