If you live in Chicago's 5th, 45th, 46th or 49th ward and have ideas about how to improve transportation in your neighborhood, there's an exciting opportunity coming up to get your ideas implemented! Four aldermen announced last week a multi-ward Participatory Budgeting process that will give Chicagoans like you real power over millions of taxpayer dollars.
How it works: Four aldermen have each committed to spend $1 million of their discretionary "menu money" based on a Participatory Budgeting process. Residents like you will identify community infrastructure needs and propose projects for your ward to spend the money on. At the end of an eight-month process, your community will vote for those projects they think best meet community needs, and your alderman will submit the top projects to the city for implementation. Ald. Joe Moore implemented Participatory Budgeting in the 49th ward in 2009, and since then residents have voted to fund significant improvements for biking, walking and transit in their community. Some examples include:
Pedestrian safety improvements at the Ridge/Touhy/Rogers intersection
Bike lanes on Touhy, Rogers, Ashland, Albion, Eastlake, and Pratt
Benches and heating shelters at the Jarvis, Morse and Loyola CTA Red Line stations
Sidewalk repairs for 33 locations and 35 bike racks
Is your ward participating? Wards 5, 45, 46 and 49 are using the Particpatory Budgeting process. Anyone from any ward is welcome to attend community meetings, known as Neighborhood Assemblies, where they can propose project ideas for these wards, but only residents of these wards at least 16 years old will be able to vote on the projects next year. Not sure which ward you live in? Look it up here. If you don't live in one of the wards using Participatory Budgeting, you can still ask your alderman to commit menu money to projects that will improve biking, walking and transit in your ward.
Neighborhood Assemblies happening right now! The Participatory Budgeting process is getting underway this month in each ward. At Neighborhood Assemblies taking place at various locations in October, the aldermen will give an overview of the process, and participants will brainstorm projects and select community representatives who will turn project ideas into full proposals. Volunteering to be a community representative is a great way to get more involved. We encourage you to let us know by e-mail if you take on this role.
Visit PB Chicago for Neighborhood Assembly dates and locations and more information about Participatory Budgeting.