Friday, December 12, 2014

Upcoming Events - January 2015

Lake Erie Algae – Sources and Solutions
Thursday, January 22, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Grand Lobby of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
Contact: Kurt Erichsen, 419.241.9155, ext. 126

Water, Sewer, and Floodplains: Wood County Workshop
Thursday, January 29, 1-4 p.m., Newlove Realty, 336 S. Maine St., Bowling Green
Contact: Kurt Erichsen, 419.241.9155, ext. 126

Shared Services for Water and Sewer Resources Workshop
Friday, February 27, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Owens Community College
Contact: Kurt Erichsen, 419.241.9155, ext. 126

Transportation Summit
Friday, March 20, The Pinnacle, Maumee
Contact: Christine Connell, ext. 119

National Train Day Toledo
Friday and Saturday, May 1 & 2
Amtrak station and Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza

Contact: Diane Reamer-Evans, 419.241.9155, ext. 117

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Transit Resolution

The TMACOG Board of Trustees has voted to approve a resolution supporting the findings and recommendations of an Ohio Statewide Transit Needs study that was recently completed. 

Among other strategies, the study recommends creation of a dedicated transit fund to address the decline in transit funding through the state general revenue funds. In a related finding, the study report states, “Our analysis suggests that current level of investment in transit operations in Ohio – roughly $659 million – under invests in transit operations by roughly $172 million or by over 20 percent.”

Other recommendations, with accompanying strategies, include:
  • ·        Encouraging regionalization of transit to better connect across jurisdictions
  • ·        Use of creative strategies for raising more local transit funds
  • ·        Coordinating human services transportation efforts and integrating these services with public transportation
  • ·        Improving transit information systems
  • ·        Creating a performance measurement strategy
  • ·        Making investments in transit technology that can create immediate benefits for riders and transit operations.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Save the Date for the Transportation Summit

TMACOG's Transportation Summit is an annual meeting of planners, researchers, elected officials, and business people who depend on an efficient regional transportation system. The 2015 Summit will be Friday, March 20. The forum will be held at The Pinnacle in Maumee.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Monday, December 8, 2014

We have a date and location for the next Ohio Conference on Freight

Be the first to mark your calendar. The 2015 Ohio Conference on Freight will be September 14 & 15 at the Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza. As befits the Cincinnati location, the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky will collaborate on this year's program. Follow developments at 

The Hilton Netherland Plaza is a National Historic Landmark in the heart of downtown Cincinnati.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lake Erie Algae – Sources and Solutions

TMACOG will host a comprehensive look at the problems with Lake Erie water at a special all-day meeting of the Environmental Council Thursday, January 22 in the Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza. The program will look at the latest research on the sources of phosphorus in the lake’s western basin, the economic impact on tourism and increased cost of water treatment. There has been a lot of attention on agricultural sources of phosphorus but presentations will also look at municipal and residential sources of nutrients, strategies for reducing nutrients that reach the lake, and educational outreach. Case studies will be presented on using green infrastructure as one solution to capturing and managing nutrients.  

Student Watershed Watch – Results of Student Summit 2014

The 25th annual Student Watershed Watch (SWW) Summit was held November 19 at the University of Toledo Scott Park Campus. Sixteen schools participated in the first part of the SWW performing field work and evaluating water quality parameters.  About 150 students from nine schools were able to participate in the second part which is the Student Summit.

Directory of Public Officials

If you are on the mailing list for this newsletter, you have already received an important communication from TMACOG, probably by e-mail. TMACOG is producing the annual Directory of Public Officials and we are checking every piece of data in the 250-page reference book. Your response is critical to the accuracy of this directory which is a much-valued benefit of membership in TMACOG. Thank you for your timely response and we appreciate your clear handwriting! The new Directory of Public Officials will be distributed in March, 2015.

