Did You Know?

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

Move prompts stroll down memory lane

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After 12 years at 9 W. Hubbard, Active Trans is moving. Starting Monday, Oct. 23, our new outpost is on the 17th floor of 35 E. Wacker in downtown Chicago. 

Moving a 32-year-old nonprofit organization has been no easy task. Choosing what needs to be packed, what needs to be recycled and what needs to be donated — and boxing everything up has taken several weeks to complete. 

As is often the case, the sorting and packing process allowed us to take some strolls down memory lane. One of these strolls was coming across the first issue of our newsletter — published in 1985 during the organization’s first year in operation as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (we changed our name and expanded our mission in 2008). 

The inaugural newsletter (see photo) offers a perfect snapshot of the top concerns of Chicagoland bicycle advocates three decades ago. It also shows that many of the same concerns continue to propel our movement forward. 

Unsurprisingly, trails were of great interest in that first newsletter. The issue includes articles about a new section of the Busse Woods Trail, the effort to build the Old Plank Road Trail and the growing number of people biking to the Chicago Botanic Garden on the newly completed North Branch Trail. 

There’s also a short article about what would become one of our key campaigns over the years – convincing Metra to allow passengers to bring bikes on trains. 

There are bios of the organization’s first board officers, a list of local bike clubs and a rundown of the major goals for the fledgling organization. Three primary goals were: sharing resources and information, working with local governments to adopt policies favorable to cyclists and providing members with tools they need. 

While the scope and tactics of our work has grown over the years, those three goals are still very much alive in the work we do. 

One full page of that newsletter is dedicated to enlisting new members and reminding readers that the organization will grow in strength as the number of members grows.

Of course, that’s another feature of our organization that holds true today more than ever: Our members give us a platform on which we speak to elected officials, government agencies, the media and partner organizations. 

In our new office space — which will both save us money and better accommodate our needs — we’re going to continue pursuing our deep commitment to making the Chicago region a better place for healthy, clean transportation.  

If you haven't already, please join the movement for better transportation in the region. Members get lots of perks, including a subscription to our quarterly newsletter (see a sample copy).