- What is the project’s schedule?
The project began in April, 2011 and will take approximately one year. Refer to the project schedule.
- Who is in charge?
This is a joint study being conducted by the City of Michigan City, Indiana and NICTD.
- Where do I go for more information?
This website contains detailed information on the study process, existing conditions, the timeline, and public involvement activities. If you need additional information, please contact Craig Phillips, Director of Planning and Redevelopment at email@example.com (219) 873-1419.
- What are the location boundaries being evaluated?
Three main alignment alternatives within Michigan City are being studied, with the north alignment having multiple options. In general the alignments can be classified as the North Alignment, the Central (10th/11th Street) Alignment and the South (CSX) alignment. The alignments extend from the west to the east city limits. Details on each of these alignments and a detailed map can be found on the Home Page.
- What are the phases of development in an alignment evaluation study? What happens in each phase?
There are five main phases of this study. The first phase is the data collection phase. This is the step when the project team analyzes previous studies, and collects land use, socioeconomic, environmental, traffic, existing transit service and community data. The second phase is the concept engineering phase. This phase is a technical evaluation of each of the alternatives including assessment of existing and proposed infrastructure, railroad coordination, operational analysis and the development of concept design plans. The third phase is the public involvement phase. Input from
the public through various means, including the public Open Houses, the project website, stakeholder input and other methods will be collected. The fourth phase is the evaluation of alternatives. Utilizing the data collected in the planning phase, the engineering assessment, and the public input, each of the alternatives will be evaluated based on goals and evaluation criterion established at the initiation of the study. The fifth phase is the implementation phase. This phase will determine what the “next steps” of the study process are, define who is responsible for implementing those steps and identify potential funding sources.
- How does the public participate?
The public can participate in a variety of ways. Three Open Houses are planned for this study process. The first and second open houses have been completed; the third and final open house is not yet scheduled. The public will hear more about the study, view study exhibits, be able to talk to members of the project team, the City and NICTD, and submit a comment card. In addition, the public can also provide input on this project website by posting a comment.
- What are the economic evaluation considerations?
A primary goal of this study is to enhance the economic impact and development potential for Michigan City with the realignment of the rail line and the development of a full service, well designed, intermodal station. The study will evaluate the potential fiscal and economic benefits to re-aligning the tracks. Key to the economic impact for the City is the potential for transit oriented development (TOD) in the form of mixed-use residential, commercial and institutional land uses around the proposed station. In addition, it is critical to allow for all modes of access when designing the station, including pedestrian, bike, transit and vehicular. Transit oriented development also incorporates features, such as density, walkability and pedestrian friendly design, to encourage transit ridership. In addition to the station development , it is also expected that by having improved service to and from Michigan City, an increase in ridership will occur, which will have a positive impact on the existing recreational facilities, including the lakefront, Blue Chip Casino, and Lighthouse Mall, as well as other important attractions.
- What are the environmental considerations?
Environmental considerations are an important part of the development and evaluation of the alternatives. Environmental data will be collected and analyzed with regard to air quality, water quality, wetlands, endangered species, parklands, historic resources, sustainable design, and hazardous material sites.
- What are the safety considerations?
Safety and security are very important considerations in this study. This study is underway due to potential conflict of vehicles, pedestrians, and trains given the current on-street operations along 10th and 11th Street. In addition, the study will address an improved station facility that will enhance safety and security and address the limited amenities and passenger protection at the existing 11th Street and Carroll Avenue Stations.
- Why do we need to realign anything?
Both passenger and freight service currently operate through Michigan City on tracks embedded into the street along 10th and 11th Street. This type of on-street operation (i.e. “street running”), was once fairly common practice in the United States, particularly prevalent for “electric interurban” trains like the South Shore Line.
Street running is a practice that dates back to a time before the automobile. NICTD feels it is inconsistent with current operational and safety standards of commuter passenger and freight train service. This type of service greatly increases the travel times of a commuter passenger and freight operation. In addition, it poses certain operational complications for both NICTD and the City as maintenance of the track infrastructure often interferes with street operations. Also, this type of railroad operation often poses a hindrance to vehicular and pedestrian movement who both need to share the road with very large train cars.
- How will impacts both to business and neighborhoods be defined?
Innovative design considerations are being studied to minimize the amount of land acquisition required. The amount of land required and the potential impacts to business and neighborhoods is
part of the evaluation criteria and will be evaluated during the screening of the alternatives. A more thorough analysis of property acquisition would be determined in the next phase of this study in design engineering.
- What about property acquisition if needed, what is that process?
Federal regulations will be followed for any property acquisition. Refer to Section 213, Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970.
- What does this study cost?
This study is being funded thru and $800,000 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II Planning Grant which was awarded by the Department of Transportation to NICTD. Both NICTD and the City provided $100,000 in local match funds for a total study cost of $1,000,000.
- What is Michigan City responsible for and what is NICTD responsible for?
Both the City and NICTD are working jointly on this study. Both agencies have equal representation on the Management Oversight Group and will direct the study process. Specifically, the City is responsible for providing previous reports and planning studies, pertinent data, and keeping the public informed. NICTD is responsible for providing railroad design standards, operational standards, and engineering details.
- Who is my contact person at Michigan City?
Craig Phillips, Director of Planning and Redevelopment
firstname.lastname@example.org (219) 873-1419.
- What is the process for requesting a presentation or story submission for my organization?
