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Training Program Helps Suburban Residents Push For Biking, Walking Paths

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Getting around by bicycle or on foot in the suburbs is often difficult. But an organization that promotes biking, walking and public transportation is trying to make that easier and get suburban residents involved to push for these changes.

In late September, the Active Transportation Alliance launched "Bike Walk Every Town," a new advocacy training program for people in suburban communities who want to more transportation options. WBBM's Bernie Tafoya reports.

"We felt that the best way to actually reach all those suburbs and actually improve biking and walking conditions and help expand transportation options for people would be to meet with people who live in those communities," said said Maggie Melin, Advocacy Manager for the Active Transportation Alliance.

The purpose is to train people and give them to tools to try to make changes in their own communities by talking to their public officials and pushing for more paths and trails in their towns.

The Active Transportation Alliance has already held "summits" in Highland Park and Elmhurst to train suburban residents in ways to lobby their public officials to think more about providing biking and walking paths, and making them connect to the places people go.

"Any type of infrastructure related to walking or biking, it does take some effort. And, it takes people in the community showing their elected officials this is what they want," Melin said.

"So that residents could get to places they want to go like schools, the Metra, their homes, shops, where they're working."

Melin said people from 30 suburbs showed up to the first two training summits recently.

"They feel like it's nice to know they're not alone and they want biking and walking improvements in their community, and now they have some steps that they can take, some structure behind what they can do to actually make that change happen," she said.

The final two summits are scheduled this Saturday at the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and next Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Flossmoor Station Brewery from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents are invited to register for the trainings.

To register or to learn more, visit Bike Walk Every Town or email Maggie Melin at

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