Tag Archives: Transit Equity

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,...

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...

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...

Report shows mayor, police drove decisions to shut down transit, raise bridges

Feb 24, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

A new report from Chicago’s Inspector General (IG) finds police and emergency management personnel had outsize influence on decisions to shut down transit and raise bridges during last summer’s protests following George Floyd’s murder. These decisions had major transportation impacts on thousands of city residents, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors such as people with disabilities and low-income essential workers. Yet the report finds the city’s transit leaders who know their systems best often weren’t at the table when these calls were made.  REPORT FINDINGS  On decisions to shut down transit: “CTA personnel expressed doubts as to whether CPD command staff knew the CTA system well enough to know what service changes would achieve the desired crowd control objectives.” (p. 43) On downtown stop closures: “The decision to bypass downtown CTA stops was made by the Mayor’s Office at the...

Join us at the Chicago Food Justice Summit

Feb 24, 2021 | by Active Trans

As part of the 16th Annual Chicago Food Justice Summit, Active Transportation Alliance is excited to help lead a discussion about how food access is linked to transportation issues.  The virtual event, which is focusing on the theme of "radical re-imagination," is sponsored by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC). The CFPAC is an organization that works to improve food access for Chicago residents and ensure that the food is culturally appropriate, healthy, affordable, and is grown through environmentally sustainable practices.  The summit serves as an opportunity to connect food workers, farmers, vendors, and local leaders in order to discuss food policy and other critical issues involving climate change, labor, food access, and urban farming.  Registration is free and open to the public. Spanish translation will be...

Progress on transit equity starts with changing funding formulas

Jan 25, 2021 | by Kyle Whitehead

Update (11/5/21): Unfortunately, the RTA has since abandoned this data-driven approach that considers racial equity and returned to a more standard formula process for allocating federal funds. This decision has sparked ire and consternation among the transit agencies, highlighting our region's inability to plan and coordinate transit service effectively. -- To achieve greater equity in the Chicago region, we must fundamentally rethink how we’re spending our limited transportation dollars. This is why the Regional Transportation Authority’s (RTA) — the region’s public transit oversight agency — recent decision to focus federal COVID relief funds in the highest need service areas is so important. The agency chose not to simply pass the money through to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace...

Chicago prepares second e-scooter pilot

Jul 27, 2020 | by Kyle Whitehead

The scooters are coming. Again.  Officials say four companies responded to the city’s request for applications for a second e-scooter sharing pilot this summer. Chicago selected Bird, Lime, and Spin to participate in this year's program, which launches August 12. 2020 PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS  The terms reflect many of the recommendations from Active Trans’ E-Scooter Policy Report, which was released following the 2019 pilot.  The companies can operate a combined 10,000 scooters in a geographic area that includes most of the city.  Scooters are not allowed downtown or on the Lakefront or 606 trails, as Active Trans and our partners recommended.   At least half of the scooters must be docked in low-income areas on the South and West Sides. We spoke with community leaders in these “priority zones” after the initial pilot and...

COVID-19 transportation listening tour

Jun 17, 2020 | by Lynda Lopez

In May 2020, Active Trans’ advocacy team embarked on a listening tour with more than 100 stakeholders who are invested in our work. We spoke with community partners, elected officials, department of transportation and transit agency officials, and residents across the city and suburbs. COVID-19 has impacted transportation and mobility in profound ways and these one-on-one and group conversations via Zoom were a way for our organization to have a more grounded understanding of the effects region-wide. These conversations will allow us to point to transportation priorities that are specific to different parts of the region. As part of this process, we will be sharing what we’ve learned in a series of posts on the Active Trans blog. While our...

Take action to restore Chicago transit and Divvy service

Jun 2, 2020 | by Active Trans

As Chicago grapples with social unrest and an unprecedented global pandemic, we need reliable transportation options more than ever. But CTA service is suspended again Monday evening. And Metra and Divvy remain out of service. Sign a letter to Mayor Lightfoot and your alderman urging them to restore transit service. We appreciate the unprecedented position Chicago’s leaders are in at this moment. Balancing the need to maintain public safety while protecting the rights of residents is a complex task under normal circumstances, let alone during a global pandemic. However, we urge the City of Chicago and transit agencies work to fully restore transit and Divvy service immediately. In the event services need temporary rerouting or temporary suspensions due to safety,...