Reliable, efficient transportation is vital to Illinois. Great infrastructure provides the foundation for wealth-building jobs, connects our communities and attracts more people and businesses to our region. Today, too many transit stations aren’t the hubs of activity they could be.
How ironic that at the crossroads of America, Illinois’ transportation network is on a starvation diet: Every year there’s a $2.7 billion gap between resources and pressing needs. Delayed repairs cause delayed trains and buses, causing riders to opt out of public transit and seek private alternatives. Disinvestment becomes enormous potholes, unsafe bridges and train stations surrounded by vacant storefronts.
Here at MPC, we’re listening and responding. We’re expanding our commitment to advocating for strong transportation in Illinois. That means partnering on an exciting new national initiative and reengaging with partners statewide as we implement projects that leverage our regional transportation assets to grow wealth in the Land of Lincoln.
Seven Chicago neighborhoods where there is available land near transit are on track to brighter, better-planned futures. Thanks to Elevated Chicago, a partnership of organizations including MPC, we’re transforming the half-mile radius around transit stations into hubs of opportunity and connection to our region’s vast transit system. Generously funded by a national network of foundations called SPARCC, and locally by The Chicago Community Trust, Elevated Chicago is part of a six-city, $90 million initiative. Some stations along the CTA’s Blue, Pink and Green Lines are surrounded by surface parking lots and abandoned retail and are burdened by segregation, inequity, displacement and gentrification. But these seven stations will be transformed, with thoughtful guidance from community members and Elevated Chicago’s steering committee, of which MPC is a member.
“Transportation intersects with all the systems that shape residents' lives: jobs, education, health care and employment”
—Kate Lowe, UIC Dept. of Urban Planning and RP&I committee member
Our region’s discourse on autonomous vehicles and on intertwined transportation and land-use issues is better informed, thanks to popular events we hosted. In May we hosted IDOT secretary Randy Blankenhorn to unveil the state’s commitment to data-driven transportation priorities. Later in the year, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, MPC and others shaped a three-part series on autonomous vehicles. The need for these forums grew from interviews with 55 transportation stakeholders who also guided a reset of MPC’s transportation agenda. MPC is grateful to the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust and Wight & Company for their focused support of MPC’s regional transportation agenda at a critical time.
In 2017, MPC translated our mission into real results to improve the lives of residents throughout Northeastern Illinois. By convening experts from across the government, business, academic and nonprofit sectors, and by engaging extensively with community members, we took action on the most challenging issues facing our region. From bending the arc on segregation to investing in our assets, MPC brings people and resources together to build an equitable, sustainable, prosperous, engaged and responsible region. We bring that passion to 2018 and beyond, as we’ve done for over 80 years.