Tag Archives: Advocacy

Advocates call for keeping transit running during any post-election protests

Oct 13, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

UPDATE (10/14/20): In response to the petition, Mayor Lightfoot's Office said in a statement to WTTW that they will work with city officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders to “avoid any shutdown of transit options in the future.” A coalition of advocates is calling on Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago-area transit agencies to keep our buses, trains, paratransit, and bike sharing running during future periods of civil unrest in the city.   The group’s petition states that “transit is a public good and a necessity at all times.” It calls for the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, Pace Suburban Bus, and Divvy to make public commitments to remain in operation during times of protest so people can get where they need to go.  The group says this request is urgent given the potential for unrest following major upcoming...

Big threat looms for local transit riders if no action taken

Sep 29, 2020 | by Julia Gerasimenko

Without $32 billion in emergency funding needed for public transit, public transportation will be devastated both locally and across the country. A new report released by TransitCenter and Center for Neighborhood Technology details the impact for people in Chicago and 9 other regions. As emergency funding from the CARES Act runs out, transit cuts averaging 40 percent across major U.S. regions would result in more than 3 million people losing access to frequent transit, according to the report. The study finds that in the Chicago region, nearly 210,000 people would lose access to frequent transit near their home, and more than 55,000 would lose access to frequent transit near their workplace. Take action now to send a message to Congress...

Moving beyond four main barriers to building protected bike lanes in Chicago

Sep 24, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Protected bike lanes have been proven again and again as the best approach for making streets safe and comfortable for biking. People of all ages and abilities get excited about biking when they are physically protected from car traffic. This protected biking environment dramatically increases safety and comfort for people on two wheels while having limited negative impact on car and truck traffic. The key ingredient for a good protected bike lane (PBL) is a street with space that can be dedicated to bikes. While not all streets will work, there are more than enough streets in Chicago for a robust network of PBLs. In some cases adding a PBL requires re-allocating street space from cars, such as converting parking...

Metra must get past serving just white-collar suburban riders

Sep 18, 2020 | by Active Trans

This is a guest post by Scott Presslak, a regional transit advocate who runs the Star:Line Chicago Twitter account. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the only certainty we have these days is uncertainty. 2020 has, without a shred of hyperbole, been the most challenging year that most of us have had to persevere, on multiple fronts. That challenge has come down hard on transit agencies across the U.S. and, locally, Metra has been hit hardest. Metra’s core market historically has been white-collar suburbanites commuting to and from the Loop for 9-to-5 Monday-through-Friday jobs. This market was already shrinking pre-pandemic as more workplaces offered remote work flexibility. Now, many more of these residents have the privilege to work from home...

Join our transit discussion during Cook County Racial Equity Week

Sep 9, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Active Transportation Alliance is excited to co-host a discussion on public transit during Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s second annual Racial Equity Week.  Register for the discussion, which will be held as a virtual event on Thursday, September 17 at 11 a.m.  The event is a roundtable on transportation equity in the time of COVID-19, with a spotlight on Cook County’s Fair Transit project on Chicago’s South Side and South Suburbs. Panelists will discuss the transportation needs of essential workers and how transit issues intersect with racial equity.  Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Amy Rynell will deliver opening remarks. Moderator  Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President of Government Affairs, Center for Neighborhood Technology   Presenters  Andrea Reed, Co-Chair, Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric ...

Support better transportation in Chicago’s 2021 budget

Sep 8, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Chicago faces many challenges as officials prepare next year’s budget. Among those challenges is the need to improve mobility options while keeping the city's transportation system accessible to everyone. That's why we need to ensure that transportation issues and improvements are part of the city's budget conversation. You can help make sure this happens: If you're a Chicago resident, please take the city’s 2021 budget survey by Sunday, September 13.  As with many other critical public systems, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the underlying inequities in Chicago’s transportation network.  Decades of structural racism and disinvestment have meant that the Black and Latinx communities were already struggling with inadequate transportation options before the pandemic. Then, as COVID-19 hit, these Chicago communities faced even...

Founder Suzan Pinsof reflects on Active Trans’ origins

Aug 24, 2020 | by Maya Norris

Ever wonder how the Active Transportation Alliance got its start? Well, Suzan Pinsof can tell you firsthand. The retired urban planner and bicycling advocate was instrumental in creating the nonprofit organization that evolved into Active Trans more than 30 years ago, laying the foundation for the nonprofit’s bicycling advocacy and its success in creating safer conditions for people walking, biking, and using public transit in Chicagoland today. Pinsof played a critical role in Chicago’s bicycling movement in the early 1980s when she worked at the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, the regional planning organization that was the precursor to today’s Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. She was tasked with promoting bicycling as a sustainable and alternative mode of transportation in support...

Chicago’s budget needs to advance bus and bike lanes

Aug 18, 2020 | by W. Robert Schultz III

Active Trans Campaign Organizer W. Robert Schultz III, a 31st Ward resident, provided testimony at a Chicago City Council hearing on the city's infrastructure needs on August 18. The following is an excerpt of his remarks. I have lived in Belmont Cragin, Logan Square, and Uptown. Over the 30 years that I lived in Chicago, I have worked in nearly every one of its 77 community areas, and my Chicago experiences started as a frequent visitor to Englewood in the 1960s. I chose to make Chicago home because I wanted to live a car free. This means walking to a Chicago Transit Authority bus stop if I am heading out for shopping or work, or recreational-, educational-, or health-related activities....

Take action now to stop public transit and Divvy shutdowns

Aug 14, 2020 | by Active Trans

The following is an organizational statement from Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Amy Rynell. For more on the shutdowns, see Lynda Lopez's blog post, The needless harm done by shutting down public transit. Public transit provides access to opportunities for thousands of working-class Chicagoans. Buses, trains, paratransit, and bike share connect people to their jobs, healthcare appointments, grocery stores, and their families. When it's taken away, riders are cut off from where they need to go or forced to pay much more for a taxi or ride-hailing trip. The repeated evening and overnight shutdowns of CTA, Divvy, and paratransit service in the downtown area sets an alarming precedent. City officials are making this call without providing the public a clear...

What transit justice means to Ald. Martin and State Sen. Peters

Aug 3, 2020 | by Active Trans

The Active Trans Bus Organizing Fellows recently sat down with State Senator Robert Peters of the 13th District and 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin to talk about transit justice through times of a pandemic and a corresponding economic crisis. Bus Organizing Fellows Rylen Clark and  Jamaine Alberto Gooding devised questions to ask the elected officials, and they posed questions that came from Chicago residents and audience members. Here’s part one of a summary of how the conversation went. Stay tuned for the second part. You can watch the full recording of the event here.   How do you see public transit as an element for social and economic justice in your district and/or in the state of Illinois?   Senator Peters:...