Tag Archives: covid-19

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2021

Dec 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

In year two of the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago area residents continued to adapt to a changing world and adjusted their transportation habits and expectations for this new reality. Through it all, the Active Transportation Alliance worked with our community partners and legislative allies to fight for more residents to have access to safe, convenient, affordable, and sustainable transportation options. Here’s a look back at 10 of the most important walking, biking, and transit stories and advocacy victories of the year. 1. FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL DELIVERS BILLIONS TO CHICAGO AREA In November President Biden signed into law a historic national infrastructure bill that includes unprecedented levels of funding for public transit, walking, and biking. While the bill was being developed, Active Trans and...

Suburban Chicagoland transit leaders prepare to change 

Apr 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The heads of Metra commuter rail and Pace Suburban Bus agree the pandemic has changed suburban transit forever.   Now they’re preparing to adapt how they deliver service to the meet the new reality.  Metra CEO Jim Derwinski and Pace Executive Director Rocky Donahue spoke with Active Trans Executive Director Amy Rynell in our Transit Justice Forum on the Future of Suburban Transit. Leanne Redden, head of the Regional Transportation Authority that oversees Metra and Pace, presented about the approach the region is taking to this period of change. They were joined by U.S. Rep. Marie Newman to talk about the federal government’s role.  Alfred White also spoke, a suburban warehouse worker who struggles to access his job from his South Side home.  Watch the full recording and see highlights...

Longtime staffer reflects on Active Trans’ achievements over the last 35 years

Mar 18, 2021 | by Maya Norris

2021 marks a historic milestone for the Active Transportation Alliance. The nonprofit celebrates its 35th anniversary this year in leading the charge to create a sustainable transportation landscape in Chicagoland that emphasizes safety and health. Active Trans has come a long way since it was founded in 1985 as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation by a small group of advocates looking for ways to make bicycling safe and easier. Over the next 23 years, CBF grew into one of the largest and most prominent bicycle advocacy organizations in the country. In 2008, the organization took an important step forward by expanding its mission to include pedestrian and transit advocacy. As a result, it changed its name to Active Transportation Alliance. Longtime...

Belmont Cragin youth urge CTA board to upgrade bus service  

Feb 16, 2021 | by Active Trans

Two community youth leaders pressed the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board at the February meeting on service and cleanliness issues, earning commitments from CTA leadership that they would work to address their concerns. Minerva Garcia and Yalinette Rivera are youth organizers from the Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Council, a part of the Northwest Side Housing Center. Both Minerva and Yalinette testified at CTA’s February board meeting. Minerva is a junior at Northside College Prep and Yalinette is a junior at Lincoln Park High School. They both face long commutes on transit to reach their schools from their homes in Belmont Cragin. Belmont Cragin is a working-class community with a majority Latinx population that includes many immigrants and one of the highest ratios of youth compared to...

Chicago celebrates Transit Equity Day with Reps. Garcia and Kelly

Feb 11, 2021 | by Active Trans

Hundreds of advocates and community leaders joined Congressman Chuy Garcia and Congresswoman Robin Kelly in Chicago’s first celebration of National Transit Equity Day on February 4.  Transit Equity Day serves as a national day of action that commemorates the birthday of Rosa Parks while reminding us that public transit is a civil right. It was started four years ago by a network of transit rider unions, community organizations, environmental advocates, and labor unions.  Chicago’s celebration focused on the challenges Black and Brown communities face with inadequate public transit and how federal funding can help address this problem. Active Trans, Chicago Jobs with Justice, and Metropolitan Planning Council co-hosted the virtual event.  REP. ROBIN KELLY In her speaking segment, Rep. Kelly discussed how decades of structural racism...

Progress on transit equity starts with changing funding formulas

Jan 25, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Update (11/5/21): Unfortunately, the RTA has since abandoned this data-driven approach that considers racial equity and returned to a more standard formula process for allocating federal funds. This decision has sparked ire and consternation among the transit agencies, highlighting our region's inability to plan and coordinate transit service effectively. -- To achieve greater equity in the Chicago region, we must fundamentally rethink how we’re spending our limited transportation dollars. This is why the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) — the region’s public transit oversight agency — recent decision to focus federal COVID relief funds in the highest need service areas is so important. The agency chose not to simply pass the money through to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace...

Free masks piloted on 20 CTA bus routes

Jan 14, 2021 | by Ted Villaire

The Chicago Transit Authority took an important step forward in keeping riders safe and healthy by starting to offer free, disposable face masks on approximately 200 buses serving 20 bus routes. Kudos to the CTA for making the move, which began at the end of 2020. Making masks readily available on all buses and trains is the best way to ensure universal mask compliance. Active Trans first called for CTA to provide free masks to all riders who need one in July. “This is great news for essential workers who have been riding transit throughout the pandemic and the operators keeping it moving,” said the Active Trans Managing Director of Public Affairs Kyle Whitehead to WTTW. “Both groups are disproportionately...

Second stimulus is big win, but more work to do to save Chicago transit

Jan 11, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The money coming to Chicago-area transit agencies from the second federal COVID relief bill should help avoid major additional service cuts in 2021, but the fight is far from over. The COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill, passed by Congress in late December, includes approximately $486 million in emergency support for Chicago transit. The regional transit budget shortfall for 2021 was about $500 million prior to this assistance. Thank you to the hundreds of advocates across the region who took action urging our Congressional leaders to fight for transit. Over the last few months, our supporters generated more than 2,300 emails, phone calls, and Tweets to Congressional offices. Our Transit Justice Forum with Rep. Chuy Garcia helped further shine a light on the local need and...

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...

Forum focuses on need to prevent transit collapse

Dec 18, 2020 | by Lynda Lopez

Active Trans recently hosted an online transit justice forum to call attention to the federal budget shortfall for transit agencies. The forum also provided an opportunity to highlight the experiences of local community members and other transit stakeholders. Reverberating throughout the event was the need for federal support to prevent a collapse of public transit. By all accounts, the consequences will be dire — particularly for people in Black and Brown communities — if we neglect to provide the support that transit needs right now. If you haven’t already done so, please join the effort to urge Congress to approve $32 billion of federal relief for public transit. U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García The event’s featured speaker, U.S. Rep. Jesús...