Please use the public input site on this project website for a presentation request or a story submission.
- What community advisory groups have been established to assist the technical evaluation?
The City has identified key stakeholder or advisory groups and the project team is currently in the process of holding one on one interviews with them as part of the data collection phase. In addition, the Management Oversight Group consists of City staff and council members. Finally, we are meeting quarterly with a Stakeholder Advisory Group, which consists of review agencies, environmental groups, economic development entities and other appropriate bodies.
- What makes this evaluation any different from the others which have already been done?
There have been several studies to date to address the on-street South Shore Line operation and station facilities. This study incorporates the findings from previous studies and takes the process a “giant step” further by providing a very technical analysis of the alternatives. We feel that at the end of this study, we will have enough technical analysis and “due diligence” to move to the next phase of implementation. Also, by receiving a TIGER grant for this study, we feel we have the resources adequate to conduct a proper and detailed evaluation.
- How will final results be presented to the public?
Final results will be presented at the third (last) public Open House.
- Once the study is completed what will be the next steps and in what timeframe?
An Implementation Plan is part of the scope for this study. The Implementation Plan will identify “next steps”, responsible parties for implementing those steps, potential funding services and a proposed timeframe. The Implementation Plan will be presented at the final public Open House.
- I'm interested in how the Stakeholders Advisory Committee is chosen?
Thank you for your interest in the study. Please note that our first public open house for this project will be held on Thursday, September 8th in the lower level of City Hall from 5:00p.m.to 9:00 p.m. We welcome your attendance at the meeting.
The City is in the process of creating a Citizen's Advisory Committee for this study. Representatives are being selected based on their involvement in previous phases of the study or are representatives from various community groups, churches, and other organizations. If you are interested in being considered for the CAC please contact Mayor Chuck Oberlie. However, please realize that your involvement at the public meetings or through public comment is just as valuable to the study.
- I find the idea of destroying Michigan City by cutting it in half outragous. Run the railroad up by the northend where it has always belonged. I live on Cedar St. by Elston Middle School. I will be mad as hell if you cut my street off.
Thank you for your comment. Selecting a preferred rail alignment is a difficult task and one of which we need to weigh many factors, including technical, environmental, land use, economic development, traffic, and rail operations. Traffic, circulation, and street access are very important factors we are assessing for all three corridors. We invite you to attend the first public open house on Thursday, September 8th in the lower level of City Hall from 5:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- How will lost property income be recovered after the occupied homes have been removed?
Thank you for your comment. It is expected that any property tax loss of any house or commercial building along the selected alignment will be recovered through new development. As part of this study, a new, modern, intermodal station will be built. It is expected that this station will generate transit-oriented development (TOD) in the form of a more compact, mixed use (e.g. residential, commercial, office, and institutional) walk able community around the station area. The value to Michigan City from this project, therefore, is expected to be new development and reinvestment resulting in greater property income as well as higher property values for surrounding property owners.
Please note that our first public open house for this project will be held on Thursday, September 8th in the lower level of City Hall from 5:00p.m.to 9:00 p.m.. We welcome your attendance at the meeting.
- Has the possibility of going underground along the same route (10th/11th) been investigated as an alternative? High upfront costs but minimal continuing maintenance.
Thank you for your question and your input. Putting the railroad in a tunnel causes several concerns including drainage issues, commuter access, maintenance access, ventilation issues, higher maintenance costs, and potential security issues due to a closed environment. In addition, the street above the tunnel must still be demolished or removed from service during construction. We will not be considering this option due to these issues as well as the fact it would greatly increase the cost of the project.
Please note that our first public open house for this project will be held on Thursday, September 8th in the lower level of City Hall from 5:00p.m.to 9:00 p.m.. We welcome your attendance at the meeting.
- Run the Line around town not through town. The Line makes a bucket full of profit. It's time they use it to give us our town back. I'll be at the meeting. I'm going to try to bring others.
Thank you for your comment. As you are aware, we are looking at three different corridors for the realignment and we welcome your input at the public meeting. With regard to the NICTD/South Shore Line making a profit, please be aware that it is a common misconception that the South Shore Line makes a profit. Passenger fares cover roughly 50% of the daily cost of operating the service and none of the capital cost. The balance of NICTD's funding comes from state and federal subsidies. This funding scenario is typical for all public transportation services. Nationwide, no commuter railroad or public transit system makes a profit.
- Hi. I am a little concerned about this project. The street running in Michigan City is one of the last historic parts of the South Shore Line. Ever since NICTD took over South Shore, they have been slowly erasing all of its history, like the South Bend street running and the "Chicago South Shore and South Bend railroad" banners along the tops of the cars. I understand that NICTD wants to make their trains run faster and cheaper, but the trains really don't get backed up in this small single track section, and they do not cause much traffic back up on any of the streets around 10th and 11th streets. I think this plan is a huge waste of money. NICTD also wants to build a new station, but they already have the old 11th street station (Which is very historical), and they can easily restore it into a fully functional station. And the part in the Open House PDF about a new shopping center in the new station doesn't make much sense to me either. There are already p lenty of stores in Michigan City (Lighthouse and Marquette) which can easily be made accessible from the existing 11th Street station by making a bus route from the station. That would also make money for the City.
I would really hate to see this plan go through and destroy one of the last historic parts of this line. I hope the people of Michigan City will realize that this is not a good plan, and won't help much of anything in the long run. And again, I really believe that this project is a huge waste of money.
