Five game-changing goals and sister nonprofit organization announced
CHICAGO, IL – The Active Transportation Alliance marked its 30th anniversary by announcing two forward-looking initiatives: the 2020 TransFormation Campaign and the creation of a new sister non-profit called Walk Bike Go.
The 2020 TransFormation Campaign aims to achieve five bold goals in the next five years. The goals will capitalize on the great momentum already underway in the region to make biking, walking and transit dramatically easier and safer.
Bike Walk Go, the new sister organization, will focus on fee-for-service work while also exploring innovative mission-aligned partnerships and ventures, helping to amplify Active Trans’ goals of creating communities that are healthy, vibrant and environmentally friendly through better biking, walking and transit.
Founded in 1985 as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation (CBF), Active Trans has been the leading civic voice contributing to a sea change in support for so-called “alternative transportation” by advocating for more funding, street design improvements like the addition of bike lanes and pedestrian refuge islands, transit expansion, safe routes to schools, and laws that reduce traffic crashes.
“We go back to when very few people biked in the Chicago region and ours was often a lone voice,” said Active Trans board member and CBF’s first Executive Director, Randy Neufeld. “Even 10 years ago, ideas like protected bike lanes, the Divvy bike-sharing program, thousands of daily bikes trips to Metra stations, or the thought that 6,000 bikes per day would travel Milwaukee Avenue would have been viewed as pipe dreams by most everyone!”
With the intention of building on this existing momentum now underway, Active Trans is launching the 2020 TransFormation Campaign to raise money that will be used to achieve five game-changing goals in the next five years. The five goals are
Region-wide low-stress bike network: A dense, connected network of low-stress bike routes across Chicago and the suburbs.
Transit Future: Funding for the “Transit Future” plan to build multiple new rapid transit projects.
Biking/walking education in elementary schools: All public elementary schools in the state begin teaching biking and walking safety and encouragement.
Mobility education in high schools: High school driver’s education becoming “mobility education” with bike, walk and transit training in addition to driving.
Vision Zero: The state, the city of Chicago and suburbs adopt and implement comprehensive Vision Zero plans that focus on eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
Thanks to ongoing efforts to influence legislation and policy at the state and local levels, Active Trans claims a long list of triumphs on behalf of people who bike, walk and take transit. Examples include state laws that require cars to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, create distracted driving restrictions, and clarify that cyclists can pass cars on the right. Active Trans has also played a key role in Chicago becoming a national leader in building protected and buffered bike lanes, the addition of Divvy bike sharing, trail expansion in the suburbs, and fighting for funding to keep transit affordable while improving and expanding service.
Active Trans also created Safe Routes to Schools programs and educated tens of thousands of children and adults on walking and biking safety. In addition, Active Trans’ annual Bike Commuter Challenge has engaged thousands of companies and encouraged tens of thousands of employees to incorporate biking in their work commutes.
Over its history, Active Trans’ expertise around cutting-edge transportation strategies led local, regional and state agencies to seek the organization’s help. This was the beginning of the fee-for-service consulting that enabled Active Trans to bring its know-how and passion to local transportation planning and safety initiatives. With a “seat at the table,” Active Trans has left its mark on transportation plans, programs and policies in Chicago and more than 100 suburbs, while also winning awards from the American Planning Association and other organizations.
“Where there is overlap between the goals of Active Trans and a city, that’s a platform for partnership,” said Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke. “The partnerships result in far better outcomes than if Active Trans participated from a distance, and cities get a good deal because we are a non-profit organization with low expenses; we’ll even do additional work and pay for it with other funds.”
Burke said the creation of Walk Bike Go will strengthen the fee-for-service and entrepreneurial work that Active Trans has carried out and distinguish it from the education, encouragement and advocacy programs for which the organization is better known.
Working with the city of Chicago, Active Trans provides pedestrian and bike safety education for roughly 70,000 people per year. For two other programs in Chicago, Active Trans is educating residents about transportation options in five Chicago neighborhoods and is helping produce 75 pop-up playgrounds in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods on the city’s South Side.
Through a contract with the Cook County Health Department, Active Trans is developing six active transportation plans for underserved municipalities in suburban Cook County, and helping eight underserved Cook County municipalities develop and implement Complete Streets policies. In addition, Active Trans is currently developing active transportation plans for the Villages of Lombard and Bensenville, and for the Kane County Department of Public Health, Active Trans is developing three small-scale walkability studies for underserved neighborhoods in Aurora, Elgin and Carpentersville.
Active Trans began the process to create Walk Bike Go more than one year ago. It is now legally incorporated and will begin to operate when its 501(c)(3) non-profit status is approved, which is expected later this year.