The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) held its second Open House Public Hearing at the Blue Chip Casino concerning the proposed Double Track Northwest Indiana project (DT-NWI) on Thursday evening. The event’s purpose was to open the project up to the public so that anyone in the community who has questions about the proposal could ask them.
The DT-NWI project would construct a second track along the South Shore Line railway system from Virginia Street in Gary to East Michigan Boulevard in Michigan City.
The first Public Hearing was held Wednesday evening in the Miller Beach community of Gary. NICTD as an organization wants to bring in the public so that they can learn more about the proposed Double Track project as well as hear their opinions on it.
“We are encouraging public comments that will give us an idea if people want to see the project, want to see it with different elements, or want to give us their suggestions, comments, and criticisms,” said President and General Manager of NICTD Michael Noland. “We welcome the input.”
The DT-NWI project is said to improve five stations as well as increase service, safety, reliability, and travel time. The project would include 16.9 miles of the second track, 4 new bridges, new platforms and parking at the Gary/Miller, Portage/Ogden Dunes, Dunes Park, Beverly Shores, and 11th Street (Michigan City) stations. There are also plans to remove the current street-running track in Michigan City and construct new, separated tracks south of 10th Street and along the north side of 11th Street.
The Economic Development Corporation of Michigan of Michigan City, or EDCMC, was there to showcase how the DT-NWI project will impact local businesses in Michigan City.
“We work closely with the city and help get the word out to people in the community,” said EDCMC Executive Director Clarence Hulse. “We encourage the business community to see how this can affect them.”
The DT-NWI project is said to be faster and easier than before, increasing travel time, travel options, and economic benefits for Northwest Indiana residents. The DT-NWI will be able to better open up Michigan City to Chicago as well as give Michigan City residents more opportunities to travel into Chicago for work.
“This will bring new economic development to Michigan City as well as new residential and commercial projects,” said Hulse. “We will also see a lot of benefits go to other parts of the community, we think it’s going to be an amazing place that people will want live, work, and play in.”
The DT-NWI proposal would bring in new employees, being able to get to and from Chicago and new residences as well who would want to live in Michigan City.
“This is so exciting,” said Mark Yagelski, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for NICTD. “I take all these comments in from the hearings and from online and I won’t make up my mind on anything till I hear all the comments made by everyone.”
The DT-NWI project will be able to make traveling easier, safer, and help benefit the community.
Clarence Hulse was excited for the opportunities on the horizon for Michigan City Residents.
“This is a huge game changer for Michigan City,” said Hulse. “This is going to put Michigan City on the map.”
The public comments will be received through October 23, 2017. For more information on the project, you can visit mysouthshoreline.com. Click ‘About’ and go to ‘Double Track NWI’ to view all documents on the project.