Category Archives: Blog

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...

Want to learn how to become a better advocate for sustainable transportation?

Dec 13, 2023 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

Want to get more involved in making our region a better place to walk, roll, bike, and take transit?   If you’re interested in learning about tangible ways to make a positive difference in your community and across our region, become a Street Team Advocate! Join one of our two-hour trainings this winter to build your advocacy skills and get up to speed on our two most pressing campaigns – Transit That Works and Safe Streets for All.   By attending a training, you can expect to:   Increase your knowledge about key transportation concepts;   Learn how effective advocacy tools and strategies can shape our built environment;   Get involved in our current advocacy campaigns and tap into ways to inspire others to join...

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The community drive behind the East Branch DuPage River Trail

Dec 6, 2023 | by Maya Norris

In central DuPage County, a vision took root in the 1980s for a 28-mile regional trail meant to link communities and allow access to the natural environment west of I-355. But progress on the trail was sluggish for many years. Then trail development kicked into a higher gear when a group formed that was dedicated to completing the trail. This north-south trail was originally conceptualized as an off-street non-motorized path for DuPage County residents west of I-355, roughly running between Lombard and Glen Ellyn and connecting isolated pockets of forest preserves with parks, waterways and several municipalities. After a series of starts and stops over the last 20 years, the trail project gained momentum when Ginger Wheeler and Libby Ahern...

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Celebrating progress at the annual member party

Dec 1, 2023 | by Ted Villaire

The Active Transportation Alliance's annual member party isn't just a gathering; it's a celebration of our community and our accomplishments, allowing us a moment to pause and renew our dedication to transforming Chicagoland into a hub for sustainable transportation. This year's event brought more than 100 individuals to the Revolution Brewing Taproom eager to laud the year's victories, forge new connections, and honor the efforts of advocates and volunteers. The volunteer awards showcased the outstanding contributions of people so generous with their time and energy. Kudos to the following people awarded for their volunteerism: Faraz Hussain: Volunteer Co-Manager of Volunteer Accommodations at Fifth Third Bike the Drive Kailen Lee: Set-up Super Volunteer for Fifth Third Bike the Drive Michael Schra:...

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Protected bike lanes on the rise

Nov 30, 2023 | by Alex Perez

While Chicago still has a long way to go before it has a citywide, connected network of protected bike lakes (PBLs), it’s certainly making progress. In the past year, Chicago streets have benefited from a surge in the number of protected bike lanes. This not only boosts safety for everyone on the road, but also gets us closer to a future where biking becomes an inviting, stress-free experience for everyone, irrespective of age or ability. The rise in crashes involving people walking and biking across Chicago has triggered more awareness of the need for safer infrastructure on our streets. PBLs provide much-needed protection, but, unfortunately, the problem is that most PBLs have been built in short sections and fail to...

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