Among the highlights from CMAP executive director Randy Blankenhorn, a state legislative update, including the status of the pension reform bill, progress on the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway and Western Bypass and IL Route 53, upcoming LTA meetings in Lake County, Northlake,and Niles, the state of planning-based journalism, progress on Illinois Route 53, and MetroPulse data tracking new businesses by county. Subscribe to get Weekly Updates by e-mail.
State Legislative Update.The General Assembly adjourned last evening after passing the State budget, however they failed to pass any pension reforms. Following adjournment, the Governor announced that he would be meeting with the legislative leaders to agree on a pension reform bill prior to calling the House and Senate back later this summer.
We were closely following the budget bills that contained funding for CMAP through the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) budget as part of the $6 million for metropolitan planning and research, which eventually passed as part of SB 2474. IDOT was also granted additional bonding authority as part of HB 4568 to help fund the FY13 projects that are part of the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. Additionally, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Sustainability bill SB 1566 did not receive the 3/5 vote that was required for passage because the bill was called after May 31, 2012. Please see our recent Policy Update for more information on IDNR funding.
Staff is working on a complete summary report of this year’s legislative session that will be shared next week as part of the CMAP Board materials.
FLIP final presentation. Last night student participants in our Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) program presented their findings on innovative ice and snow removal techniques. Students who will be sophomores, juniors, or seniors in the 2012-13 school year are eligible, and the early application deadline is today. For more information, contact Ricardo Lopez (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-386-8766).
Elgin-O'Hare progress. The Illinois Tollway announced plans to hire firms for planning and design work on the Elgin O'Hare Expressway and West O'Hare Bypass. Work on the project could start as early as next year, according to Crain's Chicago Business. This project is one of five new major capital projects recommended in GO TO 2040 and is needed to relieve congestion and improve accessibility throughout the O'Hare area, which is a major economic driver for the region.
Reporting on planning. This week the Chicago Reader and Chicago Magazine websites had interesting items about the state of planning-based journalism, prompted by the American Planning Association's discontinuation of its national award for newspaper coverage of urban and regional planning due to a lack of submissions. While the shifting media landscape has significantly strained papers' staff and other resources, ironically, the public's interest in planning topics may never have been greater. Fine coverage certainly continues, though we planners always hope to see more, especially on policy issues that -- while not easy to cover -- significantly shape the prosperity and livability of regions like ours.
Other News and Announcements
LTA updates. CMAP is working with Lake County to develop a sustainability chapter for its Regional Framework Plan through the Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program. The County and CMAP will hold a public meeting for this project on June 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lake County Central Permit Facility (500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville). The City of Northlake will host a public visioning workshop to develop a comprehensive plan on June 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sandra Vasquez Community Center (316 N. LaPorte Avenue, Northlake). CMAP is also helping the Village of Niles to develop a sustainability plan. The Village will kick off the development of the plan on July 25 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Village of Niles Senior Center (999 Civic Center Drive, Niles).
LTA in the news. The Oak Leaves wrote about last week's LTA Ideas Exchange event and the grant award that Seven Generations Ahead in Oak Park received from The Chicago Community Trust. The article quotes CMAP's Bob Dean. Heather Smith of the Congress for the New Urbanism also wrote about her experiences at the Ideas Exchange. The Daily Herald wrote about a $50,000 Community Planning Grant that Glen Ellyn received through the LTA program to fund a downtown streetscape and parking study.
IL 53 progress. In case you missed it, WGN radio's "Great Outdoors" show recently had a segment about the Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council recommendations. Host Charlie Potter stated that the result will be "the most environmentally friendly road probably ever to be built in America."
Featured case study. Problems with the emerald ash borer and other threats to trees led Elgin to launch their Fit Forest Campaign, which demonstrated that City-owned trees had a value of over $72 million. If you know an exemplary project for the GO TO 2040 case study library, please contact Lindsay Banks (312-386-8826) or submit it online.
Blackberry Creek watershed plan. As I mentioned last week, the Village of Elburn has signed on to support the Blackberry Creek watershed plan, which was approved by the Village board earlier in the month. CMAP and The Conservation Foundation oversaw production of the plan. Read more in the Kaneland Krier.
Fiber network construction underway. The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) and Cook County have begun construction of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network (CSFN) along I-57. The CSFN is a multi-million dollar investment that will provide communities and major locations in the south suburbs with high-speed fiber-optic communications. The Illinois Department of Transportation will also benefit by gaining access to the fiber communications, which also support the region’s intelligent transportation systems (ITS) program.
Heart disease. CMAP’s MetroPulse data portal tracks the number of deaths by coronary heart disease, as well as death rates by other causes. High mortality might reflect differences in the health of the population or in the level of care available. The Illinois Department of Public Health provides a comparable resource for all counties statewide. Illinois ranks 28th nationally in the share of population with heart disease.
New businesses. MetroPulse tracks the number of new businesses in each county starting in 2011. GO TO 2040 recommends supporting economic innovation through tracking the number of new businesses as well as business closures and movements.
Policy Updates. As mentioned above, we wrote about several proposals under consideration in Springfield to help ensure long-term financial stability for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, whose work is essential for implementing GO TO 2040. Also, please note that you can now browse Policy Updates by GO TO 2040 theme and recommendation area.
Soles and Spokes.
CMAP’s bicycle and pedestrian planning blog announced a webinar
on raised median islands and pedestrian safety hosted by the Federal Highway Administration and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center at the University of North Carolina. We also reported on a recent study
from the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University in California, which examines practices and program characteristics associated with high levels of non-motorized travel.
LTA 2012 call for projects. For the second year, CMAP is making staff resources and grants available for community-based projects through the GO TO 2040 Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program. Municipalities, counties, multijurisdictional groups, or nongovernmental organizations (in partnership with local government) are encouraged to apply for CMAP staff assistance by responding to the new LTA 2012 Call for Projects. Applications are due by Wednesday, August 1, 2012. For more information, please contact Pete Saunders (email@example.com or 312-386-8654). Applicants that would prefer to receive grant funds should consider applying for funding through CMAP's Community Planning program -- see http://rtachicago.com/community-planning/community-planning.html for more details.
Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 public meetings. CDOT is holding open houses and webinars throughout Chicago to get input on a draft network for the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. The plan will identify a network of bicycling facilities that will make bike trips safe and comfortable for Chicagoans. For information and webinar reservations, visit this CDOT web page.
Grant management class
June 12-13, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cook County Sheriff's Policy Training Academy: 2000 N. 5th Avenue, Building R, Room 304, River Grove
Hosted by Grant Writing USA
Sustainable infrastructure planning workshop
June 18-19, 2012
McHenry County Government Administrative Building: 2200 N. Seminary Avenue, Woodstock
Hosted by McHenry County and CMAP
Lake County water quality planning kick-off meeting
June 20, 2012
Wauconda Village Hall: 101 N. Main Street, Wauconda
Hosted by CMAP