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Nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school.

Bike Walk Every Town

What is Bike Walk Every Town?

Walkable communities, high quality bike lanes and easy-to-use public transportation: These are not pipe dreams, but attainable goals that will make our region cleaner, healthier and more livable.

Join Bike Walk Every Town, the Active Transportation Alliance’s new suburban advocacy program. The program will help you develop the skills and access the resources needed to strengthen biking and walking in your community.

See below to learn how to get involved (through our online training, webinars, meet-ups, and creating an action plan) and check out our advocacy resources for tips, tools, case studies, and more.


GET IN TOUCH

If you’d like to improve walking and biking conditions in your community and learn how the Bike Walk Every Town program can help, please email Maggie Czerwinski at maggie@activetrans.org and she will be in touch.

You can also sign up for an upcoming Street Team Advocate Training or attend a bi-month Suburban Advocacy Call.

WHY PARTICIPATE? 

Participating in Bike Walk Every Town will give you:

  • Skills building training – hone your skills and become a savvy advocate
  • Issue based education – learn the nuts and bolts of biking, walking and transit infrastructure and policy issues
  • Local advocate network – meet other advocates in your area and start building your local movement
  • Professional coaching – get hands on support from Active Trans expert advocacy staff to help you bring change to your town

 

6 EASY WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

>> 1) Watch our most recent advocacy training video to get started building a local campaign 

This online advocacy training reviews key policy concepts recommended for suburban communities and step-by-step instructions on how to build a base of supporters, how to activate your base, and how to engage elected officials to make positive change happen in your community.

While watching this training, we recommend having paper and a pen on hand (or print our campaign building worksheet) to help you brainstorm and get started building a campaign.

>> 2) Connect with other local advocates

Join one of our our regional Google Group email lists to exchange ideas, ask questions, and share resources. By joining our Google Group, you’ll be the first to know about funding opportunities, action alerts to impact state and federal transportation policy, and regional meet-ups or conference calls to connect with other advocates in-person and online.

Email Maggie@activetrans.org to be added to one of our Google Group lists.

>> 3) Participate in upcoming webinars and advocacy calls

Our webinars are designed to help advocates dig deeper into bicycle and pedestrian policy ideas and introduce tips and tools for outreach and campaign building. Register for upcoming events and check out recordings of our previous webinars below!

>> 4) Check out recordings from Suburban Action Week!

The Active Transportation Alliance hosted a virtual Suburban Action Week in February 2021, featuring 25 short online talks and workshops with advocates, county staff, and community leaders throughout the region. Check out recordings of the talks below:

  • Advocacy Talks – Get tips and advice on best practices from advocates who have carried out campaigns to improve walking, biking and transit in their communities.
  • County Updates – Hear about recent and upcoming walking, biking, trail, and transit projects happening in your county.
  • Workshops – Workshops aimed at increasing your capacity and effectiveness as an advocate.

>> 5) Carrying out your own local campaign 

Bike Walk Every Town is here to help you develop a campaign to improve biking and walking in your community. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Get in Touch: Contact Maggie at Maggie@activetrans.org and we will connect you to resources and other advocates in your area. We can also help you develop a logo!
  • Assess Your Community: Fill out the Policy Assessment Worksheet to assess the walking and biking friendliness of your community. Check out the Chicagoland Bicycle and Pedestrian Database to help you get started on the worksheet.
  • Make a Plan: After you have a handle on what is happening in your community, fill out the six-step Campaign Action Planning Worksheet.
  • Get Started: Get started implementing your plan!

For those interested, Active Trans will send you a Bike Walk logo (customized for your community) which you are welcome to use as part of your campaign.

>> 6) Apply for a Bike Walk Every Town or Bike Month Mini-Stipend 

When funding allows, we offer a mini-stipend opportunity to help support local suburban advocacy work in the Chicagoland region that advances the Bike Walk Every Town policy platform. This funding opportunity awards multiple grants of $200-$500 dollars each.