If you have any questions about the directory, please contact TMACOG Director of Communications Peggy Ricard at 419.241.9155 ext. 105. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Workshops Planned for Realtors

TMACOG and partners on the Portage River Basin Council have planned workshops for real estate professionals in Wood County and Ottawa County. The goal is to provide information and recommendations on real estate issues concerning water and sewage treatment. Each of the two workshops will cover a range of issues:

TMACOG General Assembly - “Educating for Innovation: How Colleges and Universities Create Entrepreneurs”

Registration for the annual meeting of TMACOG members is due by January 16. The General Assembly is Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, Perrysburg. The program also includes the TMACOG business meeting, caucus sessions, and election of the Board of Trustees.

There are many school systems, colleges, and universities that are long-time members of TMACOG. At the 2015 General Assembly, these educators take the stage to show how they work with business and industry to educate the next generation of smart, nimble business leaders. In a panel discussion, representatives from the region’s community colleges and universities will discuss their workforce development initiatives with a focus on entrepreneurship.

The Bowling Green State University, College of Business will provide the keynote address. Speakers are Gene Poor, the Hamilton Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship; and Kirk Kern, director of the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The cost for the General Assembly is $30 members, $60 non-members, $15 students. The agenda and registration is online here. For more information contact Jennifer Allen at 419.241.9155 ext. 107.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

UT to host U.S. EPA meeting

The U.S. EPA Great Lakes Program Office has selected the University of Toledo to be the host of the 2015 Great Lakes Area of Concern Conference which will be held March 11-12 on the university’s main campus.

An area of concern (AOC) is a term used in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. It defines a location that has experienced environmental degradation and is a priority for restoration funding. The Maumee River is one of the 40 AOCs in Great Lakes states.

The U.S. EPA expects 300 or more federal, state, and local representatives will attend the conference. UT Professor Dr. Patrick Lawrence, chair of the department of Geography and Planning, said that the conference provides a “great opportunity for UT, the Toledo area, and the Maumee AOC to showcase our efforts and achievements.”

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Finalizing 2045 Transportation Plan

On December 16, the full 35-member Transportation Planning Committee will meet to finalize the ranking of projects that will be included in the new “On the Move: 2015-2045 Transportation Plan.” All meetings of TMACOG committees are open to the public and input is welcome.

Ranking the included projects is how people in the region identify their priorities. The final list shows what is most important to transportation professionals and the people in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan as we implement transportation system plans in the future.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Passenger Rail Forum

The Toledo Amtrak station is the busiest passenger rail station in Ohio with more than 85,000 passengers in 2013. There is a strong regional interest in train travel in the general public as can be seen in the large crowds that attend National Train Day Toledo in May. The Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association (NOPRA) and TMACOG presented a Passenger Rail Forum for everyone interested in train transportation Monday, November 17.

The keynote speaker for this year’s event was David King, general manager of Triangle Transit in the Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill region of North Carolina. King is a former leader of the North Carolina Department of Transportation rail division where he was instrumental in extending passenger rail in the state. He is past chair of Reconnecting America, an organization working to redefine national policies on intercity travel for a convenient, secure, financially viable, and sustainable network. 

The forum also included a panel discussion with public transit experts:
·         Rob Greenlese, Commissioner, Ohio Rail Development Commission
·         Gabriel Hall, President, US RAIL Corporation

·         Royce Maniko, AICP, Manager of Community Planning–Michigan, The Mannik & Smith Group

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Save the Date - 2015 General Assembly of TMACOG Members

General Assembly of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments
Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Holiday Inn French Quarter, Perrysburg
Educating for Innovation: How Colleges and Universities Create Entrepreneurs

Join area educators, elected officials, business leaders, and economic development professionals for a focus on education. The Bowling Green State University, College of Business will provide the keynote. Speakers are Gene Poor, the Hamilton Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship; and Kirk Kern, director of the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

In a panel discussion, representatives from the region’s community colleges and universities will discuss how they work with business and industry to educate the next generation of smart, nimble business leaders.

