Tag Archives: Downtown

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...

Rep. Buckner files bill to stop public financing of One Central development

May 10, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The proposed One Central tower and transit hub on Chicago’s South Side is poorly conceived and wouldn’t increase transit access for the city’s highest need residents. Thankfully, State Rep. Kam Buckner has introduced a bill (House Bill 4075) to ensure the project doesn’t receive $6.5 billion in public funds. Buckner, whose district includes the site, says he’s heard from constituents opposed to the project and he’s angry that it was “rammed through without real conversations” with people who represent the area. WHAT IS ONE CENTRAL?  First proposed in 2019, the megadevelopment features a residential and commercial high-rise just west of Soldier Field on 31 acres decked over Lake Shore Drive and the Metra Electric tracks. It also would serve as a transit center with stops for Metra...

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...

Take action now to stop public transit and Divvy shutdowns

Aug 14, 2020 | by Active Trans

The following is an organizational statement from Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Amy Rynell. For more on the shutdowns, see Lynda Lopez's blog post, The needless harm done by shutting down public transit. Public transit provides access to opportunities for thousands of working-class Chicagoans. Buses, trains, paratransit, and bike share connect people to their jobs, healthcare appointments, grocery stores, and their families. When it's taken away, riders are cut off from where they need to go or forced to pay much more for a taxi or ride-hailing trip. The repeated evening and overnight shutdowns of CTA, Divvy, and paratransit service in the downtown area sets an alarming precedent. City officials are making this call without providing the public a clear...

Take action to restore Chicago transit and Divvy service

Jun 2, 2020 | by Active Trans

As Chicago grapples with social unrest and an unprecedented global pandemic, we need reliable transportation options more than ever. But CTA service is suspended again Monday evening. And Metra and Divvy remain out of service. Sign a letter to Mayor Lightfoot and your alderman urging them to restore transit service. We appreciate the unprecedented position Chicago’s leaders are in at this moment. Balancing the need to maintain public safety while protecting the rights of residents is a complex task under normal circumstances, let alone during a global pandemic. However, we urge the City of Chicago and transit agencies work to fully restore transit and Divvy service immediately. In the event services need temporary rerouting or temporary suspensions due to safety,...

New Uber, Lyft fees should be step toward congestion pricing

Jan 23, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Starting January 6, the fee on solo Uber and Lyft trips citywide increased from 72 cents to $1.25 and the fee on shared trips decreased from 72 cents to 65 cents. Trips that start or end in a new “downtown congestion zone” are charged an additional surcharge ($1.75 for solo trips and 65 cents for shared trips). A portion of the new revenue goes to the city’s Bus Priority Zones initiative that seeks to make bus service faster and more reliable. These new fees championed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot could be a precursor to a broader congestion pricing approach. Active Trans lobbied in favor of the fees because of their potential to reduce driving and spur public transit use...

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2019

Dec 16, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

There were plenty of attention-grabbing developments among the top active transportation stories of 2019. Some of these developments helped make our streets safer and more inviting for people using active transportation, while others were intended to give more people access to better transportation options. Here they are. If we missed an important story, please let us know. 1. State dedicates funds to walking, biking, and public transit. For the first time ever, Illinois’ long-term capital program includes dedicated funding — $50 million annually — for walking and biking projects. The capital bill also includes sustainable funding for public transit for the first time ever. Active Trans championed both initiatives with a bipartisan group of legislators in the Illinois State House...

What Uber and Lyft aren’t saying about new Chicago fees

Nov 12, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

UPDATE (11/26/19): Mayor Lightfoot's budget passed Chicago's City Council, including new fees on Uber and Lyft. There’s so much misinformation flying around about Mayor Lightfoot’s changes to the Uber and Lyft fee structure that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s proposed. HIGHER FEES ON DOWNTOWN TRIPS The Mayor’s proposal targets downtown trips by adding a fee of $1.75 for solo trips and 65 cents for shared trips that start or end in and around the Loop. Data shows nearly half of all Uber and Lyft trips start or end downtown. Thirty two percent of those trips both start and end in the downtown area. These trips are in the most congested part of the city where much more affordable...

CTA Celebrates its 72nd Anniversary

Oct 21, 2019 | by Crispina Ojeda Simmons

A recent ride on the CTA’s 6000-series rail car provided an opportunity to travel back to 1959 when these cars were brand-new. The feel of these cars is different from the CTA cars currently in use. For starters, the window seat in the front offers a wide view of the buildings, platforms, rail tracks, and signaling system. The plush seats gave the car a touch of old luxury. Advertising and the CTA map in the rail cars dated back to the 1990’s, predating both the Pink and Orange Lines. The Congress Branch (now the Pink Line to 54th and Cermak) and Douglas Branch (now Blue Line to Forest Park) are no longer familiar to riders who have become accustomed to...

Lightfoot increases ride-hailing fees, expands Bus Priority Zones

Oct 18, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

UPDATE (11/26/19): Mayor Lightfoot's budget passed Chicago's City Council, including new fees on Uber and Lyft.  Mayor Lightfoot announced Friday she’ll use a portion of the revenue from new downtown ride-hailing fees to help expand Chicago’s network of bus priority streets. This is good news for anyone who wants better bus service and less congestion on Chicago streets. Chicago residents: tell Mayor Lightfoot and your alderman you support fair fees and better bus service. Active Trans Interim Executive Director Melody Geraci's delivered some remarks at the announcement press conference with the Mayor (see photo left and video). BUS PRIORITY ZONE EXPANSION The Mayor’s plan upgrades bus service on five of the city’s busiest routes: #8 Halsted, #49 Western, #53 Pulaski,...