A Note From Up North

Yesterday, Active Trans staff members helped McCall Elementary School in Waukegan put on a memorable International Walk and Roll to School Day. The highlight of the day was a performance by Jan's Clan a puppet show all about pedestrian safety. It was an amazing experience to witness the excitement of the 400+ students at this school-wide assembly. Funding for the day's events came from the Walk and Roll to School Day Mini Grant program administered by Active Trans. We will continue to work with McCall Elementary throughout the year through our Safe Routes to School and Walk Across Illinois programs. 

City Council Approves Anti-Idiling Law

On Wednesday Oct. 7, the Chicago City Council approved an ordinance that would ban most diesel vehicles from idiling for more than three minutes. Violators could receive $250 fines. This ordinance, supported by Active Trans and many environmental groups, will improve the air quality and safety on our city streets. 

Complete Streets of Cook County Announced

Today was an historic day for our region.  Cook County Board President Todd Stroger announced a new County Complete Streets executive order and the creation of Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force.  Cook County, the second largest county in the country, now has one of the most comprehensive policies.  More to come later, but here is the policy:

Cook County Complete Streets Policy

Cook County continues its pursuit of a more appropriately balanced and better-aligned transportation system, which would include options and amenities for both our motorized and non-motorized modes of conveyances. This is an effort to promote a more active and healthier living environment, as well as raising the levels of consciousness of all those individuals, organizations, municipalities and institutions wishing to partner with us. Our approach enhances and compliments the character of the community.

By undertaking formal initiatives and planning a comprehensive, integrated and connected transportation network, Cook County, along with its partners, will structure policies and/or principles throughout all phases of project planning and development.

Decisions regarding the public right-of-way shall promote use by pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit. Cook County will incorporate this principle into our planning and design strategies.

Transit priority improvements shall be encouraged to expedite the movement of public transit vehicles. The County shall advocate for innovative solutions to meet public transportation needs wherever possible.

Complete streets can be achieved through single projects or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements or maintenance activities over time.

The President of the Cook County Board shall appoint a Cook County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Taskforce to advise the County Board and appropriate departments on:
· Implementation of the Complete Streets Policy
· Priorities for bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs
· Measures to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety

In this manner, Cook County can effectively coordinate and facilitate the planning, design, and construction of thoroughfares to accommodate many modes of transportation, thus providing mobility for a multitude of users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit users of all ages and abilities traversing within the public right-of-way.

Lakefront Trail maintenance activity

As of Wednesday morning (10/7), there is maintenance activity just off of the Lakefront Trail where Recreation Drive crosses the Trail, just south of the Totem Pole. Although the activity does not directly affect traffic on the Trail, maintenance trucks are staged on Recreation Drive and on the lawn in the area which does cause limited sight lines. Please be extra cautious in this area until repairs are completed.

Mark your calendar for Member Mixer!

Spend an evening playing bingo with the Active Transportation Alliance, I-Go Car Sharing and a few drag queens.

Active Trans and I-Go host a fabulous bingo night Oct. 19 from 8-10 p.m. at the world famous Hamburger Mary’s, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago.

The event is free for Active Trans and I-Go members. Friends of Active Trans member can join at the door for $30 (or $25 if they are already an I-Go member!) Plus, they get a sweet new bike bell. Your Active Trans membership will also save you $50 on an I-Go membership – only $25!

$5 suggested donation for bingo cards.

Enjoy food and drink specials, win sweet prizes and get to know some fabulous ladies!

RSVP to Matthew@activetrans.org

 

Public hearings announced for Pace Bus

Pace will be hosting public hearings around the region for proposed budgets, route reductions/eliminations and an ADA paratransit fare increase. Anyone wishing to comment may do so at one of the meetings or in writing.

Full details and meeting schedule can be found here.
 

 

Herron Memorial Ride yesterday- thank you

Thanks to everyone who supported the Herron Ride yesterday. It was a really good day for everyone who came to remember all of our community members who have been killed on our streets. Special thanks to Ethan Spotts & Kevin Crowley for hauling all the event materials to & from the event , to Visionquest and XXX racing for bringing your amazing teammates, and to Jane Herronfor bringing everyone together and providing all the wonderful food and family members.
 

Moving On -- We Still Can Have An Olympic Legacy

People throughout Chicagoland waited with bated breath today for an announcement on the host city selection of the Olympics. For some, it was simple where they stood either for or against the bid. But for others, it was never simple. And for me, personally, it was never a simple choice. I love the Olympics, always have. I have watched every Olympics since I can remember. I’m not the most nationalistic guy out there, but I do love sport. So a big part of me was looking forward to being a part of the Olympic spirit, seeing the athletes, actually going to events, volunteering to work at the velodrome, and organizing bicycle valet services at events. I will miss that opportunity in my back yard.

The other element of the bid was the fears. The fear of our City getting overrun by visitors, leaving a wake of congestion and hoopla in my front yard. The fear of redirecting financial resources from necessities such as public health, affordable housing, police and fire services, as well as direct resources to the Active Transportation Alliance. We knew, for example, that it was getting harder to raise sponsorship and foundation dollars when their money was pledged to Chicago 2016. I’m feeling a bit hopeful that the loss of the bid will bring these dollars back to our work and to the communities that need these services.

Throughout the process of the bid, Active Trans has been working with the Bid Committee and others to encourage great new legacy projects for Chicago. Despite the loss of the 2016 Games, we can still move forward with these projects, and we should. Read about our recommendations here..

Lastly, I also hope that the experiences that our host committee had in Copenhagen may rub off on building a multimodal city that puts active transportation forward as a priority. I look forward to continuing our efforts to win these strategies. Deep in my heart I’m a little sad but also glad to be a part of trying to make these Olympics, had they come to Chicago, the best that they could have been for the City and its citizens. We’ll move forward from this, regardless of how one might have stood on the issue before the vote.

 

Climate Change Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

Yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a climate change bill. This legislation will require states to use 10 percent of their allocations from a new cap and trade system to reduce transportation-related emissions. A similar bill in the House would allow up to 10 percent for transportation projects, but not require it.

At least five Senate committees are expected to exert jurisdiction over the climate change bill. Thus, the text released yesterday is subject to a lot of changes. We will keep everyone updated as these move along.

Update on Lakefront Trail repair

Here is an update from the Chicago Department of Transportation on the lakefront trail repair:

All:

As you may be aware, CDOT is performing repairs to the east sidewalk of the Lake Shore Drive bridge, which serves as the Lakefront Trail. During this repair, the sidewalk is closed.

The Trail is using the easternmost lane of northbound LSD, which has been barricaded off solely for Trail users. To better accommodate walkers, joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, CDOT has:

--placed fiberglass panels over the open-grate bridge deck to provide a smooth, uninterrupted surface
--placed temporary asphalt ramps to ease the transition from street to sidewalk at each end
--installed a metal guardrail to separate the temporary Trail from the traffic lane (this work should be finished by day's end.)

The attached photo shows the temporary Trail section on the bridge.

The sidewalk repair was necessitated by an incident around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. While moving the bridge to perform adjustment, a mechanical piece froze and a 10-foot section of the sidewalk broke off. We immediately began making accommodations for the Trail detour, and it reopened Tuesday afternoon.

We don't yet know how long the repair will take, but as soon as it's completed we will reopen the regular Trail.

Feel free to distribute this info, which we have posted on our web site.

Thank you,
Brian

Brian Steele
Chicago Department of Transportation

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