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Did You Know?

The Chicago region’s current hub-and-spoke transit system leaves nearly half a million Cook County residents stranded in transit deserts.

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.


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 fill out this form and we will be in touch.

 

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

How to get involved

>> Watch our most recent advocacy training video to get started building a 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.

>> Participate in the webinar series

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!

Upcoming Webinars/Calls

Webinar Recordings on YouTube

>> Check out recordings from Suburban Action Week 2021!

The Active Transportation Alliance hosted its first-ever 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.

>> Commit to carrying out your campaign 

Bike Walk Every Town is open to anyone interested in developing a campaign to improve biking and walking in their community. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Get in Touch: Contact Maggie Melin at Maggie@activetrans.org and we will connect you to resources and other advocates in your area.
  • Assess Your Community: Fill out the Policy Assessment Worksheet to assess the walking and biking friendliness of your community. Check out our regional Policy/Plan Tracker 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 Every Town logo (customized for your community) which you are welcome to use as part of your campaign.

>> Connect with other local advocates

Join one of our our regional Google Group email lists to exchange ideas and share resources, and attend one of our regional meet-ups or conference calls to connect with other advocates in-person. Email Maggie@activetrans.org for more information.

>> Bike Walk Every Town 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 $250-$500 dollars each.

2019 mini-stipend winners included the communities of Aurora, Brookfield, Elgin, Glen Ellyn/Lombard, and Oak Park. The 2018 winners included Batavia, Elgin, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn/Lombard, Oak Park, Robbins and Villa Park.

 

Resources

Campaign Building Worksheets

Policy Assessment Worksheet (pdf)

Campaign Action Planning Worksheet (pdf)

Inclusive Community Engagement Worksheet (pdf)

Bike Walk Every Town Training Video (youtube)

Policy Platforms

Bike Walk Every Town Local Policy Platform (pdf)

Bike Walk Every Town State & Regional Policy Platform (pdf)

Bike Walk Every Town Model Resolution (pdf)

Regional Trackers

Policy/Plan Tracker (Google Doc) – update this spreadsheet with information about your community

Project Tracker (Google Doc) – 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

Petitions

How to Write a Petition (pdf)

Suburban Policy Petition (pdf)

State Bike Walk Fund Petition (pdf)

Campaign Building Tip Sheets

Building a Base of Supporters (pdf)

Outreach and Communications (pdf)

Engaging Decisions Makers (pdf)

Tips on Meeting Elected Officials (pdf)

How to Develop an Elevator Pitch (pdf)

Suburban Election Advocacy

Election Advocacy Best Practices (pdf)

Suburban Election Advocacy Platform (pdf)

Local Suburban Candidate Questionnaire example (pdf)

State Sustainable Transportation Platform

Event Organizing

Event Planning Check List (pdf)

Bike Rodeo Station Ideas (pdf)

Organizing Bike Rides for Kids and Families (pdf)

Case Studies

Complete Streets Policies (pdf)

Active Transportation Plans (pdf)

Funding for Bicycle/Pedetrian Projects (pdf)

Project Prioritization and Implementation (pdf)

Bicycle and Pedestrians Advisory Councils (BPAC) (pdf)

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 Mode & Crash Reports

2020 Regional Mode Share Report

2018 Regional Crash Report

 

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