Category Archives: Blog

Groundwork begins for an e-bike incentive program

Mar 9, 2023 | by Maya Norris

Electric bicycles could have the potential to encourage more people to hop on two wheels as their primary mode of transportation, but their high costs remain a deterrent for many. That’s why Active Transportation Alliance and Ride Illinois are advocating for an e-bike incentive program in Illinois — the first type of program in the state that would offset the cost of purchasing an e-bike. Such a program could go a long way in harnessing the rising popularity of e-bikes and reaping the benefits of reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, reducing traffic congestion, and offering healthy, affordable mobility. Given the growing popularity of e-bikes, right now is a good time for exploring an incentive program: E-bikes outsold cars 2:1...

Progress made in Springfield for safer streets

Mar 7, 2023 | by Ted Villaire

This week state lawmakers considered several important bills that would make streets safer for people walking and biking. Thanks to quick responses from supporters like you, we made progress with moving some of the bills forward. A special thanks to Metropolitan Planning Council, Ride Illinois, and Chicago, Bike Grid Now! Here are the bills and where they currently stand.   LOWERING DEFAULT SPEED LIMIT IN ILLINOIS URBAN AREAS The committee asked for amendments to be made to HB 3530, and once amended, it will return to committee, likely within the next two weeks. Details about the bill Given that excessive speed is the most common factor in serious and fatal crashes, we know that one of the best ways to...


Take action for safer streets and faster buses

Mar 2, 2023 | by Ted Villaire

Want to see speedier buses in Chicago and streets that are safer for people walking and biking? Now is your chance to get involved! A couple of ordinances up for a vote in Chicago City Council on Wednesday, March 15 would expand the infrastructure for people walking and biking and would help address the long-standing problem of drivers blocking bus lanes and bike lanes. These are the ordinances up for city council vote: Complete Streets Ordinance: When the department of transportation is resurfacing arterial streets, they would be required to make safety improvements for people walking, biking, and using transit. Safe Streets Pilots Ordinance: Would allow automated ticketing for drivers parked in bike lanes, bus-only lanes, bus stops, and crosswalks...


Developing a holistic city-wide mobility platform for the Chicago election

Feb 23, 2023 | by Active Trans

In preparation for the coming election, Active Transportation Alliance held a series of focus groups in neighborhoods around the city to ask residents about their transportation challenges when walking, biking, or using transit. Over and over, we heard about frustrations with CTA's reliability and that people were often feeling unsafe, whether they were riding CTA, walking, or biking. The feedback from the focus groups helped inform the citywide platform on walking, biking, and public transportation that was developed by the Safe Streets for All coalition – a diverse group of organizations and voices. Valuable input for the platform also came from organizations like Chicago Family Biking, Commuters Take Action, and Chicago, Bike Grid Now! In addition to the input on...

Better bus service is a crucial election issue

Feb 14, 2023 | by Courtney Cobbs

The Active Transportation Alliance is part of the Safe Streets for All, Transit That Works coalition that is working to educate Chicago voters for the municipal elections on February 28 and April 4. The coalition developed a platform based on concerns and wishes for Chicago’s transportation landscape. While the platform covers a range of topics surrounding sustainable transportation, two of the top concerns of the platform are unreliable bus and rail service and slow bus service. Given the CTA operator shortage, it’s crucial for the CTA to attract and retain new transit operators. The Safe Streets for All, Transit That Works election platform recommends better compensation and schedules that allow for operators to have a healthier work-life balance. Providing restrooms...

Chicago, Bike Grid Now! pushes for easy-to-implement bicycle infrastructure

Feb 11, 2023 | by Maya Norris

Creating bicycle friendly infrastructure can often take years due to a lack of political will, scarcity of funding and frustrating government bureaucracy. But it doesn’t have to be that convoluted, according to Chicago, Bike Grid Now! The bicycle advocacy group is pushing for bicycle friendly, traffic-calmed streets that it says can be achieved sooner rather than later with minimal effort. Active Transportation Alliance recognized the impact that Chicago Bike Grid Now! has made in shining a light on the need for safer streets and successfully mobilizing residents to its cause by honoring the group with its Advocate of the Year Award at Active Trans’ annual member meeting in December. Chicago, Bike Grid Now! is advocating for 10 percent of Chicago...


Agreement is a step toward safer streets

Jan 24, 2023 | by David Powe

This week, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) came to a new agreement that aims to streamline the building of safer streets and intersections across Chicago. The Active Transportation Alliance is hopeful about the potential this new agreement has for making our roadways safer and more hospitable to people walking, biking, and using transit. Countless activists, organizations, and elected officials across Chicago have been working for decades to push IDOT for safer design standards. This could be a huge win for our movement! Why is this agreement a big deal? IDOT owns a lot of roadways in Chicago that are maintained by CDOT. However, these roadways are typically built to IDOT standards not CDOT...

RTA’s plan for the future needs more details

Jan 12, 2023 | by David Powe

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) recently released its draft strategic plan, Transit is the Answer, for public comment.   The RTA coordinates the Chicago region’s transit system (CTA, Pace, and Metra), oversees its financing, and coordinates regional planning for public transportation in Northeastern Illinois.  Active Transportation Alliance joined forces with a handful of local nonprofits to send a letter to the RTA on ways to improve the 80-plus page draft plan. Co-signatories were Access Living, Elevated Chicago, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Equiticity,  High Speed Rail Alliance, Illinois Environmental Council, Metropolitan Planning Council. Each of the organizations that signed the letter were involved in the process leading to the publication of this draft plan.  While we offered support for the principles...

Speak up for a greener, safer, more equitable Grant Park

Jan 6, 2023 | by David Powe

Last year, the Chicago Park District began developing its 2023 Grant Park Framework Plan. The plan seeks to define Grant Park’s role as a neighborhood park, a key destination, and as a public space, and it will outline next steps in the park’s development. The park district is hosting a series of public meetings to share updates on the design process and allow the public to ask questions. There are three in-person opportunities to learn more about the project and provide feedback. The open-houses (which will each offer the same format) will be 5-7 p.m. as follows: Tues., Jan. 24 at the Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall Thurs., Feb. 2 at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ryan Learning Center,...

Top stories in sustainable transportation from the past year

Dec 27, 2022 | by Ted Villaire

One fact weighs heavily on the mind while recounting the past year of walking, biking, and transit in Chicagoland. The lack of safe infrastructure for all road users resulted in the tragic loss of life in 2022. This summer alone, motorists struck and killed at least seven Chicagoland children on foot, scooters, and bikes. After two young children were killed by drivers on Chicago’s North Side over the summer, more than 300 people took to the streets. The memorial event — held for Raphael “Rafi” Cardenas and Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook — brought together people who were demanding that the city take action to make our streets safe places to walk and bike. The event showed how neighbors are ready...