Tag Archives: Equity

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...

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 adds protected bike lanes, updates bike network strategy

Sep 23, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Chicago announced what it’s calling the “biggest bike lane expansion in the city’s history” this week, saying the new lanes will improve resident health and safety and help build stronger, cleaner, and more resilient neighborhoods.  The news comes thanks to $17 million in new funding in 2021 and 2022 from Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Works capital plan. This will fund 100 miles of “new and upgraded” bike lanes over two years, including 12 miles of protected bike lanes.  Active Trans joined community and city leaders at a press conference celebrating the new protected bike lanes on 119th Street. The lane — which runs between Ashland and Halsted and connects to the popular Major Taylor Trail — will increase access to jobs, grocery stores,...

Low-cost CTA and Metra passes should be made permanent

Sep 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The CTA and Metra’s lower priced daily passes have saved riders money while encouraging more people to ride transit.  Now, as the agencies develop their budgets for 2022, these discounts should be made permanent to help our region’s transportation network be more equitable and sustainable.  The CTA launched low-cost passes on Memorial Day this year and recently extended them through November 25.   CTA 1-Day Pass: $5 (down from $10)  CTA 3-Day Pass: $15 (down from $20)  CTA 7-Day Pass: $20 (down from $28)   Any further extension will require action from the CTA board.  Similarly, Metra launched a $10 all-day pass in June 2020 and recently extended it through December 2021. This simple, low-cost fare is already used by one-third of Metra riders. For most trips, the pass costs less than two...

Take action now to restore $10 billion in federal transit funding cuts

Aug 20, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The infrastructure bill that passed the U.S. Senate in August cut $10 billion that would have gone toward public transit — and that was $10 billion that was already agreed to by both parties. This is just one reason the bill is woefully inadequate in creating a cleaner and more equitable transportation network. We need the House to hold the line and honor the original commitment. Either by amending the Senate bill or as part of a budget reconciliation package, Congress must — at a minimum — provide an additional $10 billion for public transit to fulfill their promise to our communities.  We are also urging Congress to commit to funding transit operations so agencies are less reliant on rising fares and...

Rep. Moeller plays key role in passing bill to improve walking & biking

Jul 29, 2021 | by Ted Villaire

Getting the Illinois Department of Transportation to eliminate its 20 percent local match requirement for walking and biking improvements on state roads was a long and arduous battle. It required months of work on the part of advocates and lawmakers across Illinois. Thankfully, all the effort paid off. IDOT has always covered all costs for motor vehicle infrastructure on state roads. Now, thanks to this legislation that Active Trans spearheaded, IDOT must also cover all the costs for walking and biking improvements on these roads. This means we'll see safer street designs — particularly in lower-income communities. The bill, which passed with strong bipartisan majorities in both chambers, is expected to be signed into law soon by Gov. J.B. Pritzker....

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. TransitCenter 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...