Check out the recent transit-related posts on the Active Trans blog, Write of Way. 


Dump the Pump on Thursday, June 21

Dump the Pump on Thursday, June 21

Active Trans' transit partners are organizing a celebration encouraging residents throughout the region to Dump the Pump!

Leave the car at home in favor of public transportation. See how much money you save on gas and how easy public transit is!

Riders for Better Transit will be joining RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace for a rally on Thursday, June 21 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Thompson Center.

Show your support for public transportation. Join us at the rally and be sure to check out Dump the Pump on Facebook.  

On the Facebook page, you can share what you'll do with the $12,000 each year you save by riding transit and be entered to win a Kindle, an IPod Shuffle or a Transportation Package!

Happy commuters in Northern Suburbs

Happy commuters in Northern Suburbs

Last week, Bike to Work Week swept through the Northern Suburbs. It was perfect weather for celebrating all the active folks commuting by bikes and taking transit.

As it did in the City of Chicago, Active Trans set up a series of Bike Pit Stops in suburban communities to celebrate those who bike to work and offer encouragement those who still need a nudge.

During the course of the week, Active Trans staff and volunteers handed out 300 goodie bags at Bike Pit Stops in Northbrook, Wilmette, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Evanston and at Northwestern University. 

We signed up over 60 people for the Riders for Better Transit campaign. We partnered with a host of local businesses and organizations, including the 1027 Bike Shop, Rotary Club International,  Evanston Bicycle Club, Arlington Heights Bike and Pedestrian Commission, Wilmette Bicycle Task Force, Midtown Athletic Club, George Garner Cyclery, Northbrook Bicycle Task Force, and all the village governments.

The photos feature some of people who helped out with the Pit Stops and people who stopped in to chat, get goodie bags and learn about biking to work. Thanks to all for helping to spread the word about the benefits and joys of active transportation.



What?! The Red Line will be closed for 5 months next spring?!

What?! The Red Line will be closed for 5 months next spring?!

In case you missed the big story, last week CTA announced its plans for the long-overdue project of rebuilding of the South Side Red Line. The tracks are over 40 years old and need full replacement, which anyone who rides south of the Cermak/Chinatown stop can tell you because the slow zones mean the train is creeping along.

CTA announced that to do this work quickly and efficiently, it plans to close the Red Line south of Cermak/Chinatown for 5 months in spring of 2013 until the work is complete. While this part of the Red Line is closed, CTA will be providing alternative transit routes.

Slow zones must be addressed

The work that’s being done is absolutely essential to improve public transit in Chicago. According to CTA, up to 40 percent of the Dan Ryan Red Line is operating as a slow zone.

This is higher than any part of our rail system and much higher than the North Side of the Red Line (CTA’s May 2012 slow zone map shows the North Side Red Line with only 16.6 percent slow zones).

The South Side Red Line also has the highest amount of severe slow zones where trains meant to run 40-50 mph are instead running at 15 mph.

We believe in equitable transportation

Unaddressed, these slow zones are creating a real disparity in our transit network between the North Side of the city and the South. Right now, riders on the North Side are experiencing better and faster public transportation than those on the South Side of the city. We believe in equitable transportation and to do that, transit needs to be fast and accessible everywhere…especially on the Red Line.

Several community organizations and local aldermen have spoken in favor of the plan for the 5 month closure, since it means getting the tracks fixed quickly as opposed to four years of weekend service changes. It also means bringing jobs to South Side communities and a less costly rehab process.

Closures should create minimal disruption

In the process of bringing the South Red Line up to speed, Riders for Better Transit feels that the CTA must work hard to provide as close to the same level of service as possible for South Side riders. We want to make sure that the CTA is listening to riders about the best way to provide alternate service while the Red Line is closed.

CTA, for example, might use express buses and temporary bus lanes to move riders more quickly than typical bus service during the closure. Also, Active Trans has urged the Chicago Department of Transportation to complete new South Side protected bike lanes, and thereby encourage biking as an alternative to taking the Red Line.

Share your thoughts

The CTA wants to hear from you about the best way to do this! They will be holding meetings this summer to talk about the re-routes and Riders for Better Transit will keep you informed. Riders for Better Transit is planning to speak to passengers at stations along the Red Line to hear what you have to say.

Do you like the way they have planned the re-route? Let us know! Join Riders for Better Transit to tell us more about how this project will affect you.

CTA riders dodge service cuts and fare hikes for at least a few more months

CTA riders dodge service cuts and fare hikes for at least a few more months

Following the Metra fare hike earlier this year, Riders for Better Transit has been monitoring the looming possibility of another round of fare increases and service cuts for CTA.

