Urgent action needed today to stop Illiana Expressway

We were extremely disappointed ALL FOUR of Chicagoland’s transit agencies—Metra, CTA, RTA and Pace—voted against their own riders’ interests by not opposing an expressway project in the deep suburbs.

If approved, the Illiana will directly compete against transit for a billion dollars of transportation funding—while moving fewer people than the buses on Ashland Avenue in Chicago.

The good news is the transit agencies get a second chance to do the right thing tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon. And Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said the CTA will oppose the Illiana in that vote.

Please take action and tell Metra, Pace and the RTA to also vote against the Illiana tomorrow

Building the Illiana Expressway could be a train wreck for public transportation in our region.

With precious few funds for transportation projects in Chicagoland, the Illiana jeopardizes a long list of planned improvements to Metra and CTA train lines, and dims the prospect that the crucial Red Line south extension to 135th Street will ever be built.

By not opposing the Illiana, transit agencies voted against their own interests, against transit riders’ interests and against Chicago’s adopted regional plan, which prioritizes multimodal transportation and investment in existing infrastructure in areas where people live.

Why would transit agencies vote against rider’s interests? It appears they were worried that a No vote could jeopardize their state funding, because the state is strongly pushing the Illiana. But remember the recent scandals at Metra and the RTA? The public trust in Chicago’s transit leadership has already been shaken. This is not the time for them to again bow to political pressure.

Help us urge Metra, Pace, and RTA to resist political pressure and support transit

With the vote tomorrow, this is urgent. We need all the help we can get.

Help us show the transit agencies that their riders want them to stand for transit.

Image courtesty at Metropolitan Planning Council

Last week to enter Active Trans’ Haiku-Palooza

Share your experiences biking, walking or using public transportation in Chicagoland in the form of a haiku! This is the final week for Active Trans' haiku contest. Deadline to submit haikus is Oct. 21. 

The winner will receive a free membership (or membership renewal) to Active Trans, a free event registration, and a $50 REI giftcard.

Here’s one to get you going -- a contest submission by Josh Grode Wolters.

Cars racing by me
wish State Street had a bike lane
road work on Canal

Liz Kramer submitted several haikus with the note: "I write missed connection bike haikus to people who make me angry or happy on my commute." Here's one of her submissions. 

Riding behind you
Is a pleasure; fear leaves me.
"That's my goal most days."

If you've been putting off your submission, now's the time. Read the rules and submission details here. 

Slow down Chicago! First speed cameras document rampant speeding

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that in 45 days, the city's first four speed camera locations (not to be confused with red light camera enforcement) caught an incredible 222,000 drivers (roughly 5,000 per day) cruising at least 6 mph over the speed limit. More than 80,000 of these drivers were 11 mph or more over the limit. 

I am appalled, but not surprised, that more than 1,000 cars per day on average are speeding at each of these locations. Speeding is dangerous and deadly, but as this data shows, it’s also very common. So common, in fact, that many people treat speed limits as laws not worthy of enforcement, something cities do just to make money.

Indeed, this Tribune story raises red flags about the city's "revenue potential" for speed cameras but doesn't question drivers' rampant, dangerous speeding.

And why do we speed? In Chicago, it’s a lot of hurry up and wait, where excessive speed only buys you a longer wait at the next red light or stop sign -- not a quicker trip.

And speeding contributes to an average of 60 car crashes per day (11 of which involve hitting people on foot and bikes) with injuries and fatalities. And that’s just in Chicago. Speeding is also a problem in the suburbs. 

The first Chicago speed cameras are located in four city park locations -- recreation zones that should be extra safe. The city is currently issuing warnings before tickets of $35 (6-10 mph over the speed limit) and $100 (11 mph or more over) begin October 21. 

All the more reason to slow down Chicago! And make our streets and sidewalks safer places to get around.  

Want to improve the Des Plaines River Trail?

The Des Plaines River Trail has been a part of the north and northwest suburbs for decades, connecting people from northern Lake County into the suburbs of Cook County.

It's a fun place to walk, bike, run, ride a horse or paddle in the river. But portions of the trail in northern Cook County are challenging to get to on foot or bike, and the trail has several harrowing road crossings. Thousands of people who live close by may feel unsafe walking or biking there. Once they arrive, trail users travel a short distance before facing a busy street to cross.

Many, including those with children or a low tolerance for fast moving traffic, may stay away from this beautiful, scenic trail because they don’t have a safe route to it. Those who work at office parks and the community college close to the trail could easily commute by bike --  if the right connections were available.

Active Trans is leading a study to address some of these challenges, in partnership with the Northwest Municipal Conference, and the towns of Wheeling, Northbrook, Prospect Heights, Glenview, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Niles, Park Ridge, and the consulting firms Houseal Lavine and Gewalt Hamilton.

The team is looking at ways to make it easier and safer to enjoy the trail between Lake Cook and Higgins Roads. If you use the trail, or wish you could, please share your ideas through this online survey and interactive mapping tool. 

Schools Celebrate Walk to School Day

On Wednesday, October 9, schools across the country celebrated International Walk to School Day. Many schools in the Chicagoland region participated, and Active Trans was able to support a number of them with resources and guidance.

