Archive for September, 2011

The First Public Meeting

Friday, September 9th, 2011

My Summary of the Options Presented
Option 1: This follows the existing South Shore corridor. While this option calls for the removal of every home and business on the south side of 11th St and some homes at the west end of 10th St and south of 10th St by the prison, this is the most direct route through town. Some streets would need to be closed along 11th St but the major streets would remain open.

Option 2: This follows the CSX corridor to the south. This option would avoid disturbing homes in the 11th St corridor or elsewhere in northern Michigan City. The rejoin point is east of the current car storage and maintenance yard which would require a new yard to be built to the east of Michigan City.

Option 3 through 7: These are the northern options. All of the northern options run between the NIPSCO plant and US 12 on the north side of Michigan City. All except 3A run down the former Nickle Plate Corridor. Options 4 through 7 pass though an area that was historically a rail corridor but is now a nature park. All of the northern options would lead to disruptions with homes along US 12 west of downtown and businesses in the waterfront area.

Option 3 and 3A: These options run west of Trail Creek. While this avoids crossing Trail Creek and the issues of building a crossing acceptable to the Coast Guard, this alignment would place the tracks between Michigan Avenue and the marina and the plan calls for a station near the marina with bridges connecting the station to the Blue Chip Casino. These changes would interfere with the operation of the marina.

Option 4: This crosses Trail Creek at a proposed moveable bridge and uses the full Nickle Plate Line right of way from US 12 to the existing shops.

Option 5: This crosses northern Michigan City on an elevated alignment high enough to clear boats on Trail Creek (the same height as the US 12 bridge but across the entire Michigan City skyline). It would provide a good view of the lake from the train line but would provide a wall north of US 12.

Options 6 and 7: These crosses Trail Creek on a low bridge (requiring Coast Guard permission to close the marina to tall mast boats). Both call for the relocation of US 12 to the north of the current alignment with option 7 also calling for the relocation of the Amtrak tracks and station. This would provide the best view from US 12 of Lake Michigan but would disrupt city buildings and businesses north of the current US 12. Option 7 would disrupt everything north of US 12 and south of Trail Creek.

Proposed Stations
The location of the proposed new combined station for NICTD would vary depending on the route chosen.

Option 1 would place a single station downtown with parking south of the tracks. Passengers who currently board at the old Carroll Ave station would have to find the new downtown station … which would increase traffic on 11th St and Franklin St.

Option 2 would place a single station near the intersection with Franklin St. There is no direct route from the east to this station. Traffic would increase on Franklin St.

Option 3 and 3A would place a single station at the marina south of US 12. This is a decent location for a commuter station with easy access from Michigan Ave and close access from US 12.

Option 4 would place a single station north of the Blue Chip Casino which would also serve passengers arriving on US 12 or Michigan Ave.

Options 5, 6 and 7 place a single station in the current city hall/police station area. This also would be an easy place for commuters in cars to access.

In all cases sufficient property would need to be purchased to replace all existing parking at 11th St and Carroll Ave (including the overflow lot and street parking) as well as handle any increase in demand for parking.

Media Report:
Large crowd turns out for South Shore open house
Story at The News Dispatch