Roughly every three days, one person biking or walking is killed by someone driving a car in the Chicago region.
The South Suburbs include south suburban Cook County, Will County, as well as Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana.
Get the latest updates on active transportation issues in the South Suburbs below and make sure to join our In Your Community: South 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 Leslie Phemister at Leslie@activetrans.org or 312-427-0474.
Bike Walk Every Town
Our new suburban advocacy program, Bike Walk Every Town, is designed to mobilize and support grassroots supporters, like yourself, from across the region. We’d like to give you the tools you need to improve biking, walking and transit in your community.
We will host our free Bike Walk Every Town Summits in the South Suburbs on Saturday, October 28 (lunch is included) to offer you in-person trainings and a chance to network with other champions in the region. Learn more about our new effort to improve biking and walking in the suburbs and register for the Summit for free.
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.
First Grade Transportation Advocates of Summit
Earlier this year, first graders from Graves Elementary School in the Village of Summit sent their Mayor a letter asking for a meeting. The students requested that the village work on improving the pedestrian bridge that many students rely on to walk to school every day. See their letter and the models they designed of what a safe bridge could look like. Read the letter and learn about the first grade transportation advocates of Summit.
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 videos.
In order to pay for increased service on the Main Metra Electric Line, Metra is planning to cut off-peak service on the South Chicago and Blue Island branches of Metra Electric. Active Transportation Alliance is part of the Coalition for a Modern Metra Electric Coalition, which supports running CTA-style service on the full Metra Electric line, with trains every 10-15 minutes and fare transferability from the line to CTA and Pace buses. Metra’s proposal is a step in that direction for the main line;however, we are concerned about the reduction of service proposed on Metra’s south suburban branches. Read about Metra’s new schedule.
Better biking coming to Will County
Biking and walking in Will County will soon become more connected, safe and accessible thanks to the first-ever Will County Bikeway Plan, which was recently approved by the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Board. The plan envisions a future network of bikeways and trails with 14 new routes that provide improved biking and walking connections to major destinations such as Metra stations, Governor’s State University, numerous parks and many commercial centers. Other goals include expanding “transportation choices by enabling bicycling to become a more viable transportation option in Will County” and providing “easily-accessible recreation opportunities for the public.”
New commuter rail coming to Northwest Indiana
Our regional commuter rail network is getting a major expansion in Northwest Indiana thanks to the West Lake Corridor Project. This nine-mile extension will connect to the South Shore Line and Metra Electric District Line, improving the connection between Northwest Indiana and downtown Chicago. While this project is an exciting improvement in the region, we must make sure that it is planned and implemented appropriately. Prioritizing adequate access to the new rail line will be an important part of the process. Biking and walking access to new stations should be included in the planning process. Read more on our blog.
Unveiling the Broadway Metro Express
The Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC) is putting the final touches on plans for Northwest Indiana’s first rapid bus service, the Broadway Metro Express, launching in summer 2017. GPTC recently held two open houses and a public hearing on the project, offering residents an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed bus route. Community members spoke enthusiastically about the new amenities that the upgraded system would provide, especially faster and more frequent service. Planned facilities of the service include new bus platforms with public art by local artists and new crosswalks. Bus bypass lanes and stop consolidation will help make the buses run more efficiently.
ITEP funds new active transportation projects in Will County
Channahon and Romeoville were recently awarded grants through the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP). The Village of Channahon is planning to use the funds for a multi-use bridge over the DuPage River and Illinois & Michigan Canal at Bridge Street. The new path will give people who walk and bike a safer option for crossing the river, bridging the community. The path would also improve access to the Illinois & Michigan Canal trail, which runs alongside the river. Romeoville’s grant will fund construction of a new Metra station. The village plans for the station include a biking and walking path and new sidewalks. Read more about the grants here.
Local Community Resources
South Suburbs Active Transportation Council: Leslie@activetrans.org
Please email suggestions for additional local community resources to Jim@activetrans.org.