29 May: Chicago’s Congress Parkway now a brighter place

The Congress Parkway in Chicago is now a more colorful corridor.   About 600 LED color-changing lights comprise the new dramatic lighting scheme along Congress Parkway.  This just some of the upgrades that mark the completion of the $24 million roadway reconfiguration and improvement project along the half-mile stretch of the South Loop parkway.  Located on Congress Parkway between Michigan Avenue and Wells Street, the roadway improvement project provides a world-class gateway into the City of Chicago and improves the conditions for the 63,000 vehicles per day that need to pass safely and efficiently through this corridor. A decorative and programmable lighting system with more than 600 LED lights, including free-standing fixtures in the median and lineal fixtures attached to decorative metal trellises throughout the parkway and on the viaduct walls under One Financial Place.  For more information about the Congress Parkway Streetscape, visit the website by clicking here.

16 May: AMATS’ 2012 Annual Report now available

The 2012 Annual Report from AMATS is now available.  The report details the agency’s accomplishments during the year that marked AMATS’ 50th Anniversary as a metropolitan planning organization. Readers can find out why agency leaders agreed that preservation of the Greater Akron area’s existing transportation system should be a priority over costly expansions. There are also summaries regarding the development of several items integral to the release of Transportation Outlook 2035, the area’s upcoming long-range regional transportation plan.  There’s also information about the agency’s ongoing efforts to promote regional connectivity and sustainability through its various cycling initiatives. To view the report, please click the graphic above.

10 May: Cleveland’s Complete and Green Streets

  The City of Cleveland passed a Complete and Green Streets ordinance in September 2011. In effect as of January 2012, the ordinance requires implementation of sustainable policies and guidelines in all construction projects within the public right of way. This ordinance will create a walking, biking and public transportation-friendly city while reducing environmental impact by incorporating green infrastructure. Some characteristics of Complete and Green Streets include enhanced transit waiting environments, bicycle lanes and signs, pedestrian refuges, public art, waste containers, crosswalk enhancements, ADA accessibility, way-finding signage, permeable pavement, green space or trees and multi-use paths.   Cleveland has began the process of creating a Complete and Green Streets Typology and Design Manual to assist in implementing the Complete and Green Streets Ordinance. We currently have an inter-organizational task force overseeing this process. The Task Force has classified streets into 10 different types, each with its own priorities for pedestrians, vehicles,…

26 Apr: Housing: Strategies to respond to residents’ needs and values

Housing choice connects with transportation options, public health & improved access to opportunities The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a publication outlining various strategies communities can use to ensure redevelopment plans respond to the needs of existing residents and reflect their values.  The strategies are grouped under seven common elements that connect environmental justice, smart growth, and equitable development: Facilitate Meaningful Community Engagement in Planning and Land Use Decisions Promote Public Health and a Clean and Safe Environment Strengthen Existing Communities Provide Housing Choices Provide Transportation Options Improve Access to Opportunities and Daily Necessities Preserve and Build on the Features That Make a Community Distinctive Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities was developed jointly by EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and HUD’s Office of Sustainable Communities. For complimentary hard copies of the report (including free shipping), email or call 800-490-9198 and request product code: EPA 231-K-10-005.  You…

18 Apr: MassDot Greening the State Transportation System

  Massachusetts Department of Transportation launched GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative that will make MassDOT a national leader in “greening” the state transportation system. GreenDOT will be driven by three primary goals; reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, promote the healthy transportation options of walking, bicycling, and public transit, and support smart growth development.  In May of 2012, MassDOT released a Draft GreenDOT Implementation Plan for public review. The Plan was written to embed the sustainability vision of GreenDOT into the core business practices of MassDOT. According to the website, GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities; from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008. GreenDOT was designed in response to several existing state laws, Executive Orders, and MassDOT policies….

10 Apr: Have you signed up yet? Less than three weeks until first Vibrant NEO Work Shop

Help create a more sustainable Northeast Ohio The VibrantNEO process uses public workshops to look at the future of our Northeast Ohio.  What will it look like in 2040 if we keep doing what we’re doing?  What are the potential outcomes if we do things differently?  To answer these questions, we need to understand our values and priorities. This first round of VibrantNEO public workshops revolves around a scenario called “Business‐As‐Usual.”  It outlines what Northeast Ohio’s future will look like if we keep doing what we are currently doing.  We need your help to define what we value and what’s most important to this region as we start to create a vision for Northeast Ohio’s future.  We can only answer these questions together! Pick a date and location that’s most convenient for you and join us!  All events begin with an open house and registration from 5:30 – 6:30 PM….

03 Apr: ACT: AMATS Engaging Public on Transportation in Greater Akron

The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) invites you to participate in the development of two items key to the future of the Greater Akron area: Transportation Outlook 2035 and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017. Transportation Outlook 2035 is the area’s draft long-range transportation plan of identified needs and recommendations.  The plan includes highway, transit, bike and pedestrian project recommendations that are expected to be completed by 2035.  Transportation Outlook 2035 recommends over $4.3 billion in highway infrastructure investments through 2035, which includes over $2.5 billion for preservation of the existing system.  The draft plan includes investment of over $1.7 billion in the region’s public transportation system and recommends $30 million in bicycle and pedestrian improvements. AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston says that the draft plan represents the agency’s focus on using the Greater Akron area’s shrinking funding resources wisely.  “These recommendations reflect a…

02 Apr: Imagine MyNEO!

In May, NEOSCC will be launching an on-line engagement tool entitled Imagine MyNEO! Based on an open source software called Crowd Gauge, Imagine MyNEO! will allow the entire region to share their priorities with the Vibrant NEO process. As an introduction to the new tool, we have included an article by Sarah Madden of Sasaki Associates (our Scenario Planning consultant).  It includes background about the creation of the tool and some examples of its previous use. Gauge the values, priorities and preferences of the crowd. by Sarah Madden, Sasaki Associates Web-based technology can help planners promote literacy about planning issues and increase public engagement. We already deploy sophisticated data analysis and modeling tools, but many of these tools are more suitable for back-of-house number crunching than for interactive public engagement. This divide between tools for technicians and tools for engagement is significant:  despite all of the public- and client-facing communication work we do, few…