Tag Archives: Advocacy

Safe streets are much more than crosswalks and bike lanes

Jun 1, 2020 | by Active Trans

The murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others continue to demonstrate our society’s systemic devaluing of Black lives. Safe streets mean so much more than crosswalks and bike lanes. We cannot have mobility justice without racial justice. As we advocate for healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities through walking, biking, and transit, we must be centered around efforts to dismantle white supremacy and structural racism. As a majority-white organization, we know that our actions mean more than our words and we will continue to address racial equity inside and outside our organization. As the public responded to these crimes by exercising their constitutional rights, we were deeply dismayed by images and reports of Chicago...

Chicago launches Our Streets as part of COVID-19 response

May 29, 2020 | by Active Trans

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new program to create more space for people walking and biking during the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Our Streets initiative “invites Chicago neighborhoods to request that local roads be converted into corridors for improved, safe travel and healthy activity.”   This includes designating some residential streets as “shared streets” by adding traffic barriers and limiting through traffic to allow for physically distanced walking and biking. The list of streets is still in development, although 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin announced Leland Avenue in his North Side ward will be the city’s first COVID-19 shared street starting Friday.  Shared streets are a first step to help Chicagoans feel safe walking and biking during the pandemic, but much more needs to be done. To date, the city’s plans fail to address the mobility...

Meet our Bus Organizing Fellows

May 27, 2020 | by Maya Norris

A new group of advocates has joined the Active Transportation Alliance in its quest to push for affordable, speedy, and reliable bus service in Chicago. Armed with a deep commitment to community organizing and public service, Active Trans’ new Bus Organizing Fellows have been working to understand how to improve bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic for essential workers. Since March, the fellows — LaCreshia Birts, Rylen Clark, and Jamaine Gooding — have been conducting online surveys with essential workers from historically marginalized communities who depend on public transit to get to their jobs. The survey examines the demographics of these workers, the condition of the buses, and the speed and reliability of the routes they take. With that information,...

Public engagement needed around Metra’s off peak service cuts

May 20, 2020 | by Julia Gerasimenko

Metra recently announced a series of cuts to off-peak service on the Heritage Corridor, SouthWest Service, and North Central Service, as well as cuts to Saturday service system-wide. In response to these cuts and to share thoughts about other pandemic-related Metra policies, Active Trans partnered with Star:Line Chicago in submitting comments to the Metra Board of Directors meeting held this week. While Metra is experiencing a 97 percent ridership loss due to COVID-19, there are still many riders relying on Metra to take essential trips and reach their jobs. We encourage Metra to conduct outreach before making further cuts in service. Metra needs to engage riders to ensure their needs are being met, especially those who rely on off-peak service....

Open streets and Chicagoland’s transportation recovery planning

May 6, 2020 | by Jim Merrell

We’ve been listening to feedback from our supporters about open streets and want to respond in order to clarify some important points. We also want to continue to share how we are developing our overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not oppose open streets. By raising concerns about potential harms to public health and urging that any initiative be community-informed, we regret that some supporters got the impression we’re against any changes to street design during the pandemic. We appreciate everyone engaging with us and look forward to continuing the conversations. Amidst all of this, we cannot lose sight of the immense human and economic toll befalling communities across our region, in particular among Black and Brown people....

Active Trans endorses Fair Tax ballot initiative

Apr 29, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

A progressive state income tax would advance our mission to create more healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities in the Chicago region.  WHAT IS THE FAIR TAX?  The Fair Tax constitutional amendment would change the state constitution by eliminating the requirement that says the state of Illinois must tax income at a single rate. Passing the Fair Tax amendment would allow for higher taxation rates for higher incomes and lower taxation rates for people with low and moderate incomes, as the federal income tax is structured.  After legislators voted in 2019 to put this question before voters, it will appear on Illinois’ November 2020 general election ballot. A "yes" vote of more than 50 percent of those voting in the election or more than 60 percent of...

COVID-19 resources and information from Active Trans

Apr 23, 2020 | by Ted Villaire

As we address the global pandemic, the Active Transportation Alliance is adapting and responding — and continuing to do the important work of fighting for clean and equitable transportation. Linked below are tips and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as information about our current work. If you use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, please consider sharing our safe walking and biking shareable infographic as well as our sharaeble social media graphics.    Responding to the pandemic Public engagement needed around Metra’s off peak service cuts (May 20) Tips for transit riders during COVID-19 (May 20, 2020) Open streets and Chicagoland’s transportation recovery planning (May 6, 2020) Exploring open streets during COVID-19 (April 30, 2020) Safe walking and biking...

Advocates call for transit agencies to prioritize racial equity in COVID-19 response

Apr 16, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

If Chicago’s transit agencies are going to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19, they need to include riders and other Chicagoland residents in their decision making. CTA ridership is down more than 80 percent from typical April ridership. Pace Suburban Bus ridership is down 68 percent. Metra ridership is down 97 percent – combining for an 83 percent decline system wide. Sales tax and gas tax revenues – two of the agencies’ largest sources of operating and capital dollars – are way down and expected to take a long time to recover. The emergency assistance for transit included in the CARES Act will help, but it’s not nearly enough. CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND RACIAL EQUITY Active Trans joined seven...

Federal stimulus bill includes $1.6 billion for Chicagoland transit

Mar 27, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Transit advocates in Chicago and cities across the country spoke up and Congress heard our call to provide emergency operating assistance for public transit during the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Friday includes $25 billion for transit, including $1.6 billion for Chicagoland agencies. Reports indicate CTA will get approximately $800 million, Metra will get more than $400 million, and Pace will get about $100 million. Initial drafts of the bill that surfaced last week didn’t include any assistance for transit. In response, Transportation for America led a national effort of advocates, transit agencies, and elected officials who pushed back. Active Trans activated hundreds of supporters in the Chicago area, who generated nearly...

Bike shops to stay open during “stay at home” order

Mar 20, 2020 | by Ted Villaire

When Governor Pritzker announced a “stay at home” order today, we were glad that his office followed our recommendation to allow bike shops to stay open. In the executive order, bike shops are considered “essential businesses” during this widespread shutdown, along with pharmacies, banks, gas stations, and other businesses people need to have access to (see number 12, part E of the executive order). The order will be in effect until April 7. When we started contacting bike shops around the state to sign on to a letter that would be delivered to state and local officials, we were pleased with the resounding response we received. Signing on were more than 70 bike shops — in addition to a handful...