In the news: 2017
How Should Chicago Spend Its Uber Tax? (City Lab; November 2017)
Since the Chicago City Council approved a 15-cent increase to each ride-sharing trip, Active Trans Government Relations Director Kyle Whitehead suggests that the Chicago Transit Authority use the money to improve bus service to reach more riders and make it a competitive mode of transportation.
Pedestrian advocacy group says city has no business fining pedestrians (Chicago Sun-Times; November 2017)
Active Trans Executive Director Ron Burke urges the City Council to create a Vision Zero Fund to bankroll street improvements that would discourage dangerous driving and protect pedestrians instead of enacting legislation that would fine people crossing the street while they are texting, reading emails, playing video games or talking on their cell phones.
As buses slow and ridership sinks, advocates look for ways to lure commuters back (Chicago Tribune; November 2017)
With bus ridership declining in Chicago, Active Trans released a new report on to how to get riders back on the bus, offering solutions such as prepaid boarding, bus-only lanes and giving buses traffic signal priority.
Letter: Want to curb traffic? Stop adding more highway lanes (Chicago Tribune; November 2017)
Active Trans Government Relations Director Kyle Whitehead writes that adding highway lanes may seem like a good idea to reduce traffic, but research and experience shows it only makes traffic congestion worse in the long run by inducing more people to drive.
Could legislation curb displacement along the 606? (Chicago Reader; August 2017)
Active Trans supports legislation that will prevent displacing low-income residents who live along the 606 trail, where rising property values, property taxes and rents are changing the demographics of the area. The legislation includes levying stiff fees on developers who demolish existing housing along the trail to make room for new buildings. The ordinance is part of a larger dialogue about how to holistically plan trails and transit-oriented development that include measures to prevent displacement and preserve affordable housing.
Chicago’s Dearborn & Randolph Protected Intersection (Streetfilms; July 2017)
Active Trans Government Relations Director Kyle Whitehead talks about how the innovative features of the protected intersection at Dearborn and Randolph Streets will make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists who traverse this busy corridor of Chicago’s business district.
Cyclists face barriers in car-centric Chicago suburbs: study (Chicago Tribune; July 2017)
While Bicycling magazine named Chicago the most bike-friendly U.S. city in 2016, the car-centric Chicago suburbs still have a ways to go to encourage both cycling and walking. A report from Active Trans identified five problems for suburban cyclists, including that few suburbs have bike- and pedestrian-friendly policies in place and large gaps in the regional trail network.
Key Safety Changes Planned for Busy Milwaukee Ave Corridor In Wicker Park, But Barely Any Bike Lanes (Chicagoist; July 2017)
The Chicago Department of Transportation plans to revamp the busy intersection at Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Advocates and residents agree that the plan is a strong introductory initiative, but they want to see a commitment to more high-quality protected bike lanes sooner rather than later. “It’s a great first step,” said Jim Merrell, advocacy director for Active Trans. “We think it’s a great platform for us to stand on moving forward to secure the bigger capital improvements sooner than five or 10 years down the road — because those crashes are happening today on the corridor.”
City trucks will install guards to protect bicyclists, pedestrians: Rahm (DNAinfo; June 2017)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel supports a measure that requires large trucks working on big projects for the city to install side guards in an effort to prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from being run over by the truck’s rear wheels. Active Trans is pleased with the ordinance, but is disappointed it won’t be fully in place until 2021. In the meantime, Active Trans will continue to work with city officials to encourage private firms to install the guards and convex mirrors, which studies show help reduce the risk of fatal and serious injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Steve Dale’s Other World: Buses, Trains, Bikes and Legs (WGN Radio; June 2017)
Active Trans Government Relations Director Kyle Whitehead spoke with WGN’s Steve Dale aboout the best ways to get more people to walk, ride bicycles and take public transit.
City releases Vision Zero plan aimed at preventing roadway deaths, injuries (Chicago Tribune; June 2017)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel released Chicago’s long-awaited three-year Vision Zero plan, with the goal of reducing roadway crashes and ultimately eliminating traffic deaths over the next decade. Active Trans Executive Director Ron Burke praised Vision Zero for laying a “strong foundation for making real progress.” Active Trans consulted with the city on the plan.
$4 billion plan to widen Tri-State won’t require tax money, toll hike: officials (Chicago Tribune; April 2017)
The Illinois Tollway Board voted in favor to widen the busy central Tri-State, an amibitious $4 billion project the agency says can be funded without tax money and without increasing tolls. Active Trans Executive Director Ron Burke questioned the need for the expansion. Research shows that new and widened roads in urban areas exacerbate traffic congestion in the long term by inducing more driving that over time fills in the additional space, according to Burke.
‘Biking while black’: Chicago minority areas see the most bike tickets (Chicago Tribune; March 2017)
As Chicago police ramp up their ticketing of bicyclists, more than twice as many citations are being written in African-American communities than in white or Latino areas, according to a Chicago Tribune review of police statistics.
What’s Wrong with the Bus? New Campaign Underway to Stop Ridership Decline (DNAinfo; March 2017)
With a $150,000 grant from the New York-based nonprofit Transit Center, Active Trans has launched the “Speeding Up Chicago Buses” campaign to increase bus ridership in the city.
ATA Blasts “Outrageously Weak” Cann Sentence, Launches Petition Drive (Streetsblog Chicago; January 2017)
Active Trans and other safe streets advocates have voiced frustration with the mere 10-day jail sentence given to driver Ryne San Hamel, who killed fallen cyclist Bobby Cann in May 2013 while speeding and drunk. In response, Active Trans launched a petition drive. The nonprofit is asking Cann family supporters and Active Trans members to sign a letter to local law enforcement officials and judges, calling on them to do more to hold reckless and drunk drivers accountable.
Creating separate bike, pedestrian lakefront paths may be tricky in spots (Chicago Tribune; January 2017)
Separation of the 18-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail into separate bicycle and pedestrian paths will raise its own design puzzles. That’s because parts of the lakefront are more pinched than others. It will take ingenuity and compromise to create separate paths.
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