Thank you for your comment and concern. Unfortunately, the street running option of commuter rail service is considered outdated and inappropriate for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, from an operations, maintenance and safety perspective. First, due to the fact that the tracks are embedded in the street, NICTD is unable to see the condition of the tracks and infrastructure which is important in keeping the tracks regularly maintained. When a repair is required, 10th and 11th Streets need to be closed to traffic. Secondly, from an operational standpoint, due to the circuitous nature of the tracks along 10th and 11th Street, the South Shore can only operate 15-20 miles per hour through Michigan City which has a significant impact on the schedule for all riders. Thirdly, it is not ideal from a safety standpoint to operate commuter and freight cars in a mix of traffic, running adjacent to vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. Commuter rail cars and freight cars are much larger and heavier than transit modes such as streetcars and light rail vehicles, and cannot stop as quickly if a pedestrian, car or bicycle crosses inappropriately in front of the train. The way the rider must board the train in the middle of the street is also not ideal from a safety perspective or to accommodate passengers with disabilities. Finally, per the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Safety Analysis (2009 statistics), three of the five highest hazardous crossings for collisions in the State of Indiana (out of a total of 2,000 crossings) are within the NICTD street running portion in Michigan City.
A new intermodal station, that is accessible to all riders, and has adequate parking is being considered for each alignment. Additional analysis will be needed to identify the location and design of the station, including the reuse of the historic station if appropriate. However, the former station is no longer owned by NICTD and is privately held so it would be up to the property owner to decide future reuse of the former station.
With regard to your third comment, a significant part of the study is the potential for the station areas to attract transit oriented development (TOD). TOD is mixed use development (residential, commercial, institutional) that is designed to maximize access to/from public transportation and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership. A TOD neighborhood typically has a center with a transit station surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density development spreading outward from the center within one quarter mile to one half mile. The image at the Open House of a shopping center was simply an illustrative example of potential development that could be proximate to a train station. An economic development analysis for each of the corridors is part of the scope of the study and will help clarify the potential for development based on the station location.
- When is the next scheduled meeting for the Realignment Project?
The second public open house for this project will be February 1, 2012 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, at City Hall in the Lower Level. Click here for additional meeting details. We thank you for your interest in the project and welcome your attendance at this next meeting.
- We are just wondering what’s going on with the south shore tracks and which option
are they going to do?
Thank you for your interest in this project. The Management Oversight Group established for this project is in the process of evaluating each of the alternatives based on a variety of factors, including cost, railroad operations, economic development, land use impacts, environmental impacts, public comments and traffic and circulation considerations. The goal is to have the seven alternatives prioritized and presented at a second public meeting to be held in early 2012. After the priority alternatives go through additional analysis, a preferred alternative will be selected.
- I attended the Open House but the maps available here online don't have all the locations for proposed stations and parking for them. Please post updated maps ASAP. Many thanks.
The land use maps exhibited at the public meeting identified a potential location for the station for each alignment option. These maps however did not identify the location of parking. The land use maps and the other public meeting exhibits will be posted on the project website this week. To get to the project website, go to www.emichigancity.com and click on the link at the bottom of the page labeled: “Michigan City/NICTD Rail Realignment Study”. Please note that there has been no decisions made on station locations or parking. As the study progresses, this information will be refined and presented at future public meetings.
- Plan #7 looks like the ticket to a Disney-like transportation facility, however I would like to see a more detailed look at how many cars, buses, pedestrians and trains this facility could handle, is there a drawing somewhere?
Thank you for your comment. We have not reached that level of detail at this point in the study. As the study progresses, we will be developing more information and refinements for the preferred alignments. This information will be presented at future public meetings.
- I think #4 is the best plan with the station over by Blue Chip. You can build a high rise parking garage with lights and security cameras that won't bother anyone's view. There can be a trolley care or cars that take visitors to Blue Chip, the lake, Lighthouse Mall, Marquette Mall and can travel up Franklin St. and drop them off downtown at shops and restaurants. You can not block the access to the lake for emergency purposes. Peoples lives depend on it. We need to re open Franklin Street to the lake, the dead end at the library if awful.
Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your input.
- I live at 315E 10th st. Looking at Option one it appears that the train route will be going near or over our house. I am looking to do some renovations on the home but need to know if my home is one of the ones scheduled to be purchased for the new rail system. I would be happy either way but do need to know.
Thank you for your inquiry. Currently, we are in the process of assessing six different alternatives; the Central- 10th/11th Street corridor which could impact your home is one of the six alternatives we are evaluating. We hope to select a preferred alternative by the conclusion of the study in Spring of 2012. Once we select an alternative and funding is in place, we would most likely proceed with design engineering and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental process. These steps could take a few years to complete. Once that is completed, the City and NICTD would need to secure funding for construction, which could be a lengthy time frame.
Any decisions regarding the upkeep and maintenance for your home should be based entirely on your independent assessment of your home’s condition . This proposed project should not influence your decision for the following reasons: First, the preferred alternative has not been selected, and your house may not be impacted. Secondly, the time frame for doing the necessary follow up steps has not been set and is based on funding availability. Thirdly, even if funding is secured, the length of time it takes to follow the NEPA process and to prepare design engineering documents can be quite lengthy. Finally, any land acquisition would follow federal regulations, including paying fair market value. Any improvements you make to your home may increase the value of your home and would possibly be captured in its fair market value.
