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Within Chicago’s Reach: Building Transit Friendly Neighborhoods for All

MPC’s Winter 2008 Roundtable, “Within Our Reach: Your World in Half a Mile,” captured the attention of planners, developers, elected officials, and community groups from around the region, as it explored the opportunities and challenges to integrating neighborhood development with transit service.

Co-hosted with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the blockbuster event featured a dynamic discussion from out-of-town practitioners: David Taylor, national director of Sustainable Transportation Solutions, HDR, Inc., Catherine Cox-Blair, principal city planner in Denver, and James Keefe, president and principal of Trinity Financial in Boston. Chicago Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48 th Ward) and Sam Assefa, director of land use and planning policy for Chicago ’s Dept. of Planning and Development, provided local perspective.

The experts addressed the positive effects of approaching community building and transportation investment jointly as transit-oriented development (TOD). Mr. Taylor framed the TOD movement and walked through success stories from around the country. Ms. Cox-Blair emphasized the importance of establishing expectations for all invovled partners. Mr. Keefe stressed collaborating with the various parties from the begining of the planning and development process. Ald. Smith and Mr. Assefa rounded out the discussion by describing emerging opportunities and strategies for building stronger neighborhoods and skillfully designed TOD in the urban core.

Carefully nurtured, TOD pays dividends well beyond homeowners’ pocketbooks and convenience — it is a boon for local businesses, protects the environment through massive energy and emissions savings, and supports better transit service and increased ridership. Both the CTA and MPC recognize TOD as a win-win, long-term strategy for creating great urban places.


David Taylor
Senior Vice President
National Director, Sustainable Transportation Solutions, HDR, Inc.

Catherine Cox-Blair
Principal City Planner, Dept. of Community Planning and Development
Denver , Colo.

James Keefe
President and Principal, Trinity Financial, Inc.
Boston , Mass.

Sam Assefa
Director of Land Use and Planning Policy, Dept. of Planning and Development
Chicago , Ill.

Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th Ward)
Chicago , Ill.

For more information, please contact Michael Davidson, Manager of Planning, at 312-863-6009 or .

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