Do you love cycling?
Love Chicago and your local neighborhood?
Enjoy talking with people and being rewarded for your efforts?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you should join the Active Trans Street Team!
Street Teamers volunteer their time and energy to engage their local community, distribute promotional material and answer questions about Active Trans and upcoming events. Upon successful completion of your Street Team mission, you will receive a complimentary pass to Active Trans’ Four Star Bike & Chow on Sunday, 25th August!
Our upcoming Four Star Bike & Chow is a great opportunity for individuals of all ages and abilities to explore Chicago’s neighborhoods by bike, learn to cycle safely in the city, try some tasty foods, while spending quality time with family, friends, co-workers and the wider community.
To volunteer or learn more about the Street Team, please contact Sharon, at Sharon@activetrans.org
Please indicate the neighborhood or suburban community in which you would like to volunteer. Thank you!
If you want to make Broadway Ave in Uptown better forbiking and walking, then you won’t want to miss 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman’s upcoming public meeting to discuss planned biking and pedestrian improvements to this busy northside corridor.
City transportation officials will review exciting plans to bring enhancements like protected bike lanes that will help calm traffic and make the corridor more people friendly.
What: 46th Ward Complete Streets Community Meeting
When: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Weiss Memorial Hospital, 4646 N Marine Dr, (In the auditorium accessed from the main drive off Marine)
Let us know if you plan on attending – please RSVP here.
Please come out and voice your support for making Broadway safer and better for everyone!
Photo courtesty of Flickr user swanksalot.
The blue bikes can be spotted across the city, with 700 currently circulating around 70 stations and an additional 2,300 bikes to be added by the end of summer.
To get to know some of the people behind these numbers, we caught up with a few users to see where they were headed and how Divvy helped them get there.
On his first ride as a Divvy user, Bill was making a short trip from his home in the South Loop to work in the Loop, where he docked at North Michigan Avenue and East Lake Street.
After his ride, Bill said he’s considering becoming a Divvy member in order to support the program and use it when he is unable to use his personal bike.
“I’m excited about the concept,” he said.
Leticia is a Divvy member who is in her third week of commuting via Divvy.
She rides five days per week from her home in West Town to work in the Loop, where she was docking at North Michigan Avenue and East Washington Street.
She decided to give Divvy a try because her bike had previously been stolen downtown.
Now, she said she doesn’t have to worry about her transportation getting stolen.
“I love [Divvy]; it’s a good bike and I get exercise while I’m getting to work.”
Another first time Divvy user, John, was heading from his office in Streeterville to a dentist appointment in the Loop.
Since he lives in the suburbs, John said he would consider becoming a Divvy member, specifically so that he could use the bikes to easily travel from the Metra to his office and back.
Active Trans is excited to announce that the 2013 edition of the Chicagoland Bike Map is hot off the presses and now in the Active Trans office.
The map is a unique resource for cyclists in the Chicagoland area because it covers a huge area unmatched by more localized municipal maps. Its boundaries run roughly from Kenosha, Wisconsin to the North, Aurora to the West, and University Park to the South. The Southeast of the map extends to the Indiana state line.
Improving upon previous editions, the 2013 map gives cyclists more than just the area's trails and cycling lanes. It also provides an improved rating system that will help people make decisions about which routes to take. Routes are rated as excellent, good or fair, and those ratings have been updated and refined.
Another goal of this sixth edition of the map is showing connectedness. This was accomplished by having volunteers work on reducing many of the dead ends found in the previous 2010 edition.
"This map really tries to tie together all of the bike routes in the region," said Marissa Dolin, transportation planner for Active Trans.
|This is just one of the two pallets of new bike maps that arrived in the Active Trans office.|
Active Trans builds its map from various sources of data — and most importantly data gathered by trained volunteers. About 150 experienced riders — more than in any previous edition — contributed to this year's map. This allows the map to truly be “for cyclists, by cyclists” in its design.
Paul Lippens, Active Trans' director of planning, stressed that the data provided by these volunteers forms the core the map: “If you asked our members, 'What are the best streets and trails for riding?' This map is the answer."
New and renewing Active Trans members will receive a map automatically as part of their membership. Others can purchase the new map here.
Remember last year when CTA and Metra were forced to raise fare prices to make ends meet? Riders had to tighten their belts, and as it turns out they’ve done it by choosing to ride a little less often.