- The Northern routes will destroy land that is ready for development, and will clog access to the Beachway. The preferred route is the Southern one that is close to the people, and has space for parking.
Thank you for your comment. We are in the process of analyzing the various options and will take public input into consideration when we select a preferred alternative.
- When can we expect a final plan for realignment? And when will construction begin?
We are anticipating that we will have a final plan for realignment sometime this year. There is no estimate on when construction will begin. Prior to construction, a variety of "next steps" will need to be completed including, preliminary engineering, final engineering and the environmental review process. All steps, including construction, are based on funding availability. There will be a update meeting for the public in the next couple of months to go over the status of the project and next steps.
- I am interested in the status of the realignment plans for the South Shore tracks in Michigan City. When will the next meeting take place?
The next public meeting has not been scheduled. Once the meeting date has been decided, a notification will be placed on the website. Please continue to visit the website for any updates and meeting notifications. We have also added you to the website and will send out a public meeting notice to your email address. A presentation, very similar to the presentation at the Fall public meeting was made to the Michigan City, City Council, Wednesday evening, February 1. The purpose of the meeting was to review the project with those members of the Council who have recently been elected.
I live near the Carroll Avenue stop which I hear they plan to eliminate after the realignment is complete. What about letting people board/depart trains at Carroll Avenue specifically for trains that start/stop there( about 2/3 of the trains do, with the remaining 1/3 going to South Bend). This wouldn't add any additional travel time or expense since the trains already start/stop there & would keep train access to the area around the existing stop on a limited basis.
One of the purposes of the realignment study is to consolidate the two Michigan City stations into one modern, accessible station. There are capital and maintenance costs associated with building and maintaining stations. The consolidation of the stations will concentrate all passenger activity and related maintenance, security and operational activity at one station, which will increase the efficiency of service and enhance the passenger amenities for Michigan City.
I’ve talked to several people that attended Wednesdays presentation to update our City Council, and there is a general agreement that the presentation lacked professionalism. These type of presentations are opportunities for the consulting company to wow their customers and the public with their expertise. Not being able to advance slides remotely was not only a distraction, but showed lack of planning. The most important slides showing costs associated with each choice were unreadable, and when one of our councilmen asked for clarification the presenter couldn’t read the slides. I also do not believe the council should have needed to request copies of the presentation. These should have been available to both the council and public. A big eye opener was when Mr. Parsons stated that there are ways around the Positive Train Control requirements that had a “drop dead” date in 2015.
The presenter also referred to a website they recently developed, but didn’t give its address. I hoped to find it linked to the Michigan City website, but all I found was the information that’s been there quite a while. Let’s hope the workshop will be fine tuned and we get this project off the drawing board. This is key to the future development of our fine City.
Thank you for your comment. Corrections to the presentation will be made for the next meeting. The presentation has been posted to the website. Please go to www.emichigancity.com and click on the NICTD logo at the bottom of the page. You will then find a link to the presentation by clicking on: Progress Status Update Report Presentation to City Council February 1, 2012;
With regard to the Positive Train Control issue, we would like to provide the following additional information:
False shunting is very common along 10th and 11th streets due to application of road salts and snowmelt runoff. When the PTC law was first enacted by Congress we thought railroads would be unable to operate if signal integrity was affected by shunting. In other words trains would be unable to proceed if they encountered a red signal.
However, the PTC regulation has evolved and does permit a railroad to operate under red signals but at restricted speed after stopping. Restricted speed is defined as operating a train prepared to stop at half the range of vision not to exceed 20 mph. With the curves we have in Michigan City and the probability of fog or precipitation that may affect range of vision, train operations will be degraded by signal shunting due to application of road salt.
Nonetheless, PTC is not the principal factor driving our decision to eliminate embedded street running in Michigan City. We want to eliminate embedded street running and change the alignment in order to enhance safety, improve reliability, increase operating speed and capacity, improve maintainability and reduce maintenance costs, and consolidate stations into one modern, fully handicapped accessible with ample parking.
During the workshop on the relocation of the SS commuter train presented for the new Council members, the consultant gave estimates on time saved on the trip from South Bend to Chicago. There was a different estimate for each route and they ranged from less than a minute to a little over six minutes. How can we eliminate an entire station stop in Mich City and only gain a few minutes. The best scenario they projected was the CSX route and that saved 6 minutes. Some of the others were only measured in seconds. To eliminate 2 slow antiquated stations and replace it with one where all doors open and a mass of people board or egress simultaneously has got to save more time.
Thank you for your comment. We are in the process of relooking at the trip times for each of the alternatives and will let you know when the new information is posted on the project website.
- I followed with interest the Feb. 1 Michigan City/ NICTD Rail Realignment Study Briefing and I understood that the next meeting would be open to the public and public comments would be allowed. It was said that this next meeting in City Hall would be the week of Feb. 14th but I don't see it on the calendar of events on the emichigancity web site. When is this meeting to be held? Thanks for all your work.
Thank you for your continued interest in this study. The next public workshop will be held February 23rd, Thursday, 6:30pm-8:30 pm at the Michigan City, City Hall. This workshop format will include a brief presentation followed by a question and answer segment. We encourage the public to attend and look forward to seeing you there.
