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People walking are five times as likely to be killed by a driver traveling 30 mph as one going 20 mph.

Transit and the tollway

The Illinois Tollway on Thursday approved a toll increase. While Active Trans does not support the tollway’s proposals to build new toll roads, we were encouraged that the tollway’s capital plan included transit.

Active Trans submitted comments at a public hearing on the plan, and we sent a letter to the editor to the Chicago Tribune as well (full text below):

In response to Richard Wronski's article, Tollway eyes mass transit on Addams, but is that its job? we answer with a resounding yes.

The job of all of our transportation agencies is to get people where they need to go, and to do so strategically, efficiently, cost-effectively and with minimal impact on our quality of life and natural resources. Experience shows that we cannot build our way out of congestion with expanded lanes and bypasses alone. New highways and traffic lanes inevitably fill with traffic. Transit needs to be part of the solution. Dedicating a small percentage of road space and resources to transit has the potential to significantly increase the overall toll corridor capacity, allowing more people — not just cars — to get to jobs, shopping and events. Transit creates jobs and increases access to those jobs, reduces household expenses, improves our environment and helps us make the best possible use of our existing roads and communities.

Higher tolls are never good news, but neither is crumbling, clogged, inefficient infrastructure. While we think the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority should continue to look for cost-saving measures, we applaud their plans to include transit on the Jane Addams Tollway, and encourage them to include it in all future projects as well.

Active Transportation Alliance (www.activetrans.org), in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org), just launched Riders for Better Transit (www.ridersforbettertransit.org) to give transit riders a stronger voice within the Chicago region.

— Ron Burke, Executive Director, Active Transportation Alliance; Jennifer Henry, Transportation Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council

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