As one of the most historically exciting mayoral elections for the City of Chicago approaches, many issues have been brought to the forefront as the runoff candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle go head to head on these important topics.
One issue that both candidates have neglected to address as thoroughly, however, is a subject close to most Chicagoans’ hearts. Chicago has long prided itself on its transportation system, including the famed “L”, considered one of the busiest rapid transit systems in the United States. For most Chicagoans, commuting to and from work is often one of the more prevalent matters of our everyday lives. As more and more options become available, transportation only continues to grow in importance to the city.
Although both Lightfoot and Preckwinkle have broached transit issues, it is a matter many of us would appreciate more discussion of as the election draws nearer, especially with current Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new task force, mentioned previously here, having released its latest report regarding transportation on March 14, 2019. In the report, current chair of Chicago’s Transportation and Mobility Task Force and former US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood stated, “Through Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, Chicago’s transportation system has become a model for the country. This report doubles down on the investments already made to modernize the City’s mobility infrastructure and provides a vision for the future of transportation in Chicago.”
In the report, it states that the Task Force examined many obstacles with Chicago’s transit system, “from accessibility concerns to the rise in ride-hailing trips and congestion issues, as well as the lack of sufficient funding for infrastructure.” The report also includes a list of principles the Task Force provides as guidance moving forward. These principles include:
- A transportation system that is safe for all users
- Mobility choices that are accessible, equitable, affordable and non-discriminatory
- Economic development that is inclusive and innovative
- A City that is efficient, smart and reliable
- Communities that are sustainable, healthy, and built using universal design principles
- Data and information that is actionable, transparent, shared, and secure
- Regulation of private providers that is guided by public benefits
The mayoral candidates could look to this report as an initial guideline with which to give us their “visions for the future of transportation in Chicago”. As strong advocates for the betterment of our transit system, especially where safety is concerned, it is important to us that Chicago transportation is given the attention it deserves.