Tag Archives: Bicycling

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...

“Community activator” uses bicycling to bring people together

Dec 22, 2020 | by Maya Norris

Pha’tal Perkins has seen for himself the transformative power of bicycling. The bicycling advocate and community activist created the Roll N Peace bike rides to get more residents in Englewood to hop on two wheels as a way to promote public safety and unify this neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago. His extraordinary advocacy work with the Roll N Peace bike rides as well as other community safety initiatives earned him a 2020 Advocate of the Year award from Active Transportation Alliance. Dubbing himself as a community activator, Perkins developed the Roll N Peace bike rides to cast Englewood in a new light — an area that is often stigmatized as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago....

Exercise demo

Virtual exercise demos help bicyclists stay active and prevent injuries during COVID

Dec 11, 2020 | by Active Trans

Like so many other clubs last spring, the Bike Palatine Club canceled its rides and events, prematurely ending a packed schedule for the cycling season. Then an offer came in from Rush Physical Therapy in Palatine: a series of free virtual demos for the biking community to keep cyclists fit and to avoid injury. What seemed like a long shot in June became a collaborative success. Riders from 10 bike clubs participated in one or more of the three 40-minute fitness demos. The third session in October boasted 27 attendees from eight different bike clubs. Based on this success, the club has teamed up with Rush Physical Therapy for a fourth session in early December and is planning several more...

Closing the door on the Route 53 extension

Nov 24, 2020 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

Highway expansion has a long history of encouraging more people to drive, intensifying congestion, displacing low-income communities, and harming the environment. For all these reasons, we were delighted to see progress made in putting to rest once and for all the controversial Route 53 highway expansion in Lake County. An important step in preventing the project from easily getting reactivated in the future is re-envisioning the land that was acquired when the project was under consideration. A task force is proposed This re-envisioning work would be done by a task force that was proposed in legislation introduced by the Illinois Senate and House and then approved by the Lake County Board. Originally introduced in early 2020, the senate bill is...

Advocate works to make Des Plaines better for walking, biking

Nov 18, 2020 | by Maya Norris

Wharton Sinkler is on a mission. As the president of the Des Plaines Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Sinkler wants to pave the way to better walking and biking conditions in Des Plaines. He and his fellow DPBPAC members advocate for infrastructure projects in Des Plaines that allow people walking and biking to navigate the northwest suburb safely and easily. For his outstanding advocacy work over the years, Sinkler and two other local advocates — Romina Castillo and Pha'Tal Perkins — will be receiving Advocate of the Year awards at the Active Trans Annual Meeting on December 2. You're welcome to join this online event as we celebrate the great work these individuals are doing in their communities. Founded in...

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...

Cameras can help Chicago slow down cars but must be deployed fairly

Oct 27, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

During a difficult Chicago budget season, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is proposing changes to the city’s speed camera program that would lower the speed at which residents are ticketed.  State law allows Chicago officials to ticket people driving when they’re captured on camera going 6 mph or more above the posted limit. However, to date the city has only ticketed residents for going 10 mph or more above limit.   Last week Mayor Lightfoot proposed lowering the ticketing threshold to 6 mph. In support of the proposal, the mayor pointed to camera data showing increases in speeding near parks and schools during the pandemic.   This proposal rightly shines a light on the danger of speeding on city streets and the harm it causes. But the timing and penalty structure raise concerns about the program’s impact on racial and social equity, especially...

Moving beyond four main barriers to building protected bike lanes in Chicago

Sep 24, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Protected bike lanes have been proven again and again as the best approach for making streets safe and comfortable for biking. People of all ages and abilities get excited about biking when they are physically protected from car traffic. This protected biking environment dramatically increases safety and comfort for people on two wheels while having limited negative impact on car and truck traffic. The key ingredient for a good protected bike lane (PBL) is a street with space that can be dedicated to bikes. While not all streets will work, there are more than enough streets in Chicago for a robust network of PBLs. In some cases adding a PBL requires re-allocating street space from cars, such as converting parking...