Active Transportation Alliance Helps Chicago Communities Score Big in Transportation Win
Cross-post from Advocacy Advance blog. The author is Lucy Wang, Advocacy Advance Communications Intern.
Securing funding for active transportation projects can be a long and opaque process, especially when community interests are left out of the process.
Fortunately for transportation advocates, though, some cities are choosing to use participatory budgeting — a process wherein cities equip residents with the power to decide how to spend money in their own backyards.
In Chicago, the Active Transportation Alliance has shown that participatory budgeting can be a fast-turnaround opportunity for winning funding for safer streets.
In 2012, four Chicago aldermen announced that they would use a PB pilot program in their four wards, or multi districts, to give residents more say in deciding how to spend $1 million in “Menu Money” for local infrastructure funding.
Active Transportation Alliance was confident that, given the chance, the residents would choose projects conducive to safer streets. The Chicago advocacy group quickly took advantage of this opportunity to apply for a Rapid Response Grant, which Advocacy Advance administers to help state and local organizations secure funding for biking and walking.