Footprints in your Facebook!

It's the fastest way to see what the Footprints coaches are up to:

Fan it, Facebookers!

Help us help everyone!

Some trips are strictly by bike, some by bike/public transportation. And for those who see their commute as too long or too difficult, we continue to encourage everyone to think before they get in their car for that 1, 2 or 3 mile trip. This is where Footprints makes its biggest impact.

From  one of our Footprints coaches, Mary Lynn Wilson:

Steve Buchtel asked me how long it takes to plan a route for our Footprints participants. I thought about it; it takes a long time! For most of the people we sign up, using a bike for transportation is a novel experience. Using the recommended streets on the Chicagoland bike maps and having the fledgling go at it would bring their noble experiment to a quick halt. So, we coaches poke through maps, Google and Bing only to be faced with a myriad of cul-de-sacs, canals, railroad tracks and streets where a speed limit is merely a suggestion. Persevere we do and manage to come up with a decent route with minimal fast moving cars, sometimes connecting the rider with a train or bus. We sweeten the pot by offering to make the ride with them. Never give someone a route you wouldn’t ride yourself.

But, I have finally been stumped. I met a gentleman at Matteson Fest who worked for the United States Postal Service at O’Hare. He wanted to use his bike to get from the facility on the southeast end of the airport to the Blue Line. Here’s the catch: he didn’t want to ride on Irving Park and he gets off work at 11:30 p.m. He said there was a shuttle to the Blue Line but it didn’t run that late. I wonder if he meant the Pace 332. It leaves the USPS at 11:36 and gets him to the Blue Line at 11:50. I enlisted the help of Rich Evans, the O’Hare bike ambassador (did you know O’Hare had a bike ambassador?) He threw out some suggestions that might work but in the end there still was one very large problem. Even if we geo our South Suburban cyclist to the Blue Line, once he got downtown there was not public transportation to Matteson. The midnight Blue Line train gets downtown at 12:40 and the last train to Matteson is at 12:50; a tight connection dependent upon everything going smoothly. The suggestion to our rider is to continue driving to work but use his bike for his local transportation.

Losing this one doesn’t sting as much knowing we have gotten people from the South Suburbs to downtown Chicago, someone from Oak Forest to Roselle, a teacher from Harlem and Northwest Highway to his school in Orland Park, and an intrepid rider from Tinley down to Kankakee State Park. Some trips are strictly by bike, some by bike/public transportation. And for those who see their commute as too long or too difficult, we continue to encourage everyone to think before they get in their car for that 1, 2 or 3 mile trip. This is where Footprints makes its biggest impact.

For more information on Footprints go to at, or find the Footprints coaches at many Southland events:

The "Taste" of Bikes on Metra, Bittersweet With a Hint of Melancholy

As the Education Specialist here at Active Trans it's my job to educate people in the Northeastern Illinois region on how to use their bikes more effectively and how to take advantage of programs like Bikes on Metra. Imagine my chagrin and slight embarassment when, as I tried to board an outbound Milwaukee District Metra line this morning I was politely reminded by the conductor that no bikes were allowed.

"But I'm reverse commuting" I pleaded, sure that I had the higher ground. "Sorry, no bikes on trains during the Taste of Chicago" the conductor responded. Wanh-wanh-wanh-waaaaah. Let that be a lesson to me to mark these dates in my calendar. And as a favor to our members etc., we'll put those dates in our on line calendar as well for your benefit. That's just part of my job, making mistakes, so you don't have to!

Check out our calendar, where we have the blackout dates listed.


Footprints window stickers are in!

 Stickers are in! - put them on your driver's side window to remind you to make smart transportation choices. If you're from the south suburbs, you get one by filling out the Footprints survey at, OR by finding the Footprints coaches at many Southland events:

If you're not from the Southland, you just don't get it.


Congressional Update

After our successful spring Illinois legislative session, the focus has switched to Washington, DC.

Transportation Bill

Last week, the House Transportation Committee released a proposed new surface transportation bill. We are excited that Chairman Oberstar is leading the efforts, and we hope the key parts of the bill improve and strengthen. With a $450 billion price tag, it's more important than ever that we get a transformative bill with clear goals, measurable targets and national objectives for what those dollars should accomplish. Working with our allies at Transportation for America, we will continue our work to ensure that the new surface transportation bill helps us create healthy streets filled with healthy people.

