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Register now for four-part Transportation Tuesday webinar series

May 15, 2023

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The RTA is bringing back Transportation Tuesday, its popular four-part webinar series each Tuesday in June from noon to 1 p.m. The free, virtual sessions will allow attendees to hear from experts, ask questions, and learn about hot topics in transportation planning as they relate to implementation of the RTA’s new regional transit strategic plan, Transit is the Answer. The Transportation Tuesday series will include regional and national leaders, along with RTA staff leading discussions about the opportunities, challenges, and resources available to the Chicago region.

Participation is free, but registration is required. Read below for descriptions and registration links to each of the four webinars.

June 6: A New Era for Chicago Transit: Adapting Service to Address Changing and Unmet Needs of Riders

The pandemic caused dramatic, lasting shifts in how and when Chicagoans move around the region as well as laying bare existing inequities in transportation access. A growing portion of residents work from home full-time or work in hybrid environments with occasional trips to the office. Others travel to work or school at locations that lack access to frequent bus or rail service, especially during midday and overnight hours. These realities incentivize transit agencies and local governments to re-think the traditional model that primarily served 9-to-5, Monday through Friday commuters, and test new and innovative ways to deliver transit service to people when and where they need it. Hear from transit agency staff about how they are changing and adapting transit services in their area to meet the changing needs of riders and address long unmet needs of communities. Register here.

Peter Kersten (moderator) is a Program Manager working on strategic plan implementation at the RTA. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Masters in Urban Planning and Policy program, an avid cyclist, and a CTA Blue Line rider.

Sonali Tandon is the Senior Manager for Rail Strategic Planning at Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). She oversees long range planning of rail projects, including the Red Line Extension and future rail capacity projects, as well as other strategic planning initiatives. She has served at CTA for the past 16 years and holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

David Kralik, AICP, is the Director of Planning and Programming at Metra. He oversees Metra’s efforts in station area, corridor, and strategic planning as well as capital programming and discretionary grant pursuits. He has served in various capacities at Metra since 2002 and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from Washington University and master’s degrees in mathematics and urban planning & policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Daniel Miodonski is the Senior Manager of Metra's Operations and Planning Analysis Department. In this role, he oversees Metra's train schedules, as well as operations data analysis and reporting. Daniel has worked for Metra for 10 years and holds a master’s degree in urban planning & policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Erik Llewellyn is the Chief Planning Officer at Pace. He oversees Pace’s planning, scheduling, and service analysis teams and has been with Pace in various planning roles since 2006. Prior to working for Pace, Erik received his bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from Eastern Washington University and was a Transportation Planner/Transit Planner at the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization.

June 13: Mobility Hubs: Connecting transportation options for a more seamless experience

“Mobility Hub” is a term you may not have heard before, but you have likely interacted with one. Mobility Hubs are places of connectivity where different travel options – walking, biking, transit, and shared mobility (such as shared bike or scooter stations) – come together. They provide an integrated suite of mobility services, amenities, and supporting technologies to better connect high-frequency transit to an individual's origin or destination. Learn the basics of planning, building, and implementing mobility hubs in the Chicago region, and hear examples of successful mobility hub implementation from across the country. Register here.

Robert Morris (moderator) is a Senior Analyst in the Local Planning and Program Management Division of the RTA. In this role, he provides technical expertise for program and project management activities for the federally funded Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) program and manages transit plans in support of the RTA’s Community Planning and Access to Transit programs. Prior to joining the RTA in 2021, Robert worked as a Planner for the City of Columbus, Ohio.

As Metro Transit’s Shared Mobility Program Manager, Meredith Klekotka provides strategic leadership on integrating transit with new services such as bike share, car share, and TNCs. She runs pilots like microtransit solutions, MAAS, and mobility hubs for the transit agency and the Metropolitan Council, the twin cities’ regional MPO. Prior to the twin cities, Meredith led the Smart Cities Initiative in Indianapolis and worked in active transportation advocacy in Columbus, OH, Chicago, and St. Louis. She is a graduate of University of Illinois at Chicago and Carleton College.

Benjie de la Peña is the Chief Executive Officer of the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC). He chairs the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation; founder of Agile City Partners; and writes and curates Makeshift Mobility, a fortnightly newsletter covering innovations in informal transportation. He also convenes the Shared Mobility 2030 Action Agenda and edits and produces Pop Transport.