For more information contact
Jennifer Allen at, or 419.241.9155 ext. 107.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Friday, November 7, 2014

Gas Cap Testing and Replacement Report

Although people in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are not required to have environmental checks on their cars, hundreds of drivers volunteer every year to have gas caps on their passenger vehicles tested for leaks. An annual summer program provides free replacements for leaky gas caps.

In 2014, there were 23 testing events in Lucas and Wood counties and one in Lambertville, Michigan. One hundred forty-four of 910 tested gas caps (nearly 16 percent) failed the compression test and were replaced with new gas caps. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Practice Your Roundabout Skills Online

Several roundabout intersections are under construction in northwest Ohio. This interactivevideo allows drivers to choose various scenarios and learn how to navigate different situations. How should bicyclists use a roundabout? What if a fire truck is coming? How do you make a left hand turn in a two-lane roundabout?

Annual Passenger Rail Forum

Learn about what’s new in passenger rail and meet with transit professionals at the annual Passenger Rail Forum, Monday, November 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Toledo Club. TMACOG Public Transit & Passenger Rail Committee and the Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association (NOPRA) are hosts. The luncheon and meeting are open to the public.

The keynote speaker for this year’s event is David King, general manager of Triangle Transit in the Durham/Raleigh/Chapel Hill region of  North Carolina. King is a former leader of the North Carolina Department of Transportation rail division where he was instrumental in extending passenger rail in the state. He is board chair of Reconnecting America, an organization working to redefine national policies on intercity travel for a convenient, secure, financially viable and sustainable network. 

Registration for the forum is required. Log on to Tickets are $28 for NOPRA members, $34 for non-members, and $20 for students. For more information, contact NOPRA at, or Diane Reamer-Evans at TMACOG at 419.241.9155 ext. 117. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Case Study in Stormwater Management

A broad regional partnership, which includes TMACOG Stormwater Coalition members, the University of Toledo, and Clay High School, is working to quantify the value of stormwater best management practices. Following is an overview of the projects planned.

Rainwater and snowmelt present water pollution problems and water volume problems. In urban areas with lots of pavement, stormwater runs over parking lots and driveways collecting debris and chemicals. A heavy storm can overwhelm drainage systems and lead to flooding. Current practices say that stormwater is best managed close to where it falls, using natural percolation through the soil, and low-maintenance infrastructure. Stormwater managers in this region now employ several strategies to keep stormwater out of the storm sewer system, treat it naturally, and put the water to beneficial use.

Upcoming Events -January 2014

TMACOG General Assembly
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at the Holiday Inn French Quarter, Perrysburg
Contact: Tony Reams, 419.241.9155 ext. 179

TMACOG Tech: Ohio Sunshine Law
Friday, April 4, 2014. Location TBD
Contact: Peggy Ricard, 419.241.9155 ext. 105

Transportation Summit
Friday, April 11, 2014. The Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle, Maumee
Contact: Christine Drennen, 419.241.9155 ext. 119

TMACOG Tech: Proactive Planning & Design for Disabled and Aging Populations
Friday, May 9, 2014. Location TBD

Contact: Tony Reams, 419.241.9155 ext. 179

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Specialized Transportation Funds Awarded

Agencies that serve elderly and disabled people can apply for Specialized Transportation funds that pay for 80 percent of the cost of a passenger van or other transportation-related materials. ODOT has announced awards for the current round of applications. This year the program will fund 48 vehicles in 34 counties. In Lucas County the Anne Grady Center was awarded two passenger vans and the South Toledo Senior Center (the Margaret Hunt Senior Center, Inc.) will receive one. In Wood County, the Wood County Children’s Services Association also will get a van. TMACOG receives and scores applications for Lucas and Wood counties.  

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Friday, October 3, 2014

Welcome New Members

TMACOG is pleased to welcome the City of Monroe as a returning governmental member and Toledo Botanical Garden as a new non-governmental member.

The City of Monroe is also the county seat of Monroe County, Michigan. It has a population of nearly 23,000 and Monroe is located about 17 miles north of Toledo. Other TMACOG members in Monroe County include the townships of Erie and Whiteford, the Port of Monroe, and Monroe County Community College.

