First Insights in Chicago: Transportation and Citizen Engagement

Written by Denys Moliaka, Spring 2019 PFP Fellow from Ukraine

Friday (April 26) started with meeting colleagues at the Metropolitan Planning UA and AZ Denys and Nurana and Science MuseumCouncil, after which the supervisor of the department took me to the meeting of the Chicago Regional Transport Committee at Willis Tower held by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Most of the reports were devoted to the budget expenditures for transportation, particularly the construction of toll roads. I was interested in the presentation of the Public Engagement Plan. Attendees were convinced that the success of achieving strategic goals depends on community support and coordination of all stakeholders (employees, NGOs, businesses, local residents).

On Saturday (April 27), I attended the Citizen’s Climate Lobby presentation on climate change and the organization’s actions to prevent the warming of the atmosphere. The event was held in the local library. It was pleasant to see how local libraries look and work. They are the place for community gathering, comfortable, equipped with modern computers and literature. There were many people and it was impressive. I wish libraries in Ukraine were as good and popular.

ua-denys-moliaka-with-host-father.jpgOn Monday (April 29), I visited the Transportation Committee of the State Senate of Illinois. Different representatives testified on raising the tax on fuel, the importance of developing a multimodal transport system as opposed to car-centered, wear-out of transport infrastructure and the need for a more balanced and pragmatic approach to financing transport projects. After work, I attended a lecture on the history of urban planning in Chicago. The lecture was held in a public library and there were many people. After the lecture we had a dinner with local urbanists, architects and bicycle activists.

On Tuesday (April 30), my host father and I attended a meeting at Chicago City Hall, Bureau of Zoning and Land Use. A local community of my host-father’s neighborhood wants to prevent multi-story development in the area as it has happened in other districts. They discussed with the officials how to use legal instruments such as zoning to save existing houses from demolishing. In the evening there was a welcome party for all PFP fellows based in Chicago, their host parents and organizations.  We had a great opportunity to meet new people and share our experiences. The atmosphere was nice, warm and welcoming. It was a very pleasant evening.  World Chicago and their colleagues did a great job.

UA Denys Moliaka at Chicago Sunset

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