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May Media Tips

New MPC Web Series Connects Energy Costs to Development Patterns

With the price of gas topping record levels, many groups have offered their own versions of “10 Tips for Reducing Your Energy Consumption.” While individual efforts – and critical thinking in the ongoing alternative fuels debate – are integral, communities also must plan creatively to achieve the only sure method for curbing our oil addiction: cutting car trips. Every other Thursday beginning May 25, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will feature on its homepage,, a new installment in our examination of how the region can continue to grow, while reducing the need to drive, by employing innovative planning and development tools.

“We must remove many hurdles in our built environment to significantly reduce auto dependency. Fortunately, every time we build is a new opportunity to do just that, ” said MarySue Barrett , MPC president. “Imagine the possibilities if we started letting the market catch up to rising consumer demand for pedestrian and bike-friendly communities near jobs, retail and public transportation.”

MPC contact: MarySue Barrett, President, 312.863.6001,

Public-Private Partnerships Up for Debate at Upcoming Legislative Hearings

The state Senate Appropriations II Committee has scheduled four legislative hearings on the proposal that the state sell or lease all or part of its tollway system to a private investor. A representative of Business Leaders for Transportation – co-led by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Chicago Metropolis 2020, and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce – will testify at the first hearing on Wednesday, May 31, at 9:30 a.m., at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

“In addition to a well-planned, adequately funded, and balanced state capital investment package, public-private partnerships could help deliver quality multi-modal transportation infrastructure statewide, allowing Illinois to keep business moving forward,” said MPC Vice President of External Relations Peter Skosey. “We urge state leaders to craft well-thought-out legislation lifting the ban on public-private partnerships and guiding future implementation, before getting swept up in the details of a particular project.”

Hearings on public-private partnerships also will take place June 13 in Will County, Aug. 15 in Springfield, and Sept. 13 in Chicago. MPC will testify at the Will County and Chicago hearings. For details, check MPC’s Web calendar in coming weeks, For information on public-private partnerships, visit Business Leaders for Transportation’s Web site,, and download “Making the Case for Public-Private Partnerships in Illinois,” a report and case study on the O’Hare Western bypass and access.

MPC contact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004,
Contact: Thomas H. Morsch, Jr., Senior Vice President, Marsh, Inc.; Co-Chair, MPC Transportation Committee; 312.627.6352,

What Makes a Street Complete? Find Out at MPC’s First Summer Roundtable

Try to picture a neighborhood without streets. It’s tough to do, because streets do much more than move cars: they are places in and of themselves, where commerce and recreation take place, and friends and neighbors meet. From famous streets, such as State Street and the Magnificent Mile, to the street where you rode your bike as a kid, streets have long defined our neighborhoods. At a June 22 roundtable, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will explore how a planning innovation called Context Sensitive Solutions may help create streets we all want – in and out of cars.

At the MPC roundtable, speakers John Norquist, president of the Congress for the New Urbanism; John LaPlante, vice president and chief engineer for T.Y. Lin; and Cheri Heramb, acting commissioner of Chicago’s Dept. of Transportation, will present their ideas, followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by John Lynch, vice president of U.S. Equities and chair of MPC’s efforts to assist the Ogden Avenue redesign. This roundtable, the first in MPC’s Summer Roundtable Series, begins at noon and will take place over lunch at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson, Chicago. Media may attend free of charge, but a reservation is appreciated. The Union League Club requires business casual attire. For more details, please visit .

MPC contact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004,

MPC Announces Summer Technical Assistance Commitments in Chicagoland

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and Campaign for Sensible Growth (Campaign) are gearing up to kick off the 2006 “summer community technical assistance tour.” Over the next few months, the two groups will partner with municipal leaders and organizations such as Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI Chicago) to help communities across the region tackle specific development and redevelopment challenges. Blue Island, Chicago Heights, and Archer Avenue in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood are slated stops in June and July.

Through its Community Building Initiative, MPC provides technical assistance on housing, transportation, infill development, and zoning solutions. As part of the initiative, MPC will be in Blue Island on June 23, partnering with Blue Island elected officials and business leaders to examine the city’s market potential, zoning code, and design guidelines with an eye toward attracting new downtown development. For more about the Community Building Initiative, visit .

In response to local requests, ULI Chicago and the Campaign for Sensible Growth (of which MPC is a co-chair) coordinate Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) comprised of volunteer experts who commit two intense days to helping a community overcome a specific development hurdle. On July 16 and 17 in Chicago Heights, TAP volunteers will work with local partner, New First Community Development Corporation, to develop market-based strategies for bringing new investments, including retail and housing, to the city’s Eastside neighborhood. In late June, ULI Chicago and the Campaign will convene a TAP to help the City of Chicago redevelop a long-neglected stretch of Archer Avenue in Bridgeport by drawing on the area’s many strengths, including transit and market demand for new investment. For “greatest hits” from earlier technical assistance work, download “10 Ways Communities Can Be More Competitive,” at .

Campaign for Sensible Growth contact: Michael Davidson, Campaign Manager, Campaign for Sensible Growth, 312.863.6009,
MPC and ULI Chicago contact: Scott Goldstein, Vice President of Policy & Planning, 312.863.6003,


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