  • 2018 awardees: Batavia, Elgin, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn/Lombard, Oak Park, Robbins and Villa Park
  • 2019 awardees: Aurora, Brookfield, Elgin, Glen Ellyn/Lombard, and Oak Park.
  • 2023 Bike Month awardees: Broadview, Brookfield, Elgin, Oak Park, Hanover Park, Villa Park, Palatine

 

RESOURCES

The following resources are available for download below – please let us know if anything else would be useful!

  • Regional Trackers – policies, plans, projects, funding opportunities
  • Campaign Building Worksheets & Tips
  • Making the Case & Building Momentum
  • Model Policies, Plans & Ordinances
  • Petition Resources
  • Event Organizing
  • Election Advocacy Resources
  • List of Suburban Advocacy Groups & Bike Clubs
  • Regional Data – mode share, crashes, demographic reports
  • Suburban blog articles

 

Regional Trackers

Bicycle and Pedestrian Database (Online Map) – Interactive map of Chicagoland communities with bike/ped policies and plans and a visual of who has received grants for walking and biking improvements

  • Policy/Plan Tracker (Google Doc) – An additional resource to help you find out if your community has a Complete Streets Policy or Active Transportation Plan.
  • Project Tracker (Google Doc) – This document tracks Chicagoland walking, biking and road projects, local petitions, and funding opportunities.

Bike Walk Education School Liaison sign-up (Google Doc) – Help your local school district adopt the new law.

Funding Opportunities (Google Doc) – A list of local, private, regional, state, and federal funding opportunities that can be used for walking, biking and trail projects.

  • Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) – Our state’s largest funding source for walking and biking projects
  • Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Grant – Bi-annual funding opportunity that funds projects that improve walking and biking within 2-miles of an elementary, middle, or high school
  • Federal Funding Resources
    • Useful matrix of bicycle and pedestrian funding opportunities
    • Calendar of upcoming federal Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs)

 

Campaign Building Worksheets

Policy Assessment Worksheet (pdf)

Campaign Action Planning Worksheet (pdf)

Inclusive Community Engagement Worksheet (pdf)

Bike Walk Every Town Training Video (youtube)

Bike Walk Every Town Local Policy Platform (pdf)

Campaign Building Tip Sheets:

Case Studies:

 

Making the Case & Building Momentum

Fact Sheets & Statistics

Tools

Programs

  • Move with the Mayor – Encourage your mayor to join Move with the Mayor! Join mayors around the country in promoting health and encouraging community members to be more physically active. If interested, contact Move with the Mayor Coordinator Michelle Snyder at michelle.snyder.ic@nationalforum.org. You’ll receive talking points, social media posts, and press release templates; policy recommendations; resource emails with funding opportunities; and event planning support.
  • ATA’s Bike Commuter Challenge – The Bike Commuter Challenge is a month-long biking competition where Chicagoland organizations compete to see who can earn the most points by riding their bike. It’s free to participate and a fun way to encourage your colleagues to give biking a try.
  • Become a Bicycle Friendly Community – The Bike League’s Bicycle Friendly America program provides advocates and change makers with a roadmap and hands-on assistance to build places more welcoming to people who bike. The BFA℠ program is a tool for states, communities, business and universities to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people and it recognizes those doing it well.

Presentation Templates

Talking Points

 

Model Plans, Policies & Ordinances

Complete Streets Policy Examples (website)

Active Transportation Plan Examples (website)

Bike Month Proclamation

Sidewalk Snow Removal – Laws, Ordinances, Best Practices & FAQ (pdf)

Bike Parking Ordinance from Change Lab Solutions (doc)

Distracted Driving Ordinance (pdf)

 

Petition Resources

How to Write a Petition (pdf)

Suburban Policy Petition (pdf)

State Bike Walk Fund Petition (pdf)

 

Event Organizing

Event Planning Check List (pdf)

