Archive for February, 2012

The Second Public Meeting

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Something happened since September when eight plans were presented to the public, and it isn’t good.

“Option 1″ detailing a path running south of the houses along 10th St and along the south edge of 11th St through Michigan City has been changed. The new version of “Option 1″ places the tracks in the current 66ft right of way through town with minor changes where the line crosses Amtrak and on the curve west of Michigan Blvd. This change makes “Option 1″ less attractive. Instead of buying a line of houses through the city, compensating the owners, the new “Option 1″ places a line in their front yards – removing street access to 11th St for all the properties on the south side. Residents would be better off having their houses taken at below market value than having their houses left intact with no street access. The new “Option 1″ also affects properties on the north side of the street … removing 15ft of land between the current curb and right of way line and creating a one lane “street”.

The worst part about the new “Option 1″ is that it is not presented as “Option 1A” … it has taken the place of Option 1 as the planning moves forward. While there are five northern options left on the table (Options 3, 4, 5, 6 and a combination 6-3) the original Option 1 has been lost. Not to mention that the goal of removing the tracks from 11th St is not met by leaving the tracks in 11th St – and destroying the street. The original “Option 1″ needs to be restored and considered along side other options.

The original Option 1 can be seen here in a previous post.

Changes in the Options
As the planners moved from the eight options presented in September to the seven options currently in play the following changes were made.
Option 1 – 11th St – moved from the south side of 11th St back into 11th St as discussed above.
Option 2 – CSX Route – Survived intact.
Option 3/3A – Northern route staying west of Trail Creek – Adjusted to go under the US 12 bridge. Option 3 along Trail Creek to the Nickle Plate is now gone with 3A becoming the new Option 3.
Option 4 – Northern ground route with lift bridge – Survived intact.
Option 5 – Northern elevated route – Survived intact.
Option 6 – Northern ground route along Michigan Blvd, rerouting US 12, with low level Trail Creek bridges – Survived intact.
Option 7 – Northern ground route along Michigan Blvd, rerouting US 12 and Amtrak, with low level Trail Creek bridges – removed as an option.
Option 3 and 6 – Combined option following Option 6 down Michigan Blvd then curving south along Option 3 alignment to current NICTD alignment.

Decision Time
The next step is for eight people, four from the city and four from NICTD, to make the final determination between the routes. Public comment is still being accepted through the project website but there will be no more public meetings until the decision is presented to the public.

Media Reports:
Residents give input on rail realignment
Story at The News Dispatch (February 24th)

Officials: South Shore plan’s hefty costs won’t burden city
Story at The News Dispatch (February 2nd)