Tag Archives: Planning

A Q&A with Jeff Speck

Feb 27, 2019 | by Ted Villaire

Jeff Speck is one of the leading voices in the nation for creating cities that are better places to walk, bike and use transit. He's a city planner and author of several books, including, most recently, "Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places." This book was a followup to his very popular, "Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time." We recently had an opportunity to ask Jeff his take on what's needed to make Chicagoland a better place for biking and walking.   Active Trans: What’s the biggest barrier to walkability in a large North American city like Chicago? Jeff Speck: I will mention an insurmountable barrier and a surmountable one. Insurmountable is the...

The 78 can do more to promote walking, biking & transit

Feb 5, 2019 | by Steve Simmons

The planned mega-development along the South Branch of the Chicago River, known as the 78, moved a step closer to reality as Chicago's Community Development Commission recommended tax increment financing to pay for streets and public works upgrades for the project. This 62-acre project will add 10,000 housing units and create a big opportunity to prioritize healthy and sustainable transportation. While the 78's master plan has some promising ideas for transportation, we think with some key changes the 78 would benefit walking, biking and transit. Much like Lincoln Yards on the North Side, the 78 offers a valuable opportunity to add trails, moving the city closer to a 27-mile continuous Chicago River Trail. A trail would promote walking and biking while supporting healthy...

Top 10 biking, walking and transit stories of 2018

Dec 21, 2018 | by Ted Villaire

There were plenty of attention-grabbing developments among the top active transportation stories of 2018. 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 in the comments below. 1. Lakefront Trail separation. After decades of trail advocacy by Active Trans and our community partners, we were thrilled to see the completion of the project to create separate foot and biking paths along the Lakefront Trail. Work began in August 2016 on select sections and then last year, local hedge fund manager Ken Griffin donated $12 million to the create...

Suburban advocates call for improvements to DPRT

Dec 20, 2018 | by Matt Gomez

The southern segment of the Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT) between Touhy and North Avenues is often better suited for a kayak than a bike. That's because flooding from the nearby river -- like in this photo -- often makes the trail either impassable or an uninviting soggy mess. People who use the trail know that this part of the trail faces other shortcomings as well, including a lack of signage and the need to cross wide and scary arterial streets where heavy traffic is speeding by.With these and other problems in mind, Active Trans started working with a group of committed northwest suburban advocates and elected officials. The collaboration resulted in an advocacy study showing how the trail and access to...

New regional plan has mobility vision but lacks funding, political will

Oct 10, 2018 | by Ron Burke

Chicagoland’s new regional plan, called “ON TO 2050,” has plenty of good ideas on paper to tackle the problem of too many cars and traffic crashes, but it lacks the mechanisms, funding and leadership to actually implement a new mobility future and move away from the car-centric status quo. The plan was prepared and approved by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), which is run by a collection of committees comprised of representatives of local, state, regional and federal governments. Previous regional plans have laid out similar goals, but a recent analysis by Active Trans shows the region is just as car dependent today as it was in 1980. Moreover, driving has increased four times faster than the population...

Chicago River Trail Coalition advances trail vision

Apr 19, 2018 | by Steve Simmons

Advancing a continuous Chicago River Trail that improves the quality of life for all city residents is not an easy task. The river spans nine aldermanic districts; usage varies from recreational to heavily industrial in stretches; and the quality of access points varies greatly. As trail segments begin to emerge, there's an urgency to develop goals for important related issues like affordable housing, water quality, trail design, and the environment. To jumpstart this process, we recently convened the Chicago River Trail Coalition. The coalition is a diverse group of public and private sector organizations, including elected officials from city and state governments. Active Trans will convene the coalition several times a year to keep the momentum going towards a continuous trail...

Advancing a vision for a trail on the South Branch

Apr 17, 2018 | by Steve Simmons

Turning the Chicago River into an attractive destination with healthy transportation options is an important goal of Active Trans' Chicago River Trail campaign. To achieve the vision of a continuous 27-mile trail that all Chicagoans can enjoy, it's essential that we clean up the environment, ensure housing is affordable, and create safe and easy access to the river. One area that presents an opportunity to carry out this vision is the South Branch of the Chicago River. This 3-mile stretch begins at Ping Tom Park and runs south to Western Avenue and includes Bridgeport, Pilsen, McKinley Park and Brighton Park. To get the ball rolling, we've started working on a project, the South Branch Framework, that will help develop a...

Coalition calls for dedicated lane for transit on NLSD

Apr 2, 2018 | by Active Trans

Last week 10 civic and business organizations signed a letter to the city and state calling for dedicated transit lanes on North Lake Shore Drive.As outlined in the letter, dedicated lanes would boost bus speed and reliability and get more people riding transit. Bus riders already account for more than 20 percent of users on Lake Shore Drive every day while taking up a fraction of the space that cars do.See the full letter and background information on the project.A project team comprised of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Chicago Park District (CPD) plans to rebuild North Lake Shore Drive from Grand Avenue to Hollywood Avenue. The proposed project involves improvement of seven...

Free-floating car-sharing program should be welcomed in Chicago

Mar 22, 2018 | by Active Trans

The free-floating car-sharing pilot program passed by Chicago City Council could help residents who don’t own a car get around and encourage more people to live car-free or car-lite lifestyles.Unlike Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare, free-floating carshare companies like car2go don’t require users to pick up and drop off the vehicles in a fixed location for a set period of time. The cars can be parked in any legal spot within a designated zone and reservations aren’t required.The ordinance introduced by 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno would set up a nine-month pilot program starting in May 2018. One vendor chosen by the city would be permitted to deploy up to 500 vehicles in designated “home area.”The proposed area includes all of...

Bike rodeo tips from the expert

Mar 15, 2018 | by Active Trans

Active Trans’ Bike Walk Every Town program is training suburban advocates to lead campaigns to create better communities for walking and biking. One of the topics we focus on in our trainings is how to build support and mobilize community members around advocacy campaigns.Organizing fun and engaging community events is a fantastic way to build awareness for a campaign or project you’d like to see supported by your elected officials. Events like these can offer an opportunity to connect to residents and encourage them to become more active in advocating for better biking and walking. So what type of events can help get your neighbors engaged in your local advocacy? Have you ever been to a bike rodeo?A bike rodeo is...