Posted on March 26, 2010 4:51 AM
Weekly Update, 3-26-10
Water 2050: The Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan. This past Monday, CMAP convened a summit of stakeholder groups who had helped to shape -- and will now help to implement -- the Water 2050 regional plan. Read more about next steps in a new Water 2050 implementation summary booklet. The event included remarks by Deborah Stone (deputy director, Illinois Department of Natural Resources), Mary Ann Dickinson (executive director, the Alliance for Water Efficiency), Lenore Beyer-Clow (policy director for Openlands, also representing the Metropolitan Planning Council), Melanie Napoleon (director of Great Lakes Conservation for Shedd Aquarium), Nan Buckardt (director of Environmental Education and Public Affairs for the Lake County Forest Preserve), Aurora's Mayor Tom Weisner (representing the Joint Council of Government's Water Supply Planning Alliance), and Al Wehrmann (head of the Center for Groundwater Science for the Illinois State Water Survey). We also distributed a new Model Water Use Conservation Ordinance that CMAP staff have prepared for local governments to help achieve more-sustainable water use. This meeting was a good way to initiate the plan's implementation phase, and based on keypad polling of the attendees, a large majority want CMAP to continue demonstrating leadership on water planning.
H+T Index. On Wednesday, March 24, 2010, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) released an expanded website for their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which provides a comprehensive snapshot of neighborhood affordability. Housing affordability is typically defined as 30 percent or less of household income spent on housing, which would mean seven out of ten U.S. communities are considered affordable. But when transportation costs are included, only 39 percent of communities are affordable for typical households, according to the new CNT report, Penny Wise, Pound Fuelish. The H+T website examines 337 metro areas, covering 80 percent of the U.S. population. I participated in a telebriefing for the media on March 23 with CNT president Scott Bernstein and experts from the Rockefeller Foundation, HUD, and USDOT to discuss the index and its relevance to regional planning. An objective of the federal government's Sustainable Communities Initiative is to improve housing affordability and ensure "housing is located near job centers and affordable, accessible transportation," an objective that CMAP supports and will promote in GO TO 2040. See a related story at DC.StreetsBlog.org.
FLIP recruitment begins. CMAP is pleased to announce the third year of Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP). FLIP is a leadership development program offered free of charge to high school students who are interested in learning about and contributing to a better future for our region. Participants selected will learn about northeastern Illinois by participating in hands-on activities and field trips on issues that concern us all, such as housing, transportation, the environment, and government. They also have the opportunity to meet and interview key decision makers. This year we’re hoping to do a site plan! We encourage you to pass along the 2010-2011 FLIP application to any potentially interested high schoolers, so please distribute it widely. All applications, references, and essays must be postmarked or emailed by 11:59 p.m., Friday, May 28, 2010.
Save the date: FLIP event. On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the 2009-2010 FLIP final presentation will be hosted at the National Museum of Mexican Art from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The FLIP students will present their final projects, which are designed to help youth across northeastern Illinois implement various aspects of GO TO 2040. For more information and directions, view this invitation. To RSVP, contact Diana Torres (312-386-8774 or email@example.com) by Monday, April 19.
In the GO TO 2040 blog. On Monday, in honor of World Water Day, we featured a beautiful shot from Grant Woods in Lake County. On Tuesday, Lauren Armendariz-Bast, a FLIP student, reflected on her year with the program (applications for next year’s FLIP program are available online). We also launched our “My 2040” project in the blog, with Diana Torres’s interview with Judith McBrien of the Archimedia Workshop (see details on “My 2040”). And today, CMAP’s Lindsay Banks reminded readers about the “Earth Hour” event tomorrow night, and Amy Talbot wrote about her experiences at the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council Summit last week.
Park-n-Ride. In 2007, CMAP completed feasibility studies for Park-n-Ride lots to be placed throughout the region to accommodate suburban-to-suburban commutes. Six locations were studied with a CMAQ grant from CMAP. McHenry County DOT went the next step and is now moving forward on building a Park-n-Ride lot at one of the locations, Virginia Road and IL 31 in Lake in the Hills. The goal is to have car poolers meet at the location and commute together to employment centers in Elgin, Hanover Park, Schaumburg, and other employment centers in the region.
Census participation rates. In an effort to help encourage residents to mail in their questionnaires, CMAP will be tracking 2010 Census mail participation rates by municipality and Chicago Community Area (CCA) this year. Beginning April 2, we will be releasing updated 2010 Census participation rates each Friday, through the month of April. We currently have a municipal map and CCA estimates map for participation rates from the 2000 Census available now. You can also check out this Google map to see 2010 Census participation rates by municipality and tract updated daily. This way you can track your community’s progress through the most important month of data collection. CMAP and The Chicago Community Trust have a vested interested in participation because the Regional Indicators project will rely on 2010 Census and American Community Survey (formerly the "long form") to track our progress for GO TO 2040. Your communities also stand better chances to receive federal government funds with higher participation rates.
