Category Archives: Blog

Day of the Dead altar honors those killed while walking or biking

Nov 15, 2022 | by Ted Villaire

Inspired by the ghost bikes that honor those who were killed while biking on our streets, local artist Norma Rio-Sierra created a Day of the Dead altar dedicated to people who were killed while walking or biking. “It’s about creating a healing space and creating awareness of what happens when it’s not safe to walk and bike,” said Rio-Sierra. "It’s about celebrating those lives and remembering the people...I want to make it safer for our families to walk. We’ve had too many deaths of people walking and biking.” The altar incorporates bike parts, colorful flowers, and paper cutouts. She created it for a recent celebration in the Hermosa neighborhood called Hermosa Noche de Calaveras, held by Palenque LSNA, formerly known...

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Making the case for bike rooms 

Nov 14, 2022 | by Maya Norris

More people than ever are bicycling around Chicago, thanks to the bicycling boom that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic enticing people to hop on two wheels. But how do we maintain that momentum? One way to keep people on their bikes is to have secure, accessible, and functional bike rooms in commercial and residential buildings—a key piece of infrastructure that may make the difference as to whether these new riders stick with cycling in the long term. As more people take up bicycling for recreation and as their primary mode of transportation for commuting and errands, the need for enclosed bike rooms and bike parking grows. “It’s a good idea to have secure indoor bike storage for commercial and residential...

Sidewalk snow removal should be a municipal service

Nov 14, 2022 | by Active Trans

For many people, snow and ice on sidewalks is more than an inconvenience, it can shut down daily life. That’s why our friends at Better Streets Chicago, with the support of their partners Access Living, are making the case for municipally-funded sidewalk snow plowing in Chicago. Chicago has a century-and-a-half old policy that requires residents, business owners, and property managers to keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice during the winter. The result is a haphazard, snowy mess. Some blocks are appropriately shoveled while others remain impassable under layers of snow and ice.  The city already performs snow removal around transit stations and bus stops. But as these stretches of sidewalk get cleared, the adjoining sidewalks are often still...

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Let’s move ahead with the Red Line Extension Transit TIF  

Nov 7, 2022 | by Active Trans

For decades, people on the far South Side have heard promises about the extension of the Red Line. Now, finally, we're thrilled to see the plan moving forward. There is broad community support for the project. Extending CTA's L system to the far South Side will improve residents’ access to education, employment, healthcare, and other crucial services. The Red Line Extension will also attract construction jobs and future development along the proposed corridor. We at the Active Transportation Alliance are enthusiastic supporters of this project. We also support the proposed funding mechanisms, including the Transit TIF (tax increment financing). Ensuring inclusive growth across the entire city means investing in the fundamental building blocks of healthy communities in each neighborhood.  ...

Taking a tour of the coming Red Line Extension

Oct 27, 2022 | by W. Robert Schultz III

The Chicago Transit Authority recently provided a bus tour along the right-of-way for the much-needed 5.6-mile Red Line Extension project.    Once completed, Chicago’s major north-south L line will extend to the southernmost neighborhoods and fulfill a decades old promise. The extension will begin at 95th Street and head south to 130th Street, hitting four new stations along the way.    Tour participants included representatives from local nonprofits and planning agencies, as well as CTA staff, including the project’s chief engineer. Three staffers from Active Transportation Alliance participated in the tour.   “Palpable excitement” is the best description of the sentiment representatives of People for Community Recovery, a long-standing environmental justice group based in Altgeld Gardens, expressed on the bus tour....

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Regional planning agency ignores destructive effects of road expansion projects

Oct 18, 2022 | by David Powe

Despite nearly 450 people speaking out against a series of roadway expansion projects, leadership at our regional planning agency approved plans to add nearly 300 lane miles to our region’s roadways.  As roadway expansion plans are being stopped in the name of racial equity, climate change, safety, and fiscal responsibility, it was disheartening to see the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) give the green light to local road expansion projects as part of its updated regional plan. The road expansion projects were approved by CMAP's Executive Board and Policy Committee as part of an updated version of ON TO 2050, which outlines regional planning priorities over several decades. Including the road expansion projects in this plan means they will...

City council hearing puts CTA problems front and center

Sep 20, 2022 | by W. Robert Schultz III

Active Trans recently joined with allies to mobilize around a city council hearing that shined a light on CTA’s recent service shortcomings and reliability problems. Before the hearing, a press conference was held by aldermen, transit worker unions, and several organizations, including the Active Transportation Alliance. The same day our allies at Commuters Take Action rallied outside the CTA board meeting. All these efforts together resulted in greater visibility for the serious issues currently afflicting our transit system. WHERE'S THE CTA PRESIDENT? When the Chicago City Council Committee on Transportation and the Public Way convened its long-awaited hearing on current CTA issues, many participants were dismayed that its president, Dorval Carter Jr., failed to appear. In the parlance of post-pandemic...

Brookfield showcases its efforts to improve walking and biking

Sep 7, 2022 | by Maya Norris

The residents of the Village of Brookfield and neighboring towns got the chance to learn about the village’s current and future pedestrian and bicycle improvements during a recent walking tour and discussion that Active Transportation Alliance helped organize. During the tour, village staff, local leaders, and community advocates shared behind-the-scenes stories about planning, funding, and building support for various active transportation initiatives around Brookfield, including the village’s bicycle boulevard — the first in the western suburbs. Tour participants saw the bicycle boulevard on Arden Avenue between Washington and Brookfield Avenues. The low-speed street prioritizes bicycle traffic using signage, paint, and other traffic calming measures, creating a safer, more comfortable environment for all road users. The bicycle boulevard also includes curb...

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CMAP’s road expansion plans contradict its own policies

Sep 7, 2022 | by David Powe

In recent months, the Active Transportation Alliance has been urging our regional planning agency to stop giving the green light to road expansion projects that are intended to alleviate congestion, yet end up worsening not just congestion, but climate change, safety, and equity. At a recent hearing held by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Active Transportation Alliance’s Director of Planning David Powe provided testimony on behalf of more than 400 people who responded to an action alert asking leaders to oppose the harmful and destructive roadway expansion plans. “Evidence shows that adding lanes to expressways and arterial streets does not result in long-term congestion relief for people driving,” said Powe at the hearing. “This is because new capacity...

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...