Tag Archives: Advocacy

Inspiration and guidance for advocates in suburban communities

Mar 30, 2021 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

If you’ve ever considered pursuing a walking, biking, or public transit improvement project in your suburban community, you’ll find this series of videos to be a treasure trove of information. The Active Transportation Alliance recently hosted its first-ever virtual Suburban Action Week, featuring 25 short online talks and workshops with advocates, county staff, and community leaders throughout the region. Ten of the sessions focus on successful suburban campaigns to improve walking, biking and transit – from Elgin to Roseland to Brookfield and beyond. Advocates share advice on how to build relationships within a community, how to work effectively with elected officials, and how individuals can make a difference in their own towns. They describe their on-the-ground strategies for creating slow...

Action alert: More senators needed to co-sponsor bill to make state roads safer

Mar 26, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The Illinois House is advancing Active Trans' bill to eliminate the local share of the costs for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads, but the state senate has yet to take action on it. We need your help to make sure the senate takes action. One way to show broad support is to recruit more co-sponsors of the legislation. Under current law, when the state of Illinois is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for cars and trucks, such as travel lanes and road markings. But if the state’s analysis determines a sidewalk, side path, or bike lane should be added and there’s community support for it, then the local community is...

Longtime staffer reflects on Active Trans’ achievements over the last 35 years

Mar 18, 2021 | by Maya Norris

2021 marks a historic milestone for the Active Transportation Alliance. The nonprofit celebrates its 35th anniversary this year in leading the charge to create a sustainable transportation landscape in Chicagoland that emphasizes safety and health. Active Trans has come a long way since it was founded in 1985 as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation by a small group of advocates looking for ways to make bicycling safe and easier. Over the next 23 years, CBF grew into one of the largest and most prominent bicycle advocacy organizations in the country. In 2008, the organization took an important step forward by expanding its mission to include pedestrian and transit advocacy. As a result, it changed its name to Active Transportation Alliance. Longtime...

Action Alert: Help make state roads safer for people walking and biking

Feb 25, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The transportation committee in the Illinois State House is considering a bill that would make roads safer for vulnerable users, and we need your help to make sure it passes. House Bill 270 eliminates the 20 percent local cost share for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads. The bill is scheduled to be called in committee on Monday, March 3, at noon. Under current law, when the state is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for car and trucks, such as travel lanes and markings. But if the state’s analysis determines a sidewalk, side path, or bike lane should be added and there’s community support for it, then the local community is...

Report shows mayor, police drove decisions to shut down transit, raise bridges

Feb 24, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

A new report from Chicago’s Inspector General (IG) finds police and emergency management personnel had outsize influence on decisions to shut down transit and raise bridges during last summer’s protests following George Floyd’s murder. These decisions had major transportation impacts on thousands of city residents, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors such as people with disabilities and low-income essential workers. Yet the report finds the city’s transit leaders who know their systems best often weren’t at the table when these calls were made.  REPORT FINDINGS  On decisions to shut down transit: “CTA personnel expressed doubts as to whether CPD command staff knew the CTA system well enough to know what service changes would achieve the desired crowd control objectives.” (p. 43) On downtown stop closures: “The decision to bypass downtown CTA stops was made by the Mayor’s Office at the...

Join us at the Chicago Food Justice Summit

Feb 24, 2021 | by Active Trans

As part of the 16th Annual Chicago Food Justice Summit, Active Transportation Alliance is excited to help lead a discussion about how food access is linked to transportation issues.  The virtual event, which is focusing on the theme of "radical re-imagination," is sponsored by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC). The CFPAC is an organization that works to improve food access for Chicago residents and ensure that the food is culturally appropriate, healthy, affordable, and is grown through environmentally sustainable practices.  The summit serves as an opportunity to connect food workers, farmers, vendors, and local leaders in order to discuss food policy and other critical issues involving climate change, labor, food access, and urban farming.  Registration is free and open to the public. Spanish translation will be...

Belmont Cragin youth urge CTA board to upgrade bus service  

Feb 16, 2021 | by Active Trans

Two community youth leaders pressed the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board at the February meeting on service and cleanliness issues, earning commitments from CTA leadership that they would work to address their concerns. Minerva Garcia and Yalinette Rivera are youth organizers from the Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Council, a part of the Northwest Side Housing Center. Both Minerva and Yalinette testified at CTA’s February board meeting. Minerva is a junior at Northside College Prep and Yalinette is a junior at Lincoln Park High School. They both face long commutes on transit to reach their schools from their homes in Belmont Cragin. Belmont Cragin is a working-class community with a majority Latinx population that includes many immigrants and one of the highest ratios of youth compared to...

Chicago celebrates Transit Equity Day with Reps. Garcia and Kelly

Feb 11, 2021 | by Active Trans

Hundreds of advocates and community leaders joined Congressman Chuy Garcia and Congresswoman Robin Kelly in Chicago’s first celebration of National Transit Equity Day on February 4.  Transit Equity Day serves as a national day of action that commemorates the birthday of Rosa Parks while reminding us that public transit is a civil right. It was started four years ago by a network of transit rider unions, community organizations, environmental advocates, and labor unions.  Chicago’s celebration focused on the challenges Black and Brown communities face with inadequate public transit and how federal funding can help address this problem. Active Trans, Chicago Jobs with Justice, and Metropolitan Planning Council co-hosted the virtual event.  REP. ROBIN KELLY In her speaking segment, Rep. Kelly discussed how decades of structural racism...

Veteran advocate brings equity, affordability to the region’s transportation system

Feb 8, 2021 | by Maya Norris

Jacky Grimshaw has made an indelible mark on the transportation scene in metropolitan Chicago. The longtime sustainable transportation advocate has spent the last 30 years working to improve walking, bicycling, and public transit conditions in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. She’s been a prominent, influential force that has helped to shape and advance an equitable, affordable, and sustainable transportation system in the region. Her impressive achievements in the sector have earned her Active Transportation Alliance’s Visionary Leadership Award, which Active Trans will present to her at its 35th Anniversary E-Bash in March (please consider joining Active Trans for this free event on March 24). Grimshaw began her career as a sustainable transportation advocate when she joined the Center for Neighborhood...

Progress on transit equity starts with changing funding formulas

Jan 25, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

To achieve greater equity in the Chicago region, we must fundamentally rethink how we’re spending our limited transportation dollars. This is why the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) — the region’s public transit oversight agency — recent decision to focus federal COVID relief funds in the highest need service areas is so important. The agency chose not to simply pass the money through to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace using a decades-old standard formula, as is traditionally done. Instead, it launched a process to direct funding to the “people and places that need it the most.” This may seem like an obvious move to make, particularly during a once-in-a-century pandemic that’s hitting Black and Brown communities the hardest. But...