Tag Archives: Advocacy

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2021

Dec 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

In year two of the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago area residents continued to adapt to a changing world and adjusted their transportation habits and expectations for this new reality. Through it all, the Active Transportation Alliance worked with our community partners and legislative allies to fight for more residents to have access to safe, convenient, affordable, and sustainable transportation options. Here’s a look back at 10 of the most important walking, biking, and transit stories and advocacy victories of the year. 1. FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL DELIVERS BILLIONS TO CHICAGO AREA In November President Biden signed into law a historic national infrastructure bill that includes unprecedented levels of funding for public transit, walking, and biking. While the bill was being developed, Active Trans and...

Active Trans honors extraordinary advocates

Dec 8, 2021 | by Maya Norris

The rock star advocates that the Active Transportation Alliance works with took center stage at the organization’s recent 2021 Annual Meeting. Active Trans celebrated their dedication and outstanding work, and the role they play in helping the nonprofit carry out its mission to improve walking, bicycling, and public transportation in the Chicago region. ROCHELLE JACKSON Rochelle Jackson was honored with an Advocate of the Year award for her efforts to improve walkability and bus service in North Lawndale, the West Side neighborhood where she was born and raised. She serves as co-chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council. Jackson helped organize a walkability assessment through North Lawndale. As part of the assessment, the...

Chicago must advance equity and sustainability with new federal transportation funds

Nov 22, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The Infrastructure Investment in Jobs Act (IIJA) provides a historic opportunity for the Chicago area to move beyond car-centric planning and advance racial and environmental justice through transportation investments.  Now we need to make sure regional leaders take advantage of this opportunity. We can’t afford to see these funds go to wasteful roadway projects that only worsen the inequity in our regional transportation system.  This week Active Trans joined a coalition of 12 civic and environmental advocates that is calling for our transportation agencies in the region to develop an inclusive and transparent approach in determining which projects to put forward for newly available federal funds. This inclusive and transparent approach should center the projects' impacts on racial equity and climate change.  Following are excerpts from the letter, which was...

Chicago needs more safe places to ride bikes and scooters on city streets

Oct 13, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Update (10/14/21): Chicago City Council passed the e-scooter ordinance. The program is expected to launch in Spring 2022. As Chicago City Council considers an ordinance establishing a long-term e-scooter sharing program, Active Transportation Alliance submitted a letter in support of the ordinance to the Transportation and Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committees. Following are excerpts from the letter: Active Transportation Alliance supports a long-term e-scooter sharing program for Chicago because it would give people another option to get around other than driving or hailing a car. This program should complement – not compete with – the city’s publicly owned, thriving and expanding Divvy bikeshare system.  As neighborhood air quality gets worse and we continue to experience the heightened effects of climate change, Chicago officials must invest in a safer, healthier,...

Action alert: Help save the e-bike benefit in Congressional budget bill

Sep 23, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The U.S. Senate is currently deciding what stays and what gets dropped from the budget bill, and unfortunately, some important biking provisions are on the chopping block. We need your help to make sure our Senators fight to keep these critical bike components in the bill. Specifically, the latest draft includes a tax rebate for e-bikes and a bicycle commuter benefit. Both elements would help enable more people to replace car trips with bike trips and reduce our overall carbon footprint. They will also help make biking more accessible, affordable, and attainable. In the U.S. House, the e-bike benefit was already weakened significantly relative to the rebate for electric cars. The House legislation includes credits of up to $12,500 for...

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

UPDATE (10/13/21): At their October board meeting the Metra board approved the release of the Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure the equipment needed to launch a zero emissions train set pilot.  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 the board in August to delay the release of a 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...

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....