All too often, major corridors or districts transcend municipal boundaries, making coordinated planning efforts a challenge. Planners acknowledge the regional or boundary-less nature of socio-economic and environmental forces and impacts on local communities, but are often constrained in addressing these problems or opportunities by jurisdictional boundaries.
The recently completed Harlem Avenue Corridor Plan proposes a range of multi-modal transportation, economic development, and urban design concepts for a 13-mile stretch of a strategic regional arterial passing through 10 municipalities and a county forest preserve. The planning initiative was sponsored by the Southwest Conference of Mayors, one of the Chicago metropolitan region's Councils of Government (COG) responsible for local transportation planning and project implementation, and was funded by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
In this program, Jen McNeil Dhadwal, AICP, from URS Corp., and Heather Tabbert, AICP, from RTA discussed their recent experiences helping neighboring communities and multiple jurisdictions create plans and development strategies that are coordinated but reflect the unique needs and character of each participant.
Jen McNeil Dhadwal, AICP, is a principal urban planner with URS Corporation, where she works on a wide range of urban planning and economic development consulting assignments across the U.S., with a particular interest in transit-oriented development, transit planning, and the intersection of land use, real estate markets and transportation planning. She leads the Planning Department in the URS Chicago office's infrastructure practice, and also enjoys networking with municipal colleagues and sharing her experiences with planning students and urbanophiles in the classroom and conferences. She holds a BA in economics from Vanderbilt University and a MUPP from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Heather Tabbert, AICP
Heather Tabbert, AICP, has been with the Regional Transportation Authority in Chicago since 2005. As manager in the Local Planning and Programs Division of the planning department, Tabbert focuses on planning for and implementing transit-oriented development, local transit improvement, and subregional corridor studies. She also manages the community planning program, which offers funding and planning assistance to local governments. Prior to the RTA, Tabbert spent four years as a transportation planner with the Kane County Division of Transportation. She received a BA in geography from Augustana College.