Free Lunchtime Lecture Tomorrow on Walkable Urbanism and the Green Future of Cities

Active Trans is excited to offer the public an opportunity to see two national leaders in the sustainable cities movement speak at a free lunchtime lecture tomorrow. Come learn about the connection between transportation, urban planning and sustainability.

“Sustainability points us toward a future lived locally in one's neighborhood -- getting around on foot, bike and transit.” This quote from Doug Farr in the Chicago Tribune last year gives us a peek at his deep understanding of the Active Trans vision. Doug Farr is the founding principal and president of Farr Associates, an award-wining architecture and urban planning firm with the distinction of being the first in the world to have designed three LEED Platinum buildings. Farr Associates is also a past winner in the Bike to Work Week commuter challenge.

Carol Coletta is president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders co-founded by Mayor Richard Daley and headquartered in Chicago. She also brings a great perspective to our vision, shedding light on the economic and environmental benefits of livable communities that encourage walking, biking and transit.

Walkable Urbanism and the Green Future of Cities
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor, Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL
April 8, 2010, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Free and open to the public

As America struggles with sustainability, cities can play a central role in reducing our carbon emissions. Discover the importance of healthy urban places that enable residents to walk, bike and take transit. Learn how cities are going green with high-performance infrastructure and buildings combined with planning strategies that reduce driving. Doug Farr and Carol Coletta will address why urbanism is a key solution and how cities and urban planners are building a greener future.

Presented by the Active Transportation Alliance and Friends of the Parks as part of the Chicago Cultural Center’s Creative Living in the City lecture series.

Where would you put a bike boulevard?

The City of Chicago is interested in piloting a bike boulevard and the Chicago Department of Transportation is asking for input and suggestions on locations.

Bike boulevards are roads that are made comfortable for all bicyclists by slowing car traffic and reducing the amount of car traffic on the street. That might be through speed bumps, traffic diverters or signs. Local traffic can still maneuver, but high-speed cut-through traffic is discouraged.
Bike boulevards are usually parallel to arterial roads and oftentimes become major thoroughfares for bicyclists and havens for families to walk and play.

Here is an example of one in Portland

We’ve been asked to reach out to our members and to collect feedback. So we want to hear your suggestions for specific street locations that would be a good fit for a bike boulevard in Chicago. Keep these criteria in mind:

  • Minimum one-mile stretch
  • Controlled crossing at all intersections – stop sign or traffic light
  • Residential roadway
  • Low motor vehicle traffic
  • High number of cyclists using the route and in the neighborhood
  • Aldermanic support

Send us your ideas to by Friday April 9 with "Bike Boulevard" in the subject line.

Your voice strengthens the movement around active transportation. Thank you!

Calling All Volunteers!

The MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive is only 60 DAYS away and we need your help! Volunteers are needed before and the day of the event to help distribute rider packets, serve food to hungry riders, guide them along Lake Shore Drive, break down the event, and much more! Check out all of our volunteer opportunities at

Volunteering is fun and comes with great perks:

  • Day-of-event volunteers receive a pancake breakfast, t-shirt and raffle entry
  • Pre-event volunteers can trade six volunteer hours for an event registration
  • Groups of 15 or more volunteers may qualify for a $200 donation.
  • For more information and to register as a volunteer visit

Questions? Contact Margaret Kushiner, Volunteer Coordinator, at 312-427-3325, ext 297 or via email at

Legislative Update

The Illinois General Assembly is currently on a two-week recess. We are glad for the rest, as it has been a busy spring for the legislative team at Active Trans. The current status of our priority bills is:

Bike Helmet Law – thanks to our efforts a provision that would have prohibited most bike sharing programs (ala Paris) was stopped

Bike Harassment Bill – the Senate passed a bill to create a new crime for those motorists who drive to close to, toward or near a bicyclist or pedestrian. The House will consider the bill after the break.

Lowering Speed Limits – Active Trans and the Illinois Municipal League teamed up to champion a bill that would allow for lower speed limits in many suburbs. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House.

Red Light Cameras – a compromise bill passed the Senate that would allow for continued use of red light cameras to protect active transportation users coupled with more police oversight.

Must Stop for Pedestrians – Active Trans is championing HB 43 which would require motorists to stop, rather than yield, for pedestrians in crosswalks. The bill passed the House and is pending in the Senate.

For more information, please visit

We welcome your thoughts on our legislative agenda. Please email questions and comments to

Bike to Work Week registration is open!

Get your company healthy this year by signing up for Bike to Work Week, the annual contest that challenges Chicagoland businesses to get the most employees to take a two-wheeled commute during that week.

The Active Transportation Alliance’s Bike to Work Week, June 12-18, is an annual celebration of bike commuting. Last year more than 322 companies representing thousands of employees participated. Participating companies have included Google, WTTW, City of Aurora, Chicago Sun-Times, The Field Museum, Sen. Richard Durbin’s office and hundreds of others.

Here is how it works:

Team leaders sign up their company at Team leaders can be anyone – an administrator, staff, president, director, owner, manager – whoever! Choose the correct category for your business to you can compete against similar organizations.

