Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority Weekly Update: NWI Regional Cities Initiative Offering Opportunities for Public Comment

By: Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority Last Updated: July 24, 2015

RDA-Weekly-Update-07-24-15Public meetings to be held in Lake and Porter counties to gather input on, and answer questions about, the Regional Cities Initiative, service improvements on the South Shore line and transit-oriented development.

Residents of Lake, Porter and La Porte counties are being invited to two public meetings to comment on the Regional Cities Initiative, service improvements on the South Shore line and transit-oriented development (TOD). The meetings are part of an effort by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) to secure Regional Cities funding from the State of Indiana for these efforts.

The first meeting will be held Wednesday August 5th from 6-8 p.m. at the Porter County Welcome Center in Porter. The second meeting will be held Thursday August 6th from 6-8 p.m. at the Lake County Welcome Center.

The Regional Cities application will focus on fully double-tracking the South Shore line and TOD investment opportunities around existing stations. Currently, the South Shore line is double-tracked from Chicago to Tennessee Street in Gary. For 17.2 of the 25.9 miles from there to Michigan City, the South Shore is a single-track railroad. Constructing a continuous double track would increase scheduling flexibility, improve reliability, expand maintenance windows and eliminate the single point of failure that exists with single track operation.

Encouraging development (TOD) around the South Shore line that compliments existing neighborhoods can enhance ridership, access to job markets and help the region in economic growth.

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), which operates the South Shore line, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) and the Northwest Indiana Forum and One Region are among those supporting the application.

Prior to the public meetings, residents of Lake, Porter and La Porte counties can give the views on transit-oriented development (TOD) and service improvements on the South Shore commuter rail line via our online survey. The survey results and public meetings will help guide our application for Regional Cities funding for TOD and other projects on the South Shore main line.