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Did You Know?

The Chicago region’s current hub-and-spoke transit system leaves nearly half a million Cook County residents stranded in transit deserts.

Inspiration and guidance for advocates in suburban communities

If you’ve ever considered pursuing a walking, biking, or public transit improvement project in your suburban community, you’ll find this series of videos to be a treasure trove of information.

The Active Transportation Alliance recently hosted its first-ever virtual Suburban Action Week, featuring 25 short online talks and workshops with advocates, county staff, and community leaders throughout the region.

Ten of the sessions focus on successful suburban campaigns to improve walking, biking and transit – from Elgin to Roseland to Brookfield and beyond.

Advocates share advice on how to build relationships within a community, how to work effectively with elected officials, and how individuals can make a difference in their own towns.

They describe their on-the-ground strategies for creating slow streets, improving transit service, organizing community bike rides, building new trails, starting a bike shop, collecting petition signatures, becoming a non-profit, and defeating a highway expansion.

We expect you’ll find these videos full of great ideas, passion, and hope for a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly region. Check out the recordings of the advocacy talks below!

 

BIKE WALK OAK PARK

Bike Walk Oak Park organizer Sylvia Schweri discusses the organization’s advocacy efforts for a 2020 slow streets pilot program. She also describes how the group educates voters on where local candidates stand on pedestrian, bicycle, and transit issues.

 

COALITION FOR A MODERN METRA ELECTRIC

Coalition For A Modern Metra Electric Co-Chairs Andrea Reed and Linda Thisted explain how their advocacy efforts resulted in the South Cook Fair Transit Program, a 3-year pilot program offering reduced fares and increased service on Metra’s Electric District and Rock Island District rail lines on the South Side of Chicago and in Southwest Cook County.

 

CYCLE BROOKFIELD

Cycle Brookfield organizers Chris Valadez and Terri Rivera share tips and advice on how they’ve built community through organized events, bicycle education, safety and advocacy in Brookfield, including pushing for funding a side path to the Brookfield Zoo!

 

ELGIN COMMUNITY BIKES

Elgin Community Bikes is a non-profit focused on connecting people and creating a healthier, happier, and more equitable community through bicycles. Parker Thompson, an organizer from Elgin Community Bikes, shares details of the organization’s human-focused approach, including hosting fun, inclusive bike rides and opening a community bike shop to provide greater access to opportunity.

 

FRIENDS OF THE EAST BRANCH DUPAGE RIVER TRAIL

Leaders of Friends of the East Branch DuPage River Trail (EBDRT) — Ginger Wheeler, Libby A’Hearn Gilmore, and Steve Johnson — share their multi-year advocacy efforts to push for the funding and construction of the EBDRT in DuPage County. They describe how they successfully advocated for a now-completed trail feasibility study and an engineering study, which is currently underway.

 

MCHENRY COUNTY BICYCLE ADVOCATES

Eberhard Veit, President of the McHenry County Bicycling Advocates (MCBA), provides an overview of the group’s extensive bicycle advocacy work throughout the county. He provides an overview of MCBA’s work over the years in bicycle education, improving road conditions for bicyclists, and trail building, including getting a missing trail connection built along US-14.

 

CYCLING WITHOUT AGE – MCHENRY COUNTY

Greg Glover of the McHenry County Bicycling Advocates, shares details of starting a local McHenry County Chapter of Cycling Without Age, an international initiative that provides free bicycle rides to isolated seniors to reconnect them with their community and the outdoors.

 

MIDWEST SUSTAINABILITY GROUP

Executive Director of the Midwest Sustainability Group (MSG), Barbara Klipp, discusses her organization’s work advocating for sustainable transportation in Lake County. Barbara details the group’s long-time opposition to the IL Route 53 expansion and their key advocacy strategies that successfully defeated the highway expansion project.

 

ALONG FOR THE RIDE DAILY HERALD BICYCLING COLUMNIST

Long-time bicycling advocate Ralph Banasiak shared how his regular bicycling column “Along for the Ride” came to be and how he hopes to encourage safer cycling across the region. If you’d like to get in touch with Ralph or share ideas for future columns, email alongfortheridemail@gmail.com.

 

SUBURBAN COMMUNITY LEADERS

Sergio Rodriquez, president of the Village of Summit, and Abby Beck, alderwoman of the City of Batavia, share how they became public officials; why they champion walking, biking, and transit in their communities; and advice for advocates and community leaders interested in improving transportation options in their communities.

 

ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION ALLIANCE & RIDE ILLINOIS

Amy Rynell, Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance, and Dave Simmons, Executive Director of Ride Illinois, have a lively discussion about their backgrounds; their passion for walking, biking, and transit; and how both organizations work together to improve transportation options for people in the region and beyond. Amy and Dave share upcoming initiatives, priorities, and advice for advocates looking to get involved.

 

In addition to the advocacy talks, be sure to check out the county updates and workshops from Suburban Action Week.