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Pritzker criticized over lack of Active Transportation Alliance members on his transition committee

Thursday, Dec 13, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* John Greenfield at StreetsBlog Chicago has a post up about the Pritzker transition’s Restoring Illinois Infrastructure Committee….

However, conspicuously absent from the committee are any dedicated pedestrian and bike advocacy organizations. ([Metropolitan Planning Council] does frequently voice support for better walking and biking conditions, but it has a broader mission of “shaping a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region.”)

According to a source, the Active Transportation Alliance — the region’s leading walking, biking, and transit advocacy organization – directly asked Pritzker’s organization to be included in the committee, and was recommended by others to the governor-elect. Two Active Trans reps served on Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition team in 2011. Moreover, current Active Trans director Ron Burke served as associate director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency from 2003-2008, so he has plenty of state government experience. […]

However, a couple of possibilities come to mind. Organized labor was a key source of support for Pritzker’s campaign, and there are plenty of entities that benefit from road-building projects represented on the committee. After current governor Bruce Rauner proposed widening multiple Chicagoland expressways to create more capacity for driving, Active Trans called for a moratorium on expressway expansion. That likely irritated some figures in the road-building lobby.

Active Trans has also been pushing for $50 million a year in state transportation funds to be earmarked for walking and biking projects, with a focus on improving conditions in lower-income communities. 27 Chicago CEOs sent a letter to Rauner and Pritzker asking them to commit to making the state Bike Walk Fund a reality, and multiple Chicago community organizations have voiced support for the idea.

While $50 million would only represent about 2 percent of the Illinois transportation budget, very little state money is currently used for walking and biking infrastructure. So it’s likely some labor, construction, and highway engineering folks would be loathe to see any funds diverted from road building.

* I reached out to the Pritzker transition team…

The Restoring Illinois’ Infrastructure committee represents a wide range of interests and is considering every mode of transportation, including biker and pedestrian concerns. There are a number of critical voices and stakeholders on this subject matter and while all could not be included on this committee, we are soliciting feedback from the public and other organizations on the transition website. As JB transitions into office, he will continue bringing stakeholders to the table to shape his policy agenda and improve the lives of Illinoisans.

* And there’s this…


  1. - Roman - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    Putting hundreds of members on your transition teams can boomerang — create the opposite effect you’re hoping to achieve. The individuals or groups left off the transition teams feel extra slighted.

    If there was only a dozen or so people on the team, the folks left off wouldn’t feel excluded.

    You can’t make everyone happy.

  2. - NotRich - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    Not one dime for bike paths.. the City of Chicago has created a safety hazard with all their bike paths downtown.. I constantly see bikers go thru red lights and then flip off drivers who had the right of way. If bikers want consideration, then they must pay up.. A bike registration fee and the ability to receive a traffic violation also needs to be part of the plan..Also, drive on the south side of chicago and you will see MILES of bike lanes painted that haven’t seen a cycler in 10 years..

  3. - Honeybear - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    Ugh…do we always have to blame labor in some way for every little fricking problem?
    How about we just acknowledge the oversight, add a bike person to the group and move on.
    It’s getting super irritating to have to take a hit for everything.

  4. - Humboldt - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    NotRich, do you want cars & trucks to pay their fare share? Because they aren’t, your costs are going to go way way up. Non-drivers are subsidizing drivers everywhere in this country. The bikers should already warrant consideration since they are paying for the roads they’re using and causing less use-damage to.

  5. - DuPage - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    ===Resist promoting driving?=== I don’t know, there are a lot of people that are not as young as they used to be. It’s fine to have bike and walking paths, but they should also accommodate cars.

  6. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    NotRich, think of the gridlock that would occur if all of those rude, horrible people on bikes were driving cars. Think of the damage that would happen if they drove the way you say they ride their bikes.

  7. - A Jack - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    I love bike paths and use them regularly. But the priority here should be commercial transportation, not recreational transportation. After we improve our business climate, we can build more bike paths.

  8. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    NotRich, you’ve proven the point for dedicated bike lanes that are separate from vehicles. Thank you very much.

  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    It’s a double-edged sword. Public transit and bike paths, like highways, are currently addicted to oil as a funding source. As we move to an electricity-based mobility mode, cars and trucks will be more environmentally friendly too. But a way to pay for all this stuff will continue to elude us, and become more contentious. Illinois was the first state in the US to mandate bike and pedestrian accommodations in road projects, and I don’t see that going away soon.

  10. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    The mere mention that JB would be influenced by political donors/supporters irritates the heck out of me. This man cant be bought off. Hes a man of principle. You’ll see.

  11. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    The group that has gridlocked downtown Chicago traffic now wants a seat at the table? Fewer lanes for automobiles, wiping out street parking, ever try to make a right turn next to a bike lane? Or drive on zig-zag lanes going south on Clark? Or drive south on Wells in a shared lane? Who engineered all those disasters? That should be the real discussion.

