Tag Archives: Chicago

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...

Chicago should pair trails vision with plan for safe, connected bikeways on streets

Apr 5, 2022 | by Active Trans

Last week Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a citywide vision of trails and open space projects that she said would promote the health and well-being of all Chicago residents and visitors.  The new map provides a compelling vision that opens the door to funding many high-impact projects that community leaders have fought for over many years. But by itself it will not make a meaningful difference in advancing the city’s climate, equity, and safety goals. Chicago still needs a safe, connected on-street bikeways network.  TRAILS VISION NEEDS MORE DETAIL  Walking and biking trails are hugely popular and can help improve community health and sustainability. When informed by strong community input, they can increase access to open space and help fill gaps...

Illinois is missing a big part of the long-term solution to high gas prices

Mar 23, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

With gas prices surging, Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker need to step up and make it safer and easier for people to walk, bike, and ride public transit. The media is saturated with stories of outrage about the cost of gasoline and official proposals to lower prices. This way of looking at the issue inevitably ignores how the intentional development of our car-centric, sprawling region contributed to this problem – and how alternative forms of transportation can be part of the solution. It’s on all of us as transportation equity and sustainability advocates to demand a better approach.  WHAT’S HAPPENING  The average price of gas in metro Chicago is heading toward $5 per gallon and is expected to continue to...

Congressional leaders urge state to consider climate and equity impacts

Mar 16, 2022 | by Kyle Whitehead

A group of eight Chicago area Congressional leaders sent a strong message to Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) about how to spend newly available federal funds: factor climate change and racial equity into all of your funding decisions. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García led the effort behind the letter delivered to Gov. Pritzker and IDOT. It was co-signed by Reps. Sean Casten, Danny Davis, Marie Newman, Mike Quigley, Bobby Rush, Jan Schakowsky, and Brad Schneider. Active Trans and seven other regional advocacy groups provided support to the letter. All of these leaders worked hard to develop and pass last year's $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law. Now they want to make sure their legislation has the intended impact...

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,...

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....

Chicago ranked near bottom of list of bike-friendly big cities

Jul 9, 2021 | by Maggie Melin Czerwinski

With high speed limits and few low-stress bike routes, Chicago and its largest suburbs score poorly in a new international ratings program designed to evaluate a city’s level of safety and comfort for people biking. The City Ratings program was developed by People for Bikes, a national non-profit bicycle advocacy group. It ranks cities based on the quality and connectivity of their bicycle networks, and includes 21 cities in the Chicago region. Cities that rose to the top of the rating system were those with safe, comfortable bike networks intentionally built for people of all ages and abilities. Chicago received a score of 16 out of 100, ranking it in the bottom 10 percent of all cities evaluated (698th out...

Winter Bike Challenge, presented by Keating Law Offices, wraps up

Mar 5, 2021 | by Clare McDermott

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and brutal February weather, nearly 350 people suited up and participated in the 2021 Winter Bike Challenge, presented by Keating Law Offices. Overall, riders logged nearly 2,000 miles over the course of 300 trips. During the two-week challenge, riders saw all types of cold weather thrown at them, including one day with over ten inches of snow in the Chicago-area. Despite the snow that day, eight winter riders still got out and logged miles. Impressive! Active Trans is hopeful that we’ll return to hosting a live Winter Bike Rally in Daley Plaza in 2022 and may even bring back the Challenge component again for next year. In the meantime, we are hopeful that our largest fundraising...

Report shows mayor, police drove decisions to shut down transit, raise bridges

Feb 24, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

A new report from Chicago’s Inspector General (IG) finds police and emergency management personnel had outsize influence on decisions to shut down transit and raise bridges during last summer’s protests following George Floyd’s murder. These decisions had major transportation impacts on thousands of city residents, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors such as people with disabilities and low-income essential workers. Yet the report finds the city’s transit leaders who know their systems best often weren’t at the table when these calls were made.  REPORT FINDINGS  On decisions to shut down transit: “CTA personnel expressed doubts as to whether CPD command staff knew the CTA system well enough to know what service changes would achieve the desired crowd control objectives.” (p. 43) On downtown stop closures: “The decision to bypass downtown CTA stops was made by the Mayor’s Office at the...