Tag Archives: Advocacy

Chicago adds protected bike lanes, updates bike network strategy

Sep 23, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Chicago announced what it’s calling the “biggest bike lane expansion in the city’s history” this week, saying the new lanes will improve resident health and safety and help build stronger, cleaner, and more resilient neighborhoods.  The news comes thanks to $17 million in new funding in 2021 and 2022 from Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Works capital plan. This will fund 100 miles of “new and upgraded” bike lanes over two years, including 12 miles of protected bike lanes.  Active Trans joined community and city leaders at a press conference celebrating the new protected bike lanes on 119th Street. The lane — which runs between Ashland and Halsted and connects to the popular Major Taylor Trail — will increase access to jobs, grocery stores,...

Pace Suburban Bus commits to zero emissions by 2040

Sep 20, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Our suburban transit system took an important step forward recently when Pace announced a commitment to zero emission vehicles by 2040 in its strategic plan. In making this commitment, Pace is joining CTA in planning to phase out diesel and compressed natural gas buses within 20 years. This transition will help improve the air quality and health in countless suburban communities that rely on Pace to provide an affordable, sustainable transportation option for their residents. Earlier drafts of the plan simply stated the agency would explore the feasibility of transitioning to electric vehicles. The shift came after months of advocacy led by Sierra Club Illinois, Clean Power Lake County, and the Climate Reality Project. Active Trans and many other civic and...

Metra should get moving on piloting zero emissions trains

Sep 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Active Transportation Alliance joined 28 other civic and environmental organizations in urging Metra to start testing zero emission technology. The coalition delivered a letter to the Metra board on the topic that was read into the record at the September meeting. This came in response to a decision by board in August to delay the release of an request for proposals that would have kickstarted the process for launching a pilot. Following are excerpts from the letter: As civic and environmental advocates, we enthusiastically support Metra’s pursuit of zero emissions train sets to replace the current fleet powered by diesel locomotives. The future is zero emissions. Metra has the potential to be a global leader in the transition to cleaner,...

Low-cost CTA and Metra passes should be made permanent

Sep 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The CTA and Metra’s lower priced daily passes have saved riders money while encouraging more people to ride transit.  Now, as the agencies develop their budgets for 2022, these discounts should be made permanent to help our region’s transportation network be more equitable and sustainable.  The CTA launched low-cost passes on Memorial Day this year and recently extended them through November 25.   CTA 1-Day Pass: $5 (down from $10)  CTA 3-Day Pass: $15 (down from $20)  CTA 7-Day Pass: $20 (down from $28)   Any further extension will require action from the CTA board.  Similarly, Metra launched a $10 all-day pass in June 2020 and recently extended it through December 2021. This simple, low-cost fare is already used by one-third of Metra riders. For most trips, the pass costs less than two...

Protected bike lanes coming to Logan/Western area

Sep 2, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The area where Kevin Clark and Tyler Fabeck were tragically killed while riding their bikes in recent years is slated to finally receive long overdue safety upgrades. Active Trans worked with Kevin Clark's family and 1st Ward Ald. Daniel La Spata to push for improvements at the intersection of W. Logan Blvd. and N. Western Ave. after 32-year-old Kevin was hit and killed while riding his bike through the intersection in May. Kevin was a drummer and music educator well known for his role in the 2003 School of Rock film, starring Jack Black. IMPROVEMENTS COMING THIS FALL The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will install protected bike lanes on Logan in both directions between N. Campbell and W. Diversey....

Bill eliminating local match for walk/bike infrastructure becomes law

Aug 31, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Illinois law now requires the state to cover 100 percent of the cost of walking and biking infrastructure when it's needed on state roads. Illinois House Bill 270 took effect on Tuesday, August 30, after it passed the legislature in May with strong bipartisan majorities. Active Transportation Alliance championed the legislation along with Ride Illinois and Metropolitan Planning Council. Until now, Illinois policy dictated that when a state road is getting rebuilt, municipalities had to cover 20 percent of the cost of needed walking and biking infrastructure. This resulted in critical elements like sidewalks and bike lanes getting stripped out of the final design because towns couldn't afford the match — especially low-income communities. Now, thanks to the efforts of...

Take action now to restore $10 billion in federal transit funding cuts

Aug 20, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The infrastructure bill that passed the U.S. Senate in August cut $10 billion that would have gone toward public transit — and that was $10 billion that was already agreed to by both parties. This is just one reason the bill is woefully inadequate in creating a cleaner and more equitable transportation network. We need the House to hold the line and honor the original commitment. Either by amending the Senate bill or as part of a budget reconciliation package, Congress must — at a minimum — provide an additional $10 billion for public transit to fulfill their promise to our communities.  We are also urging Congress to commit to funding transit operations so agencies are less reliant on rising fares and...

Chicago ranked near bottom of list of bike-friendly big cities

Jul 9, 2021 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

With high speed limits and few low-stress bike routes, Chicago and its largest suburbs score poorly in a new international ratings program designed to evaluate a city’s level of safety and comfort for people biking. The City Ratings program was developed by People for Bikes, a national non-profit bicycle advocacy group. It ranks cities based on the quality and connectivity of their bicycle networks, and includes 21 cities in the Chicago region. Cities that rose to the top of the rating system were those with safe, comfortable bike networks intentionally built for people of all ages and abilities. Chicago received a score of 16 out of 100, ranking it in the bottom 10 percent of all cities evaluated (698th out...

Take action now to make CTA and Metra fully accessible

Jun 22, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The time has come for real access to public transportation. As Congress considers a reauthorization of the federal transportation bill, transit and disability rights advocates are rallying behind an opportunity to finally make all public transit systems fully accessible. Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced the All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act (S. 1680) in the Senate and Illinois Rep. Marie Newman and Chuy Garcia introduced companion legislation in the House (H.R. 3317). The ASAP Act would establish a discretionary grant program that supports CTA, Metra, and other transit agencies in making all their stations operate fully accessible for people with disabilities as soon as possible. The act would appropriate $10 billion nationally over 10 years — at least $1 billion...

New analysis highlights racial disparities in Chicago area transit access

Jun 17, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

A new tool illustrates how longstanding patterns of segregation and discrimination in public policy have caused transit access for Black and Brown residents to lag behind access for White residents. The Transit Equity Dashboard, produced by the national foundation TransitCenter, maps and quantifies the disparities in transit access caused by segregation and discrimination in land use and transportation policy. TransitCenter helps fund and support local transit advocacy organizations like Active Trans and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). The COVID crisis made racial inequities in public health and economic status very plain. Good transit helps address these disparities by opening up access to jobs, education, medical care, and other necessities. But disparities in transit access linked to race and economic...