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 www.activetrans.org/biketowork. 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: www.activetrans.org/walktowork2010

 

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: http://www.bikenewyork.org

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.

Kornheiser outrageous

From our board member Peter Taylor

Has any one seen this?

I think the SunTimes bloggers get the sense of outrage here. I understand comedy but this so irresponsible. The contempt in Tony Kornheiser's voice begs a smackdown. I think Active Trans and other Cycling advocacy groups have an opportunity and an obligation to expose Kornheiser's profoundly ignorant misuse of his public station.

This world stands at the summit of petroleum supply looking down towards the inevitable abyss and Kornheiser decries the city of Washington DC's decision to paint wide bike lanes on Pennsylvania avenue, because there is less room for cars. And in the process contemptuously ridicules recreational cyclists. Granted that the automobile has driven the US economy for the past 75 years; that age has past. We are so fortunate that we have precious little time to redirect our thirst for oil and re-engineer our economy to function in a different way. But allowing this to happen naturally is inviting disaster. Kornheiser's rant is an example of the kind of ignorance that constitutes the obstacles that will pitch our economy into ruin. America cannot currently sustain its status quo if our economy is based on energy sources we don't control. Active Transportation is a matter of national security. There is nothing funny about this deadly serious issue. Blowhards such as Tony Kornheiser must not be allowed to sway the opinions of the public unchallenged.

 

International Poster Competition to Promote Biking, Walking and Transit

The Chicago International Poster Biennial will hold its first student poster competition this year with the theme of "Transportation: Crucial Issues." The theme is intended to explore why it's great to bike, walk and take transit (transportation that’s green, healthy, affordable and social). It's a new spin on the classic transit posters Chicagoans know and love. So it'll be exciting to see the entries! Spread the word and encourage any art and design students you know to enter. The deadline is May 22, 2010.

From the competition website:

During the most prolific poster-making period in Chicago (the early 20th century), transportation and tourism went hand-in-hand as the predominant theme. Posters for the North Shore and South Shore electric rail lines lured urbanites away from the city by portraying the scenic beauty of the countryside. Posters for the Elevated Lines touted various cultural destinations within the city. These posters remain a very visible part of Chicago’s historical visual landscape.

The jury of the Chicago International Poster Biennial would like to see your interpretation of the theme of travel, regardless of where you are or what you believe is the most vital issue regarding transportation that needs to be communicated today. Make a poster about rethinking transportation to impact the environment, individual health, urban infrastructure… anything is possible. Make one, great poster, and send it to us.

You can buy the classic "Avoid Street Congestion" poster pictured here at Posters Plus. And you can look forward to seeing cool new posters for biking, walking and transit later this spring.

Full details about the competition can be found at http://chicagobiennial.org/2010/student-competition/ .

USDA welcomes you to Sprawlsville!

In his March 14 column, the SouthtownStar's Guy Tridgell finds a cow to tip over: the USDA will cover your downpayment and fully back your low-interest mortgage if you buy in a subdivision on Chicagoland's urban fringe. In the Southland, Peotone and Beecher both qualify. Meanwhile, the towns north of them, University Park and Matteson in particular (both with Metra and Pace service), have been clobbered by foreclosures.

As the Sun-Times reports today, this summer you can put the money you saved into your gas tank.

Red light camera update

We have been heavily involved in the red light camera debate in Springfield, and we want to keep our members updated on legislation that affects you!

This week, the Illinois State Senate is expected to approve a bill that will allow for the continued use of red light cameras while adding new protections for the civil liberties of Illinois road users. If approved by the Senate, the bill will head to the Illinois House of Representatives for a post-spring break vote.

The compromise bill being debated this week will:

  • Allow red light cameras to be used in the Chicago and St. Louis metropolitan areas.
  • Require tickets issued in Chicago to be reviewed by a technician and a third party that is unaffiliated with the red light camera company.
  • Require tickets issued in communities outside Chicago to be reviewed by a technician and a current or retired police officer
  • Allow anyone ticketed to review the footage online
  • Ticket drivers who pass the stop bar and enter a crosswalk only when pedestrians or bicyclists are present.

Active Transportation Alliance fights to reduce all traffic crashes by 50% in 20 years. Red light cameras are proven safety measures in line with this mission. That’s why we ask your support in fighting for this legislation.

Here is some background on our approach:

Red light running is prevalent and has serious results.

  • A person is injured in a red light running crash every two seconds in the United States. That results in 165,000 injuries and 800 deaths per year, according to a 2009 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • Red light crashes are more dangerous than other crashes – 45 percent of them result in injuries, versus the 30 percent of non-red light crashes that have injuries, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • More than half of victims in red light cases were outside the car involved, according to IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Red light cameras work.

  • A before and after study in Oxnard, Calif., found a 40% reduction in violations in four months (Oxnard, CA study)
  • A Fairfax, Virginia study had similar results: a 44% reduction, with a one-year study timeframe.
  • Naperville showed a 33% reduction in injury crashes, 75% reduction in angle/turning crashes, 19% reduction in total crashes, 8% reduction in rear-end crashes (6 months of data compared with 3-year previous average)

They only ticket those breaking the law

  • Red light cameras do not record every car that enters an intersection. Cameras are triggered only when a car enters the intersection illegally.
  • Red light cameras only record cars turning right if they do not stop before the turn.

Your support allows us to advocate for our rights and safety. Thank you!
 

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