With public input
sessions scheduled for next week on the Northern Indiana Commuter
Transportation District’s plans to install double-track between Gary and
Michigan City, Jim Ton took a moment at Monday night’s meeting of the
Chesterton Redevelopment Commission to discuss the likely impact on Duneland
of faster trips to Chicago and more reliable commuter train service.
goes through, we can expect a major influx of people,” said Ton, who
presently chairs the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s
more to the point--under 60 minutes from Dune Park Station to Millennium
Station--“would make Chesterton a 100-percent, dyed-in-the-wool suburb of
Chicago,” Ton suggested: an attractive, reasonable alternative for folks fed
up with the high cost and inconvenience of living in Illinois.
Or as NIRPC’s
Comprehensive Strategic Plan: 2016 Update puts it, “Improved commuter
rail accessibility encourages migration to Northwest Indiana as Chicago
commuters experience similar transportation times as other suburban areas
but may enjoy significant costs of living benefits.”
Citing the 2016
Update, Ton said that double-tracking by itself could grow the
population of Gary, Portage, and points east by more than 3,000 by 2046,
“That’s just a
forecast,” Ton emphasized, “but if it happens, we’re in for a big change in
our community. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. I’m just saying we’d be in
for a big change.”
Other impacts of
double-tracking, according to the 2016 Update:
* Economic activity
“catalyzed” by decreased travel times and increased service reliability
would support 3,200 jobs by 2046.
* Total personal
income in Northwest Indiana attributable to double-tracking would increase
annually by an average of $22 million, for a total gain in 2046 of $647
* Between 2019 and
2038, the economic activity stimulated by double-tracking would yield a
total of $230 million in state sales and income taxes.
A public input
session will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Dorothy
Buell Memorial Visitor Center, 1215 N. Ind. 49 in Porter.
In other business,
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that a rotten cottonwood
tree--located on a public right-of-way at the intersection of Village Point
and Voyage Blvd. in Coffee Creek Center--has been removed by a professional
tree service company.
the rotten middle trunk of a three-trunk stand has been removed,
It was necessary to
retain a professional’s service, Schnadenberg added, because the Street
Department’s bucket truck does not reach as high as was necessary.
Member John Swibes
originally called Schnadenberg’s attention to the rotten cottonwood several