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Chicago transportation advocates seek equitable route forward for public transit
Energy News Network | May 21, 2020
With ridership plummeting amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Chicago coalition is pushing agencies to reconsider service changes.
As Chicago’s transit agencies attempt to determine a path forward after the coronavirus pandemic, advocates have begun working to ensure system cuts don’t further exacerbate the city’s racial and disabled population inequities.
Concerns include ensuring essential workers still have access to their jobs and continuing progress on reducing emissions.
On April 1, the Active Transportation Alliance, along with other transportation and equity advocacy organizations, submitted an open letter to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Pace and Metra, the four main transit agencies serving Chicago and its suburbs.
The letter was read into the record during the public comment at the April 16 RTA Board of Directors meeting, which was held virtually. RTA Chair Kirk Dillard expressed appreciation for the comprehensive content of the letter, according to Kyle Whitehead, managing director of public affairs for the Active Transportation Alliance.
Members of the coalition behind the open letter met on May 5 with RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden. At the meeting, Redden provided additional background on issues discussed in the letter and pledged to remain receptive to input from the coalition and other stakeholders, according to Whitehead.
“We remain in touch with RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace about the recommendations in the letter,” Whitehead said.
The four-page letter calls for transparency and community engagement in shaping routes, funding and other essential aspects of transit, in addition to emphasizing equity and reducing service disparities going forward. Several of the main proposals include:
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