Toledo Botanical Garden is a free public garden that serves the region as a living museum and a center for horticulture and the arts. Toledo Botanical Garden is a public/private partnership between the Metroparks of the Toledo Area and the non-profit Toledo Botanical Garden Board, Inc. in collaboration with the City of Toledo. TMACOG has partnered with the garden in recent years on a large project to remove dams and improve water features on the grounds.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Public Involvement Policy – Comments Requested

TMACOG has updated and revised its agency-wide public involvement policy and is inviting public review and comment. The draft policy is posted on the TMACOG website. The policy describes how TMACOG ensures public input, shows maps of environmental justice areas and low-income areas in the TMACOG planning region, and includes links to relevant federal regulations. The public comment period will last until Monday, November 3. Interested people are invited to review the document and send any comments to

Regular evaluation and revision of the public involvement policy is one way that TMACOG ensures that the entire community is reflected in regional plans. TMACOG is committed to engaging active and representative public involvement from the entire region. Ongoing and meaningful public involvement in TMACOG planning activities ensures that projects and policies reflect local goals and needs. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Governor Approves Region’s 208 Plan

Ohio Governor John Kasich has certified TMACOG's “208 Plan,” the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan, and it is officially part of the state of Ohio Statewide Water Quality Management Plan.  Certification is important because the Ohio Director of the EPA must deny permits that conflict with the 208 Plan. The plan that Governor Kasich has approved was certified by the TMACOG Board of Directors in July 2013. It includes significant amendments needed by Port Clinton and Ottawa County to accommodate development.  In July 2014, TMACOG completed and submitted another update to Ohio EPA. That version is pending with Ohio EPA.

 The 208 Plan is reviewed and updated as needed to ensure that sewerage plans in Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Wood counties in Ohio and Bedford, Erie, and Whiteford townships of Monroe County, Michigan continue to meet the standards of the Clean Water Act and adapt to community needs.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Acting Vice President of Transportation

David Gedeon, AICP, has been appointed Acting Vice President of Transportation at TMACOG following the departure of Warren Henry to the City of Toledo. Gedeon has been with TMACOG for 16 years. 

He started as a watershed planner in the Environmental Planning department in 1998. He has also led the Growth Strategies department, and was the Director of Commuter Services. He has been managing the Transportation Improvement Program (the TIP) for the last few years while handling Census data analysis and serving as staff liaison to the Air Quality Committee.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Annual TIP Report - see funding details

Click here to see a spreadsheet detailing transit projects that were awarded federal funding in Lucas and Wood counties in fiscal year 2014 (July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014). Click here to see a spreadsheet detailing all roadway (excluding transit) projects that had federal authorizations for funding in fiscal year 2014. This includes authorizations for new projects and funding obligation increases for projects that were authorized in a previous fiscal year.

50-Year Anniversary for WSOS

Congratulations to TMACOG member WSOS Community Action which is celebrating 50 years of services in the TMACOG region.

In 1964, Seneca, Ottawa and Sandusky counties formed the SOS Community Action agency to

Upcoming Events - October 2014

Ohio Conference on Freight
September 18 & 19 at the Hyatt Regency, Columbus
Contact: Christine Connell, 419.241.9155, ext. 119

Student Watershed Watch – Testing Day
Waterways in various locations in northwest Ohio
Contact: Matt Horvat, 419.241.9155 ext. 123

Swan Creek Balanced Growth Best Practices Workshop:
Options for Compact and Conservation Development
Friday, October 17, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Grand Lobby of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
Contact: Matt Horvat, 419.241.9155 ext. 123

Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District's 50th Anniversary Celebration
Tuesday, October 28 at Langley Hall in Maumee
Contact: Lisa Kern , 419.893.1966

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

TMACOG Tech: Decoding Economic Development Programs

JEDZ, FTZ, OEDC, CDG, RED. Behind the jargon and acronyms are valuable programs that can fit your community’s economic development plans and assist your business community. Some programs may already be in place and underused. Learn about the available programs and evaluate them for your situation.