Bike Rodeo Station Ideas (pdf)

Organizing Bike Rides for Kids and Families (pdf)

Bike Bingo – Bike Palatine Club example (pdf)

 

Trail Advocacy

Trail Webinar Series

Trail Websites

 

Election Advocacy

Election Advocacy Best Practices (pdf)

Suburban Election Advocacy Platform (pdf)

Local Suburban Candidate Questionnaire example (pdf)

State Sustainable Transportation Platform

 

State legislative updates (2023) – bills that passed in the senate and house:

  • Safer Intersections (SB 2278) – Intersections in a city no longer have to be built to accommodate a 65-foot truck. Local communities now have the power to design intersections with people in mind – not just large trucks.
  • Safer State Roadways (SB 2014) – Requires IDOT to develop a policy for improving infrastructure conditions on state-controlled streets if the street is undergoing any routine maintenance such as resurfacing. This could mean installing pedestrian refuge islands, curb extensions, or protected bike lanes.
  • Zero Fatalities (HB 2131) will establish a zero-fatalities task force. The task force will bring together a diverse set of stakeholders to create policies to eliminate traffic deaths in Illinois.

 

Existing Suburban Advocacy Groups & Bike Clubs

North Suburbs

West Suburbs

South Suburbs

 

Additional Resources

How can Active Trans help your community? (pdf)

Resource Bank (pdf)

Trail Connect Chicagoland Campaign (pdf)

Suburban Bikeways for All Report

 

Regional Data: Mode & Crash Reports

2020 Regional Mode Share Report

2018 Regional Crash Report

CMAP’s Community Snapshots – demographic and transportation data summarized for each municipality and county in the Chicagoland region.

 

In the News

Group advocates for safer bicycle, pedestrian transportation routes (Daily Southtown)

Training Program Helps Suburban Residents Push for Biking, Walking Paths (CBS Chicago)

Ralph Banasiak’s Daily Herald Column: Along for the Ride

 

Stories from the Suburbs

Metra to provide long-awaited rapid transit to South Side and south suburbs

Mobility in the time of COVID-19 in the south suburbs

Mobility in the time of COVID-19 in the north and west suburbs

Two key funding sources for projects in your community

Virtual exercise demos help bicyclists stay active and prevent injuries during COVID (Bike Palatine)

Closing the door on the Route 53 extension

Advocate works to make Des Plaines better for walking, biking

Active Trans works to connect trails in Chicagoland

Metra Electric Coalition picks up speed

Celebrating one year of cycling success (Cycle Brookfield)

Palatine bike club rolls out the racks

Duo moves DuPage trail forward (East Branch DuPage River Trail)

Pace launches its much-anticipated Pulse service

Lessons learned engaging residents and students in Aurora

Villa Park advocates build support for safer biking

Advocates fight for bike/walk education in suburban schools

Connecting Chicago’s suburbs with rapid transit

Using balance bikes to build relationships in Elgin

Batavia advocates connect with local businesses

Oak Park advocates stay connected with local officials

Bartlett advocate petitions for trail connection

Teaching safe cycling a passion for Active Trans board member from Chicago Heights

Advocates inspire bicycling in Elk Grove Village

Bike rodeo tips from the expert

Suburban superstars: not taking ‘no’ for an answer

Suburban superstars: a tale of two walking advocates (part 2)

Suburban superstars: a tale of two walking advocates (part 1)

An advocate’s lesson in making a difference

31 days of car-free suburban life

Brookfield’s first bicycle boulevard is here

Kids on the move in Highland Park

Mobilizing suburban advocates

Better trail connections in DuPage County

More protected bike lanes coming to Evanston

1st grade transportation advocate of Summit

 

Sign-up to Learn More

If you’d like to improve walking and biking conditions in your community and learn how the Bike Walk Every Town program can help, please email Advocacy Manager Maggie Czerwinski at maggie@activetrans.org or fill out this form and we will be in touch.