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.

Mayor Daley's legacy and the opportunity/threat of a new mayor

Like many American cities, Chicago hit hard times in the 60s, 70s and 80s. People and businesses left Chicago in large numbers for the suburbs and beyond, and the city was dangerously close to suffering a Detroit-like implosion.

Since he was elected in 1989, Mayor Daley has championed a number of strategies to make Chicago neighborhoods more vibrant and livable.

He turned to cycling and walking infrastructure and education early on, and enlisted the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (now Active Trans) to help.

Why? Cars and highways had enabled the sprawl that depleted the city. In addition, the mayor had seen during trips to Europe just how dynamic and fun a place can be with throngs of people biking through streets and strolling down sidewalks.

Nearly 20 years later, Active Trans continues to work closely with the mayor and his staff. Not everyone always see eye-to-eye with Mayor Daley, but we have been able to take our ideas and concerns to his office on the 5th floor of city hall—and that has paid off in Chicago becoming one of the best cycling cities in the nation.

With more than 100 miles of bike lanes and routes, more bike parking than any other U.S. city, a significant percentage of bike commuters, and a master pedestrian plan on the horizon, Chicago has made improvements and considered biking and walking as it developed. For all these reasons and more, Active Trans inducted Mayor Daley into its Hall of Fame last year.

But his upcoming departure represents a crucial crossroads, and we need your help to make sure all the candidates embrace biking, walking and transit.

Despite the progress made during the Mayor's tenure, biking and walking is still a hassle (or worse) in some parts of Chicago, and transit is chronically underfunded and inadequate.

The next mayor could be a champion for biking, walking and transit or he or she could be someone who wants to turn the clock back 20 years. Help us ensure that the next mayor is committed to sustainable transportation throughout the city.

If you’re not an Active Trans member, join now and lend your support to our work finding the best path to improving biking, walking and transit in Chicago and our region.

Just as we surveyed Illinois congressional candidates, stay tuned as we push mayoral candidates for their views on transportation safety and funding.

Ron Burke, Executive Director