Did You Know?
Take action for safer streets and faster buses
Want to see speedier buses in Chicago and streets that are safer for people walking and biking?
Now is your chance to get involved!
A couple of ordinances up for a vote in Chicago City Council on Wednesday, March 15 would expand the infrastructure for people walking and biking and would help address the long-standing problem of drivers blocking bus lanes and bike lanes.
These are the ordinances up for city council vote:
- Complete Streets Ordinance: When the department of transportation is resurfacing arterial streets, they would be required to make safety improvements for people walking, biking, and using transit.
- Safe Streets Pilots Ordinance: Would allow automated ticketing for drivers parked in bike lanes, bus-only lanes, bus stops, and crosswalks in a downtown pilot area.
The first hurdle was cleared when City Council’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee voted to elevate these proposed ordinances to a full city council vote.
At the committee meeting, Active Transportation Alliances and other advocates provided testimony in support of the ordinances.
Now we need people like to you to contact your alderperson to ask them to approve the ordinances.
Here’s an overview of the two proposed ordinances:
COMPLETE STREETS ORDINANCE
This ordinance would ensure that safety improvements are included in Chicago Department of Transportation’s construction projects on arterial streets.
In practice, this would mean that whenever an arterial street is resurfaced, CDOT would have to add safety improvements like bike lanes, bus lanes, curb extensions, and pedestrian islands, among others.
This ordinance would also mean:
- Improvements are made comprehensively, without having to be paid for through the local alderperson’s funds.
- Money is saved by making safety improvements when a street is already being rebuilt or repaved.
Streets designed with safety in mind — rather than just the speed and convenience of drivers — will save lives and make travel easier for people walking, biking, and using transit.
In 2022, one of every three traffic fatalities in Chicago were people walking or biking. With traffic deaths at their highest point in years, we need to calm traffic on Chicago’s major streets.
SAFE STREETS PILOTS ORDINANCE
This ordinance would establish two small-scale downtown pilot programs for automated enforcement of parking violations, such as cars parked in bike lanes, bus-only lanes, bus stops, and crosswalks.
The pilot program would discourage drivers from illegally parking in places that put our most vulnerable road users in dangerous situations, such as forcing people biking to merge with car traffic.
People parking their cars in bus lanes is an enormous problem in Chicago. One driver illegally parked in a dedicated bus lane creates slowdowns for dozens of bus passengers stuck behind the parked car, creates longer wait times for people waiting at bus stops, and ultimately makes bus trips longer and less predictable.
Additionally, parked cars at bus stops create challenges and sometimes hazardous conditions for riders with disabilities when buses are blocked from accessing the curb.
By deterring drivers from parking in bus-only lanes or at designated bus stops, the pilot would create a more reliable, efficient, and accessible bus system.
More details about the ordinance:
- Cameras would be fixed on city poles or mounted on the front of city or CTA vehicles.
- First-time violators would receive a 30-day warning period.
- Low-income drivers will continue to be eligible for reduced-priced tickets and other vehicle related debt relief.
- The two two-year pilot programs would operate within the boundaries of Lake Michigan to Ashland Avenue and from North Avenue to Roosevelt.
Make a Donation
Your tax-deductible donation supports the important work that Active Trans does throughout the region