Chicago is "Top Metro" in the U.S.
Chicago has received the economic development industry's highest award for new corporate investment and expansion. The city is the top in the U.S. for business investment, according to Site Selection Magazine.
The magazine's annual award recognized approximately 230 projects totaling more than $6.5 billion in investment in the Chicagoland area that were submitted to the publication in consideration for the award. "Chicago's victory -- its third consecutive win and sixth in the last seven years -- was so dominant that its project count more than doubled runner-up metro Cincinnati and accounted for the vast majority of Illinois' 362 facility announcements statewide," the magazine stated. "Our primary asset is our location," says Rita Athas, the new executive director of World Business Chicago and vice chair of the CMAP Board. "Our location in the center of the country gives us a huge advantage. We are the only dual hub in North America with our airports. We have an intermodal container port. As a result, over 50 percent of all freight that's transported across the U.S. passes through Chicago." See http://www.siteselection.com/
for the full list of "Top Metros." On behalf of CMAP, congratulations to the City on this is an impressive honor, which bodes well for our region's continuing prosperity.New on the GO TO 2040 web.
One busy area of our new website is called "The Idea Zone
," where people can delve into the many topics under consideration in the GO TO 2040
comprehensive regional plan. It has links where anyone can comment on strategy papers, the first two of which deal with teardowns and bicycling issues. We've posted our latest Regional Snapshot report on infill
, which examines the many benefits of redeveloping infill sites to revitalize communities, increase tax revenues, provide diverse housing opportunities, preserve natural resources in undeveloped areas, and effectively use existing infrastructure and services. Also this week, I wrote a blog entry about a terrific group of kids at Whitney Young High School
who last week impressed me with their creative responses in a pilot contest in which CMAP asked them to depict how they want and expect the region to look in 2040. Their hopes and sometimes fears for the future were vividly depicted in writings, illustrations, and performances. Other recent bloggers include CMAP staffers Gordon Smith on why people should care about 2040
and Lindsay Banks on the Earth Hour event
held last Saturday here and around the world.Water supply update.
Through the Regional Water Supply Planning Group
(RWSPG), CMAP is collaborating with the University of Chicago Survey Lab to facilitate two region-wide surveys in 2008 to learn more about water conservation efforts and awareness throughout the region. First, the 2008 Survey of Water Utilities targets municipal water utilities and has three main objectives: 1) to better understand utility operations, challenges, and needs; 2) to investigate utility conservation interests and activities; and 3) to identify potential conservation-oriented cost savings opportunities for utilities in our region. This survey was mailed out the week of March 24, 2008 and is also available online
. The second survey targets the general public and has three main objectives: 1) to identify possible barriers to public participation in conservation measures promoted by water utilities; 2) to create baseline data about residential water-use behaviors, and knowledge and attitudes regarding conservation; and 3) to investigate correlations between conservation knowledge, attitudes & behaviors and regional demographics. This survey will be distributed to a randomly selected portion of the public in May. Both surveys will be important inputs to the regional water supply plan and, in turn, the GO TO 2040
CMAP will offer its two-day basic Arcview 9.2 workshop in April, May, and June. The cost is $350, and we encourage staff of municipalities, community organizations, and other agency partners to take advantage of this GIS training. The dates are April 16-17, May 21-22, and June 18-19, 2008. Contact Jan Drennan (email@example.com
or 312-386-8609).2030 RTP update and implementation.
Please see /2030-regional-transportation-plan
for the recently approved update to the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan. That new address for the RTP and related maps includes links to related pages, including information on award-winning Shared Path 2030 outreach materials and processes. While CMAP's focus is on our GO TO 2040
process, we are also regularly updating and tracking the implementation of adopted plans and programs. Staff has prepared a web page with information about the status of major capital projects
that include eight now under construction, seven already completed, and 15 additional projects now being studied. These projects will help us move toward the mobility and accessibility necessary for broad-based regional prosperity we seek. Benefits of the projects will often last for generations. Because we recognize short-term traveler inconvenience and occasional long-term dislocation can result from these projects, our page includes informative links to help residents and businesses understand these consequences and respond to them. This web site also demonstrates the need for a new capital program, which we are optimistic will gain momentum in the current General Assembly session. Most of the current activity will be complete by 2010, and projects beyond next year will depend on new capital funding.
Seal the Deal II recap.
On Monday, over 110 people attended CMAP's panel discussion on Development Incentives. Initial feedback has been positive with many attendees expressing that they liked how the panel tied the general topic overview in with the specifics of case studies and real world examples of how they may implement similar incentives in their communities. Presentations and handouts can be found on the Events
page of the Economic & Community Development section of CMAP’s website.Polar expedition for climate change.
On January 8, CMAP hosted a talk about climate change by Will Steger, the polar explorer, educator, and prominent spokesperson for preservation of the Arctic. In his presentation, Will mentioned his plans to lead a 60-day, 1,400 mile dogsled expedition across Ellesmere Island. Now in progress, his team's journey is following the footsteps of polar explorers and visiting the ice shelves that have collapsed due to climate change and those that are on the brink of collapse. This journey started on March 28 and includes a team of six young explorers aged 21 to 28 from Norway, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. The purpose is to inspire international cooperation in environmental stewardship, educate youth and inspire "Generation Y" to develop solutions for global warming. Visit http://www.globalwarming101.com
to follow the expedition on-line through videos, podcasts, photos, and blog entries.Lake Michigan Conference.
CMAP will host a conference of the Lake Michigan Watershed Academy
from May 20 to 22, 2008. This three-day interactive event will cover water quality issues and regional policy development relevant to Lake Michigan and its basin, including watersheds in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. It is geared to staff from regional planning organizations within the Lake Michigan basin, watershed groups that plan and implement projects, local elected officials and planning or public works staff of municipalities within the basin, and agency planners, policy makers and project implementers on a local or regional level. Keynote speaker will be John Austin of the Brookings Institution, speaking on "Healthy Waters Strong Economy: The Economic Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem."Watershed conference reminder.
The Linking Watersheds Conference 2008 will be held Tuesday, April 22 at the NIU-Hoffman Estates campus. Registrations are due Tuesday, April 15 to the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership (FREP). See http://www.foxriverecosystem
.org/conference.htm for details.Safe Routes to School clarification.
Last week's item about the Safe Routes to School program included a misstatement about cost-sharing requirements. Approved projects are in fact 100-percent federal funded. On March 28, the CMAP Transportation Committee approved the Northeastern Illinois Element of the Safe Routes program for inclusion in our FY 2007-2012 Transportation Improvement Program. This includes infrastructure improvements, education, encouragement, and enforcement initiatives to make walking and bicycling the mode of choice for school travel for more students. See /bike-ped
for a list of approved Safe Routes projects in metropolitan Chicago, and http://www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes/saferouteshome.aspx
for details on how to apply for new projects.