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CMAP Weekly Update, 11-15-13

Among the highlights from CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn, a recap from Wednesday's CMAP Board meeting, more than 50 projects will receive $286 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, comments on the Transportation Alternatives Program draft set of projects will be accepted until December 16, a new Policy Update on methodology to measure trade between regions, and a reminder to learn more about performance-based funding. Subscribe to get Weekly Updates by e-mail.

First Off...

CMAP Board recap. The Board met on Wednesday and heard highlights of the agency's accomplishments and progress in the third year of GO TO 2040 implementation. Additionally, staff is working to wrap up our Energy Impact Illinois program and reported on the near-final results and accomplishments of the program. The final report will be completed and available in January 2014. Finally, an overview was provided on the Implementation Actions and the Plan Indicators as part of the GO TO 2040 plan update. The Board is on call for its December meeting.

CMAQ awards. More than 50 projects will receive $286 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program funds allocated by CMAP. As described in a press release, residents will benefit from improved transit, roads, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities thanks to federal transportation funds programmed over the next four years in support of GO TO 2040 goals. Combined with previous CMAQ funding cycles, these awards make up a five-year regional program of $582 million. Read more about recently announced projects at Crain's Chicago Business, Daily Herald, Suburban Life, Northwest Herald, Streetsblog Chicago, and WBEZ.

Transportation Alternatives Program comment period. The draft set of projects for the FY 2013-14 CMAP Transportation Alternatives program was released for public comment today following the Transportation Committee meeting. Interested parties should submit comments to Jesse Elam ( Comments will be accepted until December 16, 2013. More information is available at

Policy Updates. The Brookings Institution created a new methodology to measure trade between regions, which complements international trade data and can help regions better understand their specializations to inform decision making and maximize economic potential. In related news, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) authored a piece on the convergence of freight and manufacturing in our region for the Brookings Metro Freight research series. Earlier this year, CMAP released an in-depth report on the freight-manufacturing nexus in metropolitan Chicago.

Upcoming UIC talks. I will speak at two upcoming events at the University of Illinois at Chicago. On December 3 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., I will be on a panel on the future of regional transportation planning with CMAP Board member Frank Beal, among others (Great Cities Institute, 412 S. Peoria Street, Suite 400). RSVP at UIC will hold its annual Urban Forum on December 5 at 725 W. Roosevelt Road, and this year's theme is Technology and the Resilience of Metropolitan Regions. I'll speak on an afternoon panel, "The Growing Metropolis: How will emerging technologies influence urban growth and development?"  Register on-line.

Others News and Announcements

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

  • The Chicago Tribune described last week's Homes for a Changing Region public meeting in Geneva. The planning effort also includes St. Charles, North Aurora, and Batavia, in partnership with Kane County, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and MPC.  Residents can provide input at throughout November, and one final public meeting will also be held next week in St. Charles (see Events section of this Weekly Update). Learn more at
  • Tomorrow, November 16, the Village of South Elgin will hold its "An Almost Winter Day" event in SEBA Park from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Among other activities, residents can learn more about the Village's bicycle and pedestrian plan under development.
  • Residents can provide input on the Rosemont comprehensive plan through January 15, 2014, at This is the community's first comprehensive plan since 1977.
  • Over 50 residents and stakeholders turned out for a visioning meeting to help shape recommendations for the Chicago Heights comprehensive plan this week. Stay up to date on the project's progress at
  • The first certified organic farm in Libertyville, Radical Root Farm, will begin operations in 2014 at the centennial Casey Farm, as recommended by the local food planning efforts undertaken by Lake County with the Liberty Prairie Foundation, Lake County Forest Preserve District, and other partners. Read more in the Trib.

Census release. This week the U.S. Census Bureau released American Community Survey (ACS) estimates for the three-year period from 2010-12, with data covering areas with population of 20,000 or more. The data is available at the American FactFinder2 website. For assistance contact Jon Hallas ( or 312-386-8764).

Location affordability. The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Transportation (DOT) launched a new Location Affordability Portal with two new tools -- the Location Affordability Index and My Transportation Cost Calculator -- both of which highlight how both housing and transportation costs can impact affordability. The Center for Neighborhood Technology, which developed the Housing and Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index a few years ago, helped in the development of the new index. Read more at Streetsblog.

MPC on BRT.  The Catalyst featured a blog from MPC on the transit-oriented development potential of Bus Rapid Transit.

New website for Morton. The Morton Arboretum launched a new, more user-friendly website this week at

CMAP Blogs

Soles and Spokes. This week, CMAP's bike-ped planning blog featured a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (PIRG) on the decline of driving in many states, and the possible correlations between these trends and other factors such as unemployment, urbanization, and home-based work.


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).