On Thursday, July 21, members of the Peterson Pulaski Business & Industrial Council, a nonprofit economic development corporation that assists in the retention and development of companies in the Peterson Pulaski Industrial Park on Chicago's Northwest Side, learned about MPC's Commute Options, Employer-Assisted Housing (EAH), and Energy Retrofit programs at their monthly breakfast meeting. I'm pleased to report that after a lively discussion with PPBIC's membership, it's clear the council sees the value in promoting alternate commute options to its members.
PPBIC represents a wide range of employers, including two universities, North Park and Northeastern Illinois; Swedish Covenant Hospital; The Salvation Army; manufacturers such as Labelmaster, a supplier of industrial compliance products; and information resource and publishing house Wolters Kluwer. The area is well served by public transportation—including a network of CTA buses that provide connections to the Blue and Brown El lines, and two Metra stations served by the Milwaukee North and Union Pacific Northwest lines—and the Edens and Kennedy Expressways, which also provide convenient access to downtown Chicago, the northern suburbs, and O’Hare Airport.
Yet, despite the good network of transit and interstate highways, members expressed challenges with commuting to and from the area. The lack of transit service on Devon Avenue between Kedzie and Milwaukee avenues leaves a void in east-west commute options. They also mentioned that while CTA and Metra stations are nearby, access to those stations is sometimes inconvenient for their employees and customers. PPBIC is served by some bicycle trails; promoting these, as well as making employees more aware of existing programs that can help them improve their commutes, was also of interest.
At the breakfast, Labelmaster also announced that they have agreed to participate in the Commute Options program survey, to explore what challenges their employees experience on their daily commutes, and how they might help them overcome those challenges. Labelmaster already offers an EAH program to help their employees afford homeownership, and they plan to do an internal marketing campaign to remind their employees to take advantage of this great benefit. Because some Labelmaster employees work in an office and some work in a warehouse, they are giving employees the option to take the Commute Options survey online or paper version of the survey. Both options are available in English and Spanish.
To learn more about MPC’s Commute Options, Employer-Assisted Housing, or Energy-Retrofit programs, contact the following MPC staff:
Lillie Sellers, Project Manager
Tim Grzesiakowski, Project Manager
Alan Maynie, Associate