About one-third of all work trips in Chicago are comprised of people biking, walking or riding public transit.
The North Suburbs include north suburban Cook County, as well as Lake and McHenry counties.
Get the latest updates on active transportation issues in the North Suburbs below and make sure to join our In Your Community: North Suburbs e-newsletter list. The e-newsletter comes out quarterly and offers a quick read on issues related to bicycling, walking and transit in your area.
If you are interested in learning more about any of the information provided on this page, please feel free to contact Maggie Melin at email@example.com or 312-216-0475.
Bike Walk Every Town
Over the last two months Active Trans hosted four regional suburban summits across the region to give residents tools and resources to advocate for better biking and walking in their community.
Highland Park and Schaumburg were hosts to the north and northwest summits. Overall, 65 advocates from 44 municipalities participated in the trainings. If you missed the in-person summits, a free online webinar version of the summit will be hosted on Thursday, November 16 from 6:30pm to 8pm.
Kids on the move in Highland Park
This October hundreds of students participated in Highland Park’s first Bike-Walk to School Day. The successful event was a result of an initiative undertaken by Highland Park’s Bike Walk Advisory Group who teamed up with Highland Park School District 112. We hope Highland Park’s efforts inspire other communities to encourage more walking and biking to schools in the suburbs.
Arlington Heights plan unanimously approved
The Village of Arlington Height’s board unanimously approved both its bicycle and pedestrian plan and a bike parking ordinance this September. After three years of research and community feedback, the plan identifies major goals, network recommendations, policies, programming and action steps for improving biking and walking in Arlington Heights. The bicycle parking ordinance lays out minimum bike parking requirements for new development. The Bike Arlington Heights Fall Bike Ride coincided with the announcement of the plan and ordinance. We applaud Arlington Heights’ efforts to make the village a safer place to travel by foot and bicycle!
Evanston’s protected bike lanes
Want to experience what it feels like to bike on a barrier-protected bike lane in the suburbs? Head over to Evanston and try out their newly installed protected bike lanes along Sheridan Road from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street. The next phase of the project will begin in spring of 2018 with the bike lanes being extended to Ridge Avenue/Isabella Street.
Go Lake County and highway expansion advocacy
The Midwest Sustainability Group is hosting a forum on Wednesday, November 29 about the issue of highway expansion in Lake County and the importance of investing in sustainable transportation.
While widening highways may at first seem like a good solution for congestion, research and experience have shown that expanding roads leads to more traffic congestion in the long run and undermines efforts to make our communities better places for walking, biking and public transit. As part of our advocacy around this topic, Active Trans recently published a letter in the Chicago Tribune about the problems of highway expansion, similar to our previously issued statement opposing the extension of Route 53 in Lake County.
Regional bike share vision to cover trail system
Aurora, Algonquin, Elgin, McHenry, Naperville and South Elgin want to develop a regional bike and pedestrian program that will expand Zagster’s bike share system regionally, create a wayfinding system and grow the region’s bike tourism industry. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) awarded a technical assistant grant to these cities to develop a plan for this vision. Read more about the plan in the Beacon News.
2018 Pace & Metra fare update
Due to public transportation funding cuts in the state budget, Pace Bus and Metra both voted to increase their 2018 ticket prices. This November Pace’s board approved a 25-cent fare hike for all trips while Metra’s board approved both fare increases and cuts in service. A regular bus trip on Pace will now cost $2. Under Metra’s new budget, all ticket fares will increase including one-way tickets which will go up 25 cents and monthly passes which will increase by $9 to $12.50 per month depending on the zone. Cuts in service were approved to the North Central Service, SouthWest Service, Rock Island Line and Milwaukee District North Line.
Pace Pulse Dempster update
The Pace Pulse Dempster Line is slated to bring express bus service to the north suburbs between Evanston and O’Hare International Airport by 2020. Plans outlining possible station placements were displayed at an open house held in September. The design phase of the project will continue through 2018 with construction is set to begin in 2019 pending funding.
2017 Bicycle Friendly State Report Card – Illinois ranks #16
The League of American Bicyclists ranks Illinois 16th in the country and third in the Midwest for biking and walking. The state finished first in the Legislation & Enforcement category – thanks in part to the strength of Illinois’ Cyclist Anti-Harassment and Must Stop for Pedestrians laws, which Active Trans helped pass in 2010. Illinois ranked 45th, however, in Infrastructure & Funding, as the state lacks dedicated funding for bicycle infrastructure and has limited bike facilities on state roads. Active Trans continues to talk with leaders at the Illinois Department of Transportation and elected members of the general assembly about the need for progress on these and other state priorities.
Suburban Bikeways for All
At the end of June, Active Trans released our Suburban Bikeways for All report, which lays out our vision for biking in the suburbs and action steps on how to achieve it. The priorities in the report will lay the foundation for the new Bike Walk Every Town initiative. Check out the report: Despite progress, biking options limited in suburbs.
Pop-up Complete Streets Projects
Bike lanes made from duct tape? Curb extensions made of flowers? In case you missed it, please enjoy these videos of our pop-up complete streets projects in Midlothian, Richton Park, Skokie, South Chicago Heights and Willow Springs. The videos showcase five temporary street treatments that provided community members with a tangible visualization of how walking, bicycling and public transit facilities can create safer, more engaging streets. Watch the pop-up complete streets project videos.
Skokie Valley Trail extension underway
Gaps in the Skokie Valley Trail have long been a frustration of people who bike and walk in the North Suburbs. The multi-use path is envisioned to eventually run from Wisconsin to Chicago, but lack of funding has left the trail segmented. Fans of the trail will rejoice to learn that conversations around bridging the gap and extending the trail are currently underway. Two major developments are being discussed. One is the proposal to build a biking and walking bridge over the busy and congested Lake Cook Road. The other is an extension of the trail from Lake Cook Road to Voltz Road through Northbrook.
Deerfield Road gets an upgrade
Do you use Deerfield Road and have thoughts about how it could be safer and more appealing to people who walk and bike? Now is your chance to help make those ideas a reality. The Lake County Division of Transportation is conducting a study of Deerfield Road from Milwaukee Avenue to Saunders/Riverwoods Road, a distance of approximately two miles. The purpose of the study is to investigate capacity, safety, drainage, non-motorized travel deficiencies and to accommodate future travel demand. This is a huge opportunity to improve off-road trail facilities and increase bike and pedestrian connectivity. Active Trans board member, Elliot Rossen, represents Active Trans in the Phase I Deerfield Road Stakeholder Involvement Group.
Local Community Resources
North/Northwest Suburban Active Transportation Council: contact Maggie@activetrans.org
Wilmette Active Transportation Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please email suggestions for additional local community resources to Jim@activetrans.org.