That person encourages their team of co-workers to bike at least one trip during Bike to Work Week June 12-18. Team Leaders then collect the results and submit them online.

Active Trans will supply Team Leaders will all the tools they need to make biking an easy choice for their teammates – bike maps, how-to manuals and duel cards to challenge the competition. Team Leaders also get a free technical fabric T-shirt.

The companies with the highest percentage of bike commuters that week win! A luncheon following Bike to Work Week celebrates Team Leaders and honors the winning companies.

Sign up your company and see just how healthy our office can be. Register today!

Celebrate the bipedal commute next Friday

Tie up your laces for Walk to Work Day April 2. Meet Active Trans at locations near downtown Chicago next Friday to celebrate the bipedal commute! Groups will head to Daley Plaza and meet there at 8:30 before heading to work. Hope to see you there!

  • Roosevelt stop on Red/Green/Orange lines (meet outside Starbucks, southeast corner of State and Roosevelt at 7:50 a.m.)
  • Western & Belmont (meet at the southeast corner at 6:45 a.m.)
  • Union & Ogilvy stations (meet at 7:50 a.m. at southeast corner of Canal & Madison)
  • Grand stop on Blue Line (meet at northeast corner of Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted at 7:50 a.m)
  • Chicago stop for Brown/Purple lines (meet at Starbucks 750 N. Orleans, at 7:50 a.m.)
  • Chicago stop for Red line (meet in front of McDonald’s at 7:50 a.m.)

More information:


Lakefront Trail Conditions 3/25

High winds are driving the waves over the Lakefront Trail in several places this Thursday night. I rode north from Illinois to Ardmore around 10:00 p.m. and was washed over by waves twice (up past my knees with the backwash) at the Oak Street Bend. The area just south of Fullerton is also washing over the trail. There is even some water on the Trail north of the Theater on the Lake!

There is a lot of debris on the Trail in many of the areas in which water is present. Bloweing sand is also a problem between North Ave. and Fullerton.

Please be careful of possible left over debris on Friday morning in the case that waves have subsided but the Park District may have not have thoroughly cleaned the Trail.

On the positive side, restrooms are now open along the Lakefront Trail. My understanding is that the designated date in the contract for the restrooms to be officially open isn't until May, so kudos to the Park District for making this happen this early in the year!

Red Light Camera Bill Advances

Today, the IL State Senate passed SB 935. This bill allows local governments in the Chicago and St. Louis areas to use red light cameras to improve road safety.

The bill, once passed by the House and signed by the Governor, will require two independent verifications of a violation before a citation is issued. It will also give motorists the right to review video evidence and contest violations via a secure web-based portal.

For more on Active Trans' legislative agenda, click here.

Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Tour Tickets Can Be Yours!

Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Tour Tickets Can Be Yours!

Bike New York has generously donated two VIP 5 Boro Bike Tour tickets to Active Trans and they can be yours!

Only a small number of VIP tickets are still available for this amazing event. Purchase these donated tickets and the proceeds will benefit the Active Transportation Alliance and our work in Chicagoland! They are being offered at face value for $250/each. Preference will be given to those purchasing the pair of tickets.

The 5 Boro Bike Tour adventure starts in Lower Manhattan, continues through the heart of Manhattan, Central Park, historic Harlem, the Bronx, along the East River on the FDR Drive and crosses into Queens and then Brooklyn. The 42-mile route lands on Staten Island at a fun outdoor festival. This, all in one day – Sunday, May 2, 2010!

The VIP entry comes with some great perks:

  • Spot at the front of the Tour start (really important when there’s 30,000 riders!)
  • Delicious breakfast before the start (I can attest it was truly delicious.)
  • Lunch in a special hospitality area at the Festival
  • Souvenir T-shirt and baseball cap

Learn more about this Sunday, May 2, 42-mile ride through New York City here:

The event is just a month away. First come, first paid, first served. Contact Christine at 312/427-3325 x223 to claim your VIP tickets today and to hear first-hand how fun this ride is. Please note purchase price does not include travel, bike rental or overnight expenses.


Big bucks and bike trains

How geeked do elementary school kids can get about being on t.v. for riding their bikes? Answer: pretty flipping geeked.

That was the setting for a major funding announcement by the Cook County Department of Public Health. The Department was awarded $16 million in stimulus funds last Friday to fund efforts to combat obesity in suburban Cook. The announcement was made at Paul Revere Intermediate School in Blue Island, just as school was letting out and 'Jane's Bike Train' was saddling up. This dozen or so kids rides home from school daily as a group, led by one amazing parent (Jane Healy, Active Trans Board President). After the formal announcement indoors, the camera crews and print reporters went outside to witness the beaming group of riders as they provided a picture-perfect example of what an active, healthy community looks like.

The Cook Co. Health Dept. will communicate how funds will be used in the coming months, but I can tell you that encouraging and enabling more walking and biking for suburban Cook residents will be prominently featured. Active Trans will telegraph any news as soon as it becomes available.

My favorite snapshot? When the Univision reporter came on the scene. She was SWAMPED by a couple hundred squealing kids, who recognized her as a big celeb in their community. Pretty cool stuff.

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