Chicago's Northwest Suburbs Working To Promote TODs

Leaders of suburban cities and villages in northeastern Illinois are coming together to promote transit oriented development around commuter rail lines leading into Chicago.

In Chicago's "northwest suburbs, when mayors and village managers attend regional planning seminars, they often hear the terms new urbanism, green urbanism, green buildings, functional neighborhoods, transit-oriented development and human-scale communities." Now they are trying to implement it, though planning resources can be limited.

"In downtown Palatine, the Metra commuter train station on WestWood Street has created transit-oriented activity and commercial expansion, said Mayor Rita Mullins, co-chair of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Housing Committee."

"We've built our downtown around the commuter station, and so have other towns up and down the (Union Pacific Northwest Rail) line leading into Chicago," she said.

"Rolling Meadows Mayor Ken Nelson said mass transit will create higher density lifestyle centers."

"Americans are far outpaced by Europeans in their attitude of physical fitness. Here, it's drive, drive and more driving in vehicles. Add to that the cost of gas and maintaining cars. So, instead of buying a third vehicle, maybe people should buy a bicycle", said Tom Melena, city manager for Rolling Meadows.

"In the Chicago area, Michael Davidson of Campaign for Sensible Growth, a six-county coalition in northeast Illinois for promoting economies while preserving open space, said while some villages have funding for 10-to 15-year comprehensive plans other villages do not."

"Communities lack resources, leadership and understanding, which is not all bad because they know what's best for their towns, but the implication is that it means bad zoning and bad planning," he said.

Thanks to Martin Dreiling

Full Story: The future of being greener

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