Wednesday, October 15 at 2 p.m.
(following the Board of Trustees meeting)

This TMACOG Tech session will be helpful for elected officials, economic development professionals, and jurisdictions interested in forming partnerships to foster regional economic development. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Protecting Water Quality Through Resourceful Teamwork

The early August water emergency in the Toledo area has brought attention to the way local experts protect water quality in this region. TMACOG’s four-person Environmental Planning staff is part of the region’s web of professionals who work full-time to research and address water quality issues.

TMACOG does not manage any water treatment plants or clean up chemical spills. The staff of the Environmental Planning department does facilitate coordination between waste water treatment facilities through the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan (the 208 Plan), shows municipal employees how to prevent and respond to spills, and identifies and expedites projects that improve water quality in watersheds throughout the region. All staff efforts are directed toward protecting and improving water quality in rivers and ultimately in Lake Erie.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Students Explore Area Watersheds

For 25 years, junior high and high school students working in and around the Maumee River watershed have been testing for nutrients in the water. Students and teachers will be back at work October 15 collecting water samples for the Student Watershed Watch. This work has taken on new urgency since the City of Toledo water crisis in early August that resulted from elevated levels of an algae toxin in Lake Erie. Studies have indicated that silt in the Maumee River carries large amounts of phosphorus and deposits it in Lake Erie where it feeds toxic algae.
A mentor from Chrysler helps a Navarre School student put on waders. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Construction Maps Updated

Updated maps showing road construction projects in the TMACOG region have been posted here. Also see the accompanying data for details of the type of construction planned and the jurisdiction or agency in charge of the project. This map reflects work planned through the rest of 2014.

There will be construction at three of the four regional system interchanges (where interstate meets interstate) in 2014. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Lucas County Health Department Updates Capabilities

A year-long project funded by the Ohio EPA allowed TMACOG staff to train Lucas County Health Department staff on how to use GIS to identify critical sewage areas. The department has been transitioning from paper records to digital records and has now improved their searching and mapping ability with the training. Matt Horvat, TMACOG’s Maumee River coordinator, provided one-on-one training in the health department’s offices using their data and equipment.

The GIS software allows technicians to search for information more efficiently and to map their results in a way that allows for better analysis. Horvat explained that now, when the department gets a complaint about possible sewage contamination, the health department is better equipped for quick response. When technicians know the location of a spill and the age of area septic systems they can map possible sources of contamination and its reference to streets and waterways. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Clean Ohio Funds Preserve Oak Openings Region

Three projects of the Metroparks of the Toledo Area are the top ranked applications and have been recommended for funding through the Clean Ohio Fund. The Clean Ohio Fund allocates money to each Ohio County for the preservation of open space and to increase public access to natural areas. From the five proposals submitted in Lucas County, the three Metroparks projects ranked highest in the evaluation process.
Tim Schetter, director of natural resources for the Metroparks of the Toledo Area, described the land acquisition as “phenomenal habitat.” 

Traffic Counts Provide Fundamental Planning Data

TMACOG’s summer interns collect essential data used for transportation modeling and planning in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The work for 2014 summer interns Abby Curtis and Andrew Carden includes counts that are required by ODOT, requests from TMACOG members, and ongoing collection of data on area roadways.

Andrew Carden is a senior at Bowling Green State University in the geography program. He expects to graduate in May, 2015. He is weighing his options between entering the workforce immediately after graduation or pursuing graduate school. He said that the summer internship at TMACOG is a good opportunity to see the kind of work available to people in his field. Andrew also has a captain’s license and his other summer job is with the Jet Express ferry between Port Clinton and Put-in-Bay.

