Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today set in motion the development of a plan that will look at the County’s transportation network and its impact on economic growth and quality of life over the next 25 years.
“We can no longer continue to make one-off transportation investments. We need a coherent strategy. The County should invest in transportation as a way to foster economic development and create communities that are desirable places to live and work,” Preckwinkle said. “With more than half of the metropolitan region’s population, jobs and businesses, Cook County should be a leader in planning, prioritizing and aligning resources. We want to ensure Cook County’s transportation investments are sensible, coordinated, and support growth.”
Called “Connecting Cook County,” the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) will be developed over the next 18 months. Cook County’s last comprehensive transportation plan, now more than 70 years ago, identified the corridors for the today’s Chicago-area expressway system. This LRTP is expected to set an agenda through 2040.
Preckwinkle named a 17-member Advisory Committee composed of business leaders, along with representatives from civic groups, local governments, and economic development organizations, to give a broad voice to the various interests groups and their concerns. She also named a 15-member Program Committee of transportation professionals and specialists who will bring their specific areas of expertise to the table.
The process places great importance on asking County residents and business owners for their opinions on transportation strengths, weaknesses and priorities in the communities where they live and work. The public will be asked to weigh in on the plan via a web site and through kiosks equipped with interactive planning software that will rotate through high-traffic County locations over a nine-month period.
Kiosks will initially be placed at the following locations:
- Lansing Public Library, 2750 Indiana Ave., Lansing
- Chicago Heights Public Library, 25 W. 15th St., Chicago Heights
- North Pulaski Library, 4300 W. North Ave., Chicago
- Mount Prospect Library, 10 S. Emerson, Mount Prospect
- Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago
- Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg
The County will use social media and newsletters to provide periodic updates as the LRTP takes form. Once the plan is fully developed it will be brought to the Cook County Board for consideration and approval.
Connecting Cook County will review all modes of transportation – including roads, bridges, bikeways, pedestrian walkways and public transportation. The plan will be guided by the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways.
“This is an opportunity for us to take stock of our transportation system,” Preckwinkle said. “Adding more commuters and traffic to the existing transportation network without anticipating how to change the system is no way to plan for the future.”
Preckwinkle named Michael Tang, CEO of National Material LP, an international steel processing and fabricating company and vice chairman of Tang Industries, to chair the Advisory Committee. Tang is also a member of Preckwinkle’s Council of Economic Advisors, which further supports the connection between sound transportation strategy and the economic vitality of the region.
“Tying transportation planning to community and economic development is essential to jumpstarting Cook County’s economy,” Tang said. “Through a coordinated approach with multiple parties at the table, and with input from residents and business people across the County, we hope to bring forward proposals, solutions and opportunities that will benefit people who live, work and conduct business here for decades to come.”
Along with Tang, members of the Advisory Committee include:
- Rita Athas, Board of Directors, World Business Chicago
- MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council
- Frank Beal, Executive Director, Metropolis Strategies
- Gerald Bennett, President, Southwest Conference of Mayors
- Randy Blankenhorn, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
- Paul Braun, President, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association
- Herman Brewer, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Economic Development
- Roberto Escalante, Director, Small Business Transportation Center, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Sandy Frum, President, Northwest Municipal Conference
- Jacky Grimshaw, Vice President for Policy, Center for Neighborhood Technology
- Theresa Mintle, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
- Rosa Ortiz, Program Officer, Enterprise Community Partners
- Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor
- Deborah Sawyer, President, Environmental Design International
- Ronald Serpico, Mayor of Melrose Park representing the West Central Municipal Conference
- Andrea Zopp, President, Chicago Urban League
Members of the Program Committee include:
- Ben Brockschmidt, Executive Director, Illinois Chamber of Commerce – Infrastructure Council
- Ron Burke, President, Active Transportation Alliance
- Joseph Ciaccio, President, Illinois Railroad Association
- Forrest Claypool, President, Chicago Transit Authority
- Matt Hart, Executive Director, Illinois Trucking Association
- Larry Ivory, President, Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce
- Kristi Lafleur, Executive Director, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority
- Andrew Mooney, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development
- Don Orseno, Chief Executive Officer, Metra
- Jorge Perez, Executive Director, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association
- Arnold Randall, General Superintendent, Cook County Forest Preserve District
- Leanne Redden, Acting Executive Director, Regional Transportation Authority
- T.J. Ross, Executive Director, Pace
- Ann Schneider, Secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation
- Rebekah Scheinfeld, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation