Posted on July 09, 2010 2:00 PM
Weekly Update, 7-9-10
Table of Contents
Tollway feedback. The Tollway's website has a new "Talk to Us" suggestion box as part of executive director Kristi Lafleur's transition effort.
Transit grants. The Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch wrote this week about $35 million in federal grants for transit, including the Chicago Central Area Transitway express bus service that will make it easier to get from Union Station to Navy Pier, and points in between.
Congestion pricing. One of the draft GO TO 2040 plan's recommendation areas is to Invest Strategically in Transportation, including user fees that better reflect the true costs to congestion. By managing some lanes through "congestion pricing" -- where fees vary to provide incentives for drivers to travel at non-peak times -- we can enhance mobility and help to fund needed improvements. This week the Daily Herald's Marni Pyke previewed a new report on congestion pricing by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC).
Chicago River. The Asian carp controversy is prompting discussion of whether the Chicago River should be reversed (again).
Information access report and survey. The Chicago Community Trust is partnering with the Knight Foundation to examine the information needs of our region. A special report, The New News, Journalism We Want and Need, was commissioned to gain insight on the changing local media. Building on this effort, the Trust invites community leaders to complete a short (20-minute) and confidential survey to help assess the availability of information across our region. As the Trust's materials point out, "Good information is the lifeblood of civic debate; it affects everything we try to do together as a community." For details of the report and survey (which is open until July 16, 2010), contact Community News Matters project director Vivian Vahlberg at Vivian@cct.org.
CMAP GO TO 2040 webinars for CW members. As part of the draft GO TO 2040 plan comment period, CMAP and Chicago Wilderness (CW) are hosting two identical webinars that will provide CW members with an overview of GO TO 2040 and a summary of the work undertaken to date to ensure that principles of the CW Green Infrastructure Vision are effectively integrated into the Plan. The webinars will be on July 23 at 10:00 a.m. and July 26 at 1:00 p.m. Information on how to register will be available soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Chris Mulvaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water-Energy Roundtable. MPC and Openlands will host a roundtable titled "Down the Drain, Up in Smoke: Exploring the Water-Energy Nexus in the Chicago Region" from noon to 1:30 p.m. on August 3. The location is the MPC Conference Center, 140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1400, Chicago. Register online for the event, which costs $15 for MPC donors and $30 for all others. You should also have a look at GO TO 2040's recommendation to Manage and Conserve Water and Energy Resources.
Tour des Trees. 'Tis the season for bike rallies, and on the morning of Sunday, July 18, the 2010 STIHL Tour des Trees will start at Millennium Park in Chicago to benefit the TREE Fund. In its 19th year, the cross-country cycling tour ceremony will begin at 9:30, and the Mike Nowak Radio Show will broadcasting from the park between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.
Economic Census Data Conference. At a free conference featuring experts from the U.S. Census Bureau, learn how to use the newest economic data to locate business markets, assist local businesses, gauge competitiveness, and evaluate industry growth. This is the only conference scheduled in Illinois as part of a national tour by Census staff. On Monday, August 2, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, CMAP will host the event in our offices at Suite 800 of Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Contact Jon Hallas (email@example.com or 312-386-8764) or register on-line.
Other News and Announcements
Recovery report. The Economic Recovery Commission has presented its final report to Governor Quinn, with recommendations "to improve upon Illinois’ 21st-century business model and help rebuild the state’s position as a strong, expanding economic power."
Innovation Grant. Congratulations to Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks, a business that provides local produce, meat, dairy, and eggs to subscribers, some of whom live in "food deserts" without a nearby grocery store that sells healthy food. This Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) effort will now receive an $81,000 grant from the USDA for innovation research. They plan to use the funds to continue their work partnering with local sustainable farmers and the University of Illinois and improve distribution of fresh local food in our region. Read more about how the draft GO TO 2040 plan promotes local food options.
Map your favorites.Carfree Chicago has a great crowdsourced map of what are the best things to do near train stops in the region. It covers not only CTA “L” stops, but also Metra stops and the South Shore line into Indiana. Check it out and share your favorite stores, restaurants, and other great entertainment options near your favorite train stop.
Soles and Spokes. CMAP’s bike-ped blog started the shortened holiday week with a post announcing and linking to a video news report on the installation of bike lanes along “America’s Main Street,” Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. This installation can be seen as a symbol of the importance of the accommodation of cyclists within our transportation infrastructure and was lauded as such on the Secretary LaHood’s blog, Fast Lane. We also directed readers to a review article in the Journal of the American Planning Association on the important connections between travel behavior and the built environment (a.k.a. transportation and land use). Finally, we gave our readers a heads-up on an important new educational and planning resource, a publicly accessible collection of pedestrian and bicycle-related safety videos organized by PBIC.
GO TO 2040 blog. We shared a bright-eyed photo of the Loop’s newest piece of public art, the Eye sculpture located in Pritzker Park near the Harold Washington Library.
GO TO 2040 open houses. Our open houses continue during the draft GO TO 2040 plan comment period, which ends August 6, 2010. The Fox Valley Labor News covered the recent one in Yorkville.
Green event. Save the date for July 27 from 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. at CMAP. Local governments and interested parties are invited to join CMAP and the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to learn how to save energy and money through green building practices, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Get up-to-date information on how to pay for these practices and hear a local community share their experience. The cost to USGBC members and government agencies is $10 and $20 for others. Register now. For questions contact Lori Heringa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-386-8621.
Sustainable Communities Initiative input needed by July 13. As announced last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will collaborate to award up to $75 million in funding -- $35 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II Planning Grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge Grants. The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) is online. This is a great opportunity for local governments, and it's the type of collaboration encouraged in the GO TO 2040 recommendation area to Pursue Coordinated Investments. CMAP and our private, philanthropic and civic regional partners would like hear about your intent to apply so that we can potentially assist in the application process by lining up additional technical assistance, facilitating partnerships, and identifying additional leverage opportunities, if and where appropriate. By July 13, please click here to let us know of your intention to apply for these funds.