October 9, 2015                                                                       Volume 5, Issue 9
Revisit NOACA's 2015 Annual Meeting
NOACA held its Annual Meeting, "Defining Regional Cohesion: Exploring the Value of Collaboration," on Thursday, September 24, 2015, at the Cleveland Convention Center.
Keynote speaker Joanna Lieberman Turner, executive
Joanna Turner presents the keynote speech at NOACA's 2015 Annual Meeting.
director of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), spoke about the challenges and benefits of regionalism in the context of Northeast Ohio.

NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci updated participants about NOACA's most recent activities and accomplishments in her State of the Region address. Welcoming remarks were given by Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo, 2015 NOACA Board president, and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. A video of the evening's presentations is posted on NOACA's website. If you attended the Annual Meeting this year, please take a brief survey and help NOACA plan future events.

McCall receives 2015 Ehrnfelt Award for Outstanding Regional Contribution

Valarie McCall
Valarie J. McCall
At the Annual Meeting, NOACA presented the 2015 Walter F. Ehrnfelt, Jr. Award for Outstanding Regional Contribution to the City of Cleveland's Chief of Government and International Affairs, Valarie J. McCall. The Ehrnfelt Award recognizes an individual in the public sector who has contributed significantly toward the betterment of the NOACA region by exhibiting leadership, dedication and accomplishment, traits exhibited by the late Strongsville Mayor Walter F. Ehrnfelt throughout his public career. McCall has been a NOACA Board member since 2013 and also served as Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson's alternate on the Board from 2006-2012.

"Chief McCall is a forward-thinker who understands the value of regional cohesion and collaboration," said NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci. "During her tenure as NOACA Board president, she initiated the strategic planning process that led to the development of the agency's Vision Statement and Regional Strategic Plan, and she initiated changes to the agency's governing instrument to realize the NOACA vision and strengthen Board member engagement in the work of the agency."

McCall has compiled numerous achievements in government and public service. She recently headed up the committee that persuaded the Republican National Convention Site Selection Committee to choose Cleveland as the city to host their 2016 convention.

NASA Glenn and CWRU earn 2015 Commuter Choice Gold Awards   

Congratulations to NASA Glenn Research Center and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), recipients of NOACA Gold Commuter Choice Awards this year for supporting environmentally friendly forms of transportation for their employees. These
Erin Kollar, Assistant Director of Sustainability at Case Western Reserve University, accepts two 2015 Commuter Choice Awards.
transportation modes include transit, carpooling, bicycling, walking and telecommuting.

This is the second year that NASA Glenn has earned a Gold rating. CWRU, a recipient of a Bronze rating in 2014, achieved the Gold rating this year by increasing employee incentive programs, including subsidized employee transit passes and secure, covered bicycle parking. NOACA rewarded this effort by also presenting CWRU with the 2015 "Most Improved" Award.

NOACA presented the 2015 Commuter Choice Awards at its Annual Meeting on September 24. Visit NOACA's website to see the list of all 2015 award recipients. If you think your company has what it takes to earn a Commuter Choice Award gold, silver or bronze rating, consider applying for an award in 2016.

NOACA activities and accomplishments highlighted in 2015 Annual Report

2015 has been a dynamic and productive year for NOACA. In January, NOACA's Board of Directors adopted the agency's Regional Strategic Plan, Going Forward, Together, which presents NOACA's vision, and goals and strategies for the future. In June, the Board approved the State Fiscal Years 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program, the prioritized list of federal-aid highway, transit, bikeway and enhancement projects scheduled for construction over the next four years. This summer, NOACA moved forward with its Provisional Transportation Asset Management Program by funding eight urban roadway projects, and updated the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Plan for Northeast Ohio to identify and prioritize actions for serving the region's elderly and transit-dependent residents. This is just a sampling of the accomplishments featured in NOACA's 2015 annual report, Strategically Driven. The report was distributed at NOACA's Annual Meeting and is posted on the website. 
North Royalton plan identifies improvements that encourage biking and walking
The City of North Royalton could soon make its Town Center District safer and more inviting for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. The City asked NOACA to examine existing travel conditions and recommend transportation improvements
Rendering of potential crosswalk and sidewalk improvements in North Royalton's Town District Center.

that would enable residents to access destinations in and around town-including City Hall, YMCA, library, grocery store and the Cleveland Metroparks­-without driving.

NOACA's report, published this August, recommends new bicycle lanes and paths that will link with existing facilities, and new sidewalks to increase connectivity in and around the town district. NOACA also recommends that RTA expand bus service into the city and consider establishing a Park and Ride facility to encourage transit ridership.

NOACA prepared this plan as part of its Technical Assistance Program and the completed document is posted on the website. Watch for additional Technical Assistance reports to be posted later this fall.

NOACA Board adopts Urban Core Communities and Environmental Justice Communities policies

In 1999, NOACA designated 38 communities in its five-county planning area "urban core communities," to address the long-range plan goal of fostering reinvestment in the urban core areas of the region. With this designation, urban core communities became eligible for special federal funding assistance through NOACA-controlled funding programs, including:
  • The Urban Core Preliminary Engineering Program, through which communities are eligible to apply for federal funds for preliminary engineering for their transportation projects
  • The Urban Core Right-of-Way Program, through which communities may apply for federal funds for right-of-way acquisition
At its meeting on September 11, 2015, the NOACA Board of Directors adopted an Urban Core Communities Policy that updates urban core community designations based on 2010 U.S. Census data and the communities' meeting six demographic criteria: urbanization of population, population density, street density, walkability, age of housing stock, and property value per capita. With this update, some communities in the region are now eligible to apply for the NOACA funding programs, including using toll credits to reduce local funding match requirements as defined in NOACA's new Toll Credits Policy.
The Board also adopted a related Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities Policy that identifies urban core communities that face additional financial challenges due to their number of minority, low-income, elderly and/or physically disabled residents. EJ communities can take advantage of NOACA funding assistance programs, including using toll credits to eliminate their local funding match. Implementing this policy helps NOACA comply with federal EJ requirements as outlined in the agency's Title VI Program. 
Stay engaged with the work of NEOSCC 
After a three-year planning process, the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) released Vibrant NEO 2040, envisioning a vibrant, resilient and sustainable future for a 12-county region in Northeast Ohio. Vibrant NEO 2040 includes a framework of recommendations and initiatives that will guide future action by the many partners of NEOSCC. VibrantNEOlogo In April 2015, Vibrant NEO 2040 received the American Planning Association's highest honor, the Daniel Burnham Award for Best Comprehensive Plan.

NEOSCC is transitioning to a new phase of work-Moving from Plan to Action. This phase focuses on supporting the implementation of Vibrant NEO 2040's recommendations. NEOSCC seeks members who are interested in supporting the plan's vision and initiatives. NEOSCC has also launched an e-newsletter to provide updates on various aspects of the plan and initiatives that partners have pursued since the plan's adoption. Follow this link to subscribe.
Express your opinion about proposed transportation improvements 
Grace Gallucci, Executive Director
1299 Superior Avenue | 216.241.2414, ext. 100

Website: www.noaca.org