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October 25, 2013
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CMAP Weekly Update, 10-25-13

Among the highlights from CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn, a Springfield update on the first week of the Illinois General Assembly's veto session, the U.S. DOT certification review has been rescheduled for the week of November 18, a new Policy Update on Com Ed's updates to the smart grid and meter installations and impact on energy reduction,  and upcoming meetings for Homes for a Changing region project in Geneva, Batavia, and St. Charles. Subscribe to get Weekly Updates by e-mail.

First Off...

Springfield update. The Illinois General Assembly convened on Tuesday for the first week of the veto session, during which lawmakers meet to take action on the Governor's vetoes and tackle other pending legislative issues from the regular session. Pension reform, marriage equality, and corporate tax credits are among many topics that have been deferred at least until lawmakers return in November. One outcome of the veto session was the election of Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge) as new minority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives.  Also, two new transit-related bills that would affect northeastern Illinois were filed this week. SB 2606 would change how Metra board members are selected. A shell bill regarding Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) discretionary funding, SB 2610, has also been filed. Finally, the RTA-CMAP merger bill, SB 1594, remains in Illinois Senate Assignments. Legislators return to Springfield November 5-7, 2013.

RESCHEDULED: U.S. DOT certification review. Federal regulations require that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) be certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation every four years. After a delay due to the government shutdown, CMAP's review has been rescheduled for the week of November 18. The purpose is not only to ensure that federal requirements for transportation are being met, but also to highlight good planning practices and share information among participating organizations. CMAP has completed an advanced review questionnaire. Individuals are invited to provide input on the planning process at a public meeting on November 18 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (412 South Peoria Street, Room 110, Chicago).

Policy Updates.  Smart grid updates and smart meter installations underway by ComEd can play an important role in behavior-based energy reduction throughout the region and, if they live up to their potential, will support energy-related goals of the GO TO 2040 plan.

Other News and Announcements

AMPO honor.  Congratulations to CMAP deputy executive director Don Kopec, who is receiving the Outstanding Individual Leadership award from the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) at their annual meeting this week.  AMPO cited Don's long-time leadership on national transportation issues, including a key role in addressing requirements of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, developing our region's CMAQ program, and most recently bringing freight issues to national attention.  Since January 2013, he has also been the president of AMPO's board of directors.

LTA updates. Among recent highlights from CMAP's Local Technical Assistance program:

  • Cook County's Planning for Progress will lead to the development of a new Consolidated Plan and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.  President Preckwinkle spoke yesterday in a kickoff event at CMAP with nearly 100 attendees and many more tuning in via live stream. Input is now being solicited via survey at http://planningforprogress.metroquest.com/.
  • The Village of Rosemont is creating its first comprehensive plan since 1977 with support from CMAP. Learn more at the project web page.
  • The City of Evanston will hold a workshop and ride for the development of its bike plan tomorrow, October 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • CMAP and the Urban Land Institute Chicago are working with the Village of Lincolnwood and the City of Chicago to evaluate redevelopment potential of the Devon Avenue corridor between McCormick Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue. Recommendations from the Technical Assistance Panel that took place September 10-11 will be presented on October 28 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Lincolnwood Village Hall (Council Chambers, 6900 N. Lincoln Avenue, Lincolnwood). To learn more, contact ULI Chicago's Cindy McSherry (773-549-4972 or cindy.mcsherry@uli.org).
  • The Village of Westchester will hold a public hearing for its draft comprehensive plan on October 29 at 7:00 p.m. at its Village Hall (10300 W. Roosevelt Road, Westchester).
  • The Daily Herald and Kane County Chronicle described a presentation to the North Aurora Village Board in support of the Homes for a Changing Region plan underway for the community, as well as Geneva, St. Charles, and Batavia, in partnership with Kane County, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and the Metropolitan Planning Council. As described by an article by the Chicago Tribune, in November three public meetings (see Events section of this Weekly Update) and an on-line survey will contribute to the plan's development.  Learn more at www.cmap.illinois.gov/homes.
  • Lakemoor's comprehensive plan recommends redevelopment of the Village's Town Center to strengthen its role as the center of activity in Lakemoor and to accommodate new commercial uses within a walkable distance of many Lakemoor residents. The plan states that "transforming this area to a walkable, mixed-use Town Center would create a sense of place within Lakemoor, provide a mix of uses, services, goods, and amenities needed and desired by the community, and strengthen the community's tax base." Lakemoor has moved forward on another of the plan's recommendations, to conduct a market study to better understand the development potential for the Town Center area. Read more in the Daily Herald.

Tollway progress.  The Tribune has a story about the Illinois Tollway's busy year implementing system improvements through its "Move Illinois" capital program.

P3 conference. The Bond Buyer is holding a Transportation Finance/P3 Conference November 13-15 in Chicago. On November 14, I will speak on a panel "Other Transportation Financing Options." Register with the promo code "CMAP" for $100 off.

Bike plan feedback.  The Illinois Department of Transportation has identified "connectivity" as the guiding theme for its Bike Transportation Plan under development. Visit IllinoisBikePlan.com to take an interactive survey, where users can suggest regional bicycle connections, identify barriers, and more.

CMAP Blogs

Soles and Spokes. CMAP's bike-ped planning blog featured an announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of a new set of tools and funding program to help communities reduce the number of pedestrian deaths. After a decade of decline, pedestrian deaths rose nationally in both 2010 and 2011.

Reminders

Congestion pricing. Learn more about the regional effort to implement congestion pricing, with express toll lanes that will help manage traffic and give drivers better choices for getting around.

Performance-based funding. Transparent evaluation criteria based on "performance-based funding" can improve transportation decision making, as described in a CMAP microsite and detailed analysis.

Public meetings for IDOT Multi-Modal TIP. IDOT is holding public meetings across the state to solicit input for the development of its FY2015-20 Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program. More information on the final two webinars (October 28 and 29) is available on-line.


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