GoodForUs.Org hopes to catalyze community-level  “Garages” for mutual support for more activating and less driving.  Here’s a vision of what a local Garage might look like a couple of years into the future . . .

It’s 2026 and we are in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. 

There are 526 households that are part of a group called the Ravenswood Garage. It’s not a building, but a mutual aid fraternity to make active living with less driving easier and a community effort. People join for many different reasons—but the main ones are to be healthier, happier, and more sustainable. (While saving money, of course!)

The households mirror the larger community. Each household pays dues of $10 per week to share resources that make it easier and more fun to be more active and drive less. Six families have requested and receive a discount. 

Enrollment started in 2024 and reached 100 members. In 2025, enrollment grew from about 10 new members per month to about 20 per month. Thanks to our dues—which give us over $250K yearly—we hired two people. Sofia is our full-time coordinator, coach, and cheerleader. Tracy, our part-timer, runs the bike and equipment library, and coordinates car-sharing.

To track how our members have boosted their active mobility and decreased car use—and to learn about their ongoing needs—we ask everyone to take our on-line “MotorActive” survey. All members take the survey at least once per year, but most do take it every three months. Because our website has a handy results dashboard , we know that last year our group cut driving by 11 percent and increased activing by 15%. Data we just received showed a 0.7% decrease in overall traffic in our neighborhood, which might not seem like much, but we’re excited about the progress!

The Active Transportation Alliance, as our host organization, provides employee benefits to our staff. To support its advocacy, we give the organization 10 percent of our dues.

Local businesses give us extra attention or upgrades—not discounts—because our members are regular customers, and the businesses want to grow walking and biking. We and the businesses have pledged to support each other.

While the Ravenswood Garage has an on-line message board, we try to use as much analog communication as possible. One reason that people join is that they’re sick of so much computer time. Our paper newsletter is delivered by a monthly walk and available at little libraries throughout the neighborhood. We do a lot of good, old-fashioned neighbor to neighbor communication.

The neighborhood grocery store has set aside a couple of parking places in a high visibility location, where the Ravenswood  Garage has installed some covered bike-parking racks. At this resource hut, our members can find take-home grocery cars, bikes, and cargo trailers. Members get access to the gear via digital combination locks—and we’ve made it easy for them to report maintenance problems. 

Our on-line message board has notices like, “Help us hit 550 members!”; “Sunday walk club meets here at 8 am”; “Fix-a-flat workshop Thursday at 6 pm”; “Join the fast 50+ women/non-binary ride!”; “Check the website for all upcoming events”; “Smith family went from 2 cars to 1; Way to go, Smiths!!!!”

Meanwhile, out on the streets,  Garage members are meeting up for various community rituals. There’s a Wednesday morning Plogger slog (picking up litter while jogging), and a Sunday walking group. A weekly grocery-getter brigade uses cargo trailers to make store trip for some of our older neighbors. There’s a monthly bike parade to Costco. And winter months come alive with spontaneous snow shoveling parties (and snowball fights!). 

Instead of selling their cars, some members have put them on our “GetAround” car-sharing app. Other Garage members use those cars for everything from doctor visits to catching a meteor shower. To lower the risk of the 100+ car-borrowing trips we coordinate, the Ravenswood Garage provides extra insurance to members.; 

Every day in our neighborhood, you can watch a surprising number of people biking and walking around; many have GoodForUs.Org logos on their gear. You can see more people stopping and talking to each other. Waving and saying hello to others has become the norm.—And, as they notice these changes around them and within themselves, folks feel more empower and optimistic. Thanks to the Garage, Ravenswood residents—and their visitors—feel less stress . . . and are happier!