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Cycling Tue Nov 18 2008


The Chicagoland Bike Federation has just announced a shift in name to the Active Transportation Alliance, and a change in priorities from mostly bike advocacy to also include an emphasis on advocacy for pedestrians and users of public transit.

On the face, the change is a positive one - being that CBF's original mission statement included mention of working to improve conditions for pedestrians and public transit users, the change in name to ATA and named emphasis on those two other aspects of alternative transit choices seems mostly designed to step-up advocacy of those who walk and take the CTA/Pace/Metra. The CBF's work to improve conditions for pedestrians was well-thought out, but the bike and cyclist was always the emphasis. As well as one would expect, as Chicago is so bike-able, barring issues with drivers and lack of bike routes in certain neighborhoods.

However, there is a certain amount of concern that the added emphasis on pedestrian and public transit users may divert resources and attention from the bike advocacy that CBF built its reputation upon. A quick look at the ATA website and it's clear that the concerns of the cyclist are still paramount - it will remain to be seen whether things will stay that way. Not to say that it would be terrible if it didn't, because I think we're all well aware of the issues with public transit in this city and we've all come close to getting run over by a cab or truck while in a crosswalk.

I'm especially curious about the public transit aspect of ATA's mission - not much yet on the site, but I expect that much of the work will be done to improve reach into certain neighborhoods and possibly bike options on the CTA.

Chicago's the "city that works" and one part of making things work is not getting in the way. If you're on a bike or on your own two feet, it takes a bit longer to get out of the way - and it only serves all of us Chicagoans better if we have an organization fighting for our rights as a pedestrian or bus rider. Let's just hope that for us on two wheels, we don't find our interests mitigated.

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