The Things You Learn When You Hang Out With The Active Transportation Alliance

Active Trans Members Thank Our Aldermen

I’ve been a member of the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) for a few years, but this was the first year that I’ve ever attended a membership meeting.  I gotta say, I think I’ll be attending more often!  Besides the fact that I ran into a few other local bike bloggers , I learned a lot about what’s been going on at the legislative level to support cyclists in Illinois  and how important this organization is to improving the safety of our streets and cities for cyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders.  You can read a quick summary of the meeting on the Active Trans blog for all the details.   Two big things stuck out in my mind – things I’ll keep my eye on in the coming legislative year.

  • Our Alderman have some discretionary money (about $1.3 million per ward !!!) called ‘menu’ funds which they are encouraged to use on infrastructure projects within their ward.   This money can be used to repaint bike lanes,  add bike lanes,  improve signage, etc.  Some Aldermen have been spending their money on bike and pedestrians projects and the photo above is a big thank-you to all the Aldermen who have done so.  Contact your Alderman and let him or her know what you want that money spent on. Here’s a good rundown of how it works.
  • The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) does not count ‘dooring’ as a type of crash in their crash reporting statistics.   IDOT has no intention of changing their reporting on their own either – guess I’ll be writing some letters or something in support of the efforts that Active Trans will be doing over the next few years to change the way doorings are reported.  This particular issue may seem like an administrative technicality but think about it  — this means that the crash report statistics that come out of IDOT are  skewed and that their numbers for crashes that involve bicycles are low.

Now there are a lot more great things going on in the coming year for Active Trans especially given the$45 million in federal funds that Illinois will be doling out for biking and pedestrian projects, so don’t think that the two items I mentioned above were the high points.  Go take a read at the Active Trans blog,  and learn what’s coming up and what you can do to improve the lot of cyclists in your community.

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