Fortunately for riders, it sounds like the CTA will be able avoid service cuts and fare hikes this year. However, it's unlikely the CTA will be able to dodget this bullet next year.

One of our Facebook followers commented on this news, "Now if we could only find money to restore the service cuts from two years ago." We agree. It's such a struggle for our region just to maintain current transit service, but our public transportation system should be moving forward, not backward!

Let's aim for better transit, not just keeping what we have. We need to increase investment in transit in our region.

Ultimately, the recurring transit budget crisis is the responsibility of our elected leaders who have put transit on the back burner.

We transit riders need to speak up together and send a loud and clear message to Springfield and Washington that transit needs to be a priority. Let's get their attention before service cuts and fare hikes are proposed for next year! You can take action now by sending a message to Congress here.

RTA Releases Green Transit Plan

RTA Releases Green Transit Plan

And we didn’t think transit could get any greener!

RTA has released its new Green Transit Plan and Riders for Better Transit is excited about it!

Our favorite part?

“Each year, the region’s transit system saves 6.7 million metric tons of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to 750 million gallons of gas or taking one million automobiles off the roads.”

The plan also offers some other great statistics about why transit is so essential to our region:

  • In 2011 over 648 million rides were taken on transit in the Chicago region. That’s more than twice the population of the United States.
  • Households in the Chicago region can save up to $11,500 each year by riding transit.
  • Transit produces less than 1 percent of regional greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Between 2005 and 2008 carbon emissions per transit ride decreased 5 percent.

It quantifies the environmental benefits of the region’s public transit system and will serve as the roadmap for how transit can help the Chicago region become more sustainable. It also provides a vision for a more environmentally-friendly transit system that can maximize the environmental benefits of transit in the future.

And a big part of that plan is growing ridership! The more people that ride, the fewer cars we have on the road and the greener our transportation choices as a city!

Download a copy of the Chicago Regional Green Transit Plan and learn more about the environmental benefits of transit by visiting

Chicago Architecture Foundation launches exhibition on BRT

Chicago Architecture Foundation launches exhibition on BRT

On June 1, the Chicago Architecture Foundation is kicking off a new exhibition about bus rapid transit (BRT), followed by a panel discussion about BRT on June 6.

The free exhibit -- called Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago -- will focus on how we can improve public transit and make Chicago more livable. You can also learn about the city’s plans for BRT.

A panel discussion -- Ticket to Ride: Bus Rapid Transit–Cleveland, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago -- takes place on Wednesday, June 6, 6 p.m.

Panelists will compare and contrast how BRT relates to issues of economic development, urban revitalization, sustainability and livability. Transportation officials from Cleveland, San Francisco New York City and Chicago will participate in the discussion. Advance reservations are required. A reception precedes the panel discussion.

Time: 6-8 p.m.
Cost: $5 Chicago Architecture Foundation members/$10 non-members
Location: Chicago Architecture Foundation Lecture Hall, 224 S. Michigan Ave.
RSVP here


Western/Ashland BRT project needs your input

Western/Ashland BRT project needs your input

CTA has announced the dates for three open house meetings about bus rapid transit (BRT) on the Western and Ashland Corridor.

Not familiar with BRT? Check out our article to learn about the special features, time savings and how it's working in other cities to make commutes faster, more reliable and more convenient.

What is the Western and Ashland Corridors BRT Project?

The CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, is exploring options for a variety of BRT features and service on both Western and Ashland Avenues.

The study area extends approximately 21 miles along Western and Ashland Avenues, from Howard Street on the north to 95th Street on the south.

Information presented will be the same at all meetings.

The purpose of each meeting is to:

  • Introduce the project and the alternative analysis (AA) process. The AA is a study of the potential impacts of the various project options. Each option or “alternative” includes different features and service plans.
  • Provide additional information to the public about the project.
  • Solicit feedback from the community on the project.

Learn more about the meetings and the project.


May 24—Learn about bus rapid transit in the 25th Ward

May 24—Learn about bus rapid transit in the 25th Ward

Residents of the 25th Ward and surrounding areas are invited to attend an informational community meeting to learn about bus rapid transit, a great new transit option that could be coming to your area soon.

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a NEW transit service that would provide a fast and affordable way to get around, offering the conveniences of light rail without the rails!

The CTA will be exploring the possibility of this service on Western and/or Ashland avenues in the coming months. Come learn how it could improve your commute!

Join us and learn more about this exciting project coming to the 25th Ward and voice your ideas or concerns about public transportation needs in your community.

Location: National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street
When: Thursday May 24th to 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Contact: Brenna Conway,; (312) 427-3325 x 392.

Bus rapid transit may be in your transit future

Bus rapid transit may be in your transit future

Come to a public open house on the bus rapid transit project coming to Chicago's downtown. The open house will be held Wednesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan Ave. Learn more.

