Transit advocates get more options

Not more transit options; we’re still stuck with CTA bus, CTA rail, Pace bus, and Metra rail.  But now we have more advocacy options. None of them is easy to join. A biased summary (listed in descending order of web site quality) is:

  • If you believe transit’s main problem is that it doesn’t have enough money to spend, you can support the (newly-announced) Riders for Better Transit. It seems that you can’t exactly become a member; you can only click a box to show your support, and/or join the parent organization, Active Transportation Alliance.
  • If you believe that transit workers are good, kind, noble, and generous, but management is foolish, and, yeah, more money is probably needed too, you can join Citizens Taking Action.  The site gives no indication about how one could join, but does announce, and by implication invite one to, their next meeting.
  • If you think transit riders’ main problem is that transit investments and operations are poorly planned and poorly managed, a lot of money is wasted, and, if any more money is needed, it should come from a tax on land value, because land value reflects (among other things) the quality of public transportation, then you’re invited to support The Transit Riders’ Authority. Find where  it says “join TRA! Here’s a membership application:”  There is no membership application, but a PO Box, phone number and email address are given; perhaps they work.



Missing from Chicago’s Transportation Platform

Eight area advocacy organizations have issued “Chicago’s Sustainable Transportation Platform,”  recommending public policies for a better transportation system. Since I’m a paying member of at least two of the eight, and on the mailing list of a well-funded third, I had hoped that maybe a few sensible things would be included.  You can decide for yourself which of the ideas are sensible (“Design streets that are safe and convenient for all users.”).  Pretty much all of them could be construed as “Create additional jobs and funding opportunities for us and our friends,” but that’s true of most public policy discussions.

I’m mainly concerned about what’s missing, for instance:

  • Obtain transit funding from those who benefit from transit service– the owners of land and other privileges in areas served by transit.
  • Reduce the number of free and subsidized parking spaces provided at public and nonprofit facilities, including libraries, police stations, educational and medical institutions.  Use the resulting revenue to reduce taxes on productive activity.
  • Improve transit governance by requiring the majority of governing boards of CTA, Pace, Metra, and RTA to be regular transit users, and no board member who takes fewer than five transit trips in a month can receive pay for that month.

Other ideas?