Category Archives: Blog

South Side trail updates and improvements

Sep 14, 2023 | by Olivia Borowiak

The South Side of Chicago has long suffered from a dearth of trails and green space. Thankfully, it's an issue that's getting more attention. Local community groups and government agencies are revitalizing vacant community spaces to create new trails and enhance existing trails as they seek to bring sustainable transportation options to these historically disinvested neighborhoods. Recently, Active Transportation Alliance hosted a webinar exploring the exciting improvements and new projects coming to these trails that will create long-overdue sustainable transportation options. Here are some of the projects highlighted in the webinar:   COOK COUNTY BIKE PLAN This year Cook County released its first-ever bike plan, which focuses on equitable investments to make bicycling more convenient and comfortable across the county....


Long-awaited Red Line Extension moves closer to reality

Sep 14, 2023 | by David Powe

After decades of anticipation, the CTA Red Line Extension (RLE) project is set to receive a nearly $2 billion injection of federal funding. The RLE will be a 5.6-mile expansion of CTA’s Red Line from 95th Street  to 130th Street on Chicago’s Far South Side. The project aims to foster thriving communities by connecting Far South Side residents to essential opportunities like education, employment, and healthcare. The Federal Transit Administration recently pledged a remarkable $1.973 billion through the New Starts program. The project can now move forward to the engineering phase (see timeline below). “Today is a great day for the South Side of Chicago,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “The Far South Side has been promised for...

Explore the Heritage Corridor this fall with Metra

Sep 12, 2023 | by Ted Villaire

Metra is offering special service on the Heritage Corridor Line on Saturdays this fall, giving Chicago-area residents opportunities to explore the biking and running paths, festivals, craft breweries, restaurants, and communities along the Metra route that runs southwest of the city to Joliet. Dubbed “Rails, Trails and Ales,” the program offers three round-trip trains, each equipped with Metra’s new bike cars to carry extra bikes, on Saturdays through Oct. 14. The trains will leave Chicago Union Station at 10:30 a.m., 4:15 p.m., and 8 p.m. and make all stops to Joliet. Inbound trips will depart Joliet at 8 a.m., 1:45 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. making all stops to Union Station. In a news release, Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski said...

Plow the Sidewalks pilot program takes a step forward

Sep 6, 2023 | by Olivia Borowiak

After many decades of policies that have fallen far short of keeping our sidewalks clear of snow in the winter, Chicago is on the verge of vast improvements when it comes to enhancing mobility when the snow falls. In July, Better Streets Chicago and Access Living’s Plow the Sidewalks Pilot Program ordinance passed in city council 49-1. The ordinance approved the formation of a committee that will establish zones of the pilot program by May 2024 before expanding citywide. Once the pilot expands into a city-wide program, it will be an enormous benefit to people with disabilities, senior citizens, and families with strollers and children, as well as delivery workers and anyone who needs access to sidewalks as a means...


Fare program helps commuters save on public transit costs

Aug 31, 2023 | by Maya Norris

Good news for commuters. New legislation will enable more public transportation users to save on their daily commuting costs, making transit more affordable and accessible in metropolitan Chicago. On July 28, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Transportation Benefits Program Act into law. It expands the Regional Transportation Authority Transit Benefit Fare Program, which allows people to pay for transit and parking using pre-tax dollars. The legislation mandates employers with 50 or more full-time employees and located within 1 mile of a fixed-route transit service, such as a CTA or Metra station, to offer the program to their employees by Jan. 1, 2024. Employees may elect to withhold up to $300 in pre-tax payroll deductions to purchase transit passes or reloadable...


The unsung heroes who are making the region better for biking

Aug 11, 2023 | by Olivia Borowiak

Each year, Chicago Bike Month is jam packed with bike-related activities like community rides, pop-up biking stations, and bike repair clinics. While Active Trans organizes some of the Bike Month events during the month of May, most of the events are organized by small grassroots groups. Even though Bike Month is long gone, we want to recognize the outstanding programs organized by our partners. We think of these folks as the unsung heroes of local biking culture. They are making a difference on the streets of their local communities by giving people biking know-how and encouragement. In recent years, Active Trans has been able to boost the efforts of these grassroots bike groups with a small stipend intended to help...


Help improve walking, biking, and rolling in Illinois

Aug 7, 2023 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

This year the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has launched a new initiative to create a roadmap for a safe, connected pedestrian and bicycle network across the state. The Walk Roll Illinois Active Transportation Plan initiative is an update to the state’s 2014 Bike Plan, which will now include all active transportation modes. IDOT seeks to understand existing conditions, identify needs, and set community priorities to make Illinois more walkable, bikeable, and rollable for all. Your input is needed! You can provide feedback about your experiences walking, biking, or rolling around the state through IDOT’s online survey and interactive map between now and the end of September. Through the survey and map, you can share information about barriers you’ve experienced...


CTA takes a step toward greater transparency  

Aug 7, 2023 | by David Powe

We commend CTA’s recent initiatives to improve service and elevate transparency with the launch of an even more robust interactive performance dashboard, as part of its “Meeting the Moment” plan.   This forward-thinking initiative responds to the calls from riders and advocates for more transparency and reliable service.   As a part of its Meeting the Moment plan, CTA's performance metrics report has evolved into an info-packed interactive visual dashboard that is updated monthly.   This newest version of the dashboard provides riders with a 13-month operational history alongside key performance indicators that include:  Service delivery performance, filtered by rail line and bus route  Bus and rail operator hiring and attrition statistics Status of elevators and escalators Instances of bus and rail...

A quick rundown of sustainable transportation projects in Chicago

Jul 28, 2023 | by Olivia Borowiak

Active Transportation Alliance recently invited local advocates to gather for the latest news and updates about projects impacting sustainable transportation in the region. Kicking off the discussion was an update on Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition transportation subcommittee. Active Transportation Alliance, which served on the subcommittee, was pleased that priorities like restricting right turns on red lights and limiting commercial traffic on residential streets were among the recommendations. The committee also recommended closely considering the impacts of development and making sure to invest in transportation systems in underserved areas. (You could read more about Mayor Johnson’s transition report here.) The discussion covered a handful of ongoing initiatives that are intended improve public transportation. The Better Streets for Busses Plan, which is...

Chicago’s landmark ETOD ordinance marks one-year anniversary

Jul 27, 2023 | by Maya Norris

Chicago is about to get an influx of affordable housing and businesses around mass transit over the next few years with help from the Connected Communities ordinance, which marks its one-year anniversary this month. Elevated Chicago joined forces with Chicago Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara to successfully push for passage of this sweeping legislation that addresses racial inequity by catalyzing economic development near public transportation. Elevated Chicago, a coalition of community organizations, and Novara were recently awarded Active Transportation Alliance’s Equity Award for advocating for the Connected Communities ordinance over the past four years. Adopted by the Chicago City Council in July 2022, the ordinance advances equitable transit-oriented development, which seeks to create dense, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly communities near transit hubs...