Abby Curtis is a graduate student at the University of Toledo where she is pursuing her master’s in geography. She completed a bachelor of science in city planning at Ohio State University in 2013. Abby decided to pursue graduate school to learn more about GIS and mapping than was included in her undergraduate program. She noted that there are interesting career opportunities in GIS work. At UT, Abby is the president of the Gamma Theta Upsilon Geography Honors fraternity.

Welcome New Members

TMACOG welcomes two new members. Republic Services, Inc. provides trash and solid waste collection and also provides recycling and hazardous waste management services. Republic is a private company with offices in Erie, Michigan, and joins TMACOG as a non-governmental member.

The Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio also joined TMACOG as a non-governmental member. The AOA  has previously partnered with TMACOG Transportation committees on questions of public transit in the region. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Erie Township and 208 Plan

In Erie Township in southern Monroe County, residents and local leaders are clear that they value their mostly rural character and want to keep it that way. To maintain local control of the character of their township, residents have aligned their master plan, their zoning plan, and now their portion of the region’s Areawide Water Quality Management Plan (the 208 Plan) accordingly.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ohio Long Range Plan – Comments Invited

Comments are still being accepted on the draft of Access Ohio 2040, Ohio’s new long range transportation plan. Interested people can view the 11 recommendations that will guide ODOT policies and strategies in the coming years and provide comments and suggestions. See the plan and leave comments at www.accessohio2040.  Comments may also be submitted directly by e-mail to: People without computer access may see the printed plan in the library of TMACOG offices at 300 Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive, Toledo OH 43604. There is a computer in the library that can be used for e-mail comments. Letters may also be sent by U.S. mail: 

Jennifer Townley, Div. of Planning
Attn: Charles Dyer
Ohio Department of Transportation, Mail Stop #3280
1980 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43223
Written comments must be received by the close of business on January 15, 2014.
Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Supporting State Issue One

The TMACOG Executive Committee has approved a resolution declaring support for State Issue 1 and urging Ohio voters to vote in favor of the issue May 6.

State Issue 1 funds Ohio’s capital improvement program which helps local governments pay for a wide range of local improvements – including water and sewer systems, bridge repair, and road construction and repairs. In the TMACOG region, the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan has identified needs of more than $625 million in wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure improvements required to protect public health and comply with the Clean Water Act. Local governments have also prioritized needs for transportation projects including rail and road grade separations and bridge repair. The existing capital improvements program provides state support for local infrastructure projects, and also creates large numbers of construction and allied jobs for which the regional workforce is well trained. TMACOG leadership urges that the program be maintained through approval of State Issue 1.

The bond program has been approved by voters twice since it was first approved in 1987. Funds to repay the bonds are built into state budget planning and no tax will be increased to pay them. The issue passed almost unanimously in both the house and the senate and has wide support from the private sector. A vote for the issue will continue the capital improvements program. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

May is Bike Month

Spring has come and it’s time to spin our wheels! A bicycle is a powerful commuting vehicle for many people. You can increase your range when you combine a bike and a TARTA bus. With a little practice and experience you can leave the car at home for a few days a week. The advantages are huge: save gas and other car costs, get healthy exercise, learn your town and neighborhood in a new way. This month is good time to try it with lots of opportunities to get out on your bike.

Is your bike a little rusty? See the area bike shops for an ABC Quick Check. Then join a group ride, bike to work or school. Have fun and remember to bike to the right, and go with the flow of traffic.

This calendar includes lots of events in May including rides offered by local clubs. Most of the club rides are for people of all abilities but read the description to see speed and length of ride. Arrange your own ride: see a map (PDF) of the many bicycle facilities in Lucas and Wood counties. Toledo Bikes! Is a nonprofit bike co-op where you can help young people fix up a bike that they can use, you can learn to repair your own bike, and you can ride your bike to their shop and watch a movie!

Stormwater Management in Urban Revitalization

The TMACOG Environmental Planning department has been awarded a grant to plan for green infrastructure in urban parts of our region. The grant, awarded by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, funds a project that will assist the Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation (the Land Bank). The Land Bank works to return foreclosed and vacant properties to productive use in the community. TMACOG will use GIS analysis to identify and prioritize those properties where green stormwater infrastructure best management practices would be most effective.