CTA’s reports for recent months indicate a slight drop in ridership over past year. At a recent CTA board meeting, transit officials pointed out that while it is a relatively small change, one of the reasons for the decrease in ridership was the increased cost of the seven day pass.
Increased fares and subsequent decreases in ridership are just symptoms of the much larger problem facing transit agencies. Significant underfunding has forced the transit agencies to make tough decisions and the result is that we as riders are getting less for our money or choosing not to take transit at all.
We see the effects of the chronic underfunding not just in the drop in ridership, but also in the quality of the transit service provided.
According to a recent Chicago Sun Times editorial, Metra spent quite a bit of time apologizing for service disruptions this week. The commuter rail line suffered “19 days in which problems with locomotives, switches, signals and weather delayed trains 143 times on its Burlington Northern Sante Fe line.”
In the same period, the editorial noted, four other Metra lines also missed their on-time targets.
The drop in ridership and the steady increase of problems on transit systems, the backlog of necessary maintenance projects are all evidence of the fact that we have not given transit the funding it needs.
The world class transit system that Chicagoland wants and deserves is not going to build itself. It takes investment and commitment from our elected officials. Our elected leaders hold the purse strings and decide whether our transit agencies will keep struggling to make ends meet or grow to meet our needs. We need to speak up to demand that they increase investment in transit.
For 22 years, the Active Transportation Alliance has created thousands of new bike commuters each summer through the Bike Commuter Challenge.
The event showcases bike commuting as an activity that is fun, easy, popular and a great value. All that is topped off with the element of enjoyable competition.
Throughout the long history of the Bike Commuter Challenge, it has been the enthusiastic guidance of the Team Leader – our bike commuting evangelists – to create and recruit teams that have set new records for participation nearly every year.
Tonight Active Trans, along with Chicago Green Office Challenge, will be honoring this year’s winning teams as part of the inaugural Chicagoland Sustainable Commuting Awards Bash. All team leaders have been invited to this downtown event, along with civic and business leaders who have significantly contributed to furthering sustainable commuting in the Chicago area.
Jerome McDonnell, host of WBEZ’s Worldview, will emcee and Frank Petito, President of Orbitz, will deliver the keynote address. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein will also speak.
Other attendees include Center for Neighborhood Technology CEO Kathy Tholin; Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko; Groupon’s CFO Jason Child and Supervisor of Human Resources Skip Schipper; Siemens Chicago CEO Judy Martinez Faye and Director of Sustainability and Green Building Solutions Ari Kobb; Jones Lang LaSalle Executive Vice President Robert Best; and Upshot Marketing President Brian Kristofek.
Here is the full list of award-winners we’ll be honoring on this big night:
This year was the second year Active Trans collected trip data directly from each participant, and it was the first year the event was hosted at Drivelesslivemore.com.
The new website format did present some challenges, but overall, the real-time data and the enthusiasm of team leaders inspired a very competitive Bike Commuter Challenge in 2013.
Thanks to our sponsors – the City of Chicago, WXRT-93.1, SRAM, Clif Bar, Village Cycle Center, Divvy BikeShare, and Dark Matter Coffee – and to everyone who participated this year!
Do you wish there were more safe streets for cycling in Illinois? We certainly do. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is looking for feedback on its first statewide Bike Transportation Plan, and an upcoming public meeting on Tue., July 9, is a great place for you to share what’s needed to make biking safer and easier for you.
Please consider telling IDOT that while protected bike lanes may not work on every state route, they need to be included in IDOT’s toolbox of solutions for making streets safer, rather than being prohibited outright.
Despite the success of local protected bike lanes and national studies showing that protected bike lanes boost safety, IDOT continues to ban construction of protected bike lanes on roads it controls until more data is gathered. This negatively impacts the ability of Chicago and the suburbs to provide safe streets for cycling.
The Illinois Bike Transportation Plan aims to guide future policy decisions and infrastructure improvements to make cycling a safer, more convenient and more accessible transportation option for Illinoisans.
Topics covered in the plan will include bicycling-related planning and policy, funding, bicycling safety, design and maintenance. It will also include information about a regional biking network, implementation and prioritization guidelines for bike paths and lanes, state bicycling performance measures, education, outreach and enforcement.
