Illinois: Support Environmental Priorities in 30-year Regional Comprehensive Plan

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning invites comments on its regional comprehensive plan, ON TO 2050, which identifies how growing communities can become more resilient and protect natural resources across the region.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has called for comments on ON TO 2050, a comprehensive land use and transportation plan for seven counties in our Chicagoland region.  The plan recommends how communities can become more resilient and protect our lands and waters as we add millions of people to our region over the next 30 years.  ON TO 2050 will influence where our roads are built, how much communities flood, what open space we save and restore, and how much we protect our farmland throughout the Chicagoland area. The plan is a prerequisite for new roads, bridges, and freight to qualify for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.  Communities, agencies, non-profit organizations, and foundations will use the plan to prioritize initiatives and measure both impacts and progress.

Read the draft plan.

Openlands encourages that you join us in supporting critical recommendations in the ON TO 2050 plan by submitting comments to CMAP by August 15:

  • Transportation and freight should complement rather than harm our region’s finest natural areas like Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. We agree that the region should replace outdated projects based on outmoded principles, such as Illiana Tollway in Will County and the Route 53 Extension in Lake County, with better comprehensive solutions that don’t sacrifice our natural, cultural, and agricultural heritage.
  • We support helping communities become more resilient to climate change and expand nature-based solutions that offer multiple community benefits. Greening schoolyards, restoring our landscapes, and planting more trees provide beautiful neighborhood places that reduce flooding and make our rivers cleaner for both people and wildlife.
  • We support conserving a network of natural lands and waters throughout the region; this will take understanding how new projects can damage particular waters and landscapes, rather than using a generic calculation.

We invite you to look over and carefully consider the ON TO 2050 draft and submit any comments you have via email to

In 2005, Openlands championed the establishment of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to better integrate large scale transportation projects into a consensus-borne regional vision. We continue to assist CMAP with the implementation of the GOTO 2040 plan and the development of the ON TO 2050 plan, both of which guide infrastructure development, address climate change through mitigation and adaptation, and preserve our region’s web of natural areas.