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Read recaps and watch recordings of the RTA's four-part Transportation Tuesday webinar series

June 25, 2024

Graphic that says "Transportation Tuesday, attend a four-part webinar series #TransportationTuesday"

The RTA brought back Transportation Tuesday, its popular four-part webinar series each Tuesday May 28–June 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The free, virtual sessions 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 regional transit strategic plan, Transit is the Answer. The Transportation Tuesday series includes 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 links to recaps of each of the four webinars.

May 28: Improving and expanding the transit system strategically: How capital projects are advancing equity, sustainability, and accessibility

With last year’s adoption of Transit is the Answer came 15 new evaluation metrics that comprise a strategy for evaluating and selecting capital projects. Now, the RTA, CTA, Metra, and Pace are working together to improve and expand the system in a way that promotes transparency and advances equity, sustainability, and accessibility across the transit system and region. RTA staff will discuss the agency’s new evaluation criteria, and presenters from the CTA, Metra, and Pace will each highlight a project or initiative that advances equity, sustainability, or accessibility. A demonstration will also be given on the capital projects portion of RTAMS, the RTA’s mapping and statistics website. Read a recap and watch a recording.

Mary Weber (moderator) is Senior Analyst, Capital Programming, at the RTA. Mary previously worked for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) on projects such as completing a forecast analysis cycle to improve the Transportation Improvement Program. 

Jon Sung is a Senior Analyst, Capital Programs, at the RTA. He previously served as a project manager for the RTA's Sign Maintenance program and worked on the Interagency Signage program.

Chris Szmurlo is a Principal Analyst, Data Services and Analytics, at the RTA, where he has worked for the past eight years. His duties range from managing the RTAMS website to various mapping efforts.

Clare McGuire is a Senior Project Manager, Red Line Extension Controls, at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Clare has lived in Chicago since 2015 and is originally from Omaha, Nebraska. Clare previously served as the school budget manager for Chicago Public Schools and as the budget and operations manager for the University of Chicago Inclusive Econmy Lab.

Roberto Torres is Chief Mechanical Officer at Pace Suburban Bus. Previously, he served as the City of Chicago's Manager of Vehicle Maintenance, the CTA's Manager of Bus Maintenance, and an Air Monitoring Technician for Cook County.

Dustin Clark is Manager of Program Development and Grant Pursuits at Metra. He previously worked as a Planner for the City of Highland Park and then Project Coordinator for Lightengale Group, an affordable housing real estate financial advisory firm that offered services to developers.

June 4: Parking mandates and TOD: How minimum parking requirements impact land use, housing, and development

Parking dominates the United States, in both land area and policy debates. In 2013, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) estimated that the Chicago region had over 3.2 million commercial and industrial off-street parking spaces, equal to almost 23 square miles. This supply of parking spaces is largely the result of parking mandates—local land use regulations that require a certain number of parking spaces for new developments. Parking mandates have in turn exerted tremendous influence on land use and transportation patterns. Learn about the impact of parking mandates on transit-oriented development (TOD), how they exacerbate issues related to housing supply, and how they contribute to higher costs for new development. With speakers representing municipalities and planning agencies in the Chicago region and Minneapolis, this webinar will explore how reforming parking mandates can reduce costs for new development, enable more people to live in walkable neighborhoods, and foster vibrant communities. Read a recap and watch a recording.

Alex Waltz (moderator) is a Principal 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.

Juan Sebastian Arias is the Executive Director of Elevated Chicago, a multi-disciplinary collaborative comprised of residents, community organizations, artists, developers, community development financial institutions, activists, and city officials/policymakers. Elevated works with the City of Chicago on implementation of the City’s Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Plan and provides capital and technical assistance for new developments near transit that are community-led and that fight displacement. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Juan Sebastian helped develop Chicago’s ETOD Plan and the City’s Connected Communities Ordinance and served as First Deputy of Policy at the Mayor’s Office.

Lindsay Bayley is the Program Lead for Safe and Complete Streets at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, where she focuses primarily on equitable transportation and safety. She has also managed a variety of community planning projects, local active transportation plans, and parking management studies. In addition to her work at CMAP, Lindsay is co-founder of the Parking Reform Network, a public benefit non-profit organization with the goal of educating the public about parking policy and assisting others with parking reform.

