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July 2011 Blog posts

Illinois at a turning point on coastal management

Jason Mrachina

Oak Street and North Avenue Beaches on the Lake Michigan coast

Abby Crisostomo is a research assistant at MPC. Public-private partnerships, interjurisdictional collaboration, planning for water in the face of climate change. No, this isn’t just a list of projects MPC is working on. These were also some of the major themes discussed at the Coastal Zone 2011 Conference that I attended last week here in Chicago. The Chicago region is in the midst of a unique time in its coastal management history. Illinois is the last state, territory or commonwealth of the 35 eligible to participate in the National Coastal Zone Management Program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Though it has managed its coast through other means over the years, Illinois’ Coastal Management Program (ICMP), which is expected to go into…

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Taking a Ride on Mexico City’s BRT

Photo by Pedro Cevallos-Candau

Riders wait to board at a Metrobus station in Mexico City.

I arrived in Mexico City on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and one of my goals on this short trip was to get familiar with the Bus Rapid Transit system known as the Metrobus. Currently, the city has three active Metrobus routes, and a fourth is under construction. Since I was staying in a hotel near the Glorieta del Angel de la Independencia – the Angel of Independence monument, and a central gathering place in Mexico City – I planned to ride the Metrobus from Insurgentes, the longest avenue in Mexico City, to a large multi-modal transportation station called Buena Vista. On my way from the airport to the hotel, I struck up a conversation with the taxi driver, a loquacious fellow who gave a lot of information about the system. He drove me by Avenida de los Insurgentes to show me…

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BRT Case Study: Cleveland, Ohio

Photo by: Center for Neighborhood Technology

Cleveland Health Line

MPC is highlighting true BRT practices in the United States with a series of case studies based on ITDP’s report, Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit. On Aug. 17, 2011, MPC will release its own report Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago’s New Route to Opportunity. Register for the event today. MPC Research Assistant James Szczybor contributed to this post. Cleveland, Ohio Name: Euclid Corridor Transportation Project / HealthLine Managing Entity: Greater Cleveland RegionTransit Authority ( RTA ) Opening Year: 2008 System Length: 7.1 miles Key characteristics: Off-board fare collection, median-aligned dedicated bus-only lanes, at-level boarding Average bus speeds along corridor before: 9.3 mph Average bus speeds along corridor after: 12.5 mph (13.5 mph in…

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Collaboration boosting communities across metro Chicago

Lately, the rewards keep coming for Chicago-area communities working with neighboring towns to solve shared development challenges. Here's the latest: It pays to collaborate. The State of Illinois has awarded $6.6 million to the Chicago Southland Housing and Community Development Collaborativeto purchase and rehab or demolish vacant or abandoned homes. Since 2009, these 20-plus south suburbs have worked together to target investments to areas near job centers and transit lines, attracting some $19 million as a result of their coordination. Read Dominic Tocci's blog post to learn more about the award. Collaboration builds capacity. To strengthen the Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative, The Chicago Community Trust has awarded funding to allow these communities to hire a housing…

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Breaking down the barriers to opportunity

Can a metropolitan region honestly call itself “globally competitive” if large parts of its population miss out on new opportunities? That’s the question I explored with fellow panelists in a packed auditorium of civic leaders, policymakers, urban designers, and entrepreneurs at the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary forum, “The Just City: Creating a New Geography of Opportunity,” July 14 in New York City. Our collective answer was an emphatic “no.” We quickly moved beyond the challenge to discuss solutions. At each of the plenary sessions at the day-long event, we delved into examples of how major metropolitan regions are succeeding in expanding access to opportunity within a globally competitive marketplace. I was asked to share with my…

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