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Question of the Day

Monday, Mar 24, 2008

* The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning launches its GO TO 2040 campaign today. The agency aims to create a comprehensive plan that guides growth and development in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties for the next three decades:

It could be the last chance to get a handle on a population boom of more than 2.8 million people expected by 2040, and planners want the public to participate.

“We’re asking people to take a moment and think about what they want for their children and themselves over the next 20 to 30 years,” CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn said.

Blankenhorn then states:

Look at the metropolitan region now and you’ll see plenty of room for improvement: Housing prices at odds with low- and middle-income workers. A transportation infrastructure in serious need of repair. A water supply threatened by demand and pollution. Long commutes.

“We’re the third-most congested region in the country,” Blankenhorn said. “If you add 2 million more people in the next 20 years, how will you move them around? And how will they get to work?”

The solutions are out there, planners believe, citing the way they’re addressing traffic jams caused by freight trains traveling through northeastern Illinois.

* The question of the day is what do you want for yourself and possibly your children over the next 20 to 30 years?

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 12:23 pm:

    To remain at a safe distance from the city and its suburbs and exurbs.

    Seriously, it’s going to take a kitchen-sink approach to fix all the issues. They will not be able to put all their eggs in the public transit basket, or the highway basket, the shift/staggering basket, the better timing of traffic signals basket, or the more telecommuting basket. And how do you attract more people to the transit-friendly inner city when the housing stock is either fabulously desirable and expensive, or a place where you wouldn’t want your kids to go outside - or to school.

    Actually, more telecommuting might lead to more sprawl or dispersion than the others. If people have a choice on where to live where their job is electronically portable, they might choose a more relaxed atmosphere just beyond Chicago and the collars, or even farther downstate.

  2. - Levois - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 12:33 pm:

    Well perhaps we can plan for a less reliance on automobiles although I’m for building, expanding and maintaining roads. I would rather see investment in public transit infrastructure whether that means we purchase more buses, build more raillines or even bring back light rail in the form of streetcars or interurban railroads. I also wish we could develop almost as if we’re conserving land. Mind you I don’t know much about real estate and land use to even come up with a proposal. Also it would help if government could be different in the next three decades. Especially no more corruption.

  3. - RMW Stanford - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 12:40 pm:

    “Look at the metropolitan region now and you’ll see plenty of room for improvement: Housing prices at odds with low- and middle-income workers.”

    I wonder how much time they will spending looking at the effects of government policy, land-usage regulation and urban planning on housing price. In many areas one of the main causes of increasing housing cost and it becoming less affordable for low income workers to own housing or live in cities is urban planning policies. Of the urban planning tries to force types of housing on to people that the majority of the public does not want, mixed use building, mixed family, ect. light rail and all of that sound nice in theory, but as a country our mind set is such that I dont see it happening anytime soon and to often all policies due that are designed to encourage people to use light rail, urban transit, ect is increase traffic congestion.

  4. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 12:59 pm:

    With the ever increasing taxes, I’ll find myself far from this taxing body by 2040.

    Seriously, you have to be a Billionaire to live near Cook County in 2040.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 1:01 pm:

    A more engaged, less-cynical citizenry that holds itself (individuals, parents, etc.) responsible for its community and the honest, competent and enlightened performance of its institutions (government, media, educational, etc).

  6. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 1:03 pm:

    “what do you want for yourself and possibly your children over the next 20 to 30 years?”

    Jet packs and underwater houses!

    Oh — and universal health care.

    – SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  7. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    lol, don’t forget hover bikes

  8. - PhilCollins - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 1:30 pm:

    I want the CTA to build a new train line that would be a loop around the northern, western, and southern parts of Chicago. If that happens, more people would use public transportation, and my kids and I would see less traffic congestion.

  9. - Richton Park - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 2:17 pm:

    This is definitely a worthwhile endeavor. I applaud CMAP.

    I want a more balanced region. I dare say, I want regional equity when it comes to transportation investments.

    Development opportunities seem only to be available in the northern and western suburbs. The southern region has been neglected the past 20-30 years.

  10. - anon sequitor - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 3:01 pm:

    Richton FYI: Will County is practically a boom town for development opportunities so the South Side ain’t exactly hurting.

    The biggest problem with CMAP is that they want to be the Uber Planner, overriding all local control and authority. They take good ideas and quickly mutate them into a call for central planning rather than finding ways to help nurture distinct and unique features of the region.

    Take the freight train issue. Frankly the CN proposal to take over the EJ and whatever ring rail line would vastly improve the freight train congestion in Chicago. Do we hear CMAP saying anything intelligent on this? Nope, just more calls for more plans.

    Frankly, we should be afraid, very afraid, of giving CMAP any Uber Planner authority.

  11. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 3:50 pm:

    Richton Park-

    You’ve already got the best Metra service (at least the most frequent, and on its own set of tracks, unlike other corridors that have to mix with freight and Amtrak. And the new trains are getting potties. You also have I-57 which added an interchange at Sauk Trail several years ago. And you might have an airport 15 minutes away, sometime in the near or distant future. Many towns would love to have your equity.

    anon sequitor-

    As long as there is an Illinois Municipal League, CMAP will have a royal fight on its hands if it tries to be the planning czar. There are those on the other side of the coin that bemoan CMAP’s lack of enforcement power, too.

  12. - plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 4:13 pm:

    Waste of time and money. Look at what comes out of these pie in the sky, cost is no object planning sessions.

    The self appointed assemble and try to make overarching plans which SOMEONE ELSE will pay for.

    Just remember that what we are today is the result of previous planning efforts. They were wrong then and will be wrong again.