Liz Williams is the Planning Manager at the City of Evanston and has experience in transportation planning at the municipal and regional level in communities throughout the United States. As Planning Manager, she directs departmental activities related to both comprehensive long-range planning and current planning review of development proposals. Evanston is currently in the process of developing a new comprehensive plan and amending its zoning ordinance. The City reduced off-street parking requirements for developments within 1/8 mile of a rail station in 2017.

Jason Wittenberg, AICP, is the Code Development Manager for the City of Minneapolis, where he has worked for the Community Planning & Economic Development Department since 1998. Jason has experience managing zoning code reforms that eliminated exclusive single-family zoning regulations and minimum parking mandates.

June 11: Building transit friendly streets and advancing bus rapid transit: Lessons from peer regions

CTA and Pace are two of the largest bus operators in North America, but the Chicago region is significantly lacking in dedicated lanes and space for transit on our roadways. Learn about how transit agencies in peer regions plan and implement transit friendly street designs and bus rapid transit in both new and existing corridors, how they navigate jurisdictional challenges and opposition, and lessons our region might learn from their work. Read a recap and watch a recording.

Peter Kersten (moderator) is Program Manager, Strategic Plan Implementation, for the RTA. He played a critical role in development of the RTA’s Transit is the Answer regional transit strategic plan and manages that plan’s implementation. He is a member of the 2024 class of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Emerging Leaders Program.

Frank Alarcon is Manager, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Projects at Metro Transit in Minneapolis/St. Paul. In this role, Frank is responsible for delivery of several of the Twin Cities’ arterial BRT projects, including the METRO B Line, currently under construction, and the METRO F Line, currently in design. His duties include defining project delivery strategies, managing project scopes and budgets, leading procurements, and negotiating agreements. Prior to joining Metro Transit, Frank worked as a transportation planner for five years for Ramsey County in Saint Paul. Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota, and previously served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural El Salvador.

Nadine Chalmers is a Manager, Service Planning at Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). Nadine is responsible for the management of long- and short-term bus and rail planning, scheduling, data collection and analytics, community engagement, and business and partner development. Her involvement in current key projects include the development of the Niagara-region’s first Bus Rapid Transit line, planning for an extension of the current LRT line, and a shelter expansion and bus stop balancing program. Nadine oversees the NFTA Metro Citizen’s Advisory Committee and is leading a study aimed at upgrading and improving NFTA's paratransit services.

Michael Rhodes is the Transit Priority Manager at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). He leads a matrix team of planners, engineers, and outreach staff to deliver transit reliability improvements in San Francisco. Prior to joining the SFMTA in 2015, he worked for Nelson\Nygaard on a variety of transit, parking management, and transportation demand management (TDM) projects.

June 18: Transit’s operating funding crisis: How major metro areas are changing the way transit is funded post-COVID

The staying power of remote and hybrid work post-COVID has triggered operating funding crises for America’s largest public transit systems. With Chicago’s regional transit system facing a projected $730 million annual operating shortfall starting in 2026, opportunity exists to learn from peer regions and states that had to act sooner to shore up their financial futures. Hear from leaders from across the country who worked on major transit funding legislation post-COVID. Read a recap and watch a recording.

Chris Van Eyken (moderator) is the Director, Research & Policy, for TransitCenter. His work focuses on encouraging transit agencies to adopt best practices and needed reforms. Chris has advocated for better transit as an agency staff member and as an external advocate. He has provided technical support to agencies in the US and abroad.

Miguel Moravec is a senior associate with the Rocky Mountain Institute’s US Program, which implements effective climate solutions at the federal, state, and local levels. Through the America Is All In coalition, Miguel collaborates with US institutions and businesses to achieve emissions reductions across multiple sectors of society. As a science professional, Miguel worked for US Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Chemicals Research Group and has additional experience at Princeton’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab and Columbia’s Science, Technology, Engineering And Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) Program.

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Tagged in: Transportation Tuesday | Community Planning | Capital Programming | RTAMS | Fiscal cliff | Transit is the Answer | RTA | CTA | Metra | Pace

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