- Many thanks for this notice. I accessed the new Progress Status Update Report Presentation to City Council, Feburary 1, 2012 in PDF format. I downloaded it to my computer and can read it before the meeting on February 23.
I have some friends at the M. C. Senior Center who don't have computers and wonder if there is anything you can do to help them learn about this updated report. Is there a paper copy of this Feb. 1, 2012 presentation and if so where can it be obtained.
Accessibility of rails is of special interest to Seniors who may rely considerably on such services.
I really appreciate your excellent Update Report. The maps are much more readable than in the first study as it was available online. I do appreciate the effort that has gone into this presentation.
Keep up the good work. I look forward to the next presentation at City Hall on the 23rd.
There will be hard copies of the presentation available at Michigan City, City Hall, Office of Planning and Development, attention Craig Phillips..
- Plan #7 was the only intermodal concept that I could see and that plan was determined not feasable. If NICTD is a transportation district, connect communties far from their line with bus service. It's a shame that a public transportation system will only cater to people who either live near the tracks or have a car. Poor people need you too. Your close minded approach to moving people only attracts poverty to your rails.
Thank you for your interest in this project. Intermodal connectivity is an important goal of this study and all remaining alternatives (Options 1-6) would have intermodal connections in the form of local bus and pedestrian and bicycle friendly station areas. In addition, Option 5 and 6 station areas are proximate to the Amtrak Station and both station areas are located in the same vicinity as the station area proposed for Option 7. There also may be opportunities to make connections with intercity buses at the station
for any of the alternatives. As we progress through the study, we will be examining this topic further and making recommendations on intermodal connectivity on the selected alignment and station area.
- I have talked with other home owners along 11th st. My self and my sister also live on 11th st. Everyone I have talked to have told me they are willing to sell their homes for the 11th st project. Yet no one on the committee or Nictd has contacted any home owners who might be involve to get their opinion on weither they would want to sell or not. Now My sister and I have 2 of the best homes along the 11th st area and our question is. We have recently remodled our home and have kept the receipts.
If Nctd where to buy our home will they take into consideration these receipts? because FAir market Value doesn't alway cover what is inside the house. it is more the "area" that assesses the value.
The selection of a preferred alignment is based on many factors, including technical analysis, financial feasibility, and public opinion. The Steering Committee established for the realignment study is in the process of reviewing the seven realignment options. They are taking into consideration any comments from the public associated with the 10th/11th Street option as well as the other six options. Your opinion that many homeowners along the Central/10th-11th Street Corridor would be willing to sell their house has been noted as part of the public input process.
With regard to your question, it is too early in the study process to provide you any direction regarding fair market value and whether it is appropriate to keep your remodeling receipts. Details such as those would be defined once the preferred alignment is in the final design phase.
- I believe it was stated at the last meeting that the freight portion of NITCD is not expected to grow much. Would it be possible to split the freight/passenger rails to seperate areas? For example, reroute the passenger service using possibly option 1, and the freight line on a new or existing track elsewhere.
Combined with a new passenger station/business center and repair facility(if needed) east of Hwy. 212. This would provide better access with growth potential for all parties with minimal impact to the city. The city could then "plan" for the future as a "whistle stop" with no massive parking lots(empty most of the time),less traffic, possibly less street closings and most important keeping the far north end as a green area. Other cities can only dream of having the beach and lake front that we have. Let us preserve the little that we do have remaining as our legacy for future generations.
Thank you for your comment. It would be infeasible from a cost perspective to split the freight and passenger rails onto separate alignments. NICTD and South Shore Freight would individually have to assume the ownership and maintenance of their respective alignments which would be cost prohibitive.
With respect to your suggestion on a station location east of Highway 212, we are in the process of gathering input in order to select a preferred alignment. Once the preferred alignment has been selected, we can then focus on a preferred station location. The selection of a preferred station location will take into consideration the concerns you have expressed regarding, traffic, street closings, and the preservation of pristine areas.
- Will the South Shore Train be running a different route
through Michigan City? The train runs in the middle of of the street, its
dangerous in foggy weather, and in the winter when the roads become
slippery. Is there any new railroad construction planned? I love the south
shore, this interests me.
Thank you for your comment. We are in the middle of a yearlong study
assessing different alternatives to the existing street running operation.
You can view each of the alternatives that are under review on the project
website. We expect to select a preferred alignment later this Spring. To
date, we have held one public information meeting. We expect to hold another
public meeting in the Spring. Please visit the project website for an
announcement on that meeting closer to the time.
- When will the next realignment study meeting be held? Any final determination on route yet?
The Management Oversight Group which is in composed of representatives from both Michigan City and NICTD (the South Shore Railroad) is in the process of evaluating each of the alternatives to select a preferred alignment. It is expected that there will be a decision made within the next two months. At that point, there will be another public meeting to discuss the evaluation process and to present the preferred alignment. Please watch for a notice of the next public meeting on this website.
- As a homeowner, I would like to know when we will have a final answer. I have one of the nicer homes on your route, but I am in favor of the tracts staying on 11th st. In addition to this home I own the "prayer garden" just off 11th on Wabash street. Mostly, I just want to know when we will know for final where you will be.
Thank you for your inquiry. The Management Oversight Group is continuing to review the various alternatives. We expect to have a preferred alternative in the next month or two months and plan on presenting the preferred alternative at a public Open House sometime this Summer.
