This week, Governor Pat Quinn signed SB 639 into law. This legislation, championed by Active Transportation Alliance and Landmarks Illinois, removes a major obstacle to rehabilitating historic schools.
Why would a bike/pedestrian/transit advocacy organization care about rehabbing old schools? Previously, state policy provided financial incentives for school districts to build new schools and not maintain existing schools. This meant many new schools were built where land was available, on the fringes of urban areas where active transportation is difficult. The new policy encourages renovating existing community-centered schools.
Active Transportation Alliance has helped dozens of schools plan for better transportation. We do this by helping the schools create comprehensive plans for how students will walk and bike to school. We also help schools implement policies and programs that facilitate active transportation. And we help educate thousands of students each year on the benefits of active transportation.