Tag Archives: legislation

Illinois lags other states in walking and biking policy

Jul 10, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Illinois is becoming a more walk- and bike-friendly state, but it still has a long way to go to catch up with national leaders, according to a new report from the Safe Routes Partnership.  The partnership, a national nonprofit working to advance safe walking and biking to schools and other everyday destinations, recently released its 2020 State Report Cards. Illinois scored a 92 out of 200 points, putting it in the second-lowest tier. The state earned 74 points in 2018.  California and Massachusetts are national leaders with more than 150 points.    STATE FUNDING The best news comes in the funding category where Illinois scored 10 out of 10 for dedicating state funding to walking and biking. Active Trans worked with legislators, partner organizations, and supporters across...

Active Trans endorses Fair Tax ballot initiative

Apr 29, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

A progressive state income tax would advance our mission to create more healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities in the Chicago region.  WHAT IS THE FAIR TAX?  The Fair Tax constitutional amendment would change the state constitution by eliminating the requirement that says the state of Illinois must tax income at a single rate. Passing the Fair Tax amendment would allow for higher taxation rates for higher incomes and lower taxation rates for people with low and moderate incomes, as the federal income tax is structured.  After legislators voted in 2019 to put this question before voters, it will appear on Illinois’ November 2020 general election ballot. A "yes" vote of more than 50 percent of those voting in the election or more than 60 percent of...

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...

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...

Support funding for walking and biking projects in low-income communities

Feb 12, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Last year, Active Trans and hundreds of supporters made our voices heard to ensure that dedicated funding for walking and biking projects would be included in the state's capital bill. As a result, for the first time ever, Illinois' long-term capital plan includes dedicated funding for walking and bicycling projects. Now we need your help to make sure the program is successful. As the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) began moving ahead with the program, it’s become evident that the current language of the legislation lacks clarity on two key points. 1. How often IDOT should set aside the $50 million in new state funds for the walking and biking grant program. What we want: Every year — not every other...

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...

Taking the safe streets fight to D.C.

Sep 10, 2019 | by Barb Cornew

While transportation may not be the biggest issue in national politics this year, members of Congress do understand how important it is for their constituents to be able to get where they need to go. Active Trans worked with advocates from across the Chicago region to meet with their members of Congress during the summer recess. We discussed how to work together on a national agenda for safer streets and more reliable public transit. Personal connections and local stories go a long way with elected officials in D.C. Citizens from Park Ridge, Evanston, Des Plaines, Chicago, Elk Grove, Schaumburg, Elgin, Downers Grove and Wheaton met with U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Chuy Garcia, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Mike Quigley, Sean Casten, and Brad...

Ron Burke to step down as head of Active Trans

Jun 17, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

After nearly nine years with the Active Transportation Alliance, Ron Burke will step down from his role as the organization’s executive director next month. During Burke’s tenure, Active Trans contributed to many victories, from the growth of Chicago’s advanced bike lane network and launch of Divvy bikeshare, to the creation of separate biking and walking trails on the lakefront, introduction of dedicated bus lanes, and expansion of suburban trails. Active Trans also had wins in Springfield during Burke’s tenure, including legislation requiring K-8 public schools to teach biking and walking education and the recent passage of a state capital bill that includes $50 million annually for walking and bicycling projects. "Under Ron’s leadership, Active Trans has become a more visible...

State bike/walk fund advances transportation equity

Jun 10, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

The new state money for walking and bicycling comes with reforms that make it easier for low-income communities to secure funding. Needless to say, we were thrilled to see our efforts pay off in creating better transportation equity in the state. For the first time ever, Illinois’ long-term capital program includes dedicated funding for walking and biking projects — $50 million annually. It also includes sustainable funding for public transit for the first time ever. The new biking and walking funding will be distributed via the state’s popular Illinois Transportation Enhancements grant Program (ITEP), but with some important changes that make it more accessible for low-income communities. Local matching funding shall be required according to a sliding scale based on...

Victory! Active Trans campaign for state walking and biking fund wins $50 million per year

Jun 3, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

For the first time ever, Illinois’ long-term capital program includes dedicated funding for walking and biking projects. Legislators passed a $33 billion, six-year transportation capital program in an extended session over the weekend. Gov. Pritzker has indicated he will sign the bill into law. The bill includes $50 million annually for walking and bicycling projects. Funds will be administered statewide through a competitive grant process using the existing Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP), which is currently entirely federally funded. The additional funds from the state will double the size of the program and could fund 125 new projects every year. Thanks to everyone who took action and the legislators who championed this issue in Springfield. Legislators told us this never...