Climate Change Bill

Also last week, the House narrowly approved the American Clean Energy and Security Act. This bill, commonly known as the Climate Change Bill, will help transform our oil-dependent country to move livable and active forms of transportation and living. Many thanks to Reps. Bean, Davis, Gutierrez, Halvorson, Hare, Jackson, Kirk, Lipinski, Quigley, Rush and Schakowsky for voting for the bill.

Members celebrate their ride, Dutch-style

Yesterday, a few dozen Active Trans members celebrated riding for fun and for transportation at Dutch Bike Company. Key draws of the member mixer event were test rides of the store’s Bakfiets cargo bike and a viewing of a Chicago police training video recently produced by Active Trans consultants at the Chicago Department of Transportation. The 13-minute video gives police officers the tools to enforce traffic safety laws as they apply to motorists and cyclists sharing the road. The video underscores two key component of Active Trans’ work: increasing safety and educating road users. You can see how thrilled our members were to see the training video. 

Crowd Photo 
Photo by Chris Brunn

Show your member card at Dutch Bike Co. during the next week, and the store will honor its Member Mixer night offering of 20% off its stylish bags.


SouthtownStar: Traveling via bus might be the wave of the future

Citizen journalist Paul Eisenberg of Crete writes how he plans to hook his 6-year old on public transportation: by taking a bus trip to Mitchell's Ice Cream in Homewood. Excellent advice: that's how I taught my daughter to love the Pace 359 bus when we lived in Markham; it was front door service to a creamy heaven.

Footprints coach Mary-Lynn Wilson is going to offer Paul some help in navigating the bus routes and transfers to make the trip. Footprints coaches are everywhere this summer, helping dads & moms indulge their kids in a car-free sugar romp and shrink their family's carbon footprint at the same time. Sign up for a Footprints coach at, or write to

Free your feet! 

Spread the word about membership!

We are excited to announce that anyone can now join Active Trans at any dollar level with specific benefits and premiums depending on the level of membership.

This gives you new options to support us without changing your current membership.

Here is how it works:

  • Joining at under $30, members receive legislative action alerts and our e-bulletin while supporting our mission.
  • Premium membership is still $30 with the benefits you’ve long-expected from us: regional bicycle map, subscription to the newsletter, discounts at local businesses, discounts on our events and invitations to free, member-only events.
  • Households can add members for $10 per person, giving more access to the local discount program.
  • Learn about other levels with even more benefits.

Financial support is more important than ever right now. We sincerely appreciate your support and ask that you spread to work to friends and family.

Join today!

Private parking meters have long-range impact on urban planning, transportation

The privatization of Chicago’s parking meters puts the region’s future in a precarious position related to transportation, urban planning, congestion and overall quality of life, according to an analysis released today by the Active Transportation Alliance.

The analysis, “Unrealized Assets: How leasing control of parking meters limits the future of active transport and innovative urban planning,“ identifies the overarching impact: when the City gave up control of collecting revenue from parking meters, it also gave up all control of the public right of way on any streets with parking meters. See the full report here.

This limits any potential projects that use streets with metered spaces: bus rapid transit, bicycle lanes, street festivals, sidewalk expansion, streetscaping, pedestrian bulb-outs, loading zones, rush hour parking control, mid-block crossing, and temporary open spaces. The City’s ability to use streets in fresh, people-centric ways is now dictated, controlled and limited by the arrangements and penalties within the parking meters lease.

Legislative Roundup - Thank You Edition

Thank you for making the 2009 Illinois legislative session a success!

Your commitment to walking, biking and transit pushed us to secure huge wins:

  • Increased Safe Routes to School Funding
  • Creation of School Transportation Task Force
  • Distracted driving bills (partial bans on talking on cell phones and text messaging while driving)
  • Requirement for Metra to accept credit cards
  • Providing bicyclists and pedestrians access to compensation in hit and run crashes
  • Protecting electric bike riders rights
Thanks to our legislative champions for biking, walking and transit:
Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Michael Bond, Sen. James Meeks, Sen. Martin Sandoval
Sen. Pamela Althoff, Sen. Edward Maloney, Rep. Luis Arroyo, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, Rep. John D’Amico, Rep. Robert Pritchard, Rep. Greg Harris, House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie
We could not have done it without you. Active Transportation Alliance is your voice for better biking, walking and transit. Throughout the year we have campaigns that create healthy streets filled with healthy people. 

Please check back at the blog at for more information on our ongoing campaigns.  If you have any suggestions for next year's legislative agenda, email or call 312.427.3325 x229.

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