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New Better Streets Chicago Action Fund website endorses mayor and alder hopefuls

12:18 AM CST on February 8, 2023

Screenshot from the BSCAF endorsement page.

Last week the Better Streets Chicago Action Fund, a sister organization of the sustainable transportation advocacy group Better Streets Chicago, launched a new website endorsing mayoral and aldermanic candidates. Unlike Better Streets itself, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and can't make political endorsements (that's also the status of Streetsblog Chicago), the action fund is free to make recommendations on which hopefuls they feel would best advance the cause of mobility justice.

BSCAF sent an in-depth questionnaire on a wide range of transportation issues to all 182 aldermanic and mayoral candidates. Topics included poor CTA service, the traffic violence epidemic, the regional transit system’s impending $700 million-plus fiscal cliff, the North DuSable Lake Shore Drive reconstruction project, pollution from the transportation sector, and even Mayor Richard M. Daley’s disastrous parking meter deal.

The action fund received responses from just under half of the candidates, which are available in full on the website. The site includes a comprehensive and refreshingly easy to grasp list of candidates in every ward. There's a key indicating who responded to the questionnaire; whether they are incumbents and/or incumbents appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot; if they support making sidewalk snow removal a municipal service, and whether they received BSCAF’s endorsement. 

All of the mayoral candidates but Lightfoot and Willie Wilson responded to the survey. BSCAF has thrown its support behind Cook County commissioner Brandon Johnson. “We believe in Brandon Johnson because he listens and collaborates," the site states. "He recognizes the crisis the CTA is in and is unafraid to tackle the staffing and housing crises that plague it. He understands the epidemic of traffic violence in Chicago, and we trust he will pursue changes to ensure every Chicagoan has access to safe pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.”

The action fund's endorsement of Johnson.
The action fund's endorsement of Johnson.
The action fund's endorsement of Johnson.

In his survey responses, Johnson expressed support for regulating the size and weight of personal vehicles; creating a dedicated fund for pedestrian and bike infrastructure; pedestrianizing streets; establishing bus rapid transit lines; reducing speed limits; making CTA 100 percent wheelchair accessible, and plowing the sidewalks. Happily, of the seven mayoral hopefuls who responded, all except Paul Vallas and Sophia King are in favor of municipal sidewalk clearance. 

The action fund has endorsed a total of 21 aldermanic hopefuls out of the 50 wards. All of these candidates are in contested wards, save for 47th ward incumbent Matt Martin, who is unopposed. A handful of wards, mostly districts where the sitting alder has no opponent, had no respondents. Twenty wards had candidates who responded, but none who received an endorsement.

Along with educating voters on candidates, BSCAF is actively fundraising for their slate of endorsees. Donate buttons appear on each page (not all of which worked when I last visited) which are intended to allow donors to split their contribution equally amongst the 22 endorsed candidates, else or customize their donation. The action fund website also includes a handy voting guide with links for registering to vote and voting by mail; a searchable ward map; locations of drop boxes; early voting; and election day voting locations.

Check out the new Better Streets Chicago Action Fund endorsements here.

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