Chicago Public Meeting
Tuesday, July 9
Thompson Center, Concourse Level Assembly Hall
100 W. Randolph Street
Live outside the Chicago region? Public meetings will be held in other areas of the state as well.
Can’t attend the meeting? Illinois residents will be able to provide feedback through an online survey launching soon at illinoisbicycleplan.com. Or join IDOT for an online, interactive webinar on July 30, 6:30-8:00 p.m. RSVP for the webinar.
South Holland is about to get friendlier for people who walk and ride bikes.
|Above: 170th Street after the road diet, with center turn lane and bike lanes. Below: 170th Street before construction.|
Specifically, 170th Street west of South Park Avenue to west of I-94 in South Holland are becoming more bike and walk friendly thanks to a "road diet."
The Cook County project began last spring in the South Suburb that is located about 20 miles south of the loop, and should be finished this summer.
The stretch of road received a complete reconstruction that reduced the number of vehicle lanes from four to two, adding a center turn lane and bike lanes. New pavement and traffic signals were also added.
The reduction in lanes creates more space for bike lanes and increases safety by controlling vehicle traffic flow and speed.
This allows for roomier lanes and fewer lanes people walking must cross.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, when roads with four travel lanes are reduced to two travel lanes with a two-way left-turn lane, researchers see a 29 percent reduction in all roadway crashes.
The new lanes add more than one mile of new dedicated bike and pedestrian paths in the area, complimenting the already existing on-pavement bike lanes on nearby Cottage Grove Avenue from 159th Street to 170th Street
Help raise awareness of bike issues by documenting the demand for more bikeways in Chicago!
The Chicago Department of Transportation's Complete Streets Program is recruiting volunteers to help with the Summer 2013 Downtown Bike Count during one or more of the following times:
Approximately 25 volunteers are needed for each of the three shifts.
Since the Chicago Downtown Bike Count began in September 2011, it's been a success due to the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers from across Chicago and the suburbs.
Data collected by volunteers is used to track changes in seasonal ridership, document the need for bicycle infrastructure and help advance Chicago’s commitment to be the most bicycle-friendly city in America.
Bike count data from 2011-2013 is now available. (Spring 2013 Downtown Count results coming soon!)
Thanks to a partnership between Active Trans, the Oak Park School District and Greenline Wheels, more than 1,000 Oak Park elementary school students recently took part in bike safety and education programs.
As soon as next year, supporters hope to see this program expand with a mobile fleet of bikes in order to reach even more students.
“It’s part of a process that we have been working on in Oak Park, and in the region in general, trying to promote bicycle safety and use as transportation in the school environment,” said Jason Jenkins, Active Trans’ education specialist and crash support programs manager.
But educating students on bike safety poses many logistical challenges, including how to get bikes to school, where to keep them and what to do if a student doesn’t have a bike.
Greenline Wheels, an Oak Park bike rental shop that describes itself as “a social mission business with a focus on cycling advocacy,” helped solve these logistical issues by providing bikes and helmets to students who needed them.
As part of the effort, Greenline Wheels general manager Abigail Miller and assistant manager David Poppei and Horace Mann Elementary School PE instructor Margaret Garcia all became League of American Bicyclists League Bicycling Instructors and trained Oak Park’s physical education teachers on bike safety last spring.
The team was able to visit all Oak Park elementary schools, targeting grades three and four specifically.
“We want kids to get introduced to the concept of signaling, riding in a straight line, obeying the rules of the road, thinking of their bike as a vehicle not a toy, and awareness of where hazards are and how to avoid them,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said Active Trans hopes to expand the program as soon as next year with what he calls a Bikes-on-Wheels program. “Basically, it’s an enclosed trailer that has a complete fleet of about thirty bikes, helmets, and all the necessary equipment to manage the program … and it would be on loan to the school district,” Jenkins said.
This would enable PE instructors to do an entire unit on bike safety, with technical support and training provided by Active Trans.
“We are relatively confident that we will be able to do something like that next year with Oak Park,” Jenkins said. “The school district superintendent and the executive director of the park district have already expressed support and interest in the program.”
The fleet would also serve Oak Park residents when it’s used by the park district for summer programming. After the first year, if the municipality is still interested, Active Trans would show the municipality how to purchase its own fleet.
Active Trans would then take the original fleet of Bikes-on-Wheels to another municipality to repeat the process, teaching ever-increasing numbers of students how to safely get around on bikes.