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Metropolitan Planning Council

Michigan Dept. of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle lays the groundwork for the panel discussion.

The share of Michigan’s roads in poor condition increased from 12 percent a decade ago to more than 30 percent today, a stunning fact described by Michigan Dept. of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle at the Metropolitan Planning Council’s roundtable on Friday, March 20, sponsored by Freedman Seating Company. In his presentation, Director Steudle emphasized that the poor condition of roadways in Michigan has everything to do with a lack of adequate funding for transportation in his state—and he noted that poorly maintained roads mean more damage to personal vehicles, more congestion and reduced quality of life. He is currently leading an initiative in Michigan to increase funds dedicated to transportation investment. Of course, inadequate infrastructure maintenance is…

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A call to renew funding for the Regional Development Authority

Policy Analytics. “RDA Return on Investment Analysis” 2012

The Regional Development Authority's return on investment proves that keeping it funded is key for a strong Northern Indiana region.

After leveraging more than $650 million in infrastructure and economic investments, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority faces losing its $10 million in annual state funding June 2015. Created in 2005, the Regional Development Authority has become a national model for coordinated regional investments. The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has long recognized the value of the authority’s model and its applicability to Chicagoland. MPC believes that it is imperative that local and state funding are renewed. And we’re not the only ones. About 30 percent of the 80 community and business leaders from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties in northern Indiana—a part of the geography served by the Regional Development Authority—named authority funding as the…

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Affordable Requirements Ordinance passes City Council

Flickr user Justin Kern (CC)

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), along with a range of other organizations, has been advocating for changes to strengthen Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance, the requirement that developers include affordable apartments in their market-rate buildings or pay a fee-in-lieu to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Today, after a deferred vote in January, City Council voted to strengthen the ordinance. These changes will be phased in over the next 18 months and will require that a greater amount of affordable housing be produced in strong-market, opportunity areas. The fee-in-lieu payment to avoid building the affordable units will increase as well. We'll have more on this topic soon, but for now you can read our series on the Affordable Requirements Ordinance for more…

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Water Matters in Wilmette, but challenges abound

Go Green Wilmette

Go Green Wilmette participant Trudy Gibbs and Wilmette Village President, Bob Bielinski peruse Skidmore Owings & Merrill's Great Lakes Century Vision Plan.

On Sunday, March 8, the community group Go Green Wilmette held its ninth annual fair to raise awareness in the community about environmentalism and sustainability with this year’s theme being “Water Matters.” Wilmette, like a lot of other communities in the Chicago area, has been experiencing flooding in recent years. I (Metropolitan Planning Council Research Assistant Daniel Wolf) wanted to see what kinds of stormwater solutions Wilmette is looking into and what other communities can learn from their experience. Go Green Wilmette Go Green Wilmette collaborated with the Chicago nonprofit Working Bikes to collect donated bicycles and components. I showed up at the event with several garbage bags of clothing, an old bicycle, and a variety of broken electronic…

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Are you paying for parking you're not using?

Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik (cc)

We are requiring developers to build more parking than we need.

For most people, zoning requirements have little to no effect on everyday life. Indeed, zoning—which is defined by municipal governments and which regulates building features such as building size and allowed uses for new projects—is typically an issue that affects few others than developers and land use planners. Parking requirements increase cost of living, even for those living with no cars. But sometimes zoning regulations get in the way for regular people, years after a building was built. That’s especially true in the case of parking requirements attached to new building permits. I’ll use a personal story to show you how these regulations affected me. After deciding to move apartments and neighborhoods, I settled on renting a one-bedroom apartment in a…

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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