The Results Are In: 2017 Chicago Streetsies Winners

SBC readers chose the launch of Equiticity and plans for bike libraries in Riverdale (shown here) and North Lawndale as the best 2017 transportation happening in the none-of-the-above category. Photo: We Keep You Rollin'
SBC readers chose the launch of Equiticity and plans for bike libraries in Riverdale (shown here) and North Lawndale as the best 2017 transportation happening in the none-of-the-above category. Photo: We Keep You Rollin'

We asked for your input and hundreds of you voted. Here are the best Chicago transportation happenings of 2017.

Best New Transportation-Related Policies: The new ride-hailing fee to fund the CTA

In November Chicago became the first major city in the U.S. to pass a tax on ride-share with the revenue earmarked for transit infrastructure, a good idea that New York City is now considering emulating. The additional 15-20-cent fee won’t be a hardship for Lyft and Uber passengers, who studies show tend to be relatively affluent, but the projected $16-21 million in new CTA funding will help keep ride-hailing from further reducing transit ridership.

This forward-thinking law beat out the truck side guard ordinance and the 606 affordability ordinance as the best new legislation.

Best New Bike Infrastructure: Lakefront Trail separation

While $12 million of the funding for this project came from Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire who helped bring about the Bruce Rauner administration, which oversaw cuts to regional transit funding, our readers chose not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Separating bike and pedestrian traffic along most of the 18.5-mile path will help prevent crashes and reduce conflicts. Now if only we can get the authorities to install guardrails along the new Lake Shore Drive-adjacent bike routes…

This project bested the North Branch Trail extension and the Glenwood Greenway as the best new bike infrastructure.

The new Wilson station platforms. Photo: John Greenfield
The new Wilson station platforms. Photo: John Greenfield

Best New Transit Facility: The Wilson station reconstruction

What was it that took the Wilson station rehab over the top: the addition of elevators, the creation of a Red-Purple transfer, the brand-new entrance on Sunnyside, the restoration of the 1923 Gerber Building, or the jazzy art installation “Arpeggio” by Sri Lankan-British artist Cecil Balmond? Whatever it was, Streetsblog readers seem to be stoked about the completion of this $203 million project, slated for the end of this month.

This Wilson station renovation beat out the new Washington-Wabash station and the 95th Street station rehab as the best new transit infrastructure of 2017.

Best None-of-the-Above: Equiticity launches, starts bike libraries

Equiticity, the new mobility justice group, started in November by Slow Roll Chicago cofounder Oboi Reed, hit the ground pedaling. At the launch party Reed announced that the organization was partnering with We Keep You Rollin’ a bike group in the Riverdale community area (which includes Altgeld Gardens, Golden Gate and other enclaves) led by Deloris Lucas, and several community groups in North Lawndale to start bike libraries. The full fleets, featuring hundreds of dockless bike-share cycles provided by Ofo and Jump Mobility, are slated to launch in April.

This initiative bested the Milwaukee Ave. upgrades in Wicker Park / Bucktown and the 20th anniversary of Chicago Critical Mass’ monthly rides as the best none-of-the-above.

  • Kelly Pierce

    I wonder why people went for the ride share tax increase
    over bicycle truck guards as the best policy idea of 2017. I don’t like tax
    increases and the lives of bicyclists matter. I also recognize that streets may
    have more traffic because of ride share vehicles. I rarely use it. Even in this
    weather, I ride transit with boots, wool socks, long underwear and a hooded
    face mask. I don’t know what I like less: taxes or tons of ride share cars
    creating traffic jams.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Interesting. It seems like the same people who don’t like tax increases to fund useful public projects also often view new requirements for businesses to purchase safety gear as commerce-strangling overregulation.

  • rwy

    I didn’t vote for the side guard ordinance because it doesn’t apply to many trucks. We’ll have to see how many trucks install side guards in the coming months.

    I did ask my alderman for a similar ordinance in Evanston. No luck.

  • FlamingoFresh

    Was there anyone else in Illinois government responsible for the reduction in transit funding? Who created the budget that we passed?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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Chicago Streetsies: Best of 2017

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As we close out 2017 here at Streetsblog Chicago, we thought we’d celebrate the upside of a generally rotten year in the United States by highlighting some of the more positive things that happened in Chicago transportation in 2017.