Posted on July 18, 2008 4:37 AM
Weekly update, 7/18/08
Water demand editorial and testimony. A DeKalb Daily Chronicle editorial this week followed up on CMAP's new report on regional water demand. Next week, Tim Loftus of CMAP will testify about our regional study in Washington at a meeting of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, part of the House Science and Technology Committee. In the wake of the National Science and Technology Council's September 2007 report "A Strategy For Federal Science And Technology To Support Water Availability and Quality," the committee is planning to introduce legislation to set up a National Water Initiative to coordinate federal efforts on water.
Best places to live. Money Magazine has named their top 100 places to live in the U.S. Congratulations to five northeastern Illinois towns that made the list, including two in the top 50. Naperville is in the third spot, and Bolingbrook is at 32. Others in the top 100 are Wheaton (54), Aurora (74), and Orland Park (92). While any such list is highly subjective, I think it's significant that our region has such desirable communities, including many that didn't make this particular ranking.
Naperville chamber. Last Monday, I spoke to the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, whose members were interested in how they can help CMAP succeed. Chambers can be key CMAP partners by encouraging broad-based public support for the GO TO 2040 plan, while bringing together the private sector and local governments to work on issues of regional concern. At this meeting, the Naperville chamber passed a resolution in support of CMAP. Following the meeting, chamber board chairman Ann Marie Siwik wrote an editorial that included a nice mention of their partnership with us.
A rural view of transit. Hopefully as a sign of changing times, at least one voice in rural America is speaking up in favor of funding mass transit. Whether because of enlightened self-interest (fewer urban vehicle miles traveled equals more gas for rural vehicles), because it's good for the environment, or just because it's the right thing to do, I hope that more people here and across the nation will recognize that we all benefit from transit.
Strachan Donnelley. This week, the Chicago region lost a staunch advocate of nature conservation when Strachan Donnelley passed away. As the Tribune points out, Dr. Donnelley had a passionate commitment to the environment and saw its protection as an integral duty for all of us. He founded the Center for Humans and Nature, of which he was also a past president. A public memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, July 19, in the Art Institute's Fullerton Hall at 111 South Michigan Avenue. The museum will open its doors at 9:30 a.m. for those attending the service. A reception will follow immediately after the memorial in the Millennium Park Room at the Art Institute.
APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation workshop. On July 27-29, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 4th annual Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop will be held at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. As the transportation sector contributes over 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, public transit and transit supportive land use is becoming increasingly important to federal, state and local governments developing and implementing energy and climate change initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The workshop is the premier event on best practices in sustainable public transportation. On the agenda are cutting-edge speakers and presenters with real world experience. Attendees will learn how transit systems can save money and improve efficiency, lessen environmental impacts and promote land use strategies that encourage public transit use. (I'll moderate a session on Developing for Sustainable Mobility at 10:15 a.m. on July 28.) The conference will include nationally recognized speakers and will draw attendees from transit agencies and other organizations around the country. The preliminary agenda is at http://www.apta.com/conferences_calendar/sustainable/preliminary_08.cfm.
Cost of Congestion briefing. At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 5, I'll be part of a panel discussing the Metropolitan Planning Council's new report to be released that day, titled "Moving at the Speed of Congestion." Other panelists include Paul Nowicki (BNSF railway), Jeff Kelley Lowenstein (The Chicago Reporter magazine), and Paul O'Connor (former head of World Business Chicago). Location is the Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Multi-Purpose Room, Lower Level, 400 S. State St., Chicago. Register online at www.metroplanning.org.
New staff, new partnership. CMAP welcomes Margaret Schneemann to our agency. Margaret is jointly funded by CMAP and the water supply planning project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant program. She is focused on using her economic analysis skills to help shape the regional water supply plan and justify implementation of plan recommendations.
Bicycle Commuter Challenge. The results are in, and CMAP has taken first place in the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation Bicycle Commuter Challenge's public agency category with 100-499 employees. Our participation percentage was 32.71 percent, which dwarfed our closest competition, the Chicago Department of Planning with 9.09 percent. For complete results, click here.