  12. - Bit - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that bikes or mass transit are going to be the primary focus of infrastructure spending, but they should be included. Walkability, using bikes as transportation vs. just recreation, and mass transit are all important. The interstate system was a big leap forward in its day, we need to look forward to more than just cars.

  13. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    Look, people are not going to abandon cars. and making less room for them is creating bad traffic situations in some places. and it’s not just cars, but trucks delivering all those Amazon purchases that the bike crowd is ordering from home. how are they going to be delivered? drones? besides, most of the area in this state is road concerned. biking between locations means motorcycles as in roads.

  14. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Guess I was wrong.
    I thought everyone and their cousin had been put on a transition committee.

    My first thought would be that it must be a conspiracy.

  15. - Not It - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    To just ignore the biking community is unrealistic and a clear mistake by JB.

  16. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:02 pm:

    “resist promoting driving” maybe that is the reason. it’s not promoting driving to deal with the roads and bridges in need. it’s reality.

  17. - Honeybear - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:07 pm:

    Hey, how about you take Hardick Bhatt out and put in a walking/bike person.

    It’s a win/win

    That way the bike folks are appeased and all the current state workers will trust the recommendations that the transition team makes.

    No quarter for Raunerites.
    Remove Bhatt

  18. - Huh? - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:07 pm:

    The FHWA mandates that all modes of transportation are considered to qualify for federal funding, bikes included.

    As far as a seat at the table is considered, it irks me that IDOT and the FHWA were left out. Once the infrastructure ideas are put to paper, it will be left to them to try and implement the plans.

  19. - ANON - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:15 pm:

    Humboldt - Since gas tax supports most of the road projects, how do you say the bike and walking population are paying for it? They don’t pay the gas tax which is probably going to go up to pay for infrastructure improvements.

  20. - walker - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    What Michelle Flaherty said.

    I have heard from all least 6 different advocacy groups who are frustrated that they are not on some transition team.

  21. - Honeybear - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:30 pm:

    Exactly Huh

    Again I’m going to squawk about no frontline or even departmental/agency representation on these transition teams.

    It’s disappointing. At my office I’m surrounded by folks with Masters degrees. One just got hers from Washington University in STL over the weekend. Plenty of doers in state government to choose from.
    Once again-top down management.
    Look at the German corporate board model. Now I’m not saying that half the board members need to be from the workers, but come on, you can sneak one on without even announcing it. Had you done so you wouldn’t have kept the Raunerite Bhatt.

    Connect to the regular folk Pritzker team

    If you’re not at the table
    You’re on the menu.

  22. - GA Watcher - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 12:49 pm:

    Can anyone think of any significant recommendations that have come out of transition committees in the past? It is an honor for organizations and individuals to be named to one certainly. Looks great on a resume’. However, I can’t recall anything truly substantive emerging from transitions in the past 20 years which had not already been championed by a candidate during his/her campaign.

  23. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    GA Watcher, I remember George Ryan’s transition teams and their recommendation reports getting so out of hand that reporters began openly mocking/challenging the new governor on them.

    Reporter: Governor Ryan, did you read this report?

    Of course George was pretty good at giving it back: “Did you?”

  24. - Keyser Soze - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    I was once appointed to a Governor’s transition team. Did I ask to be appointed? No. Was I paid to serve on the team? No. Was I honored to have been appointed? Yes. Would I have complained if I had not been appointed? No, that would have been dishonorable. Did I serve with pride? Yes. Did I lend my two cents to my group? Yes. In the bigger scheme of things, did it really matter? Probably not. I have learned things of this sort are often ceremonial, a pat on the back for one’s support. I hope that this answers some questions.

  25. - Blast from the past - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    =Moreover, current Active Trans director Ron Burke served as associate director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency from 2003-2008, so he has plenty of state government experience. […]=

    Plenty of state government experience? Can anyone highlight his IEPA accomplishments?

  26. - Humboldt - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    ANON - I’m saying that the Gas Tax, and other fees specifically for drivers, does not cover the cost of road maintenance. the balance then falls to the general population, made up of drivers & non-drivers.
    Here’s a link w/ some data, it’s a few years old but the general takeaway won’t have changed.

  27. - Father Ted - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    I support bike interests being a part of infrastructure discussions, but there may be better partners out there than the ATA. In personal experience, they have a very narrow focus and can take a “you’re with us or against us” approach. They have been known to release statements and reports that are publicly critical of their partners. With that said, I doubt the group was intentionally left out.

  28. - Bogey Golfer - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 4:52 pm:

    This Capital Plan, from what I understand, is to prioritize fixing (reconstruction, repairing, replacing) existing infrastructure. With that, most existing bike trails may need to receive a seal coat and nothing more. What bike advocacy groups will push is new facilities.

  29. - Dupage Bard - Thursday, Dec 13, 18 @ 9:39 pm:

    I’m guessing the incoming Gov wasn’t holding the meeting at the Map Room or Heartland Cafe so what’s the point in inviting the bike crowd?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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