Tag Archives: Equity

New analysis highlights racial disparities in Chicago area transit access

Jun 17, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

A new tool illustrates how longstanding patterns of segregation and discrimination in public policy have caused transit access for Black and Brown residents to lag behind access for White residents. The Transit Equity Dashboard, produced by the national foundation TransitCenter, maps and quantifies the disparities in transit access caused by segregation and discrimination in land use and transportation policy. TransitCenters helps fund and support local transit advocacy organizations like Active Trans and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). The COVID crisis made racial inequities in public health and economic status very plain. Good transit helps address these disparities by opening up access to jobs, education, medical care, and other necessities. But disparities in transit access linked to race and economic...

Why Congress must deliver ongoing operations support for Chicago-area transit

Jun 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

All residents of the Chicago region deserve access to reliable, affordable public transportation, no matter where they live. Imagine a region where every community has great bus and train service that can safely and conveniently get you to work, school, shopping, church, or anywhere else you need to go; a place where you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars per year owning and operating a car. Putting every resident within reach of frequent transit service is possible — we just need to fund it. PROBLEM Today, the only federal funding provided for transit in large metro areas like Chicago is for maintenance or expansion projects — not the day-to-day costs of running buses and trains. Operating expenses represent two-thirds...

Why Illinois should eliminate the local match for walking and biking infrastructure

May 20, 2021 | by Active Trans

The following post is excerpted from George Fero's recent testimony before the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee about House Bill 270, which eliminates the 20 percent local cost share for walking and biking infrastructure. Fero serves as an alderman on the city council in Lebanon, a Southern Illinois town with about 4,500 residents. He also serves on the board of the statewide bike advocacy organization Ride Illinois and is vice-president of Gateway East Trails, his local walking and biking advocacy group. ___________________________________________________ The City of Lebanon, with a population of just under 5,000, is located at the eastern edge of metropolitan St. Louis, at the crossroads of US highway 50 and Illinois Route 4. Both highways are maintained by IDOT. We...

Take action now for more sidewalks and bike lanes on state roads

May 17, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

After passing in the Illinois House of Representatives last month, our bill — HB 270 — to eliminate the local cost share for walking and biking infrastructure on state roads has now passed out of committee in the Illinois Senate. But there's only two weeks left in the legislative session and we need to make sure it's called to the floor for a vote. ___________________________________________________ Please ask your senator to co-sponsor HB 270 and vote for it when it's called on the floor.  ____________________________________________________ Under current law, when the state is rebuilding a road, the state covers 100 percent of the cost of infrastructure for car and trucks, such as travel lanes and markings. But if the state’s analysis determines...

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...

Join us at the Chicago Food Justice Summit

Feb 24, 2021 | by Active Trans

As part of the 16th Annual Chicago Food Justice Summit, Active Transportation Alliance is excited to help lead a discussion about how food access is linked to transportation issues.  The virtual event, which is focusing on the theme of "radical re-imagination," is sponsored by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC). The CFPAC is an organization that works to improve food access for Chicago residents and ensure that the food is culturally appropriate, healthy, affordable, and is grown through environmentally sustainable practices.  The summit serves as an opportunity to connect food workers, farmers, vendors, and local leaders in order to discuss food policy and other critical issues involving climate change, labor, food access, and urban farming.  Registration is free and open to the public. Spanish translation will be...

Progress on transit equity starts with changing funding formulas

Jan 25, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

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 using a decades-old standard formula, as is traditionally done. Instead, it launched a process to direct funding to the “people and places that need it the most.” This may seem like an obvious move to make, particularly during a once-in-a-century pandemic that’s hitting Black and Brown communities the hardest. But...

Second e-scooter pilot serves as another step forward

Jan 19, 2021 | by Alex Perez

After two years of pilot programs, Chicago is well-positioned to create a long-term e-scooter sharing program that is focused on neighborhoods lacking transportation options. The four-month long second e-scooter pilot program ended in mid-December. Bird, Lime, and Spin were the vendors, with a limit of 3,333 scooters per vendor. This was four times the number of scooters deployed in the 2019 pilot. The Covid-19 pandemic led to lower ridership levels in 2020. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, ridership decreased from 821,000 trips in 2019 to 640,000 trips in 2020. About one-quarter of the 160,000 trips in 2020 were taken in priority areas. Compared to 2019, the average trip length in 2020 increased a bit to 1.71 miles. 2020...

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...

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...