33rd Ward runoff candidates support discount for low-income transit riders

The candidates running for alderman in the 33rd Ward say bus lanes and bike lanes should be top transportation priorities.

The 33rd Ward is on Chicago’s North Side and includes parts of Ravenswood Manor, Avondale, Albany Park and Irving Park. The seat is currently held by Ald. Deb Mell, who is running for re-election in the runoff against Rosanna Rodriguez-Sanchez.

Active Transportation NOW sent a questionnaire to these two candidates about a range of transportation issues. Below is a summary of their responses. Be sure to read their completed form for their full responses.

Following is a summary of the candidates’ positions based on the questionnaire responses and public statements. Active Transportation NOW does not endorse aldermanic candidates. Our goal is to educate candidates and voters about the city’s transportation needs and build support for improvements.

ALD. DEB MELL

Ald. Mell pledges support for all 10 proposed policies. She says she incorporates active transportation into her life as much as possible and calls bicycling “usually the most convenient mode of travel locally.” She has a shared office Ventra card for her staff.

Mell says the city needs to further commit to Vision Zero and backs a Chicago Bike Walk Fund prioritized for the city’s highest crash corridors. Mell touts the recently completed Manor Greenway and a variety of pedestrian projects as key accomplishments. Along with supporting a Chicago River Trail, Mell  wants to see a trail connection between River Park and Gompers Park so that the Chicago River Trail connects to the North Branch Trail.

Mell says she’s personally seen the benefits of reduced transit fares for seniors and supports a similar program for low-income riders. She references Active Transportation Alliance’s Bus Friendly Streets Report Cards as proof the ward needs more dedicated bus lanes and transit priority signals.

ROSANNA RODRIGUEZ-SANCHEZ

Rosanna Rodriguez-Sanchez pledges support for nine of 10 proposed policies. She says she walks and rides transit and views a discounted transit fare for low-income riders as “an important measure to create transit equity.”

Rodriguez-Sanchez backs 50 miles of new bus lanes, saying dedicated bus lanes and bus priority at traffic lights are the “quickest way to serve transit deserts.” She says the bus network deserves more attention after years of prioritizing rail.

She doesn’t support congestion fees that would incentivize shared and active trips because it would “disproportionately increase the cost of living for working- and middle-class people who are already burdened by increasing housing costs.