Meet Chicago’s Transportation Advisory Groups

Last night, Active Transportation Alliance hosted a “listening session” for all the ward-based transportation advisory groups. Over enormous slices of margherita pizza and Snickers ice cream bars, we shared our experiences working with our elected officials on transportation safety. Here’s who came and what we learned.

Around the table: Joanna T from the 35th ward; Nora B and James S from the 1st ward; Michelle S from Bike Walk Lincoln Park; Lucy G from Logan Square; and Eve J and Arline W from Bike Uptown. (Did you notice how many women are leading here?)

What we learned: This kind of community-driven transportation planning pretty much hasn’t happened in Chicago before, so there is a sense of verve as we all define hyper-local neighborhood goals. The level of expertise in the transportation advisory groups was impressive- planners, engineers, architects, long-time neighborhood residents, older folk, younger folk, and so on.  Another big synergy: most groups are using the Streets for Cycling 2020 and Make Way for People recommendations as touchstones, essentially giving Alderman a way to apply the plans in their neighborhoods.

Smart things other groups are doing:

  • Walkabouts with the Alderman & community members to identify menu money spend requests.
  • Ask that CAPS meetings include bike and pedestrian crash data. Guns and cars are both killing people in our neighborhoods.
  • Vet proposed developments in the ward for bike, walk, and transit accommodation.
  • Research TIF districts in the neighborhood and consider them a funding source for your work.
  • Ask the Alderman’s office to give your group a small budget for stickers, printing, and brochures. Then, help them with outreach.
  • Create a walking club where you walk to ward destinations as a group. (Think of a walk to BaLe for iced coffee! Yum.)

Very exciting!

Comments or ideas?

posted by Arline Welty

About bikeuptown46

I am currently the Communications Director for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters which represents 33,000 union men and women in three states who swing a hammer for a living. I publsih a magazine, a couple of email newsletters and two websites. I also do videos, webinars, advertisng and public relations. As an avid cyclist I ride a three-wheeled trike 5 to 6 days per week 52 weeks per year which adds up to between 5,000 and 6,000 miles year-round, including daily commutes along Chicago's lakefront ... polar vortexes included. I have never missed a day of work because of Chicago's weather. I am an activist who serves humanitarian and political causes: To advocate for the Sudanese in Illinois who have fled Southern Sudan and Darfur is one of my most rewarding experiences. I work with my son Sean on Sudan presentations at churches and community groups with my Sudanese friends on the problems facing them in Darfur, South Sudan and the United States. My son Sean and I work together on the Abolition Institute which seeks to end slavery in the west African nation of Mauritania. My photography chronicles Chicago's lakefront through my daily rides. My photo website is I just self-published my first photo-book on the history of my Chicago neighborhood: Sweet Home Buena Park. I live about one-half mile north of Wrigley Field in the Buena Park neighborhood.


  1. Excellent overview. Rock on, ladies. But where were the Snickers Ice cream bars? I missed those!

  2. Thanks Johanna! These magical bars were devoured on the 10-step walk from 7-11 to Active Trans!

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