- My narrative will be more of an opinion or feedback than a question. Hopefully it will find its way to the appropriate area for consideration.
After attending the public workshop last night and listening to the comments my original concept for the realignment has been reinforced even more. To expedite this communication piece I will use a bullet format as follows:
- The prime objective/goal should be for a passenger to leave Michigan City's West Terminal and be at the Randolph Street in less than 55 minutes.
- I consider Michigan City in the Chicago Metro area and there is no reason why we should not be an alternative commuter destination like Western Springs and the western suburbs in Chicago. People moving to live in Michigan City could potentially lead to industrial development by those same folks.
- Modify the existing central route by closing it to vehicle traffic,
acquire residential properties along the route to widen it to a two track system.
- Build a modern transportation center on the west side of Michigan
City at Sheridan Ave and Highway 12. A west terminal would greatly reduce the travel time for commuters between MC and Chicago. There appears to be abundant sites available to hold the parking, terminals etc.
- A small station could be built at 11th and Franklin to accommodate
the seasonal flow of passengers.
- The city modify its bus system to create a 'trolley route' through
the downtown area with stops at the major anchors such as Blue Chip and Lighthouse Mall. This route would be a tourist attraction during the high season.
- If there are 27 passenger, 7 freight and approximately 8 Amtrak
trains a day the North end would become a noisy, congested and bottlenecked area.
- The overhead electric line for the trains would be unsightly.
- People who live along the current route are used to the trains now
and everyone who lives near the other potential sites are concerned.
Possibly the quality of life for the residents on the current route could be enhanced with sound barrier systems, landscaping etc.
- Reduce the number of crossings along the current route to match the
crossing streets that intersect with the CSX.
Finally, I found it amusing last night when a local architect stated during the public comment session that the previous urban development plans done by Andrews University and the Lohan Group did not have the South Shore routed through the North end of town. When the architect made this statement, a woman standing by me who was with the presentation group commented to another staff member, "it didn't" in a surprised manner summed it up for me. We need to look at this further.
Thank you for attending the Public Open House and your input.
In reference to your last point, there was a 2008 study conducted for the MCNEAT group entitled “Economic Impacts of the South Shore Line Station on Downtown Michigan City” developed by Economic Development Visions/TND Planning Group/Urban Advisors that you may be interested in reading.
My understanding is that the fixed bridge crossing Trail Creek will have an approximate clearance for watercraft of 15 feet. There is a small marina upstream from the proposed crossing that could be negatively impacted due to the height restriction. More importantly there are several businesses that store boats for the winter and use the upstream ramp and hoist to lift the boats out of the water and transport the boats to off site locations. I would guess that there are several hundred boats that go up stream for winter hauling. The vast majority of these boats are 30'to 45' in length and would not clear the new railroad bridge at 15 feet.Something to consider!
Thank you for your input. We appreciate your interest in the project. As part of the study we have analyzed the potential impacts associated with a fixed route bridge over Trail Creek and are in communication with a variety of stakeholders involved in the boating operations along the Creek.
- Why in Porter and Lake Counties do the South Shore tracks run along side of the NIPSCO power lines and in Michigan City the access to the NIPSCO easement does not exist?
This probably dates back to the formation of the RR. A South Shore historian surmises that the railroad pre dated the construction of high tension power lines. Since the RR had already established a tangent ROW the utility followed. For obvious reasons this high tension corridor was diverted around urban centers. The railroad was probably laid out in 1906 and opened in 1908. The RR was designed as an interurban with stops in city centers since cars were rare and that’s where people lived. Please also note that the NIPSCO corridor rejoins the RR near Karwick Rd.
The selection matrix criteria is faulty.
The assumption that the station will be in the middle of the city (near Franklin St.) has put blinders on the consultants (and the selection committee).
Past comments at the public forums have mentioned that there will be NO economic development adjacent to the station. Look only to the current stations in Mich.City and all the way between S.Bend and Chgo.
Every station starts with a parking lot. Then they double it, over a decade the parking at least quadruples. If this decision is affecting the next 100 years, just imagine the parking lot sprawl! I do NOT want to see an overgrown parking lot in the middle of Mich.City (along Franklin St.).
This results in the consults having blinders
Thank you for your comment. In response, I would like to direct your attention to the Michigan City Common Council Resolution 4435 filed November 25, 2009, which is attached. It is Michigan City’s objective to encourage appropriate mixed use development , i.e. transit oriented development (TOD) around the new station. As part of the rail realignment study, an economic development and land use plan was prepared to identify potential development for each of the rail corridors.
Michigan City’s resolution also addresses your statement about surface parking lots. Michigan City does not support parking lot sprawl and emphasizes the need to contain most of the parking in parking structures. These structures could potentially be shared by others in the surrounding development, such as retailers or residential uses.
I Believe the best route for the south shore is the southern route.You have less impact on the city.You only have three streets to cross, very few houses would be effected. AL'S has moved so there is the site for the train station.You already have one train track there so keep the trains together.Plus you would have less whistle blowing.LAPORTE has all of their 4 or 5 tracks together.All of the other routes you will have to tear up roads tear down houses and buildings, move offices to new locations.Plus on the north end you would never be able to develop the area you want to put in condos and apt.the people would not want to hear that whistle blowing.You had that problem with that one developer who wanted to build where SWING BELLY is He could not get the people to commit because AMTRACK was right there and no one wants to hear that whistle..
