Tag Archives: Chicago

Chicago prepares second e-scooter pilot

Jul 27, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

The scooters are coming. Again.  Officials say four companies responded to the city’s request for applications for a second e-scooter sharing pilot this summer. Chicago selected Bird, Lime, and Spin to participate in this year's program, which launches August 12. 2020 PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS  The terms reflect many of the recommendations from Active Trans’ E-Scooter Policy Report, which was released following the 2019 pilot.  The companies can operate a combined 10,000 scooters in a geographic area that includes most of the city.  Scooters are not allowed downtown or on the Lakefront or 606 trails, as Active Trans and our partners recommended.   At least half of the scooters must be docked in low-income areas on the South and West Sides. We spoke with community leaders in these “priority zones” after the initial pilot and...

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...

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...

John LaPlante’s Complete Streets legacy

Apr 8, 2020 | by Active Trans

It was a great loss to the world of sustainable transportation when John LaPlante died in March of COVID-19. As someone who worked with John over a number of years, I wanted to provide a more detailed account of his impact locally and nationally. You might not realize it, but you’ve likely benefited from John's efforts to improve street design and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. And the effects of his work can be felt not just in Chicago. After earning transportation engineering degrees from IIT and Northwestern, John started out as a summer intern in the Chicago Department of Public Works Bureau of Street Traffic in the early 1960s. He was a multimodal planner before it was...

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...

Tell Congress any COVID-19 stimulus bill must include public transit

Mar 20, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Initial drafts of the COVID-19 stimulus bill being prepared in Washington, D.C., don't include any mention of public transit. As public transportation loses riders at levels unseen before, the transit agencies are already starting to make cuts in service. Major cuts in service and shutting down transit lines would be devastating for people who continue to rely on transit in their everyday lives during the pandemic. Transit agencies in the Chicago area and cities across the country need emergency assistance NOW to keep their systems running and clean. Thousands of essential workers like healthcare professionals and grocery store clerks rely on buses and trains to get to work. Many Chicagoans rely on transit to get to essential businesses like grocery...

Public transit is critical to Chicago’s COVID-19 response

Mar 19, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Emergency funding is needed to keep Chicago's public transit system running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of essential workers like healthcare professionals and grocery store clerks rely on buses and trains to get to work. Many Chicagoans living in historically marginalized communities rely on transit to get to essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies. Transit is critical to the Chicago region's public health response to COVID-19. Bus and train service must be maintained for the healthcare system and local economies to continue to function. Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady calls public transportation “an essential service,” noting how crucial it is for important workers to get to their jobs. Reducing or ending transit service would limit the mobility...

Reform – don’t ban – red light camera programs

Mar 17, 2020 | by Melody Geraci

As legislators in Springfield consider legislation to ban red light cameras in many Illinois communities, it’s important to recognize the proven safety benefits. When used fairly and effectively, research shows that red light cameras make our streets safer for everybody. In 2017 researchers at the Northwestern University Transportation Center found that Chicago’s red-light camera program delivers significant safety benefits. The study discovered that serious right-angle and turning crashes decreased by 19 percent at intersections with cameras, and injury-producing crashes dropped by 10 percent. Research has also found evidence of a “spillover effect,” which has lead to safety benefits and crash reductions at intersections and streets without cameras. The Federal Highway Administration first recognized the proven safety benefits of photo enforcement...

Safety on CTA the right way

Mar 11, 2020 | by Julia Gerasimenko

Active Trans joined with the local CTA bus and rail operator unions and several community groups to call on Chicago to protect transit riders and operators by engaging in a community-driven process to address safety concerns on CTA following the Feb. 28 police shooting. Partners include Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 308; ATU241; Chicago Jobs with Justice; the Bring Chicago Home coalition including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and ONE Northside; and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Following is the full joint statement: The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) locals in Chicago representing thousands of CTA workers is joining with community partners to call on the City of Chicago and the CTA to move quickly to staff buses,...

Make Illinois state roads safer and more accessible for all

Mar 10, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Legislation currently moving through Springfield provides a rare opportunity to make walking and biking safety improvements to state roads in Illinois. Tell your state legislators you support safer state roads. State roads are often major streets that provide sole access to retail and service industry jobs, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and other important destinations. For many people, sidewalks provide the only option for safely accessing these key places. And this is especially true for older adults and people with disabilities. Currently, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) requires that local communities cover 20 percent of the cost when IDOT includes infrastructure for people walking and bicycling to construction projects on state roads. Yet the state typically covers 100 percent...