MPC's Reconnecting Neighborhoods project enters the final months of its yearlong public planning process.
What’s your primary mode of transportation? Car? Bus? Train? Actually, it’s your feet or whatever you use to navigate the pedestrian environment of our city. This is the essential logic behind the Reconnecting Neighborhoods initiative. To improve transit, planning for it needs to happen around the most universal mode of transit, walking. Since the 1940s and 50s, transportation planning has revolved around the automobile. As our collective consciousness around environmental issues evolves and market factors make automobile use more prohibitive, Reconnecting Neighborhoods aims to plan for a transit future that is designed around people, namely the pedestrian.
To further promote the success of the Plan for Transformation, Reconnecting Neighborhoods is focusing on a pedestrian scale via three key planning areas: commercial development; public transit; and pedestrian environment (access and urban design). For both existing and new residents of these communities, as well as the many visitors, this three-pronged approach focuses on reducing the distances individuals need to travel to meet their basic needs, improve the walkability of neighborhoods, and enhance the quality of public transportation service. In general, this approach has manifested in recommendations to bring retail and jobs closer to public transportation and housing.
This July, Reconnecting Neighborhoods presented its preliminary recommendations to local stakeholders of the Near North , Near West , and Mid-South study areas. Using the area-specific frameworks provided by each set of recommendations, we held public meetings in each area to solicit feedback and critiques. They were forthcoming with their input, helping to refine our recommendations into more actionable next steps, as well as which are most important to their communities.
Guided by the input we received from the public meetings, three local Task Forces, and Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IGAC), Reconnecting Neighborhoods will take draft final recommendations, with the help of a high caliber group of volunteer expert who will help us push the envelope and ensure the recommendations have a probability of being enacted. Reconnecting Neighborhoods will then vet the recommendations again with the IGAC, three local Task Forces, and public.
Reconnecting Neighborhoods’ current draft recommendations are available for viewing and commentary online at www.reconnectingneighborhoods.org . The first draft of the Reconnecting Neighborhoods’ final recommendations will be available in late October. There will be a chance to weigh in on the first draft of the final recommendations, Reconnecting Neighborhoods encourages people throughout the region to please visit the website or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to stay informed and share their thoughts about the future of transit in the Chicago area. Thanks to all who have participated in this process to date and please continue to stay involve and encourage your neighbors to do the same.