In tightly built urban areas, adding new stormwater management infrastructure can be a challenge. But where structures are being demolished in an older neighborhood, there is potential to introduce modern stormwater management while also increasing green space and recreational areas for residents. TMACOG will develop a GIS inventory of suitable vacant land sites for green infrastructure and build a decision model for prioritizing vacant land reuse. Site selection involves ranking vacant sites based on an analysis of soil, floodplain, flooding frequency, existing infrastructure, land use, lot size, previous lot use, and water quality impairment data. Other data points that rank possible projects include the availability of neighborhood groups to maintain best management practices, and infrastructure that may be already planned for the area. TMACOG will be working with the Green Infrastructure Task Force, a committee of the Lucas County Sustainability Commission. Examples of small-scale green infrastructure include rain gardens and bioswales.

“The grant integrates well with work already underway in the Land Bank and with the Sustainability Commission,” said TMACOG planner Kari Gerwin. “By identifying green infrastructure sites before demolition, the project team will ensure that the site is graded properly at the earliest stage, saving money and increasing the likelihood of a successful installation.” Opportunities will be on both public and private land. As part of the grant, TMACOG and its partners will create a demonstration site that will be a proof of concept example. Gerwin said, “When neighbors, funding agencies, and builders can see the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of small-scale green infrastructure, they can appreciate how vacant land can be re-purposed to reduce flooding, manage stormwater, and provide attractive space for residents.”    

The project began in April and will be complete in the spring of 2015. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Regional Fire Service Consortium

Fire departments in Northwest Ohio are invited to join the Regional Fire Service Consortium at Owens Community College for a 12-month program of training classes. The partnership has been developed to address the professional fire service training requirements in Northwest Ohio in an affordable and timely manner. “Owens College is committed to the highest standards of public safety and is offering this training opportunity at its Center of Emergency Preparedness in accordance with NFPA standards,” said Dr. Brian Paskvan, executive director of Owens Community College’s Workforce and Community Services.

Membership in the Regional Fire Service Consortium allows agencies to send their firefighters to any of the monthly training sessions. Topics include:
·         Mass casualty/triage
·         Tanker truck fires
·         Search and rescue
·         Live-fire training

The cost of membership is based on department station size. An agency with one station becomes a member with an annual $500 fee and up to four people per class, those with two or three stations pay $1,000, eight people per class, and those with four or more stations pay $1,500, with 12 people per class. Classes are open to non-members for a fee on a space available basis at $100 per person/class.

Enrollment deadline is June 1. Payment deadline will reflect timing of departments to allow for budgets updates. For more information on the program and to review the complete list of training sessions, contact Deb Pratt or Mark Briggs at Owens Community College: 567-661-2411.  

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Governments Protect Lake Erie Drinking Water from Algae

A special session of the Environmental Council was held Thursday, January 23 on the topic of algae and Lake Erie. The program was particularly directed toward elected officials and operators of water intakes and treatment plants.

In the summer of 2013, operators of the water treatment system in Ottawa County’s Carroll Township temporarily shut down because of algae. In Toledo, water treatment plant operators needed a budget increase of $1 million to pay for chemicals required to address algae in the water supply.
Lake Erie is the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents in Fulton, Lucas, Monroe, Ottawa, and Wood counties. Industry also relies on safe water.  The Environmental Council program described actions that have been taken to protect the public from toxins and offered projections of what will be needed to assure safe water supplies in the future. The program included presentations from operators of the four largest water systems in the western Lake Erie region: the cities of Toledo, Monroe and Oregon, and Ottawa County.

