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Did You Know?

Only 0.7 percent of federal transportation funds are spent on improving pedestrian facilities.

Member Responses: “How does working for a package of walking, biking and transit help us win what you want most?”

Thank you to the 200 Chicagoland Bicycle Federation members who came to Annual Member Meeting on November 17.  And thank you to the volunteers and donors who made sure our members were well attended to, especially Food for Thought that catered the event free of charge.  At this year’s meeting, the President of the Board of Directors Mary DeBacker and Executive Director Rob Sadowsky presented a keynote address around our organization’s expanded mission statement and new name, the Active Transportation Alliance.

The Member Meeting planning team was concerned about providing members an adequate opportunity to give feedback to our big news.  The responses to the keynote address that we heard during the time allotted for reflection only scratched the surface of the deep convictions that underlie our organization’s decision to re-frame our work on behalf of bicycling in terms of a package of biking, walking, and transit.  Later in the evening, though, an activity led by Chief Strategy Officer Randy Neufeld allowed members to play with a big question: “How does working for the whole package help us get what you want most?”  

Below I have excerpted responses to that question and placed them under headings that attempt to contain them.  Figuring out how to frame what we—bicycle advocates­—want is an on-going challenge, and all of us at the Active Transportation Alliance appreciate your ownership in that process.

The whole package approach enables community-building.

“Biking on the South Side is not a viable option for all citizens,” “More walkable places in my ward,” “Senior citizens walking,” North Central Indiana, “Acceptance of bicycling in the suburbs, through events and bike plans,” “Combining all modes of transit allows…people to come together in community,” “Quieter, better, safer, [healthy kid-filled] car-free streets,”“Sunday Parkways every Sunday, city-wide,” “I want better public transportation on Sunday to the Southwest Suburbs,” City-wide bike rental, “I want zoning decisions that encourage social interaction by making neighborhoods walkable.”

The whole package approach means more say for bike-friendly folks in economic development and environmental stewardship. 

“Averting Peak Oil Crisis,” “I want more fun ways to make transit utility to become healthy and economically viable,” I want ActiveTrans to have a role in “creating green jobs in manufacturing of enviro-friendly transit vehicles,” “Less reliance on foreign oil,” “Knocking on doors of government agencies is more fruitful through a united effort.”

The whole package approach means more opportunities to educate road users.

“I want cars to remember to notice me,” “Peer user groups to share routes and rides,” “Let’s end door openings hitting bicycles.  I don’t know how…but I got hit tonight and it hurts,” “Convincing other cyclists to obey traffic laws.”

The whole package approach means changing behavior.

“I want to be able to get more places without driving!” “Bike, walk, transit are my only modes of transportation,” “I want to bike safely everywhere in Chicago.”  “I want horns removed from all cars.”

The whole package means more facilities.

“I want dedicated bike streets, parking, traffic signals;”  “I want routes Downtown, routes within suburbs, routes across town.”  “I want Bikes on Metra all the time—and more frequent Metra service.”

I welcome any and all feedback.  You may reach me at (312) 427-3325 ext. 294 or at matthew@activetrans.org.  As one member noted in her response to the above exercise, size matters.  Encourage your friends and neighbors to join us.