Category Archives: Blog

More transit oriented development coming to South and West Sides

Aug 9, 2022 | by Active Trans

In recent weeks, Chicago City Council passed an ordinance that will promote more affordable housing near transit within the city’s South and West Side neighborhoods and improve safety for pedestrians and other road users. Among benefits will be new approaches toward development near transit, including reducing parking minimums, increasing density/height limits (including bus lines), and increasing affordable and accessible housing options. In 2021, 83 people were killed by car crashes within a half mile of  rail stations, nearly half of all traffic deaths in the city — with deaths disproportionately occurring on the South and West Sides. The new ordinance, which is called the Connected Communities Ordinance, will make streets safer for Chicagoans who walk, roll, and  ride near rail...

Chicagoland leaders need to halt roadway expansion plans NOW

Aug 3, 2022 | by David Powe

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), which is responsible for comprehensive transportation planning in northeastern Illinois, is currently updating its list of regionally significant projects that are eligible for federal funding. Unfortunately, the proposed list includes projects that would add nearly 300 miles of lanes to our region’s expressways and arterial streets, leading to a substantial increase in driving, millions of tons of additional CO2 emissions, and decreased safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. We need your help! Take action now to demand CMAP leaders reject these dangerous and polluting roadway expansion projects that will increase emissions and traffic crashes while failing to relieve congestion over the long-term. Evidence shows that adding lanes to expressways and arterial streets does not...

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Bringing it all together

Aug 2, 2022 | by Maya Norris

Violeta Valadka faced a dilemma that many ardent supporters of Bike the Drive face. What to do with all those Bike the Drive T-shirts she has amassed over the years. Her inventive solution: Create a quilt out of those collectible T-shirts as a lasting memento of one of her favorite bicycling events of the year. Valadka (pictured left) has been riding in Bike the Drive every year since the event debuted in 2002. So she has collected 19 Bike the Drive T-shirts. While she treasured the shirts as reminders of her participation in Bike the Drive, they took up valuable closet space. “Any time you do any kind of major bike ride, you’re collecting T-shirts. It’s a great souvenir,” says...

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Advocates for safer walking and biking prevail: Speed camera threshold stays in place

Jul 20, 2022 | by Jim Merrell

Thank you to the aldermen who voted to reject efforts to raise the threshold for automated speed enforcement, which would have enabled dangerous speeding and put vulnerable roadway users at risk. On July 20, a majority of aldermen defeated a measure that would have raised the threshold for speed camera ticketing, making it legal to travel 10 mph above the speed limit near parks and schools — during a time when there's been a traffic safety crisis on our streets. Speeding is the most common factor in serious and fatal crashes. Even small reductions in speed — just five miles per hour — greatly increase the likelihood of a victim surviving a crash. The epidemic of speeding on our streets...

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Sustainable transportation expert brings vast planning experience to new role

Jul 18, 2022 | by Maya Norris

David Powe is a self-professed transportation nerd — a moniker he wears proudly. After all, he has devoted his entire career to sustainable transportation planning and activism, shaping walking, biking, and public transit conditions in various cities across the United States to help create equitable, healthy, and thriving communities. And now he brings that vast experience and deep expertise to Active Transportation Alliance as its new director of planning and technical assistance. Powe (pronounced "po") joined the organization in March, bringing seven years of transportation planning, operations, and advocacy know-how to the nonprofit. He traces his interest in urban planning and sustainable transportation to his college days at the University of Alabama when he took an urban environmental science class....

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Community comes together in Palatine for bike giveaway and safety checks

Jul 7, 2022 | by Active Trans

If you recall the New Testament story of the loaves and fishes, you’d suspect a similar miracle happened in Palatine in early June, only this time involving bicycles and related gear. Local community groups, led by the Bike Palatine Club and the Palatine Partners for Our Communities (POC), came together for a mini workshop teaching kids the basics of safety checks for their bikes before rolling out for many days of summertime riding. Special focus was given to proper tire inflation, chain lubrication, and brake adjustment. Four bike club volunteers staffed the workshop and later helped with fitting 16 helmets that kids were given, courtesy of the Palatine Rotary Club. But it wasn’t just bike helmets. The list of donated...

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A triumph for safe biking: City commits to concrete protected bike lanes

Jun 29, 2022 | by Jim Merrell

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Transportation announced plans to upgrade all existing protected bike lanes with new concrete curbs by the end of 2023, a big step toward creating a connected and protected bike network for Chicago.  The announcement comes after years of grassroots advocacy calling for more robust barriers for Chicago’s bikeways, as well as recent mobilization efforts in response to a devastating string of fatal crashes, including four that tragically took the lives of children.   “On behalf of our members and supporters, we would like to thank the mayor and Chicago Department of Transportation leadership for taking this important step,” said Amy Rynell, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance. “These upgrades will significantly improve...

City must act now to fix dangerous streets for people walking and biking

Jun 14, 2022 | by Active Trans

Over the weekend, more than 300 people took to the streets to honor two young children recently killed by drivers on Chicago’s North Side. The memorial event — held for Raphael “Rafi” Cardenas and Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook — was attended by people who were demanding that the city take action to make our streets safe places to walk and bike. These recent tragedies, combined with the increasing number of people getting killed by drivers while walking and biking in Chicago, prompted the Active Transportation Alliance to issue an urgent message to city leaders. We sent the following letter today to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi. _______________________________________________________ Dear Mayor Lightfoot and Commissioner Biagi,...

Illinois must seize opportunity to move beyond car-centric transportation system

Jun 8, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

Thanks to an unprecedented level of federal and state transportation funding, Illinois’ next governor and general assembly will have the ability to transform streets and trails in communities across the state.  If they are willing to confront the failing status quo, the next governor and general assembly will have the opportunity to re-orient the state’s transportation system around safety, sustainability, and racial equity.  Active Transportation Alliance's 2022 Illinois Sustainable Transportation Platform provides a roadmap for state leaders to dramatically improve mobility over the next five years. The platform features specific action items on three core goals:  Elevate sustainability and racial equity in transportation decision making. Strengthen funding and regulations to support public transit. Make state roads safer for walking and...

See where candidates for secretary of state stand

Jun 3, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

With early voting underway in Illinois' primary elections and Election Day approaching, the Active Transportation Alliance has released its 2022 Sustainable Transportation Voter Guide for the race to be secretary of state. Six candidates — four Democrats and two Republicans — are vying for the opportunity to replace outgoing Secretary of State Jesse White, who is retiring after 23 years in office. The secretary oversees Illinois' Rules of the Road, driver education services and exam, and various traffic safety initiatives. The Active Transportation Alliance, Ride Illinois, and Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) jointly created a questionnaire that was sent to all candidates. The voter guide is comprised of the candidates' responses. As non-partisan 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organizations, Active Trans, Ride...