Tag Archives: Advocacy

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2020

Jan 11, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

2020 was a challenging year on many fronts. The coronavirus devastated communities across Chicagoland in 2020 and the transportation impacts will be felt for years to come.  Throughout the year, the Active Transportation Alliance continued to do the important work of fighting for clean and equitable transportation. Here’s a look back at 10 of the most important walking, biking, and transit stories and advocacy victories of the year.  1. COVID changes how Chicagoans get around. From staying at home in March through spending the holidays at home in December, many residents traveled far less in 2020. Car traffic and transit ridership plummeted while walking and biking spiked. Over the summer, Active Trans spoke with more than 100 community leaders in the city and suburbs about...

Two key funding sources for projects in your community

Jan 6, 2021 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

The walking and biking boom during the pandemic has accelerated community interest in funding bike and pedestrian projects. For decades, these types of projects have proven to make our streets safer for all users while boosting community health, equity, and sustainability. Yet, finding funding can be surprisingly difficult, especially for low-income, rural, and Black and Brown communities. Fortunately, new funding opportunities have recently emerged thanks to advocacy from Active Trans and our partners across the state. Both the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) and Surface Transportation Program (STP) Shared Fund have been recently improved and expanded to help communities build safe walking and biking networks. Here’s a quick summary of how each program can help your community fund walking and...

Transparency needed about possible cuts

Dec 16, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

As we continue to fight for emergency federal support for Chicago area public transit, Active Trans joined a coalition of advocates calling for our transit agencies to share more information about what will be targeted in cuts if the federal funding doesn't come through. Following are excerpts from our coalition's letter that was submitted to the boards of RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace during their December budget meetings. ________________________ We are gravely concerned that your proposed budgets ignore the looming transit financial crisis. While we continue to work with you in support of federal funding, it is irresponsible to assume that these funds will become available. Every day brings different news about potential COVID relief legislation, suggesting that the only...

Metra to provide long-awaited rapid transit to South Side and south suburbs

Dec 7, 2020 | by Maya Norris

Transit riders on the South Side and in the south suburbs have some improved travel options to look forward to in the new year. In January, Cook County will usher in a rapid transit pilot program to help those residents travel to and from downtown Chicago quickly, easily, and affordably. The long-awaited South Cook Fair Transit program will offer reduced fares and increased service on Metra’s Electric District and Rock Island District rail lines, which travel along the south lakefront and into southwest Cook County, respectively. The program also includes expanding the frequency of the Pace 352 Halsted bus line between the CTA’s 95th Street Red Line station and Pace’s Chicago Heights terminal. This three-year pilot program will provide fast...

Three inspiring local advocates receive awards from Active Trans

Dec 5, 2020 | by Ted Villaire

The recent Active Trans Annual Meeting provided an opportunity for supporters of the organization to give a round of applause for our talented local advocates. Below you can see brief recorded remarks from our advocacy award recipients: Romina Castillo, Pha'Tal Perkins, and Wharton Sinkler. People who attended the event also got an overview of the key advocacy efforts Active Trans has been pursuing in the region in response to the challenges of the past year. Below you can see Active Trans Executive Director Amy Rynell offering a heart-felt thank-you to supporters and highlighting some sustainable transportation successes during this past year.   ADVOCACY AWARDS City Advocate of the Year Award Romina Castillo Muse Community + Design  Romina has been a...

Town hall discussion on food access and transit on Dec. 15

Dec 4, 2020 | by Active Trans

COVID-19 has added to the challenges many people face in their day-to-day lives. A lack of access to food is one of those problems that has grown for many people because the of pandemic. On Tuesday, December 15, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., we will be exploring this topic through an online discussion with local elected officials and community leaders. We also will be sharing results of our recent food access and public transportation survey. Join Active Trans for a conversation hosted and moderated by Active Trans Bus Organizing Fellow Rylen Clark. Guests will include:  State Senator Mattie Hunter of the 3rd District  State Representative Delia Ramirez of the 4th District Jan Deckenbach, Director of the Hyde Park Kenwood Food Pantry Ruth Rosas, Community Programs Coordinator at CLOCC Cosmos...

Metra rolls out bike car, eases bike restrictions during COVID

Nov 6, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of Ride Illinois and Active Trans, Metra is introducing its first-ever bike car on the Milwaukee District North Line and temporarily relaxing bike restrictions across all 11 lines.  The commuter rail agency, which  announced the changes Thursday, was able to make this move because ridership remains down by more than 90 percent during the pandemic and excess capacity exists on all trains.  “We’re committed to being part of a regional transportation network, which includes supporting the cycling community by making Metra an accessible part of their trip,” said Metra CEO Jim Derwinski.  The bike car will carry 15 bicycles instead of the usual five on ADA accessible cars. It will run as a pilot program Monday through Saturday on the MD-N line into Spring 2021 with potential...

Virtual town hall: Advancing walking and biking projects during COVID-19

Nov 6, 2020 | by Active Trans

Join Active Transportation Alliance on Wednesday, November 11, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., for a virtual town hall with State Representative Theresa Mah (2nd District) and Alderman Andre Vasquez (40th Ward). You can register for the free event today. Rep. Mah and Ald. Vasquez will discuss how they have been working with residents in their districts to advance walking and biking projects during COVID-19. Also joining the conversation will be leaders from local community groups who are addressing these issues. As with many other critical public systems, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the underlying inequities in Chicago’s transportation network. Structural racism and white supremacy have led to stark racial and economic segregation in the Chicago region. Years of disinvestment mean...

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...