Did you know a new form of public transportation is coming to Chicago? It’s called bus rapid transit (BRT), and it will expand your transit options, making trips faster, more reliable and more convenient.

The photos pictured here show the BRT facilities in Mexico City.

Bus rapid transit provides the reliability, speed and quality of service of rail, but with the flexibility and cost efficiency of using buses on existing streets. Cities around the world--from Bogotá to Cleveland--have found BRT to be their best opportunity for expanding transit choices.

Don’t confuse BRT with your average city bus

Regular buses get held up by traffic congestion and lines of riders paying one-by-one as they board. This can lead to delays, bus bunching and slow travel speeds.

While regular buses average nine miles per hour, BRT’s limited stops and dedicated lanes with signal priority allow vehicles to travel faster while largely avoiding street congestion. BRT stations also function like train stations, with riders paying before they board--reducing time spent at each stop.

These are some of the core elements that set apart the most effective bus rapid transit systems:

Dedicated lanes help reduce traffic delays and road conflicts, making BRT vehicles faster and more reliable and making streets safer.

Pay-before-you-board stations reduce boarding times, while the permanence of stations provides economic development benefits similar to train stations.

Transit Signal Priority helps transit vehicles stay on time and reduces bunching by giving them preferential treatment at traffic lights.

At-grade boarding makes vehicles more accessible to seniors, people with disabilities and parents with strollers, while also reducing boarding time.

Check out a video of Bus Rapid Transit in action in Mexico City.

BRT in other US Cities

• Los Angeles, Calif.: The Metro Orange Line was so successful that a four-mile extension is under construction.

• Eugene, Ore.: The Emerald Express increased transit ridership by 74 percent and reduced trip times by 30 percent.

• Cleveland, Ohio: The Healthline, funded in part by private companies and institutions that benefit from the service, has generated more than $4 billion in new development and redevelopment along the route.

What can Chicagoans look forward to?

Chicago is developing three BRT routes, which will improve and enhance the city’s entire public transportation system. The Chicago BRT Task Force--which includes Active Transportation Alliance, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Civic Consulting Alliance, Metropolitan Planning Council, Urban Land Institute-Chicago, and other philanthropic, civic and nonprofit partners--is assisting CTA and CDOT as they develop Chicago’s system plan for BRT.

Later this year, the CTA will implement elements of BRT on the South Side along Jeffery Boulevard. Already a high-ridership bus route, Jeffery will be enhanced from 103rd Street and Stony Island Boulevard to the Loop, including dedicated lanes, limited stops, and enhanced stations between 67th and 83rd streets, as well as transit signal priority between 73rd and 84th streets.

Over the next couple months, the city will also begin public meetings for the East-West Transit Corridor and Western/Ashland Corridor.

The East-West Transit Corridor BRT plan includes designated bus-priority lanes on two miles of streets in Chicago’s Central Business District. The route would serve Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, the CTA Red and Blue Line subways, Streeterville and Navy Pier.

A new, off-street transportation center just south of Union Station is also part of the concept. By promoting transit, biking and walking, this new route would make the Loop an even more attractive place to do business, visit and live.

The city will also be studying the feasibility of BRT along Western and/or Ashland avenues, from Howard to 95th Street--approximately 21 miles.

Active Trans has been partnering with the Metropolitan Planning Council to conduct outreach for BRT in this corridor by meeting with aldermen and community organizations to spread the word about the benefits of a possible BRT route. A 2011 report by the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council, which outlined a vision for BRT in Chicago, ranked this route highly, not only because it would fill existing gaps in the city’s transit network, but also because of the high potential to spark economic and community development in the neighborhoods traversed by the route.

Public meeting on Bus Rapid Transit in the Loop May 2

Public meeting on Bus Rapid Transit in the Loop May 2

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), in partnership with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, invites you to attend a public open house on bus rapid transit (BRT).

The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 2 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Lecture Hall at 224 S. Michigan Ave.

The new BRT service in the Loop will provide riders with fast and reliable connections throughout the central business district – from Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center through the Loop and over to Streeterville and Navy Pier.

The open house begins at 5 p.m.

Open session: 5 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Attendees can view and discuss project plans with CDOT, CTA and the project team. Written feedback can also be submitted at this time.

Presentation: 5:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Ald. Reilly and CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein will make introductory remarks on BRT. CDOT Deputy Commissioner Luann Hamilton will present the city’s plans for the Central Loop BRT project.

Open session: 6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Attendees have a final opportunity to view and discuss project plans with the project team and submit feedback.

Syndicate content

Copyright © 2015 Active Transportation Alliance | All Rights Reserved | Privacy policy