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Board Game Aids Regional Planning

Public involvement in regional planning is being stepped up significantly, with the new Regional Planning Board using a public involvement tool developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Participants at seven public meetings on updating the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan (starting Tuesday in Berwyn) will use Transopoly, a planning game developed by CNT’s Chicagoland Transportation and Air Quality Commission and first used in CTAQC’s Connecting Communities Summits.

Breaking into small groups, participants will work with maps of the region marked with existing land use and transportation features, a hypothetical budget to improve access and reduce congestion, and other tools.

The process helps community residents move beyond project “wish lists” to prioritize proposals within realistic fiscal constraints, said Jan Metzgar of CTAQC.

In the past, public involvement requirements have often been fulfilled with hearings held after plans are largely developed — a process that caused costly delays with the current Dan Ryan project, when community objections forced last minute changes. The current round of public meetings will focus on projects farther in the future, Metzgar said.

CTAQC has advocated creating a regional planning body that combined transportation and land-use planning since 1995. The Chicago Area Transportation Study has been the official metropolitan planning agency – designated to receive federal planning funds – since 1955. Too often municipalities have been forced to make land-use decisions in the wake of transportation plans, Metzgar said. “Land use has to lead,” she said.

Created by legislation passed in 2005, the Regional Planning Board merges CATS with the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission, with increased representation for suburban Cook County, along with Chicago and the collar counties.

In recent years CTAQC’s community summits have found that one top priority of most participants – including most automobile users – was greater transporation options, including more walkable communities, Metzgar said.

RPB’s public meetings take place at 7 p.m. following a 6:30 p.m. sign-in, and will be held:

Tuesday, May 16, at the Berwyn Police Department, 6420 W. 16th, Berwyn;

Thursday, May 18, Waukegan Police Department, 420 Robert V. Sabonjian Place, Waukegan;

Wednesday, May 31, Kane County Government Building, 719 S. Batavia, Geneva;

Thursday, June 1, Ann Sather’s Restaurant, 929 W. Belmont;

Tuesday, June 6, Joliet Public Library, 150 N. Ottawa, Joliet;

Thursday, June 8, Palatine Village Hall, 200 E. Wood, Palatine;

Thursday, June 15, Blue Island City Hall Annex, 2434 Vermont, Blue Island.

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