Tag Archives: transit

Chicago launches Our Streets as part of COVID-19 response

May 29, 2020 | by Active Trans

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new program to create more space for people walking and biking during the COVID-19 pandemic.  According to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Our Streets initiative “invites Chicago neighborhoods to request that local roads be converted into corridors for improved, safe travel and healthy activity.”   This includes designating some residential streets as “shared streets” by adding traffic barriers and limiting through traffic to allow for physically distanced walking and biking. The list of streets is still in development, although 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin announced Leland Avenue in his North Side ward will be the city’s first COVID-19 shared street starting Friday.  Shared streets are a first step to help Chicagoans feel safe walking and biking during the pandemic, but much more needs to be done. To date, the city’s plans fail to address the mobility...

Meet our Bus Organizing Fellows

May 27, 2020 | by Maya Norris

A new group of advocates has joined the Active Transportation Alliance in its quest to push for affordable, speedy, and reliable bus service in Chicago. Armed with a deep commitment to community organizing and public service, Active Trans’ new Bus Organizing Fellows have been working to understand how to improve bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic for essential workers. Since March, the fellows — LaCreshia Birts, Rylen Clark, and Jamaine Gooding — have been conducting online surveys with essential workers from historically marginalized communities who depend on public transit to get to their jobs. The survey examines the demographics of these workers, the condition of the buses, and the speed and reliability of the routes they take. With that information,...

A few questions for Amy Rynell

May 22, 2020 | by Maya Norris

Amy Rynell joined Active Trans as its new executive director in March. An experienced nonprofit leader with a deep commitment to social justice and human rights, Rynell comes to Active Trans having served in various research and policy roles at Chicago-based Heartland Alliance over the last 22 years, most recently serving as director of research and policy. Amy shared her thoughts about what it’s been like to lead the organization through the COVID-19 crisis, how she plans to advance Active Trans’ mission, and how she uses sustainable transportation in her own life. What attracted you to Active Trans? Amy: Transportation access and safety can make or break someone’s ability to succeed economically. As someone who has worked on social justice...

Public engagement needed around Metra’s off peak service cuts

May 20, 2020 | by Julia Gerasimenko

Metra recently announced a series of cuts to off-peak service on the Heritage Corridor, SouthWest Service, and North Central Service, as well as cuts to Saturday service system-wide. In response to these cuts and to share thoughts about other pandemic-related Metra policies, Active Trans partnered with Star:Line Chicago in submitting comments to the Metra Board of Directors meeting held this week. While Metra is experiencing a 97 percent ridership loss due to COVID-19, there are still many riders relying on Metra to take essential trips and reach their jobs. We encourage Metra to conduct outreach before making further cuts in service. Metra needs to engage riders to ensure their needs are being met, especially those who rely on off-peak service....

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...

COVID-19 resources and information from Active Trans

Apr 23, 2020 | by Ted Villaire

As we address the global pandemic, the Active Transportation Alliance is adapting and responding — and continuing to do the important work of fighting for clean and equitable transportation. Linked below are tips and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as information about our current work. If you use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, please consider sharing our safe walking and biking shareable infographic as well as our sharaeble social media graphics.    Responding to the pandemic Public engagement needed around Metra’s off peak service cuts (May 20) Tips for transit riders during COVID-19 (May 20, 2020) Open streets and Chicagoland’s transportation recovery planning (May 6, 2020) Exploring open streets during COVID-19 (April 30, 2020) Safe walking and biking...

CTA, Pace announce boarding changes to protect workers and riders

Apr 9, 2020 | by Julia Gerasimenko

When we started advocating for rear door boarding on buses in 2017 in our Back on the Bus report and in our 2018 Bus Friendly Streets Report Cards, we never thought it could become a public health imperative. We started fighting for all-door boarding as a way to speed up service and make buses more reliable. Now, four weeks into Illinois’ stay-at-home order, CTA and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that effective immediately transit riders will be encouraged to board all CTA buses through the rear door.  This promotes social distancing and helps keep bus operators and transit riders safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of March, we joined with ATU 241, the bus operator’s union, to push...

John LaPlante’s Complete Streets legacy

Apr 8, 2020 | by Active Trans

It was a great loss to the world of sustainable transportation when John LaPlante died in March of COVID-19. As someone who worked with John over a number of years, I wanted to provide a more detailed account of his impact locally and nationally. You might not realize it, but you’ve likely benefited from John's efforts to improve street design and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. And the effects of his work can be felt not just in Chicago. After earning transportation engineering degrees from IIT and Northwestern, John started out as a summer intern in the Chicago Department of Public Works Bureau of Street Traffic in the early 1960s. He was a multimodal planner before it was...

Supporting the transportation needs of essential workers

Apr 7, 2020 | by Lynda Lopez

As an organization that advocates for walking, biking, and public transit to create healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities, this moment necessitates rethinking and adapting to changing needs. This means not necessarily supporting policies or ideas that we embrace in the non-COVID-19 world. We believe in the ability for people to travel freely, but we know this moment requires taking a step back and adjusting that lens we normally use for viewing these issues. We want to see policies that enhance safety for essential workers but do not have the potential to worsen the public health crisis. It is at that intersection that we must view our decisions as mobility and transit advocates. This week, we learned that 70 percent of...

Federal stimulus bill includes $1.6 billion for Chicagoland transit

Mar 27, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

Transit advocates in Chicago and cities across the country spoke up and Congress heard our call to provide emergency operating assistance for public transit during the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Friday includes $25 billion for transit, including $1.6 billion for Chicagoland agencies. Reports indicate CTA will get approximately $800 million, Metra will get more than $400 million, and Pace will get about $100 million. Initial drafts of the bill that surfaced last week didn’t include any assistance for transit. In response, Transportation for America led a national effort of advocates, transit agencies, and elected officials who pushed back. Active Trans activated hundreds of supporters in the Chicago area, who generated nearly...