By: Diane Benjamin
A lawyer friend/reader sent me a copy of the Illinois State Bar Association email newsletter. This story was in it:
July 1, 2019 is a notable day in the history of transportation in Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that puts $45 billion towards state construction projects. Within that $45 billion is $50 million annually toward projects for pedestrians and bicyclists. This is a massive victory by the Active Transportation Alliance, other advocacy groups, and the legislators who worked to get the bill passed and on the governor’s desk.
The funding will work towards efforts to increase bike ridership and public transportation use across Illinois. The additional resources will substantially increase the size of the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP). Funds will be allocated via a competitive grant process and focus on the creation of projects such as pedestrian refuge islands, protected bike lanes, new bike and pedestrian trails via the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors, upgraded crossings, and additional safety infrastructure. Additionally, the bill requires that at least 25% of funding to be directed towards projects in “high-need communities, based on community median income and total property tax base”, thus providing access and increasing connections across the State.
Read on for the first fail:
Although the program is a tremendous leap forward, groups such as, the Active Transportation Alliance recently mentioned that the bill is not perfect as, “It lacks a data-driven, performance-based planning process to allocate funds.” The Active Transportation Alliance notes that there is a risk that funds could be allocated to roadway expansion leading to higher congestion in the long run.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if the current local bike lanes aren’t being used. Data isn’t used to make decisions. The State passed the bill with funding, so it will get funded.
The City Hall meeting is tonight. https://blnnews.com/2019/07/10/bike-lanes-on-empire-not-a-joke/
Welcome to the Twilight Zone.