    Just what we need are plans for more airports we do not need, multi-billion roadway systems to nowhere, expansion of mass transit with its permanent subsidies…. all this while the existing infrastructure is ignored and is allowed to deteriorate.

    On the plus side we get to pay for consultants and relatives of the powerful who will build their time toward a publicly supported pension.


  13. - Aaron Slick - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 4:33 pm:

    I want myself, my kids, and my grandchildren to be as isolated from Cook County and it’s lifestyle as possible. I also would like to see Mayor Daley keep the enormous truck traffic that is congesting our highways and tearing up our roads in Will County up in Cook County. The privilege of becoming the country’s “Warehouse & Trucking Capital” is an honor that Will County could easily do without. I want Will County to remain an agricultural area rather than become the dumping ground for what Chicago doesn’t want(trucks, warehouses, & the unemployed).

  14. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 4:54 pm:

    Aaron Slick-

    I suggest you and 3 other friends take all 4 corners of Will County and move it about 50 miles south, if you want it to remain undeveloped (of course you’re about 30 years late). But seriously, I think Sollitt and Andres will remain rural for quite some time. The rest of the county is too close to Chicago to remain undeveloped, unless the people stop coming or being born. In 50 years, we may see an even greater migration of people toward the Great Lakes when the west dries up.

  15. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 5:00 pm:


    OK, no investment in transit, don’t consider any new roads, keep packing flights into our tiny airports. Just fix a few potholes and bridges and everything will be OK, even with another 2 million vehicles on the road by 2050. That is, if more people don’t say “Go East, Young Man!” (in which case traffic will be worse) or some natural or man-made event thins out the herd, or we don’t find a suitable replacement for oil (in which case traffic will be better).

  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 5:17 pm:

    Here’s a good article about the future of water supply in the US-

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 5:41 pm:

    Well six

    The track records of these affairs are not good. They burn time and money AND are wrong more often then they are right. Not to mention they are focused so far ahead that nothing will get done other than to polish a few seat bottoms.

    We need to work on solving the problems of today, since we know what they are rather than speculating about our concepts of social engineering for the distant future.

    We do not know whether there will be a million more or less vehicles on the roadways in 30 years or so. Gas keeps rising, you may lose 500,000 vehicle in the next couple years alone. We can believe that they will not be internal combustion or can we? It is irrational to continue to sprawl our population over continuing wider geographical areas if we still expect people to have to commute to the central cities.

    As far as airports are concerned, I can say with certainty that we do not need another large airport in the Chicago market. We need to utilize Gary (GYY), Chicago (MDW), Chicago (ORD), Rockford (RFD) and Milwaukee (MKE). They all have a good highway infrastructure and could be supplemented with some sort of rail to interconnect them if that makes sense. The Peotone airport is a boondoggle (worse than MidAmerica Airport), designed to make money for the pols, their supporters and the construction overlords who will also need to build highways to get to and from there.

    I hate to tell you that potholes and bridges are not the types of things that need fixing. We have capacity problems in the entire state which need to be addressed before we plan a future like the Jetstons,

    I can take you to places in Florida, Arizona and California which were to be the future it places and never developed as expected. We don’t need any ghost towns.

    Lets get our priorities in order, then we can blue sky.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 5:54 pm:

    Clean air and water, as well as either an increase in earnings or more free time to go along with the productivity boom in America over the last 15 years.

    32 hour work week, anyone?

  19. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 6:33 pm:

    Anon 5:41-

    In one breath you say high gas prices may force 500,000 vehicles off the road, and in the next you decry our highway capacity problems that need to be addressed. We might well solve the problem by doing nothing, with that logic. And I’m not saying it’s wrong, since none of us have a 100% accurate crystal ball.

    And regarding your statement “It is irrational to continue to sprawl our population over continuing wider geographical areas if we still expect people to have to commute to the central cities.”

    This is exactly the opposite of what the telecommuting advocates suggest. If most everyone could work from home, it may not cause “sprawl” as much as “mass dispersion”. Given a choice, many if not most would avoid the rat race if they can maintain an equal or higher quality of life.

  20. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 24, 08 @ 8:37 pm:

    Sorry about my lost name on my last post.

    My point is that there are immediate needs that need to be addressed. Social engineering by government fiat fails each time.

    We need to focus on what can happen now. I am suggesting that we use our resources in a more immediately productive manner. There is no benefit to society to plan for something 30 years into the future while some poor fellow or gal has to commute for an hour each way to feed their family. Spend your time figuring out how to make their lives better now.

    I am a computer guy, so I am a natural advocate for the worker bees who can telecommute. Unfortunately the natural process of the business environment are such that other than the drones, the rest of the staff needs to interact in non-structured ways where telecommuting does not work. Spreading the digital infrastructure out to the employees homes, especially for lower level staff who likely need supervision makes the managers squeamish.

    The same goes to shifting the hours of the workday to soften the rush hours. Turns out there is a reason folks need to maintain business hours.

    Seems to me that companies like Boeing need to place their offices in the collar areas, but as we have seen from the Sears move to Hoffman Estates, that trick did not work well anyway.

    So many of these ideas have been tried with little success before. Government rehashing the few successes and mandating them for all is just a wast of time

    One thing I can propose from a lead by example mode is to allow our elected representatives to telecommute and vote while they are in their districts, or for that matter anywhere in the world.

  21. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 25, 08 @ 8:49 am:

    Definately NOT living in those counties!
    When people believe that centralization is an answer to these problems, they haven’t a CLUE.

  22. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Mar 26, 08 @ 9:16 am:

    Transportation diversity and walkable communities with a better balance of residential, commercial, and industrial in local communities. Planners should do a Google search on “New Urbanism.”

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