Sunday, January 11, 2015

Active transport questionnaires for the aldermanic candidates

by Michelle Stenzel

The election for mayor and all 50 aldermanic seats is coming up soon! Four candidates will be on the ballot in the 43rd ward: Jen Kramer (jenkramer43.com), Jerry Quandt (jerryquandt.com), Michele Smith (michelesmith.org), and Caroline Vickrey (carolinefor43.com). 

Problems related to biking, walking, and taking public transit in our ward are very important to many Lincoln Park residents, so we are giving the candidates a chance to state their views on those issues in order to help voters make an informed decision.

[Edit: On January 27, 2015, we provided the candidates' complete responses on this blog post.]

Stop for Pedestrians sign on Stockton Drive alongside Green City Market, in July 2012.
We've partnered with Active Transportation Alliance in this effort. Active Trans has sent an eight-item questionnaire to 200+ candidates for all 50 wards (link to that questionnaire here). Bike Walk Lincoln Park provided an additional five ward-specific questions that was attached for the 43rd ward candidates. 

Here are the questions Bike Walk Lincoln Park asked:
1/ What do you believe is working well for people walking, riding bikes or taking public transportation in the 43rd ward, and what do you believe are some of the most important changes that would make it more safe, convenient and pleasant? 
2/ Clark Street from North Avenue to Diversey Parkway is an important street in Lincoln Park, but problems that have been noted by residents include: speeding cars, inadequate pedestrian crossings, narrow sidewalks, lack of bus shelters, lack or inadequacy of bike lanes, underused storefronts, lack of community space. What are your ideas to alleviate these problems and make Clark Street safer and more attractive to all users?
3/ The “Redefine the Drive” project to redesign North Lake Shore Drive is currently underway. After numerous public meetings, a list of the top 20 ideas for improvement has been released. The second-most popular idea is “Improve transit service/Install exclusive Bus Rapid Transit facility/Increase transit/Install light rail”. What are your thoughts on the state of public transit on Lake Shore Drive currently, as well as on dedicating a portion of Lake Shore Drive to exclusive public transit use?
4/ The third-most popular idea of the “Redefine the Drive” project is “Improve east-west pedestrian/bike connections and facilities”. What are your thoughts on the state of east-west pedestrian, bike and public transportation connections to the Lakefront Trail within the 43rd ward currently?
5/ How do you feel about redistributing parking spaces in the 43rd ward to improve access and safety for people walking, biking and riding public transit? For example, moving metered spaces under L tracks or near intersections to add marked crosswalks and continuous bike lanes.
The questionnaire was submitted at the end of December, and the candidates have until January 26th to provide responses, if they choose to do so. We will print all responses soon thereafter, and it will be very interesting to find out what's on the candidates' minds on these issues.

In the mean time, there are four aldermanic candidate forums planned that we are aware of, listed below. We plan to participate in the January 27th forum hosted by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. All the forums are open to the public, even if you're not a member of the group hosting the event, so we hope that you make an effort to come size up the candidates in person!

Monday, January 12, 2015
7:30 PM
Wrightwood Neighbors Association Aldermanic Forum
New Life Church
1110 West Lill

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
7:00 PM
Aldermanic Candidate Forum
(hosted jointly by Lincoln Central, Sheffield Neighborhood, Ranch Triangle)
St. Vincent DePaul Center
2145 N. Halsted

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
6:30 to 8:30 PM
Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
43rd Ward Aldermanic Forum
Depaul University Student Center - Room 314
2250 N. Sheffield
Moderator: Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago

Thursday, January 29th, 2015
7:00 to 9:00 PM
Old Town Triangle Aldermanic Candidates Night
1763 N. North Park Avenue

If you live in other city wards, the energetic people of Aldertrack are keeping track of the known aldermanic forums citywide for you. 

If you're interested in getting involved in working in your neighborhood for biking, walking and transit as Bike Walk Lincoln Park is in this neighborhood, Active Transportation Alliance would like to hear from you to help you get started! Here is their current web page with a list of known neighborhood groups, but they'd like to have a citizen-led group in every corner of Chicago. Contact their director of campaigns, Kyle Whitehead at kyle@activetrans.org to get started.
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Follow us on Twitter @BikeWalkLP

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