Sustainable transportation platform for mayor candidates

The Active Transportation Alliance put some good thought into a Sustainable Transportation Platform, and it’s asking all the mayoral candidates to sign on to it. And you can too right here.

UPDATE: This platform was a group effort by the following organizations. My apologies for implying it was done solely by Active Transportation Alliance.

Active Transportation Alliance; Center for Neighborhood Technology; Environmental Law & Policy Center; Illinois PIRG; Metropolitan Planning Council; Midwest High Speed Rail Association; Natural Resources Defense Council; Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

Here are the platform recommendations, with bolding on those related to public transportation. 

“The platform recommends ten key transportation priorities for the
next mayor to put Chicago on the path to a smarter and more sustainable
future. Here’s an overview of the ten key recommendations.”

  1. Make Chicago the most bike-friendly city in the nation
  2. Work to increase transit funding, riders and efficiency
  3. Expand rail service on CTA and Metra
  4. Add bus rapid transit lines
  5. Support expansion of car sharing
  6. Design streets that are safe and convenient for all users
  7. Make Chicago the hub for a Midwest high speed rail network
  8. Improve the Lakefront Trail system
  9. Make Chicago’s roads and sidewalks safer for pedestrians
  10. Support transit-oriented development

Check the jump for detailed strategies on the bolded recommendations.

Recommendation: Support policies that will increase overall transit funding and promote reforms that ensure funds are spent more efficiently.


  • Champion legislation to increase the state gas tax and use new revenues to support transit and other non-road projects. Illinois’ gas tax is one of the lowest in the nation, and it has not increased since 1990.
  • Advocate for a more equitable distribution of transportation funds by the Illinois Department of
    Transportation than the current 45/55 state split between the Chicago region and downstate.
  • Launch efforts that actively encourage Chicago businesses to offer pre-tax transit benefits to their
    employees, which will incentivize commuting by transit while reducing firms’ taxable payroll.
  • Promote better coordination between transit agencies, such as unified transit fares and funding allocations that are based on what’s best for the region rather than a pre-set formula.

Recommendation: Work with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), CTA, Metra and
state and federal officials to secure funding for new and more frequent rail service.

Recommendation: Support CTA’s plan for city-wide bus rapid transit.
Strategies :

  • Create and test BRT routes on arterials where BRT can have the greatest impact.

Recommendation: Empower the Chicago Department of Transportation to quickly implement Complete Streets to benefit all Chicagoans, and incorporate context sensitive planning to encourage public engagement and solutions tailored to local circumstances.
Strategies :

  • Complete implementation of on-going sidewalk accessibility improvements.
  • Encourage aldermen to use “menu” money for projects that benefit cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.

Recommendation: Actively encourage compact mixed-use development within a one-half-mile radius around rail, BRT and major bus interchanges.
Strategies :

  • Expedite approvals and reduce parking requirements for transit-oriented development (TOD) to help create mixed housing-and-retail centers anchored by transit.
  • Prioritize economic development efforts that take advantage of infill opportunities near rail stations, BRT stops and major bus interchanges.
  • Encourage or require TODs to include car-sharing spaces in their plans to facilitate low car ownership rates within TODs.


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  • They left off having Mayor Emanuel giving up the limo & getting on the L at Montrose & riding it to work.

  • In reply to ElstonClybourn:

    If he can first evict Halpin from his house. Otherwise, it appears to be a Blue Line station.

  • In reply to jack:

    I believe Halpin's lease is up in 2011.
    There's not a chance in hell it will get renewed!

  • A couple of quick observations:

    The first three bullet points under transit funding are tired cliches, and have been ineffectively tried before, and won't work until the last one "Promote better coordination..." is implemented. For that matter, they don't mention coordinating overlapping service--something the Auditor General mentioned 4 years ago, and to which the legislature only gave lip service by conditioning an inquiry on the vote of 9 RTA directors. Of course, I have since maintained that the only way you get coordination is to abolish the RTA and service boards, and have one board of directors actually with business experience and interested in transit, rather than 47 self serving but otherwise ineffective political hacks.

    With BRT, you didn't pick up that yesterday FTA announced a $1.6 million grant to CTA for an Alternatives Analysis study for the Ashland and Western corridors, apparently for express buses or BRT.* Of course, until Feb. 8, 2010, there was express bus service on those streets. The two main questions, of course, is whether, like most New Starts, this is just make work for consultants,** and especially, since CTA canceled all X bus service due to lack of operating funds,*** where it would get the money to operate the service most likely to be recommended by the consultants.

    *Per Hilkevitch, who, for once, got the story before you did.

    **When I made my frequent reference that--like the tax law being a lawyer's and accountant's relief act--the transit bill is a consultant's relief act, my father said "Well, at least someone is working."

    ***I don't see that your former congressman and future mayor made a pitch to reinstate X80, which seems to be your main interest.

  • In reply to jack:

    Merry Christmas Jack, and thanks for your thoughts. As usual you make some good points, especially about abolishing the RTA board.

    Re: the BRT funding from the FTA, I did in fact see it but decided to wait till after the new year to post it. No one is paying much attention right now, and I think that's an important story.

    Re: my "former congressman," I assume you refer to Rahnm, who actually is not my former congressman. Wrong district. And for the record, I would love to see all express bus routes restored, especially the X80 and X49 because I would ride those most.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Sorry that I added 2 (your frequent mention of the X80, and that your wife rode it) plus 2 (Emanuel getting credit for the grant that established it) to get 6.3457.

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