Between 2006 and 2012, people driving cars hit nearly 19,000 children who were walking or biking in Illinois, and 54 percent of those children were hit within one block of a school.
The Chicago area provides opportunities to enjoy more than 1,100 miles of trails that crisscross the region. Not only are these trails fabulous recreational assets, they are also an underutilized transportation network, providing low-stress walking and biking connections within and between communities.
Despite this great regional resource, too often people walking or biking on our regional trails encounter dead ends, dangerous crossings, diversions onto stressful streets, and other gaps in the network. These gaps can be a just a few blocks long or go on for miles. Furthermore, many trails are only accessible by getting in a car and driving to the trailhead and then proceeding on foot or bike.
All these issues prevent people from using trails for everyday transportation and recreation. But the surging popularity of multi-use trails and the growing appreciation for the related health, economic and environmental benefits they can bring our communities has opened a window of opportunity to make our regional trail network safer, more inviting and more functional.
Building on our decades of experience advocating for trails, Active Transportation Alliance is focusing on closing 142 miles of trail gaps in the suburbs and 45 miles of gaps in the city of Chicago. Filling these gaps is crucial to creating a truly connected regional network of trails for walking, running and biking.
Trail Connect Chicagoland is building the grassroots support, political will and technical know-how needed to achieve this ambitious goal.
Communities throughout the region strongly support trail networks and creating trails that are uninterrupted. Gap segments are already getting filled on the Skokie Valley Trail, Cal-Sag Trail and others. Working together with grassroots advocates, local leaders and public officials, we will strive to build on this momentum in other priority areas throughout the region as well as work to create a collective vision to unify our trail system.
Through Trail Connect Chicagoland, Active Trans will:
For more information, contact [email protected]
If you’re excited by the prospect of helping spread the word about our campaigns to improve biking, walking and public transit in Chicagoland, you should become an Active Trans Ambassador. Get trained, attend events and share your knowledge.