Thank you for your comment. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives.
The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the most successful developments that were gaining interest were downtown neighborhoods with close proximity to transit.
The homes on 11th street are very difficult to sell, their sale prices are some of the lowest in town and many of the buildings need major renovation.
Homeowners that desired to still live on 11th street that may lose their homes to demolition could easily buy another home across the tracks from many willing sellers.
Homes that are located on closed streets with limited access have increased value. Cul-de-sac locations are highly prized due to decrease in through traffic. A street converted to a dead end would see the homes increase in value, the location would be safer for children and with less traffic would gain value over homes on a busy street.
Thank you for your comment. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives and identifying any potential street closings with each of the alternatives.
None of my ideas below will please NICTD, I am afraid when they seem to want a slightly faster train (why?) and double tracking.
However I have been wondering if the City has standing to request our federal legislators to ask for a carve out of the regulations requiring this realignment? I have read that we are the last commuter train in the nation with in street tracking. It seems to me that we could possibly ask for a carve out based on the historical aspect of that, plus our low accident rate and the tourism aspect. I have heard many tourists comment positively on our train through town.
I also read in the legal notices that the old South Shore station on 11th St was up for sale in the Sheriffs sale on January 31. Is this something the city would consider purchasing and restoring (perhaps allowing rentals to coffer concessions, newspaper vendors, etc to help with the ongoing costs) for a future station again?
Thank you for your comment. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives. No decision can be made on the location of a station until an alternative is selected.
I grew up in Mich. City when the 11th St location station was the South Shore station and a bus station. I remember a shoe shine area, newstand etc. A very cool memory. Nostalgia is huge and moving the track north near the lake detracts from the shoreline potential. The '40's w the Oasis w big bands, amusement rides etc brought people to the lakeshore. Reopen the South Shore station on 11th and bring back the cool bldg it once was.
Thank you for your comment and the information on the former 11th Street Station. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives. No decision can be made on the location of a station until an alternative is selected.
I agree the northern option would take away from our lakefront, and the southern option offers no chance of meaningful north end TOD.
I mentioned this before, but why not an elevated rail on 11th street? No street closings, safety regulations get met, South Shore can have their two lanes, and if done directly over the street, there is no need to buy any properties - aside from the development of an elevated station.
Personally, if staying on 11th street meant splitting MC into north-siders and south-siders I'd rather go with the northern rail option.
Thank you for your comment. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives. However, due to the cost of construction and maintenance, an elevated rail option along 11th Street is not being studied.
I REALLY don't want to see all the streets blocked off with wire fencing on Eleventh St. Elston students will be jumping that fence daily rather than walking way around. There was a proposal at one time for a bridge at the north end site -- why not discuss having a bridge along a good share of the downtown area (Eleventh St. route)? If not a bridge then I'd rather see a SOUTH end of town solution.
Thank you for your comment. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives including any aesthetic treatments such as fencing associated with each of the alternatives.
First off, I am very happy to see that the increased income that the city has been blessed with has been used to revitalize the city to where the founders never even dreamed of. I want to voice my support for the development of the 10th/11th street plan to move and elevate the track to the south side of the street. I think this is the plan that makes the most sense when it comes to inviting tourism back to the city center and also to allow some sort of normalcy, for lack of a better term, to the current residence of the city. I also want to say without want to be crass and heartless, that the homes and older buildings would be purchased and demolished, especially on 11th street, are actually eyesores to the city, and allowing a new and clean rail line in the city center would be a boon not only for the moral of Michigan City, but also for home values when weighed with the proximity to public transportation and other venues in the area. Also I want to add , on a separate matter, that even though I do not fully support the northern rail station on the north side of US HWY 12, I do want to voice my approval of the rehabilitation of Franklin St from the North End of Franklin Sq to US HWY 12. I think it would be inspired to be able to change that part of the city and it would also allow for a more central, and more beautiful route to the lakefront. In addition I want to voice support for the realignment plan for Washington to Wabash. The benefits to regular commuters and visitors alike would be tremendous. Not to mention the long term beautification effect such a change would have. With these three changes to the city, I truly believe that it most certainly would be a major step to take Michigan City to the next level as a true destination which we all can be even more proud of.
Thank you for your comment and insight. The Management Oversight Group is in the process of reviewing all alternatives.
I own a home on the south side of 11th st. If they continue with the plan as stated in the last workshop (June 2013). I will be losing the parking in front of my home (While I have 2 space parking behind my home) this lower's my property values and I will have no parking for visitors. Will the City or NICTD reimburse for this loss? Will they offer to buy our homes (because this covers everyone on the south side of 11th and some have no parking behind their homes). I wish they would just buy the homes instead of lowering our property values.
We are aware of the parking impacts of the Central Corridor option. Unfortunately, parking along 11th Street will not be possible and visitors will need to park on the side street closest to their home. The City will be considering any impacts on residents as they make a decision on the Central Corridor option.
Under the Central Corridor Option what streets will be cut
off on the north side of 11th Street? I live on the corner of 10th and
Elston. How does all of this affect me and my neighbors on Elston? If Elston
or Manhattan gets closed, how will these people get to their homes since
they don't have driveways? Will our homes be eliminated? Will we have the
option to sell our homes if this has a negative impact on our lifestyles?
