Tag Archives: transit

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

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 board in August to delay the release of an 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 of zero emissions train sets to replace the current fleet powered by diesel locomotives. The future is zero emissions. Metra has the potential to be a global leader in the transition to cleaner,...

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...

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...

Rep. Buckner files bill to stop public financing of One Central development

May 10, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The proposed One Central tower and transit hub on Chicago’s South Side is poorly conceived and wouldn’t increase transit access for the city’s highest need residents. Thankfully, State Rep. Kam Buckner has introduced a bill (House Bill 4075) to ensure the project doesn’t receive $6.5 billion in public funds. Buckner, whose district includes the site, says he’s heard from constituents opposed to the project and he’s angry that it was “rammed through without real conversations” with people who represent the area. WHAT IS ONE CENTRAL?  First proposed in 2019, the megadevelopment features a residential and commercial high-rise just west of Soldier Field on 31 acres decked over Lake Shore Drive and the Metra Electric tracks. It also would serve as a transit center with stops for Metra...

Now is the time for a transformative capital plan

Apr 26, 2021 | by Jim Merrell

The just-announced Chicago Works Five Year Capital Plan offers Chicago an extraordinary opportunity to show how walking, biking, and transit can help spark and sustain an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan highlights a number of inspiring and potentially transformational projects, including $159.2 million dedicated to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in 2021 and 2022 for Complete Streets improvements — like protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes. Unfortunately, the plan also risks missing out on some enormous benefits by taking a business-as-usual approach to transportation. The approach risks letting politically popular projects like car-centric re-paving beat out smart, long-term planning and investment in cleaner, healthier, and safer modes of transportation. The plan lacks details on how Complete Streets investments will...

Suburban Chicagoland transit leaders prepare to change 

Apr 16, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

The heads of Metra commuter rail and Pace Suburban Bus agree the pandemic has changed suburban transit forever.   Now they’re preparing to adapt how they deliver service to the meet the new reality.  Metra CEO Jim Derwinski and Pace Executive Director Rocky Donahue spoke with Active Trans Executive Director Amy Rynell in our Transit Justice Forum on the Future of Suburban Transit. Leanne Redden, head of the Regional Transportation Authority that oversees Metra and Pace, presented about the approach the region is taking to this period of change. They were joined by U.S. Rep. Marie Newman to talk about the federal government’s role.  Alfred White also spoke, a suburban warehouse worker who struggles to access his job from his South Side home.  Watch the full recording and see highlights...