Posted on March 12, 2010 3:47 AM
Weekly Update, 3-12-10
CMAP Board meeting recap. At this week’s meeting, the Board was briefed on the recently completed Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan and focused its attention on the following potential GO TO 2040 recommendations: Coordinated Investment, Economic Innovation, and Freight. The Board and the MPO Policy Committee also approved, without any changes, their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU calls for an annual review by both boards. Please note that the next CMAP Board meeting has been rescheduled. It will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7.
MPO Policy Committee recap. The committee was updated on the GO TO 2040 plan and discussed both the transportation financial plan and the staff-proposed major capital projects. The next step for the proposed capital projects involves public engagement during the second half of March and April, with a draft recommendation to be presented to the Transportation Working Committee in May. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation presented the results of their certification review of the Metropolitan Planning Process, deeming CMAP fully certified and citing no corrective actions. The committee was also briefed on the Regional Transportation Operations Coalition and the freight system planning recommendations.
CMAP Funding. The Governor’s budget address was this week. Although no funding was identified in the Comprehensive Regional Planning Fund, we believe the Illinois Department of Transportation budget contains over $3.5 million to support CMAP’s work, and we are working with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget to determine if there is additional funding available in other agency budgets.
Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was seeking feedback to better understand how the grant program can be designed to support cooperative regional planning efforts that integrate housing, transportation, environmental impact, and economic development. We feel this has promise to support and implement GO TO 2040. Please see our submitted comments.
FOIA and Open Meetings Act webinar. From 10:00 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 25, 2010, CMAP is partnering with the Office of the Attorney General of Illinois to present a free webinar that will help government officials and the public understand new provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA). The program will be presented by Amalia Rioja, chief deputy public access counselor in the Attorney General's office. Register here. Contact Jamie Krell for details (312-386-8658 or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Office of the Attorney General provides a variety of informational materials on both FOIA and OMA, including answers to frequently asked questions, fact sheets, and more. For additional information, please visit www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.
Regional Greenways and Trails Plan update. The newly updated Northeastern Illinois Regional Greenways and Trails Plan envisions a network of stream- and land-based green corridors that could be interconnected with 2,700 miles of multi-use trails throughout the seven-county region. It consists of both a map and document (click for a copy of the map, the high resolution copy of the back of the map, the low resolution copy of the back of the map, and the plan document), which were developed in coordination with CMAP partners. The materials serve as a basis to plan and program funding in the region, as a framework for connecting communities with greenways and trails, and as a consideration in major infrastructure investments. This is the first major plan update since 1997. To request a copy of the map or the full plan, contact CMAP's Curtis Kelley (312-386-8636 or email@example.com).
Water plan in the news. A Medill News Service story this week by Andrew Paley and C.J. Holtzman did a fine job of summarizing what's at stake in the region as CMAP and its many partners follow up the new Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan.
Spotlight on Green Communities. The Naperville Park District’s habitat restoration along the West Branch of the DuPage River is in the spotlight this month. The same neighbors who complained about plants, shrubs, and trees cut and hauled out of Pioneer Park are now volunteering their labor to help maintain the site. Find out more about the restoration project. For more information about the Spotlight, contact Lori Heringa (312-386-8621 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Census time. Keep an eye on your home mailbox for the household Census questionnaire. This year's survey is just ten questions long and should only take ten minutes of your time to complete. We've updated our Census page with a handy schedule to keep you informed of all of the major milestones in the 2010 Census.
CREATE in Crain's. As described previously, the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program -- better known as CREATE -- will soon benefit from $233 million in federal stimulus funds. Paul Merrion of Crain's Chicago Business looks at how the freight project is moving forward in light of recent events, including the stimulus funding, the State of Illinois budget problems, and the Canadian National railway's purchase last year of the Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern railway.
Recovery blog. Want to know more about money coming to CREATE? Our Recovery blog goes into greater detail on stimulus funds benefiting the program. We also blogged about new appointments to the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, a group that helps prevent waste, abuse, and fraud with stimulus funds. The New Republic also blogged recently about the stimulus.
Soles and Spokes. This week, CMAP's bike-ped planning blog invited partners and friends to attend an upcoming webinar on Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Transition Plans, while another post pointed readers to the draft Comprehensive Bicycle Plan and Map recently released by the Village of Hoffman Estates. We also blogged about Google Map’s newest feature, bicycle directions, and an important new Federal Highway Administration-sponsored report highlighting innovative approaches to improving pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility.
News blog. The CMAP media archive was updated this Tuesday. Recent coverage of CMAP in the media included an article by Marni Pyke of the Daily Herald on the importance of census data for the allocation of federal funding, and my letter to the editor wrote for OnEarth magazine in response to an article about sustainable communities from the winter. Don't forget, our media archive is updated every other Tuesday.
GreenTown. To be held on Thursday, March 18, 2010, at the College of Lake County, "GreenTown: The Future of Community" is a two-day experience designed to help create economically prosperous, environmentally effective and socially equitable communities. With topics including green jobs, smart growth, renewable energy, water quality, and local food production, GreenTown will feature inspiring speakers and discussions of case studies to make communities greener, healthier and more prosperous. At 2:15 p.m., CMAP associate planner Amy Talbot will describe how the new Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan can be implemented at the local level. Pre-conference sessions will be held on March 17, 2010, and will include Greening K-12, Higher Education, Green Jobs, and Engaging Residents in Creating Sustainable Communities. For the agenda and registration, visit www.greentownconference.com/.
New walkable thoroughfares manual. CMAP contributed to a new manual, "Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: Designing a Context-Sensitive Solutions Approach," which supports the principle that thoroughfare design should closely match urban context. Read more about it at Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which created the manual jointly with the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
LCC presentation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is establishing a Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region. USFWS will host a presentation on March 17 at 12:30 p.m. in the CMAP offices with representatives of LCCs and Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC). LCCs are conservation-science partnerships between federal agencies, states, non-governmental organizations, universities, and others, to help carry out SHC, which includes biological planning, conservation design, conservation delivery, monitoring, and research. RSVP by March 12 to Michelle Mohney of Chicago Wilderness (email@example.com or 708-688-8829).
In the GO TO 2040 blog. We featured an amusing photo of some brave costumed folks hopping into Lake Michigan last weekend to raise money for Special Olympics Chicago. On Thursday, Amy Talbot wrote about the upcoming local events for Fix a Leak Week, from March 15 to 21, including one in Itasca and another in Westmont.
Carp in the news. A Chicago News Cooperative article in the New York Times explored how the Asian carp dilemma might prompt federal investments to enhance the region's freight network and water treatment capacity. If the locks on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal are indeed closed -- and the jury is still out on that -- it could necessitate improvements to intermodal connections where freight trains, trucks, and barges meet. Other needs could include a new water treatment facility to prevent aquatic wildlife from traveling between Lake Michigan and Illinois watersheds.
Daily air-quality alerts. Many of us tend to associate poor air quality with the warmer months. Though summer is when smog levels reach their peak, air during the colder months can have a buildup of soot that is harmful for people with certain conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease. EnviroFlash posts a Chicago air-quality forecast each afternoon. The service is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois-based Partners for Clean Air, which is supported through federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds programmed by CMAP. To see what you can do to help improve air quality, please visit the AIRnow and Partners for Clean Air websites.