Tag Archives: Advocacy

Shining a light on outstanding volunteers and advocates

Dec 2, 2022 | by Ted Villaire

Active Transportation Alliance members recently met to reflect on accomplishments in 2022, discuss what lies ahead, and elect a handful of people to the organization’s board of directors. The event, attended by 175 people, also provided an opportunity to recognize the outstanding advocates and volunteers in our midst. For our advocacy awards, we honored four different grassroots groups that are mobilizing people across the city. These groups are actively making our movement stronger with their effective organizing and smart campaigning as we look to 2023. These are groups that received our Advocate of the Year awards:   Access Living & Better Streets Chicago’s Plow the Sidewalks campaign The Plow the Sidewalks campaign is calling for sidewalk snow removal to be...

Regional planning agency ignores destructive effects of road expansion projects

Oct 18, 2022 | by David Powe

Despite nearly 450 people speaking out against a series of roadway expansion projects, leadership at our regional planning agency approved plans to add nearly 300 lane miles to our region’s roadways.  As roadway expansion plans are being stopped in the name of racial equity, climate change, safety, and fiscal responsibility, it was disheartening to see the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) give the green light to local road expansion projects as part of its updated regional plan. The road expansion projects were approved by CMAP's Executive Board and Policy Committee as part of an updated version of ON TO 2050, which outlines regional planning priorities over several decades. Including the road expansion projects in this plan means they will...

City council hearing puts CTA problems front and center

Sep 20, 2022 | by W. Robert Schultz III

Active Trans recently joined with allies to mobilize around a city council hearing that shined a light on CTA’s recent service shortcomings and reliability problems. Before the hearing, a press conference was held by aldermen, transit worker unions, and several organizations, including the Active Transportation Alliance. The same day our allies at Commuters Take Action rallied outside the CTA board meeting. All these efforts together resulted in greater visibility for the serious issues currently afflicting our transit system. WHERE'S THE CTA PRESIDENT? When the Chicago City Council Committee on Transportation and the Public Way convened its long-awaited hearing on current CTA issues, many participants were dismayed that its president, Dorval Carter Jr., failed to appear. In the parlance of post-pandemic...

CMAP’s road expansion plans contradict its own policies

Sep 7, 2022 | by David Powe

In recent months, the Active Transportation Alliance has been urging our regional planning agency to stop giving the green light to road expansion projects that are intended to alleviate congestion, yet end up worsening not just congestion, but climate change, safety, and equity. At a recent hearing held by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Active Transportation Alliance’s Director of Planning David Powe provided testimony on behalf of more than 400 people who responded to an action alert asking leaders to oppose the harmful and destructive roadway expansion plans. “Evidence shows that adding lanes to expressways and arterial streets does not result in long-term congestion relief for people driving,” said Powe at the hearing. “This is because new capacity...

A triumph for safe biking: City commits to concrete protected bike lanes

Jun 29, 2022 | by Jim Merrell

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Transportation announced plans to upgrade all existing protected bike lanes with new concrete curbs by the end of 2023, a big step toward creating a connected and protected bike network for Chicago.  The announcement comes after years of grassroots advocacy calling for more robust barriers for Chicago’s bikeways, as well as recent mobilization efforts in response to a devastating string of fatal crashes, including four that tragically took the lives of children.   “On behalf of our members and supporters, we would like to thank the mayor and Chicago Department of Transportation leadership for taking this important step,” said Amy Rynell, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance. “These upgrades will significantly improve...

City must act now to fix dangerous streets for people walking and biking

Jun 14, 2022 | by Active Trans

Over the weekend, more than 300 people took to the streets to honor two young children recently killed by drivers on Chicago’s North Side. The memorial event — held for Raphael “Rafi” Cardenas and Elizabeth “Lily” Grace Shambrook — was attended by people who were demanding that the city take action to make our streets safe places to walk and bike. These recent tragedies, combined with the increasing number of people getting killed by drivers while walking and biking in Chicago, prompted the Active Transportation Alliance to issue an urgent message to city leaders. We sent the following letter today to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi. _______________________________________________________ Dear Mayor Lightfoot and Commissioner Biagi,...

Illinois must seize opportunity to move beyond car-centric transportation system

Jun 8, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

Thanks to an unprecedented level of federal and state transportation funding, Illinois’ next governor and general assembly will have the ability to transform streets and trails in communities across the state.  If they are willing to confront the failing status quo, the next governor and general assembly will have the opportunity to re-orient the state’s transportation system around safety, sustainability, and racial equity.  Active Transportation Alliance's 2022 Illinois Sustainable Transportation Platform provides a roadmap for state leaders to dramatically improve mobility over the next five years. The platform features specific action items on three core goals:  Elevate sustainability and racial equity in transportation decision making. Strengthen funding and regulations to support public transit. Make state roads safer for walking and...

See where candidates for secretary of state stand

Jun 3, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

With early voting underway in Illinois' primary elections and Election Day approaching, the Active Transportation Alliance has released its 2022 Sustainable Transportation Voter Guide for the race to be secretary of state. Six candidates — four Democrats and two Republicans — are vying for the opportunity to replace outgoing Secretary of State Jesse White, who is retiring after 23 years in office. The secretary oversees Illinois' Rules of the Road, driver education services and exam, and various traffic safety initiatives. The Active Transportation Alliance, Ride Illinois, and Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) jointly created a questionnaire that was sent to all candidates. The voter guide is comprised of the candidates' responses. As non-partisan 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organizations, Active Trans, Ride...

How can Chicago suburbs become more walkable and bike-friendly?

Apr 13, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

With gas prices surging and climate threats getting worse, many towns across the Chicago region are trying to do more to support walking and biking as transportation options. But they often struggle to figure out what policies and projects to prioritize, and what makes a real difference in promoting alternatives to driving.   Help is on the way. Active Trans is excited to co-host a new event series, Taking Climate Action by Prioritizing Walking, Biking, and Transit, along with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Metropolitan Planning Council. The series seeks to educate communities, inspire municipal action, and cultivate local champions to move our region toward a more walkable, bikeable, and sustainable future.  The project is designed to support goals from the...

New Chicago scooter program heightens need for more protected bike lanes

Apr 7, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

Mayor Lightfoot announced Chicago’s first multi-year electric scooter sharing program will launch in early May, introducing 4,000 new micromobility vehicles to city streets and bike lanes. The new program adds to the urgency for city officials to plan and build a citywide network of protected bike lanes so people on bikes and scooters have safe places to ride. With gas prices surging, shared bikes and scooters could provide needed alternatives to driving — but only if people feel safe and comfortable riding them.  SCOOTERS TO BE ROLLED OUT CITYWIDE  After two geographically limited pilot programs over the past few years, the new two-year program will bring shared scooters to all Chicago neighborhoods. The city announced permits for companies Lime, Bird, and SuperPedestrian...