Tag Archives: Transit Equity

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

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 using a decades-old standard formula, as is traditionally done. Instead, it launched a process to direct funding to the “people and places that need it the most.” This may seem like an obvious move to make, particularly during a once-in-a-century pandemic that’s hitting Black and Brown communities the hardest. But...

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,...

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...

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...

Top 10 walking, biking, and transit stories of 2019

Dec 16, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

There were plenty of attention-grabbing developments among the top active transportation stories of 2019. 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. 1. State dedicates funds to walking, biking, and public transit. For the first time ever, Illinois’ long-term capital program includes dedicated funding — $50 million annually — for walking and biking projects. The capital bill also includes sustainable funding for public transit for the first time ever. Active Trans championed both initiatives with a bipartisan group of legislators in the Illinois State House...

What Uber and Lyft aren’t saying about new Chicago fees

Nov 12, 2019 | by Kyle Whitehead

UPDATE (11/26/19): Mayor Lightfoot's budget passed Chicago's City Council, including new fees on Uber and Lyft. There’s so much misinformation flying around about Mayor Lightfoot’s changes to the Uber and Lyft fee structure that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s proposed. HIGHER FEES ON DOWNTOWN TRIPS The Mayor’s proposal targets downtown trips by adding a fee of $1.75 for solo trips and 65 cents for shared trips that start or end in and around the Loop. Data shows nearly half of all Uber and Lyft trips start or end downtown. Thirty two percent of those trips both start and end in the downtown area. These trips are in the most congested part of the city where much more affordable...