The EPA does not mandate that water treatment plants test for microcystis. The plant operators began to test on their own several years ago when they became concerned about visible algae. The World Health Organization recommends that drinking water contain no more than 1.0 parts per billion and that is the figure that they use as a benchmark. Kelly Frey of the Ottawa County plant noted that microcystis is toxic, more toxic than cyanide. The operators noted that their expertise is water treatment, not health decisions. Frey said that while the plants are managing to contain the toxin now, the effort is “very concerning” and that he and fellow water treatment plant managers are “so fearful” that toxin from the bacteria could prove dangerous to the people who drink water from their facilities. All four of the water treatment experts on the panels said that the control of phosphorus runoff is the first step to reducing algae blooms. Phosphorus reaches the lake through fertilizers used in agriculture, on golf courses, and, it was suggested by one attendee, from large confined animal feeding operations. 

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

Monday, February 3, 2014

TMACOG Mentors Transportation Planning

TMACOG works closely with other Councils of Government throughout Ohio and coordinates many transportation efforts with the Southeast Michigan Council of Government (SEMCOG). Now, with a new mentoring program, TMACOG is partnering with the Maumee Valley Planning Organization (MVPO) in western Ohio.

Transportation planning for larger population areas in Ohio is done by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) like TMACOG. An MPO coordinates plans throughout the region, building a well-integrated, multimodal system that serves residents and industry.  The current federal transportation bill, MAP-21, includes a recommendation to build transportation planning expertise in more rural regions and areas where the population is less concentrated. In Ohio, ODOT has organized a mentorship program that pairs TMACOG with MVPO. Western Ohio’s MVPO includes the counties of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding and Williams, and the cities of Bryan, Napoleon, and Defiance.

TMACOG Senior Planner Janet Arcuicci is partnered with MVPO Transportation Planner Ellen Barry.  Both TMACOG and MVPO are in the early stages of developing their long range transportation plans.  MVPO has completed a transportation option survey to assist in their initial planning efforts. The needs analysis, which is comprised of current infrastructure conditions, is almost complete. On February 6, TMACOG will meet at the MVPO offices to provide technical assistance regarding Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data collection and analysis. In the coming months, TMACOG and MVPO will continue to work together to improve transportation planning in the wider region. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New TMACOG Leadership Elected

At the annual General Assembly of TMACOG members held Tuesday, January 29, 2014, TMACOG members endorsed the nomination of officers. Elected for a 12-month term are:
James M. Sass, chair of TMACOG and president of Ottawa County commissioners
Angela J. Kuhn, vice chair of TMACOG and mayor of the Village of Whitehouse
They replace Carol Contrada, outgoing chair of TMACOG and president of Lucas County Commissioners; Nelson Evans, outgoing vice chair of TMACOG and retired Mayor of Perrysburg, and Don Nalley, outgoing second vice chair and former council member, City of Fremont. The position of second vice chair was eliminated in a bylaw change.

TMACOG President Tony Reams, Vice Chair Angela Kuhn, and Chair Jim Sass.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Construction Summary and Forecast

Northwest Ohio saw a very busy road construction year in 2013 and the completion of several large-scale projects in our region. A few of the major projects completed last year include:
·         Phase 1 of the I-75/I-475 systems interchange in downtown Toledo
·         Complete repaving of the busiest part of Secor Rd. in Toledo
·         Complete repaving of Main St. in Bowling Green
·         Construction of the Wales Rd. grade separation in Northwood
·         A new roundabout at Sylvania/Mitchaw in western Lucas County
·         I-475 safety projects on ramps at both Corey Rd. and Talmadge Rd.

The list of projects for 2014 is now taking shape. Some that will have a significant impact on regional travel include:
·         Grade separation at McCord Rd. in Sylvania Township/Holland
·         I-75 widening in Wood County from Devil’s Hole Rd. in Middleton Township south into Hancock County
·         Rehabilitation of I-75 from Central Ave. to Dorr St. in Toledo
·         Ramp reconfiguration at the US 23/I-475 systems interchange in Sylvania Township

·         Re-decking and repair of the Anthony Wayne Bridge. ODOT estimates that the bridge will be closed for 19 months. This link has more details.

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |