For decades transportation planning in Cook County has focused largely on moving cars as quickly as possible through our streets, but it looks like that approach may be changing at last.
The county is currently in the second year of a three-year process to develop a Long Range Transportation Plan. This plan will guide the design and implementation of transportation projects in the region.
During Phase I of the planning process earlier this year, more than 1,600 county residents responded to a public survey and highlighted the need to invest in alternative transportation options.
According to a county summary of responses, respondents indicated they “want to move beyond planning primarily for the automobile and explore opportunities to reduce congestion and enhance public transportation and cycling.”
The county recently released its Phase II survey, which allows us another opportunity to make the case for sustainable transportation.
Please fill out the online survey to provide feedback on county priorities and support improvements to CTA rail and bus service, bikeway facilities, Metra commuter rail service, and Pace bus service in the suburbs.
The county is also hosting four open houses in December where you can weigh in on the plan. Here are the details:
- Tuesday, Dec. 2, 4-7 p.m. – Franklin Park Police Station Community Room (9451 W. Belmont, Franklin Park, IL 60131)
- Wednesday, Dec. 3, 4-7 p.m. – Northbrook Village Hall Board Room (1225 Cedar Lane, Northbrook, IL 60062)
- Thursday, Dec. 4, 4-7 p.m. – Chaddick Institute, DePaul University (14 E. Jackson, Dublin Room, 16th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604)
- Tuesday, Dec. 9, 4-7 p.m. – Orland Park Civic Center (14750 Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park, IL 60462)
The planning process concludes next year, with a final report expected by the end of September.
LISC Chicago’s Business District Leadership (BDL) program is bringing together nonprofit and public sector leaders to support training, education and capacity building for organizations offering services to business districts throughout the City of Chicago.
Inspired by the award-winning Coro New York Neighborhood Leadership program, BDL is designed to address the professional development and networking needs of the growing field of commercial district practitioners.
Commercial district professionals are charged with leading change in their neighborhoods with limited resources, high expectations from the community and the agencies that fund them and competing priorities of multiple stakeholders. Through the Business District Leadership Program, participating organizations will benefit from enhanced leadership skills, exposure to strategies, resources and networks – including federal, city and county departments – that are critical to cultivating a vibrant commercial corridor.
Approximately 20 nonprofit management professionals whose work is focused on commercial revitalization will be selected for the inaugural Business District Leadership cohort. Selected participants will reflect the demographics of Chicago with representation from across the city. The requirements:
- Work in Chicago as a full-time employee for a nonprofit organization whose work is focused on commercial revitalization
- Minimum of five years of work experience in the field
- Letter of support of supervisor to participate fully in program
- Passion and curiosity about developing new leadership skills germane to problem solving in Chicago
- Interest in joining the BDL network
The application deadline is December 12, 2014
The Business District Leadership program offers a number of benefits to participants and their organization:
Building Your Network. The program is rooted in network and relationship building – both among participants and with key leaders in the field who are dedicated to supporting one another and to improving the city in which we live and work. The ability to reach out to a strong peer network for feedback and guidance at critical junctures will be a critical benefit for program participants.
Leadership Development. LISC Chicago’s BDL program will provide an immersive experience in building individual and collaborative capacity for practicing leadership and bringing about change in the communities. BDL will present participants with an array of leadership development tools and challenges to push them to explore all aspects of an issue and to work more collaboratively in a group. The “Adaptive Leadership” framework specifically will help participants develop and practice the “soft” leadership skills and tools needed to implement change at the neighborhood level.
Experiential Learning. This field-based training will engage program participants directly with content relevant to their work. BDL will use the City of Chicago as a lab to explore, test and build effective commercial revitalization strategies to adapt and thrive in challenging environments.
Neighborhood Change Project. Participants will use the training to execute a project of their choosing to apply what they’ve learned in real time in the neighborhoods where they work. The program will offer active opportunities for participants to request feedback from the cohort as they advance their Neighborhood Change projects.
How It Works
The program will run from February 26– July 8, 2015. There will be a three-day opening retreat to provide participants an opportunity to build the relationships that are critical for peer-to-peer feedback, then all day every third Wednesday and all day every first Saturday for six months. Download the BDL calendar
Leadership Days. Participants will gather monthly for four-full day workshops (one Saturday a month for a total of four days). These session focus on leadership skills that serve as the foundation for the BDL program, including: purpose, vision, partnership, inquiry, personal ecology and goal setting.
