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

WBEZ host keynotes Active Trans member meeting

Over 100 people were on hand last night for the Active Transportation Alliance's annual member meeting. Along with awards getting handed out and overviews of our work, there was mingling, noshing and a side-splitting keynote address by WBEZ host Jerome McDonnell.

/Inducted into the Active Transportation Alliance Hall of Fame was 35th Ward Alderman Rey Colon, who was honored for advancing sustainable transportation issues in Logan Square.

Julie Hochstadter, owner and director of, was the other inductee into the Active Trans Hall of Fame. Hochstadter, one of the most recognizable faces in the Chicago bicycling community, lives and breathes the Active Trans mission, and has done much to create a vibrant cycling community in the region.

The final award of the evening, the Extra Mile Award, was presented to the Cook County Department of Public Health for its leadership in suburban Cook County promoting health, safety, sustainable transportation and livable communities.

Melody Geraci, Active Trans deputy director, described Active Trans’ past year's body of work. She highlighted Active Trans' collaborative efforts with the City of Chicago in getting the first protected bicycle lane installed, our outstanding education team that has provided direct education to nearly 6,000 people, our extensive suburban planning work and our events this past year that reached record numbers—MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive, Bike to Work Week and much more./

The highlight of the evening came from our keynote speaker Jerome McDonnell of WBEZ's Worldview program, who started off his presentation by sharing his flashy and stylish commuting attire: a watermelon helmet, tie-dyed socks and a leopard-print balaclava in frigid weather.

McDonnell, a team leader for Active Trans’ annual bike commuting competition, described his disappointment in 2010 when his team placed second behind the Old Town School of Folk Music./

To compete head to head with the Old Town School, he used tactics like bathroom humor, ultimatums and “inspiring” e-mails for coworkers. When these strategies failed, he eventually turned to bribes like Pabst Blue Ribbon and handing out used bikes. Despite all this, WBEZ placed second again in 2011.

After a look ahead to 2012, Executive Director Ron Burke closed the meeting with a final salute and word of thanks to our members.

Keep an eye on this blog and the Active Trans newsletter as we introduce you to three new board members who were elected at the meeting: Carol Coletta, Larry Mysz and Elliot Rossen.