April 2011 www.metroplanning.org

On May 16, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will become Chicago’s 55th mayor, ushering in a new era for the third-largest city in the U.S. This momentous changing of the guard has captured the nation’s attention, but transition certainly isn’t an anomaly in our region: Twenty-plus newly elected suburban mayors are preparing to take office, while three urbanized counties welcomed new leaders in November: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, and Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is searching for a new executive director, and Gov. Patrick Quinn is in the midst of the first spring legislative session of his first full term as Illinois’ elected governor.

Where We Stand

Changes in leadership at all levels of government are providing MPC and other advocates with rare opportunities to help restructure government, energize the private sector, and reshape policies toward a more sustainable, equitable and competitive region. 

Amy Boyle Photography

MPC has been deeply involved with Mayor-elect Emanuel’s transition team, helping to explore and refine ideas that will improve the city’s transportation network and business climate. Our President MarySue Barrett served on the Economic Development and Planning Committee, and several Board members contributed their expertise on that and other committees. Inspired by openness to new ideas during the process, we anticipate a close partnership with the new administration to improve our great city and region. Just this morning, members of MPC’s Regional Planning & Investment Committee hosted the mayor-elect’s new transportation leaders

We’re already hard at work with new leaders at Cook County, including friendly faces Maria Saldana, a former MPC Board member and new Bureau Chief of Economic Development; and Mary Laraia and Deborah Stone, former MPC presidents, and the county’s new Assistant Superintendent of the Forest Preserve District and Director of Environmental Control, respectively. We’ve been highly encouraged by the new administration’s commitment to interjurisdictional collaboration, as well as its embrace of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s GO TO 2040 plan.

Toni Preckwinkle, via
flickr and Creative
Commons license

Along with Center for Neighborhood Technology, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Friends of the Chicago River, and Openlands, MPC has urged MWRD to conduct an exacting and thorough search for a visionary and talented new executive director. This person will need the skills and savvy to address critical regional flooding challenges, shepherd the completion of the Deep Tunnel, develop a robust green infrastructure strategy, and strengthen partnerships with city and suburban officials to reduce flooding and protect our waterways.

At the local, county and state levels, we’ve been engaging with leaders to support two bills pending in the Illinois General Assembly: HB 1091, which would allow Illinois to tap public-private partnerships to finance new transportation projects; and SB 38, which would allow commercial and residential developments in Illinois to capture rainwater on site for nondrinking purposes, such as flushing toilets.

Transition is a prime time to take a fresh look at solutions to our communities’ and region’s challenges. Consider making a donation to MPC to support our ongoing efforts to develop, promote and implement solutions for sound regional growth.  

Project Progress Report: Commute Options

Traffic jams. Wear-and-tear. Road rage. Gaper’s blocks. Climbing gas prices. Stress.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s a safe bet you are among 71 percent of Chicago-area workers who drive alone to work each day. A new pilot program in metropolitan Chicago—led by MPC in partnership with the Civic Consulting Alliance, and inspired by the Chicago Climate Action Plan—is asking and answering the question: What would it take to get you to trade “all of this” for a cheaper, saner, and more energy-efficient commute?

Through the Commute Options pilot this year, 10 to 15 regional employers will offer one or more existing and new incentives—including RTA/CTA Transit Benefit Fare Program, bike sharing, carpooling, Pace vanpool, car sharing, telecommuting, Employer-Assisted Housing, and Emergency Ride Home—to encourage their employees to get out of their cars and into a better ride to work. MPC will work one-on-one with each company to tailor a plan that addresses its unique situation, employee preferences, and goals. After the pilot phase, in continued partnership with the Civic Consulting Alliance, MPC will conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis to evaluate the success of each program.

MPC is pleased to welcome Tim Grzesiakowski, who will serve as project manager for the Commute Options initiative. Since 2000, Grzesiakowski was the commuter transportation manager for Hewitt (now Aon Hewitt), based at the company’s Lincolnshire headquarters. He managed commute options programs for all North American locations, and had great success encouraging employees to swap their car commutes for more energy-efficient options – all while increasing the company’s employee retention and diversity rates. Grzesiakowski also has served as marketing director for Metropolitan Chicago Information Center, and manager of marketing and development for Pace Suburban Bus. He also will work closely with MPC Project Manager Lillie Sellers to expand our 70 Employer-Assisted Housing partnerships around the region. 

Learn more about the Commute Options program, and find out how your company can get involved >>

Prices at the pump causing long faces? Commute Options program offer workplaces some alternatives >>


Read MPC’s PPP Profiles series, which is highlighting lessons learned from successful international public-private partnerships. 

Read MPC’s 2010 Census series, which is analyzing how population changes are affecting regional growth and development.

Other headlines:

Upcoming events

Apr 27 Implementing GO TO 2040: A Plan for Chicagoland's Future; We Have a Plan: Let’s Do It! 12:00 PM–1:30 PM
Apr 30 Part 1: Palos Hills Planning Commissioner Workshop 8:00 AM–12:00 PM
May 7 Part 1: Carol Stream Planning Commissioner Workshop 8:00 AM–12:00 PM
May 13 7th Annual Chicago River Summit: Systemic Solutions to Climate Change Impacts 9:00 AM–1:00 PM
Jun 24 It's Not Privatization: Implementing Partnerships In Illinois 7:30 AM–5:00 PM

More events »

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MPC in the News

Downtown Dreams: Six communities’ plans for growth and development
Shore magazine, April 2011 

Water Issues Critical for Illinois & the World
Gaper’s Block, 4/13/2011 

Rahm Emanuel, Toni Preckwinkle, doing the obvious, finally: Chicago, Cook cooperation
Chicago Sun-Times, 3/29/2011

Bridges Need Work, but That Crucial Allure Is Missing
Chicago News Cooperative, 3/24/2011

News of Interest

Does Privatization Actually Transfer Risk Away from Government?
Urbanophile, 4/20/2011 

$133 million in U.S. funding saved for Create's Englewood Flyover rail project
Crain’s Chicago Business, 4/20/2011

UN-HABITAT Adopts First-Ever Resolution on Public Spaces
Project for Public Spaces blog, 4/19/2011

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