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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:52pm
Mon Jan 20, 2014

Report: More Chicagoans Turning To Public Transit, Biking As Driving Declines (UPDATED)

Fewer people in the Chicago "urbanized area" are driving, while more are biking and taking public transportation, a recent report from the Illinois PIRG Education Fund shows.

The national study examined the changing transportation trends in America's 100 largest urbanized areas, which are defined as regions larger than a city but smaller than a metropolitan area.

In the Chicago area, the number of workers commuting by car declined by 2.1 percent between 2000 and the years between 2007 to 2011, according to the report, which reviewed available data from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and U.S. Census Bureau. (The “2007 to 2011” time period is in reference to the data collected by the 2011 American Community Survey, a five-year survey covering 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Meanwhile, Chicago households without a car increased by 1.1 percent from 2006 to 2011.

Quick Hit
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12:34am
Thu Dec 12, 2013

Letter To The Editor From The Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus

To the Editor:

We are deeply disturbed about recent reports that suggest that the Chicago Transit Authority will end its ex-offender rail car employment program.

African Americans are disproportionately represented in Illinois’ prison population. More often than not, these ex-offenders return to their home communities after serving their sentences in prison. They return to communities that have higher than average rates of unemployment and underemployment caused by a chronic shortage of living wage jobs. Moreover, even non-violent ex-offenders face statutory bars to employment and government benefits that serve as perverse incentives for criminal behavior.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:39am
Wed Dec 4, 2013

RTA Far From Achieving "World-Class" Public Transit System, Experts Say

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has a lot of work to do if the northeastern Illinois public transit network it oversees plans on becoming a "world-class system" anytime soon, panelists said at a discussion on the topic Tuesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

The RTA is the oversight agency for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace, covering Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The agency was created in 1974 and was reformed in 1983 and 2008.

Stephen Schlickman, who served as RTA's executive director from 2005 to 2010 and currently heads up UIC's Urban Transportation Center, said RTA's multi-agency structure "isn’t working as well as it should be." He noted that regional public transit systems in other U.S. metro areas are typically organized as one agency. The region's current transit structure has four governing boards, for the RTA, CTA, Metra and Pace, with 47 members.

"There is a serious lack of accountability when you have such a complex structure," he stressed. "We have complexities, not only in governance, but also in service overlap, in capital planning and programming, in the equities in the allocation of our finances. These topics defy public understanding."

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