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Bus riders account for more than 20 percent of people using Lake Shore Drive every day while taking up a fraction of the space that cars do.

Local Complete Streets efforts spotlighted at conference

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All across the country, advocates are fighting one intersection or one street segment at a time to create safer options for people who bike, walk and take public transit. 

It’s vital, important work, but there is another way. 

A formalized “Complete Streets” strategy helps ensure that active transportation options are more systematically considered every time a municipality builds or repairs a street.

Last week, Active Trans brought together stakeholders from all across suburban Cook County to learn more about this formalized approach. Nearly 100 people joined us for an action-packed conference with national and local Complete Streets experts. 

Dr. Terry Mason, the Chief Operating Officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), kicked-off the event, and helped draw the connection between Complete Streets and health for the audience of municipality staff, engineers, planners, and community members. 

Other conversations at the conference ranged from discussions of on-the-ground challenges to the imperative to transform the way that streets are designed. 

Mark Fenton, one of the nation's foremost experts on walkability, explained in an impassioned keynote that lives are at stake. “We have to do this,” he said.

Many of the conference attendees are also part of Active Trans’ Healthy HotSpot Complete Streets Technical Assistance program. 

Active Trans is able to work in these communities with the support of a grant from CCDPH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also supported the conference.

The conference has wrapped up, but the work continues. Bringing together stakeholders from across the region meant that new and renewed partnerships were formed during the conference. We’ll be building on these partnerships and discussion in the months ahead.