Category Archives: Blog

Surveys help refine DuPage County Trails Plan

Feb 14, 2024 | by Maya Norris

The DuPage County Department of Transportation recently completed a survey that will help inform a trails plan that is expected to be approved this year. The new trails plan, which has been in development for several years, will focus on the maintenance and operations of nearly 100 miles of trails, including the Illinois Prairie Path, Great Western Trail and Southern DuPage County Regional Trail. Sid Kenyon, a senior transportation planner for DuDOT, recently shared the results of two public surveys that garnered 3,100 responses. Kenyon said one of the major topics emphasized by survey respondents was the importance of signage and wayfinding. Trail users want functional and useful signage, he said, that helps remind them of where they are on...

Inadequate hiring pipeline continues to impact CTA service

Feb 2, 2024 | by Julia Gerasimenko

Rail service at the CTA, unfortunately, continues to be plagued by issues surrounding hiring and  training. The persistent problems with the agency’s employment pipeline means riders continue to be frustrated with unreliable, infrequent transit service, and CTA workers continue to be frustrated by lack of adequate job growth opportunities.  In late December, we mobilized nearly 900 transit supporters in response to the proposed 2024 CTA budget. The goal was to get the CTA board to invest in operator training and increase the number of courses offered. We’re confident that these steps will go a long way in restoring pre-pandemic levels of service on CTA. In early January, we finally received a response from the CTA board indicating that it was...

North Shore Channel Trail extensions would bridge trail gaps

Jan 25, 2024 | by Maya Norris

Walking and biking trails are dotted throughout Evanston. While many of Evanston’s residents take advantage of those trails, they also find them frustrating. Many of the trails don’t connect to other local and regional trails, forcing people to walk and bike along dangerous and stressful roadways if they want to move from one trail to another. But that may change if the Evanston Transit Alliance has its way. The advocacy group is making progress on connecting the North Shore Channel Trail in Skokie to trails north of Evanston, seeking to bridge some of the gaps in Evanston’s trails and bike lanes and ultimately create a regional trail network in the northern suburbs. The Evanston Transit Alliance (ETA) is proposing to...

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Bike racks find a new home thanks to local partnerships

Jan 25, 2024 | by Active Trans

It was an early holiday surprise in mid-December when the residents of Baldwin-Green apartment complex in Palatine acquired six bike racks valued at $3,000. The bike racks, which were being discarded by the Chicago Botanic Garden, initially didn’t have a new home. Then the Chicago Botanic Garden reached out to the Chicago Tool Library to offer the racks as a donation. Active Transportation Alliance got involved, as did the Bike Palatine Club and the Palatine Park District, which delivered the racks. Also involved in the process was Partners for Our Communities, a local Palatine agency that provides resources and programs for immigrants. The organization -- which focuses on adult literacy, health and wellness, and youth engagement -- serves clients who...

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IDOT looks closer at crashes and how to respond effectively

Jan 18, 2024 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

Towards the end of 2023, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) released its 2023 Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Safety Assessment for the state. As mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the assessment identifies safety trends, policies, and strategies to enhance the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users. The following are highlights from the report:   SAFETY TRENDS IDOT compiled and analyzed safety data spanning from 2005 to 2022, revealing statewide and local trends. In Illinois, vulnerable road users accounted for 18 percent of total roadway fatalities. Pedestrians made up the largest proportion of VRU fatalities and serious injuries followed by bicyclists. The Chicagoland region, particularly Chicago, experienced the highest number of VRU crashes per mile of roadway....

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Uncleared snow makes sidewalks treacherous for the most vulnerable people

Jan 12, 2024 | by Active Trans

Winter in Chicagoland means clearing those sidewalks of snow so that pedestrians have safe walkways to traverse during the winter. Shoveling sidewalks is not only the neighborly thing to do, but it’s also the law in some places, including Chicago. While we strongly support the effort to make sidewalk snow removal in Chicago a municipal service, snow removal—for now—continues to be the responsibility of the property owner. According to Chicago's municipal code, property owners must create a 5-foot-wide path free of any snow on their sidewalks, including crosswalk ramps attached to the sidewalks. They should not push snow into the streets, bike lanes, crosswalks, bus stops, train stations, alley entrances, and Divvy stations. The Chicago ordinance requires property owners to...

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Community spirit pushes the Great Western Trail forward

Jan 8, 2024 | by Maya Norris

The Great Western Trail, a 30-mile path tracing the legacy of the Chicago Great Western Railway, stands as a testament to advocacy and perseverance. Broken into two segments due to geographical hurdles, this trail is a labor of love, continuously championed by the Friends of the Great Western Trail. The newer of the two sections is 12.7 miles and runs between Villa Park and West Chicago in DuPage County,. The older, western section is 18 miles long and runs between western St. Charles in Kane County and Sycamore in DeKalb County. There are no plans to connect the two sections of the trail because the DuPage County Airport stands between them. But the Friends of the Great Western Trail continue...

Mayor Johnson should make 2024 the Year of the Bus 

Jan 3, 2024 | by Julia Gerasimenko

At the Active Transportation Alliance, we often hear from Chicago transit riders who are fed up with buses that are unreliable and often delayed. Indeed, it’s a major barrier that keeps many people from using buses. Slow buses that are undependable ensure that people will find other ways of getting around the city. Thankfully, we know how to fix this problem — and the solution is very do-able. Countless examples in other cities have shown that bus priority infrastructure is the most cost-effective intervention when it comes to improving the experience for riders and operators. With confidence in the CTA at what seems to be an all-time low, the agency could use a boost to its reputation. Prioritizing buses on...

Our top ten walking, biking, and transit stories of 2023

Dec 21, 2023 | by Ted Villaire

2023 was a year of unprecedented progress for our movement. Dozens of major infrastructure projects across the region created safe places for people to walk and bike where they did not exist before. There are more concrete protected bike lanes, pedestrian bump outs and islands, and smooth trail connections. Illinois and Chicago passed bold new laws that put us on the path towards a more sustainable and equitable transportation system. Why does it matter? It makes walking and biking possible and safer for people of all ages and abilities. Chicago and our whole region stand out as one of the few places in the country that saw at least a 50 percent increase in daily bicycle trips since 2019. Kudos...

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Illinois Prairie Path continues to grow and improve

Dec 15, 2023 | by Maya Norris

Since its inception in the 1960s, Illinois Prairie Path has woven itself through DuPage, Kane, and Cook Counties. As one of the nation’s pioneering rail trail projects, this 61-mile trail network offers plenty for Chicagoland residents to be proud of. From the beginning and continuing on to this day, advocacy and collaboration have been crucial to the success of this trail that serves as the centerpiece for Chicagoland rail trails. In 1963, May Watts of the Morton Arboretum sent a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, calling for the conversion of the abandoned Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railroad into a nature trail for future generations. Watts spent several years working with volunteers and stakeholders to build awareness and...