Lighting Downers Grove. This week, the subdivision of Prentiss Creek in the Village of Downers Grove became the first in the U.S. to install a wind- and solar-powered lighting system, according to a TribLocal article. The project, partially funded by a DuPage County Neighborhood Investment Program grant, involved installing 25 hybrid streetlights that will last for 100,000 hours (as opposed to 10,000 hours with conventional lighting) and save residents over 500,000 kilowatts of electricity while reducing carbon emissions. There’s also an informative video about the project on YouTube.
Local farmers regaining land. Contrary to the typical effects of a recession on the small farmer, many in Will County have been able to buy back their farmland from banks at a reduced rate, according to a story in Crain's Chicago Business. Originally sold to developers for housing construction, the properties went into default and were taken over by banks as the housing market slowed. Now, some northeastern Illinois farmers find themselves able to buy back -- at a significant discount -- the land where they’ve been planting for generations.
I-290 resurfacing project. Starting in spring 2010, the Illinois DOT will resurface approximately 27 miles along Interstate 290, the Eisenhower Expressway. The project in Cook and DuPage counties extends from Thorndale Avenue to I-90/94 (Circle Interchange), and also on I-355 from Army Trail Road to I-290. Construction will take place in both directions simultaneously inbound and outbound and will utilize permanent lane closures and temporary nighttime lane closures. With completion scheduled for Fall 2010, the project will provide a smoother and safer ride for the motoring public. For more details, visit www.dot.il.gov/I290/index.html.
Recovery blog. This week we blogged about $27.5 million coming to the region for prevention and wellness, as well as a new tool to help families "better understand the range of tax credits" provided through the stimulus package. The average tax refund is up 10 percent from last year, largely due to tax credits included in the stimulus package.
Mark your calendars: MPC roundtable. On April 27, 2010, I will be part of a Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) roundtable on "The Great Communities Collaborative: Adapting a New Model for Sustainable Placed-Based Investment." We'll be discussing how our region can support coordinated and cooperative initiatives between the public and private sectors to support the development of walkable neighborhoods near transit, just like the Great Communities Collaborative is doing right now in San Francisco. Other panelists include Ngoan Le, vice president of programs at The Chicago Community Trust; Lee Morris, chairman of the board for the Regional Development Authority; and Shelley Poticha, senior advisor for sustainable housing and communities at HUD. The event is from noon to 1:30 p.m., with a cost of $15 for MPC donors and $30 for others. Pre-registration is required and can be completed online.
Burnham Award call for nominations. MPC is now accepting nominations for its annual Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning. Past winners include Metropolis 2020, the Village of Arlington Heights Downtown Plan, and the Will County Land Resource Management Plan. Details including submission guidelines are available online. Nominations are due by 4:00 p.m., April 8, 2010.
News archive. We updated our CMAP news archive this week. Recent CMAP coverage includes an in-depth analysis of water supply issues of our region in Medill Reports, as well as a piece about census impacts for Will County from the Lincoln Way-Sun.
Soles and Spokes. This week, CMAP's bike-ped planning blog directs readers’ attention to four new resources for bicycle and pedestrian planners and advocates. The Journal of Public Transportation has an article on integrating bicycling and public transportation. An international review in the journal Preventive Medicine argues for the “crucial role [for] public policy in encouraging bicycling.” The American Planning Association Planning Advisory Service has issued a report called “Complete Streets: Best policy and implementation practices.” And the Institute of Transportation Engineers/Congress for the New Urbanism has published “Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach.” In addition, we announced a call for mini-grant applications to the Cook County Department of Public Health's Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative, and an upcoming webinar titled “What does it take to get drivers to yield: Engineering Measures that Work.”
Moving up to #5. The metropolitan Chicago region has the fifth most energy efficiency buildings in the nation, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our region moved up one spot in the rankings this year. We rank behind Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Denver. With 134 Energy Star labeled buildings totaling 59.9 million square feet, our metropolitan area saves $50.2 million each year, according to estimates by the EPA. See a full list of the top 25 metros online.
Local home sales up. Home sales in the nine-county Chicago region increased by 32 percent over February 2009 this year, reports Crain's Chicago Business. In Chicago, sales rose 41.5 percent, and statewide, sales rose 15.7 percent last month. Median prices of home sales, however, decreased across the state.
The Grants Academy: Learn to access federal funds. To build regional capacity and take advantage of emerging funding opportunities, on April 15, 2010, CMAP and Illinois ResourceNet will hold a workshop on grant writing for non-profits, local government, and economic development and planning organizations. This program will equip communities with the basic tools necessary for building partnerships and continuously producing quality proposals. The morning session with identify key federal grant programs and demonstrate how to focus on strong goals and objectives and realistic budgets. The afternoon session will include an interactive workshop for preparing proposals under four different categories: economic development, housing, community development, and human services. The event costs $35 and will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the ComEd Commercial Center in Oak Brook. Register online at www.cmap.illinois.gov/Assistance/grantsacademy.aspx. For more information, contact Jamie Krell (312-386-8658 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Project Notifications. CMAP issues a monthly Project Notification to apprise state legislators, local government officials, and other interested parties of applications for federal and state grants that may have an impact on their communities. The most recent Project Notifications are available online. For more information, please contact Jamie Krell (email@example.com or 312-386-8658).