For some schools, the celebration merged with programming they already had in place. For others, this was a special day that will hopefully kickstart more activities like this in the future.

At Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy in Chicago's Cragin neighborhood, hundreds of students, staff and parents met at a corner about four blocks from the school to create a Walking School Bus. Prieto plans to continue the Walking School Bus practice every week for Walking Wednesdays.

At Nobel Elementary in West Humboldt Park, students were encouraged to walk and bike and gain a healthy start to their day. Prieto and Nobel are both schools participating in the Healthy CPS and LearnWELL initiatives.

Other Chicago schools also participated: At Ray Elementary in Hyde Park, students met at two different locations for Walking School Buses. At Skinner North Elementary in Old Town, after school students celebrated transportation week, they learned about why you should walk and bike and how to do so more safely.

Many other schools across the state and region also participated. Students at schools in West Chicago and Des Plaines joined Walking School Buses, and students in Berwyn received walking maps and safety information to encourage participation. See a list of some of the schools participating in Illinois this year. 

Active Trans is always excited to help schools celebrate biking and walking events and look forward to supporting future Walk and Bike to School Day events.

If you’d like more information on the work we do to support children and youth walking and biking, visit www.activetrans.org/education or e-mail education@activetrans.org.

Listen to a local radio spot on Bike and Walk to School Day. 

 

Can you count to five, seven and then five again?

Ever felt that your time biking, walking and using transit deserved a haiku? Now’s your chance to write one.

Active Trans is holding a haiku contest. The winner will receive a free membership (or membership renewal) to Active Trans, a free event registration and a $50 REI giftcard.

Next week is the final week to submit your best haikus. Share your insights that come to you while biking, walking and using transit.

Here are a few haikus to get you started:

Bus and train tracker
Have begun to rule my life
Eight minutes more sleep

Here's one contest submission by Josh Grode Wolters

Cars racing by me
Wish State Street had a bike lane
Road work on canal

And a submission by Gin Kilgore 

Van Buren green wave--
I did not stop for 15 blocks.
Biking's Holy Grail

Read about the submission details.

Our in-house scientist gives the final word on helmets

For years, we here at Active Trans have been the proverbial rope in a tug of war between both sides of the "great helmet debate."

We've heard it all: "Everyone in helmets, everywhere all the time!" to "Helmets are a scam and detrimental to the movement!" And everything in between.

Well, we finally decided to settle the matter once and for all using SCIENCE, slow motion photography and fruit. (Melon is a fruit right? Or is it a nightshade? Awww man, did we just open up another controversy?!)

Enjoy!

Bike for Booze in October

Active Trans is pleased to partner with Death's Door Spirits and bicycle-friendly bars across Chicago for Bike for Booze, which runs the entire month of October.

Bike rides are scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 19.

Throughout the month, riders can get a Bike for Booze Passport from any participating bar to ride and win prizes like a custom vintage bicycle and a trip to Death's Door Distillery!

Death's Door Spirits will donate $1 to Active Trans for every Bike for Booze Cocktail sold in October.

The first Bike For Booze Ride is this Saturday, Oct. 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. The ride begins at Three Aces where bikers will enjoy a 12-mile ride around the city that ends with an after-party at Boiler Room.

Participants in the scheduled rides will earn an extra entry in the grand prize drawing, a Bike for Booze T-shirt, and food and libations at the after-party.

The second Bike for Booze Ride is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. with locations TBA.

Please sign up for the rides and learn more at www.Bike4Booze.com.

Bars participating in Bike for Booze:
Hopleaf, Handlebar, Simone's, Revolution Brewery, Hideout, Maria's Package Goods, Jerry's Sandwiches, Five Star, Three Aces, Boiler Room, Four Moon Tavern, The Grafton, Red Door, Fountainhead, Feast

Web developers wanted for pro bono project!

Active Trans is seeking the pro bono assistance of a qualified web development firm or developers to help redesign and rebuild the back end of our current website, www.activetrans.org.

We’ll be moving from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, and hope to build some great new features and functions for the website. The generous people at the user-interface firm Fuzzy Math are working pro bono with Active Trans to provide all front-facing design aspects for this project.

Active Trans is also in the process of putting in place a new constituent relationship management (CRM) database called Raiser’s Edge. We hope to integrate Raiser’s Edge with our new website to allow our members and supporters easier ways to join, renew, and donate.

If you're interested in helping out, we would love to hear from you. Here's the RFP and scope of the project. For any questions, please contact technology@activetrans.org.

Submit your haiku for Active Trans’ haiku-palooza

Writing a haiku is easy: five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five syllables in the third. Like this: 

While walking to work
A cat watches from window
Half interested

Here's a submission for the Active Trans Haiku Contest (the author preferred not to be identified).

Bike in silhouette
Red sun rising on water
Peaceful beginning

Here's an entry submitted by Carolyn Martineau. 

As commute routes sprout
Emerald protected lanes
Our bikes dance with glee

Here's an entry by Cheryl Zalenski. 

Chilly fall bike ride
Wakes me up in the morning
Sunshine on my face
 

Get involved by submitting haikus for the contest. The winner will receive a free membership (or a membership renewal) to Active Trans, a free event registration and a $50 REI giftcard.

Read the rules and submission details.

 

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