Join an "army" of transit riders in Active Trans advocacy campaign

Concerned CTA riders: the Active Transportation Alliance wants you!

In a campaign kicking off today, Active Trans wants to "build an army" of transit advocates with Riders for Better Transit: A Powerful Voice for Riders.

Leaders of Active Trans noted that there are have been many campaigns in the past to "plug transit riders in to various issues - to amplify their voice," said Lee Crandall, director of campaign. "They were successful in the past, but not sustainable into the future."

Sustaining transit rider interest and involvement is key, said Ron Burke, executive director of Active Trans. "We want to provide sustained advocacy to achieve sustainable transit. We are partnering with lots of organizations that bring good expertise to the table. We have advocacy goals, but our focus is on organizing riders.

"We're definitely more regional in scope, and will be tackling a broader set of issues," Burke adds. "We're really looking to organize in big numbers. Right now there's a lack of political will and insufficient demand from voters. We know it's out there - it's just not jelling. Riders need to be recognized as a true constituency. That's our role - to help them voice their concerns.

So how can you get involved and lend your voice? Simple - sign up to join Riders for Better Transit and help Active Trans "build an army of transit riders," as Burke puts it.

As issues come up, members will be asked to contact their legislators. For instance, Active Trans says it wants to give riders a voice on the 2012 CTA budget.

How will they know if they are successful? There are the micro-metrics such as number of riders signing on and emails sent. But ultimately, Burke says, "we need to be able to demonstrate to legislators that riders matter."

Read a separate post the outlines advocacy goals of the Active Transportation Alliance.


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  • "How will they know if they are successful? There are the micro-metrics such as number of riders signing on and emails sent. But ultimately, Burke says, "we need to be able to demonstrate to legislators that riders matter.""

    In short, they want to develop a mailing list. No different than the legislators who tell us to write them, and then fill our mailboxes with stuff like both the Democrats and Republicans are responsible for this year's state budget, not to mention that neither has paid off last year's debt.

    Anyway, the other post indicates that this group isn't advocating anything new, and that probably includes their gas tax ideas.

    Now, here is an idea. Since the Mayor says that he rode the Brown Line yesterday (and apparently just before there was a robbery at that station), maybe he can join.

    Or maybe he can realize that the list of priorities on his 100 day retrospective didn't include the CTA, and he appointed the pointy headed boss to run it.

  • Jack, I think the new think here is that we have a solid, successful advocacy group that is planning a sustained effort to organize and mobilize transit riders.

  • Like Adam Kerman's Citizens' Transit Authority (at least he got a seat on the Pace Advisory Board), Citizens Taking Action,* Campaign for Better Transit that took the survey on "how much a bus ride is worth," and went out of business....

    On the other hand, Emanuel could implement what is essentially his agenda, without their help. Apparently, he was able to get his "school collective bargaining" bill through the legislature, and undoubtedly now has the screws on to get the casino.

    *Note the use of CTA in the names, and that all got publicity in their time.

  • "OUR TRANSIT SYSTEM SHOULD BE RESPONSIVE TO RIDERS’ NEEDS. We’re here to remind the transit agencies and other decision-makers that issues of daily convenience, comfort and safety are important to riders and should be acted on quickly."

    Agreed that this is a goal we all share, but what in the world would communicating with our legislators do to advance this? Even if they passed a law that said "CTA management has to listen to common sense" how would they propose to enforce it? Laws should be more than wishes. Define where riders' effective leverage is, and I'll consider supporting the initiative.

    I suspect Jack is right, that there is more of a political dimension to this than meets the eye.

    P.S. Could you ask ChicagoNow to fix up the process to sign in and comment? It was terribly difficult and misleading today. Possibly it has to do with the ever-widening attempt to suck all online activity into Facebook, which doesn't really work for those of us who are not on it and don't plan to be.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    You have an interesting angle.

    The legislature is not reticent to pass micromanagement laws pertaining to Metra. Maybe Metra deserves it, with Pagano and his thievery and 19th Century thinking, but no indication that any of it will be effective. The Universal Fare Card mandate has been in force for maybe a decade, although it was more a "study" thing until the bill mandating it by 2015, not saying how to accomplish that mandate.

    On the other hand, it has pretty much been hands off on the CTA since 1947, even though it is not operating in the manner indicated by the MTA Act--i.e. an independent municipal corporation under professional transportation management.

    Meanwhile Pace succeeds in getting legislation and court decisions that are not in its ultimate interest, so long as they make the recovery ratio look good.

    As far as effectiveness--
    1. Claypool demonstrated before Kevin that he listens and answers to no one.

    2. As I pointed out to Scooter, legislation depends of people like Nekritz, Garrett, and Mathias, none of which are from Chicago. Also, it was reported that since Mathias is a Republican, the undemocratic Democrats tried to redistrict him out. As I said before, Emanuel and Claypool should talk to their neighbor, and probably Senator (although one can't tell the way the districts are drawn) Cullerton.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    CC: Thanks for the reminder on the login process. It was on the list to at least let your browser remember you so you don't have to login every day. But what about the "misleading" part?

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Kevin--hard to reconstruct, but basically I couldn't get a window to type my reply in even though it seemed to show I was logged in because my screen name showed at the top of the page. And nothing (or nothing useful) happened when I clicked on reply button or the log in to comment link, repeatedly. What I finally did was try the "sign in" button next to "pitch your idea" at the upper left, and that finally got me a pop-up that accepted my login and password. Other boxes had come up (couldn't remember exactly what or how) that didn't have that, but invited some kind of update. I inferred the Facebook connection, but I bet I'm not wrong.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Thanks CC. I think you experienced a very random glitch. I've seen that happen once or twice. It sounds like you weren't truly logged-in. I don't usually share my comments with Facebook, and I've never had troubles just clicking "Comment".

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