Posts tagged with "shipping":

Placeholder Alt Text

Explore Chicago’s regional transportation network on this interactive website

How many people get on the train at your "El" or Metra stop each day? Which county's roads make for the roughest ride? How long do Chicago-area drivers while away waiting for train crossings? The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) just unveiled a new tool to stir discussion about transportation in the greater Chicago area that can answer all of those questions, as well as many more about the regional transportation system as a whole. CMAP planners said they hope the interactive website, which is full of clickable maps and tables compiled from mountains of public data, will resonate with policy makers as well as frustrated commuters. When it comes to transportation infrastructure, Chicago has an embarrassment of riches—and a wealth of problems. Some 25 percent of the nation's freight traffic travels through the region, but the seven-county region's 1,468 rail crossings snarl traffic for a total delay of 7,817 person-hours every day. In total traffic ate up more than $6 billion in wasted time and fuel in 2011 across the roughly 30,000 miles of roads in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Will, Kane, Kendall and DuPage Counties. As the authors of GO TO 2040, the 2010 comprehensive plan that sought to renew Daniel Burnham's regional vision, CMAP officials said they made the website to encourage more data-driven planning and regional policy. The website gives a mixed assessment of public transit in the region. While 71.5 percent of residents had at least moderate access to transit, progress on increasing that share of people has occurred at a slower rate so far than will be necessary to meet the 2040 goal of 78 percent, CMAP's analysis shows. Although Chicago lauds its growing open data culture, CMAP's Tom Garritano said arbitrary policies persist. For example Illinois' 55/45 rule, whereby 55 percent of highway funds typically go downstate, while only 45 percent stay in the Chicago region—despite the fact that more than two-thirds of the state's population and economic activity occurs in and around its largest city. “We believe strongly that the best decisions are driven by data,” said Garritano. “We want people to get excited about data.” While the website shows the region has made considerable progress on meeting GO TO 2040 goals in recent years, CMAP officials stressed that stats inflated with stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 may paint a rosier picture of transportation infrastructure's finances. CMAP pointed to the declining share of crumbling roads and bridges in the area—without continued funding for maintenance, they said, that progress would soon be overwhelmed by mounting infrastructure repair needs. More than half of non-highway roads in Cook County were judged less than “acceptable,” but that figure was less than 10 percent in McHenry and Kendall counties. More than 300 bridges in the Chicago area were deemed “structurally deficient” in 2013—a distinction CMAP pointed out does not mean they are necessarily dangerous, just below civil engineering standards. The total share of deficient bridges in the area was 9.7 percent, slightly below the national average of 11.1 percent. A section of the site named “Forward” links to a public-private fundraising campaign called FUND 2040. Last year CMAP called for a quarter-penny sales tax hike that would net $300 million per year for infrastructure work. “Metropolitan Chicago must compete globally against regions whose public investments have for decades far outpaced our own,” reads the site. “Current infrastructure funding mechanisms are simply not adequate to meet our region's infrastructure needs.” New spending, however needed, is politically risky in fiscally troubled Illinois, but CMAP's ideological influence recently got a boost in Springfield. The agency's executive director, Randy Blankenhorn, was recently appointed to head the Illinois Department of Transportation by incoming Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
Placeholder Alt Text

Ho,Ho, Home: Architects design a modern logistics center for Santa Claus

Competing for a place in holiday history—and a ten-week paid internship at the Oslo office of Snøhetta—entrants from fifty-nine countries submitted 243 proposals for a new logistics center for a very singular client: iconic global trading magnate, Santa Claus. The "Unbelievable Challenge" competition was organized by Finnish firm Ruukii Construction, the City of Oulu (Finland), Helsinki Design Week, and Snøhetta. Designs were evaluated not only for aesthetics, but for energy efficiency, sustainability, and suitability for the harsh climate conditions of the site, the Perävainio district of Oulu. The jurors were unanimous in their praise for the entries, and singled out several finalists for special mention. Of the winning project, titled Nothing is Impossible by Alexandru Oprita and Laurentiu Constantin of Romania (above), the panel stated, "The strength of this proposal is being able to exhibit an idea of surprise and magical character within the building itself. The magic happens at nighttime on the building's facade and there's a link to the investor—Mr. Santa Claus. It is feasible and innovative but not futuristic. It is also well thought through, from land use all the way to detailing." The five short-listed finalists (surely also on Santa's nice list)—whose projects, we notice, feature parking lots and loading docks instead of reindeer stables (below)—received that ever-reliable Christmas fallback gift: cash.
Placeholder Alt Text

Unveiled> Hartshorne Plunkard’s Goose Island office block along the Chicago River

A six-story office building could sail into the boat yard site of Chicago's Goose Island in the near future, if plans from Hartshorne Plunkard and developer South Street Capital can navigate logistical and regulatory difficulties surrounding the industrial district on the city's near north side. HPA calls the project at 934 N. Branch St. a "high-tech commercial development”. At 350,000 square feet, it's larger than a similar project down the street from SOM, which also invoked the site's industrial history with its structural expression. The $90 million HPA project, which tucks one floor of parking under four stories of office space and a penthouse, could be just the first phase of a larger development from HPA and South Street, according to HPA's website:

The building’s design references and relates to a second project located across the street that will be developed by the same team. With the adaptive reuse of an existing industrial building at 909 W. Bliss Street into 248,000 SF of office space, Goose Island will be transformed into a high-tech commercial campus.

HPA's design also includes “an elevated serpentine pedestrian and bike bridge” across the Chicago River linking the site with Milwaukee and Ogden Avenues. After years of losing jobs to outsourcing and industrial decay, the redevelopment of Goose Island is significant as Chicago mulls options for restoring jobs in manufacturing that once helped define the region. Legacy industries like freight shipping and transportation might never employ the same share of Chicagoans as they once did, but many planners and businesspeople suspect the region may be on the verge of a rebirth in advanced manufacturing. Goose Island remains one of the city's planned manufacturing districts. It's unclear at the project's outset if HPA's office tower could require an exception to the district's stipulations, or if it could herald the beginning of new uses beyond the planned manufacturing district framework.