Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.
The West Suburbs include west suburban Cook County, as well as DuPage and Kane counties.
Get the latest updates on active transportation issues in the West Suburbs below and make sure to join our In Your Community: West 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.
The summits in Schaumburg and Elmhurst saw a strong turn-out of advocates attending from the west suburbs. 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.
Petition to build the East Branch DuPage River Trail
One of our Bike Walk Every Town champions has started a petition to urge DuPage County to prioritize the funding and construction of the East Branch DuPage River Trail (EBDRT). The EBDRT would connect the Prairie Path with the Morton Arboretum along the DuPage River east of IL-53.DuPage residents are invited to sign the petition– your input is needed to move this project forward.
DuPage County Forest Preserve collecting feedback
What would you like to see in your forest preserve? Improved trail connections, better bicycle and pedestrian access, more signage or something else? In September and October, residents of DuPage County had an opportunity to share their visions for the forest preserve district as the district updates its master plan. Several public meetings were held to gather feedback about which projects and initiatives community members felt should be addressed over the next five years. In November, randomly selected households in DuPage will be surveyed for feedback and between Nov. 20 and Dec. 10 an online survey will be open to all residents.
Salt Creek Greenway: Connecting Trail Gaps lecture
Earlier in November, the Frederick Law Olmsted Society hosted a free lecture about the future trail development of the Salt Creek Greenway. The Salt Creek Greenway spans nearly 27 miles from Busse Woods to the Brookfield Zoo through several counties. However, there is a critical gap in the trail in southwest Chicagoland between Brookfield and Lyons. Drawing a crowd of over 50 people, bicycle path design expert David Landeweer discussed the potential future of the scenic trail and what it might take to close the trail gap and connect the Greenway to the Centennial Trail on Willows Springs Road.
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.
Highway expansion advocacy
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.
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.
Better Trail Connections in DuPage County
DuPage is proposing a new side path called the Eola Connecter to improve trail connectivity between the Aurora Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path and several other nearby paths and destinations. View maps and diagrams of the proposed path and check out the county’s recently launched trail web application to help you better plan your next biking and walking trips. Learn more about better trail connections in DuPage County.
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.
Sign our petition: make Madison a Main Street, not highway
After more than 10 years of planning and discussions, Oak Park is poised to start a long overdue makeover of Madison Street. Some residents, however, want to delay the process even more, which could result in the loss of funds to pay for the work. Overall, the plans will make Madison more like a Main Street and less like a highway. This is a project that should be done properly to improve the safety and character of the street while also limiting potential traffic diversions or backups, and designing new developments to address the concerns of nearby residents and businesses. Please sign the petition urging Oak Park village trustees to move forward with improvements, but also asking them to make sure we get it right.
Local Community Resources
West Suburban Active Transportation Council: contact Maggie@activetrans.org
Please email suggestions for additional local community resources to Jim@activetrans.org.