Strategy days. Participants will gather monthly for strategy days (one weekday a month for a total of four days). These sessions focus on exposing participants to Chicago-based practitioners on key revitalization strategies, including; administrative management, retail sales, small business support, redevelopment, tenant mix and performance accountability.
The full value of the Business District Leadership program is $12,000 per participant. However, through support of Polk Bros. Foundation. LISC Chicago is able to offer the program at a cost of $1,000 per participant.
Upon successful completion of the program LISC Chicago will provide a $1,000 grant to the participant’s organization to advance the Neighborhood Change project.
If motorists and bicyclists are going to be safe on the roads they need to share space instead of fighting for it.
This summer, the Active Transportation Alliance teamed up with national bike advocacy group PeopleforBikes and AAA, the nation’s largest motor organization, on a campaign to encourage bicyclists and motorists to respectfully share the road.
Now an Austin, Texas-based campaign is advocating for that same camaraderie by asking motorists and bicyclists to "roll nice" and share a wave.
The idea was born on a daily bike commute to the Austin-based branding firm The Butler Bros, which created the project.
“If WAVE sounds overly simple, that’s the point,” project co-creator Adam Butler said in a news release. “Ninety percent of cyclists are also motorists. We’re all people trying to get somewhere. The infrastructure improvements needed to ease tension between cars and bikes can’t happen overnight, but you can wave at someone today.”
Watch the WAVE introductory video here:
It's a simple but effective reminder that we all share the road and that we're all just people, not bikes or cars. Acknowledging each other's presence shows we respect one another, and aren't simply jockeying for position. Learn more about the WAVE project.
Whenever you encounter anti-bike sentiment in opinion columns, a level-headed response is necessary to help set the record straight.
That’s what we saw recently in suburban Niles after The Bugle newspaper guest columnist Morgan Dubiel claimed that infrastructure improvements like bike lanes are, among other things, dangerous and discouraging for motorists.
The column came on the heels of the forward-thinking Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan put forth by the Village of Niles, which shows a commitment to active transportation.
This plan speaks volumes to debunk the many false claims made in the column, but sometimes the best response to a resident comes from another resident.
Active Trans member and Niles resident Brian Lee wrote a response to the column and The Bugle published it. We've shared his letter below. And here's a link to the PDF, which reveals that Lee was not the only person who thought the column needed a quick and thoughtful response.
When you hear someone making inaccurate claims about cycling, set the record straight with a sober response like Lee’s. And if you're looking for fact-based fodder for your response, People for Bikes offers a lot of great resources.
Here’s Lee’s response to the newspaper column:
Morgan Dubiel’s guest column in the Oct. 23 issue about bike safety is short-sighted, predicated on the premise: “If the goal is simply bicycle safety...” The goal is much broader than simply bicycle safety.
The Village of Niles has been visionary and judicious to “make no little plans” toward making Niles a great place to live or open a business. The Village’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan and Environmental Action Plan correctly identify that improving bicycle and pedestrian mobility within the Village will impact the sustainability of the Village, the economic health of its commercial corridors, the physical health of residents, and will increase the attractiveness of Niles as a place for young families to raise children.
I wholeheartedly agree with Morgan’s sentiment that “mobility allows you to live as you wish.” There is a significant percentage of folks in our community who don’t drive however: Where is their mobility? Where is their freedom? Wouldn’t it be better to enable senior citizens to age in place and delay (or avoid) having to move into assisted living by building a more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly community?
Bike lanes are considered mainstream in many parts of our country, and close to home. The Village of Niles is 100 percent in step with peer communities like Schaumburg (a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community), Mt. Prospect, Evanston, Wheeling and dozens of others in embracing bicycling as a clean, healthy, equitable form of transportation for its residents.
Recent research has shown that the Millennial generation is driving less, buying/owning fewer cars, and include walkability/bikeability/transit access among their top considerations when deciding where to live. The Village of Niles is to be applauded, not criticized, for understanding that, in order to remain competitive and attractive to the next generation, bikeability and walkability are crucial elements.
Photo of Bike Niles event courtesy of Tom Robb and the Niles Journal.