The streets that are proposed to have a cul d’sac on the north side of 11th Street between Chicago and Franklin are: Tennessee, Elston, Manhattan, and Buffalo. Chicago/Kentucky, Ohio, Wabash, Washington and Franklin will remain as at-grade crossings. Elston remains open between 10th and 11th so you would have access to your house as you currently do. In order to cross the tracks at 11th Street, you would travel Elston to 10th Street and then either cross one block west at Ohio or at Wabash three blocks east. There are no plans on purchasing any homes on Elston or Manhattan.
The South Shore station should be combined with the Amtrak station.
The tracks should also be combined into one double-track or triple-track corridor, although I realize that Amtrak needs low-level platforms and South Shore needs high-level platforms.
If you *really* coordinated things, you could get the Amtrak services from Cleveland to divert up the South Shore Line (they're right next to the South Shore Line west of South Bend) and have them stop at Michigan City, too. And there's already talk of running the Amtrak service from Grand Rapids down the Amtrak line rather than the South Shore line.
If Amtrak and the South Shore Line could work together, this could make Michigan City a center for rail service in all directions. "Make no small plans", as Daniel Burnham said.
Anyway, these proposals have dragged on for what, 40 years? Maybe thinking big is the way to go.
Thank you for your comment. During the course of this study, we have met with Amtrak on several occasions to discuss common aspects of establishing both services from one station location. We agree that a future goal to have a multimodal station is worthwhile. However, at this point in time, we need to move forward with the South Shore plans to realign the tracks and construct a modern, accessible station which is a goal of the study.
I live at 316 W 11th st. I know the final decision has been made and I am ok with that. My question is With no parking on 11th St. I will have no legal parking area at my home I am land locked on both the east and the west side and no alley behind. I will have to drive across property to park behind my home. This essentially makes my property worthless to sell because no one will buy a home with no legal parking area. Who do I talk to about purchasing my home? I am willing to sell any time now or later (following the guidelines in the federal relocation act. Just need to know who to contact, also a time line would be helpful.)
Since your home is located on the south side of 11th Street, we do not expect an acquisition or impact at this time. However, when the project moves forward to the next phase, the Design Development and NEPA phase, issues that may affect you and other properties regarding parking access will need to be addressed. The timeline of future steps in the project has not been determined and is based on available funding. Therefore, we cannot estimate a timeframe as to when there will be additional project details.
I own a home that would be torn down on 11th St. When can we expect someone to contact us about buy our house? When do you expect construction to start on this?
The selection of the preferred alternative, the Central Corridor Option, is the first step in the Rail Realignment study. There are several more procedural steps that need to be accomplished to move this project forward, including preparing the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Agency) document and further engineering studies. All future steps are based on the availability of federal funds and would take several years to accomplish. Subsequently, no timeframe has been identified regarding land acquisition or construction.
I am concerned with possible increase in freight traffic on the new rails. Can I get an update on this?
Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad, a.k.a. South Shore Freight, is a separate entity from the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD/South Shore Line). It is a private, for-profit company that has an exclusive franchise to operate on NICTD’s railroad.
If the South Shore Freight Service increases train frequencies through Michigan City in response to market demand, it would occur with or without the 10th/11th Street Corridor realignment adopted by the joint Michigan City/NICTD study group. However, it is thought that the impact of any increase in future train traffic would be considerably lessened by utilizing a double track line where two trains may run simultaneously.
I was wondering if you know the time frame for beginning or completion of option 1.
The selection of the preferred alternative, the Central Corridor Option, is the first step in the Rail Realignment study. There are several more procedural steps that need to be accomplished to move this project forward, including preparing the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Agency) document and further engineering studies. All future steps are based on the availability of federal funds and would take several years to accomplish. Subsequently, no timeframe has been identified regarding construction.
I live on 11th and Washington and I am concerned about the vibrations of having the tracks even closer to my house. Will this be considered in the environmental study? The current plans calls for Washington to remain open to cross the tracks. If Franklin street opens to the lakefront shouldn't the crossing at Washington be closed?
Yes, vibration analysis will be a component of the environmental impact statement which is the next step of the project. Funding for the environmental analysis has not been secured.
During this phase of the study, both Franklin and Washington Streets were recommended to remain open across the tracks. During final engineering phase, final crossing treatments of all streets in the study area will be decided.
Has a final decision been made on what properties will be affected along the 11th street corridor? Is a drawing available to review?
The Management Oversight Group (MOG) composed of representatives from Michigan City and NICTD has endorsed the Central Corridor Option 1A which positions the two NICTD main tracks along the north side of 11th Street between Chicago and Michigan as the Preferred Alternative for the Rail Relocation Study. The properties along the north side of 11th Street between Franklin and Cedar will be affected by the construction of the new Franklin Station and parking structure. A drawing depicting this alignment is available at City Hall or on the Michigan City project web site (i.e. Michigan City Alternative Analysis Realignment Study-Council Workshop Presentation-Central Corridor Option- June 13, 2013).
I'm trying to find a map of the route that has been agreed upon. What properties will be acquired for this project? What will the new right of way be?
A map of the Central Corridor alignment can be viewed in the Planning Department at City Hall. The map identifies proposed right-of-way for the corridor. A final decision on property acquisition has not been made. Thank you for your interest in the project.
Thank you for visiting our project website. The goals of this project are to provide a thorough assessment of alignment alternatives, consistent with development, safety and economic opportunity.
Photo Courtesy of Pete Doherty