Tag Archives: transit

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2021

Dec 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

In year two of the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago area residents continued to adapt to a changing world and adjusted their transportation habits and expectations for this new reality. Through it all, the Active Transportation Alliance worked with our community partners and legislative allies to fight for more residents to have access to safe, convenient, affordable, and sustainable transportation options. Here’s a look back at 10 of the most important walking, biking, and transit stories and advocacy victories of the year. 1. FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL DELIVERS BILLIONS TO CHICAGO AREA In November President Biden signed into law a historic national infrastructure bill that includes unprecedented levels of funding for public transit, walking, and biking. While the bill was being developed, Active Trans and...

Chicago must advance equity and sustainability with new federal transportation funds

Nov 22, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The Infrastructure Investment in Jobs Act (IIJA) provides a historic opportunity for the Chicago area to move beyond car-centric planning and advance racial and environmental justice through transportation investments.  Now we need to make sure regional leaders take advantage of this opportunity. We can’t afford to see these funds go to wasteful roadway projects that only worsen the inequity in our regional transportation system.  This week Active Trans joined a coalition of 12 civic and environmental advocates that is calling for our transportation agencies in the region to develop an inclusive and transparent approach in determining which projects to put forward for newly available federal funds. This inclusive and transparent approach should center the projects' impacts on racial equity and climate change.  Following are excerpts from the letter, which was...

CTA proposes making fare discounts permanent, but more is needed

Nov 5, 2021 | by Active Trans

Relief funding from the federal government has enabled the Chicago Transit Authority to take some steps that make transit service more accessible and welcoming to people with low incomes. The biggest change is making its recently piloted discounted passes program permanent.   While we commend CTA for moving forward with the discounted passes and free transfers in its 2022 budget proposal, we would have liked to see other new initiatives moving forward that would improve service and accessibility.    A WIN FOR FAIR FARES  According to CTA, the one/three/seven-day discounted passes, launched as a pilot on Memorial Day 2021, generated more than 10 million rides over the summer months. This enormous number of rides made it clear that there's a great need...

Ald. La Spata makes sustainable transportation a priority

Oct 28, 2021 | by Maya Norris

As alderman for Chicago’s 1st Ward, Daniel La Spata has only been on the job for two years. But in that short time, he has already made significant strides enhancing sustainable transportation on the Northwest Side. The longtime community organizer and public policy expert has been pushing for infrastructure and legislation that improves walking, bicycling, and public transit opportunities that not only create safe and accessible sustainable transportation options, but also ultimately enhance the quality of life in the communities he represents. “Non-automobile transportation needs to be safe, effective, sustainable, affordable, and comfortable. The problem is we neither have the infrastructure nor do we tend to make the investments to make that a priority,” La Spata says. “That’s a big...

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,...

Pace Suburban Bus commits to zero emissions by 2040

Sep 20, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Our suburban transit system took an important step forward recently when Pace announced a commitment to zero emission vehicles by 2040 in its strategic plan. In making this commitment, Pace is joining CTA in planning to phase out diesel and compressed natural gas buses within 20 years. This transition will help improve the air quality and health in countless suburban communities that rely on Pace to provide an affordable, sustainable transportation option for their residents. Earlier drafts of the plan simply stated the agency would explore the feasibility of transitioning to electric vehicles. The shift came after months of advocacy led by Sierra Club Illinois, Clean Power Lake County, and the Climate Reality Project. Active Trans and many other civic and...

Metra should get moving on piloting zero emissions trains

Sep 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

UPDATE (10/13/21): At their October board meeting the Metra board approved the release of the Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure the equipment needed to launch a zero emissions train set pilot.  Active Transportation Alliance joined 28 other civic and environmental organizations in urging Metra to start testing zero emission technology. The coalition delivered a letter to the Metra board on the topic that was read into the record at the September meeting. This came in response to a decision by the board in August to delay the release of a request for proposals that would have kickstarted the process for launching a pilot. Following are excerpts from the letter: As civic and environmental advocates, we enthusiastically support Metra’s pursuit...

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...

Take action now to make CTA and Metra fully accessible

Jun 22, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The time has come for real access to public transportation. As Congress considers a reauthorization of the federal transportation bill, transit and disability rights advocates are rallying behind an opportunity to finally make all public transit systems fully accessible. Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced the All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act (S. 1680) in the Senate and Illinois Rep. Marie Newman and Chuy Garcia introduced companion legislation in the House (H.R. 3317). The ASAP Act would establish a discretionary grant program that supports CTA, Metra, and other transit agencies in making all their stations operate fully accessible for people with disabilities as soon as possible. The act would appropriate $10 billion nationally over 10 years — at least $1 billion...