Coalition urges mayoral candidates to make sustainable transportation a priority

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On behalf of tens of thousands of members and supporters, a coalition of eight environmental and transportation leaders requested Thursday that Chicago mayoral candidates support their Sustainable Transportation Platform. The platform focuses on strategies to improve transportation safety and availability while enhancing Chicago’s economy.

To stem the rising tide of car dependency and to safeguard residents from the threat of surging gas prices, the coalition recommends creating more opportunities and incentives for people to make trips by biking, walking and transit. The 2009 American Community Survey shows that one third of all commutes in Chicago are by biking, walking and transit. The coalition believes this is a good start, but Chicago must do better.

The platform recommends 10 key transportation priorities designed to give Chicago a world-class transportation network that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. Most of the recommendations are under the purview of the mayor; some recommendations require cooperation with regional and state agencies.  

The platform outlines infrastructure improvements that will benefit all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and people who take transit. Securing funding and distributing transportation monies equitably also are recommended in the platform.

To generate funding for transit and other non-road transportation projects, the platform urges candidates to support legislation that would increase the state gas tax.

Other recommendations include:

  • Carry out accessibility improvements to all city sidewalks.
  • Implement a city-wide network of bike lanes that separates bikes from cars.
  • Fund a public-private partnership that would operate a robust bike-sharing program.
  • Create and test bus rapid transit (BRT) routes on arterials where BRT can have the greatest impact.
  • Execute traffic calming projects around the city and expand 20-mph school and park zones.
  • Expedite approvals for transit-oriented developments (TOD) and encourage TODs to require car-sharing spaces.
  • Support federal and state funding for a Midwest high-speed rail network.

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