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CMAP Weekly Update, 11-1-13

Among the highlights from CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn, a new Policy Update on findings and recommendations from the House of Representatives panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, the U.S. DOT certification review has been rescheduled for the week of November 18, the Illinois Tollway breaks ground on the Elgin-O'Hare Western Access project ,  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...

Policy Updates. This week, the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation released its findings and recommendations.  The report is consistent with GO TO 2040 and with CMAP's adopted reauthorization principles, both of which support the user-fees principle for transportation funding and performance-based project selection. These recommendations also help to address shortcomings pointed out by CMAP's analysis of freight provisions included in MAP-21, the current federal transportation authorization law.

Elgin O'Hare update. The Illinois Tollway broke ground on Tuesday for the Elgin O'Hare Western Access (EOWA) project, as described in the Chicago Tribune, with a new $34 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant, bringing the total federal funds from CMAP for this GO TO 2040 project to $68.7 million.  In other CMAQ news, HHP Insight described a project to convert 31 switcher locomotives on the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad to compressed natural gas.

Other News and Announcements

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

  • The Herald-News and Associated Press has stories this week about the unincorporated Fairmont community's first sidewalk.  As recommended by the 2010-11 participants in CMAP's Future Leaders in Planning program, it runs in front of the local elementary school and was part of Fairmont's successful application for federal Safe Routes to School funding. See a slideshow of residents and officials enjoying the new facility.  Among them is Will County's Steve Lazzara, who led the community's effort to develop its neighborhood plan in partnership with CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program. Among other implementation activities, earlier this year Fairmont started its first community garden.
  • The City of Chicago Heights is developing a new comprehensive plan and will hold a visioning meeting on November 13 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at its Park District facility (1400 Chicago Road, Chicago Heights). Read more at Patch.
  • The Beacon-News and Chicago Tribune highlighted an upcoming Homes for a Changing Region public meeting in Geneva on November 7. The planning effort also includes St. Charles, North Aurora, and Batavia, in partnership with Kane County, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and the Metropolitan Planning Council. Residents can provide input at through the end of November, and two additional public meetings will also be held this month (see Events section of this Weekly Update). Learn more at

Case studies library. The award-winning Park Forest sustainability plan, developed through the LTA program, includes recommendations for 14 topic areas with "baseline" and "target" indicators to quantify current conditions and track progress. Since the plan's adoption, the Village has hired a Sustainability Coordinator, secured further technical assistance to update their zoning code (also through the LTA program), initiated a community garden program, and committed to purchasing 100 percent of is electricity from renewable sources. The GO TO 2040 case studies library highlights implementation activities for other completed LTA projects, as well as local examples of work that support recommendations from the comprehensive regional plan. For more information, please contact Lindsay Bayley ( or 312-386-8826).

Safe Routes to School. The Illinois Department of Transportation announced a call for Safe Routes to School applications for projects and programs that enable and encourage walking and bicycling to and from school. Applications are due on January 31, 2014.

Community photography workshop. The Union Street Gallery in Chicago Heights (1527 Otto Blvd.) will hold a workshop on November 20 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on facilitating community photography projects. The gallery held a successful photography project last year with support from The Chicago Community Trust. A CMAP toolkit released last summer can also help planners integrate arts and culture into their communities.

CNU transportation summit. The Congress for New Urbanism will hold its 2013 Transportation Summit at CMAP's offices November 21-22, with optional tours around Chicago on November 23. Registration is available on-line.

BRT newsletter. A Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) newsletter features information on engineering progresses for bus rapid transit in the central Loop, a new campaign to promote BRT in Chicago, the expansion of BRT in Los Angeles, and more.

CMAP Blogs

Soles and Spokes. CMAP's bike-ped planning blog featured a League of American Bicyclists report released through their "Women Bike" program. The report benchmarks women's bicycling across the country and presents ways to increase participation.


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.

RESCHEDULED: U.S. DOT certification review. The U.S. Department of Transportation is conducting its quadrennial certification review site visit of CMAP the week of November 18. CMAP has completed an advanced review questionnaire, and 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).

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.