Olatunji Oboi Reed is the President and CEO of Equiticity, a racial equity movement, programming and advocating for racial equity, increased mobility, and racial justice to improve the lives of Black and Brown people across the United States. Oboi co-founded and recently served as the President & CEO of the Slow Roll Chicago bicycle movement. He is a frequent speaker, panelist, and facilitator at conferences around the world.

June 20: Transit in Industrial Corridors: Community Experience, Accessibility, and Freight Interactions

Transit and freight movement are two quintessential aspects of Chicago’s legacy, present, and future. Industrial corridors, however, are not equitably distributed across neighborhoods stratified by income or race. Often, lower income residents and communities of color are most exposed to negative impacts such as reduced pedestrian accessibility and increased air and noise pollution. These impacts are even more profound considering that such neighborhoods generally have a high proportion of residents who rely on transit for their daily transportation needs. At the same time, industrial corridors are major job centers that provide a benefit to the region’s economy and people employed in that sector. This webinar will explore the interactions between freight vehicles and transit from both an infrastructure and community impact perspective, with guest speakers representing municipal governments, transit agencies, and community-based organizations. Register here.

Alex Waltz (moderator) is a Senior Planner at the RTA working in the Local Planning and Program Management division. He manages projects funded through the RTA’s Community Planning and Access to Transit programs and is passionate about enhancing the built environment that surrounds transit stops and stations.

José Acosta-Córdova is the Senior Transportation Policy Analyst for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO). He also serves as one of the Co-Chairs of the Transportation Equity Network (TEN), which is made up of 60 organizations throughout the Chicago metropolitan area that work on issues related to Mobility Justice. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Geography and GIS at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He completed his Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs from UIC.

Katherine Nickele is a Transportation Planner at Sam Schwartz Consulting's Chicago office. With a background in public health, Katherine has worked on transportation plans throughout the region, including the Vision Zero Chicago Downtown Action Plan and the Glendale Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. She completed her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy and her Master’s Degree in Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Global Health from Northwestern University.

Jeffrey Sriver is the Director of Transportation Planning and Programming at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), responsible for leading CDOT’s short-, medium-, and long-range planning, analysis and research activities encompassing all transportation modes, facilities, users, systems, and networks serving the City. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and a Masters in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

David Tomzik is the Planning Program Manager for Pace Suburban Bus. With over 30 years of experience in public transit planning, he works on Pace’s long range planning efforts and contributes to the agency’s implementation of its Pulse network of Arterial Rapid Transit routes, expansion of Pace expressway-based services, planning for new station facilities and implementation of Pace’s Strategic Vision Plan, Driving Innovation.

June 27: Advancing a Regional Capital Strategy: How Transit is the Answer and the RTA’s Capital Program Shape the Maintenance, Upkeep, and Improvements of Transit Infrastructure

One of the core responsibilities of the RTA is to work with the CTA, Metra, and Pace to advance a capital strategy that ensures major transit investments are guided by regional goals, budgeted based on available funds, and completed in an efficient manner. Transit is the Answer, the RTA’s new regional transit strategic plan, outlines 15 new evaluation metrics for capital projects to track how these investments will advance major goals like equity, accessibility, climate, and more. Learn about the RTA’s capital program and how to use the agency’s data and mapping tools to stay on top of projects. Register here.

Brian Lowenberg is the Manager of the Capital Programs division at the RTA. He has been at RTA for the past six years. He interned with the Regional Coordination team while obtaining his master’s in urban planning at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). After graduating, he joined the Capital group as an analyst before becoming the division’s manager. Brian is passionate about helping shepherd the capital improvements thought process from concept to delivery in order to improve the regional ridership experience.

Peter Fahrenwald is the RTA’s Manager of Strategic and Corridor Planning. He’s been with the agency for a dozen years after working in operations and capital planning at CTA. At the RTA, Peter has worked on developing the agency’s five-year regional transit strategic plans, performance measures, customer satisfaction surveys, first/last-mile mobility pilots, and a variety of planning studies. Peter is a Chicago native and earned a master’s in civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

A.J. Nazem is a Project Engineer in the Project Management Oversight (PMO) division at the RTA. He has been at the RTA for over five years. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining the RTA, A.J. worked in a variety of public and private sector roles. A.J. continuously strives to improve the PMO program to ensure effective and efficient project execution, as well as standardize project reporting to improve transparency on capital project implementation.

Chris Szmurlo is a Principal Analyst at the RTA, where he has worked for the past seven years. His duties range from managing the RTAMS website to various mapping efforts. Prior to the RTA, he received his master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

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Tagged in: Transit is the Answer | Transportation Tuesday | webinar | CTA | Metra | Pace | RTA

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