PORTAGE | The 2010 U.S. Census continues to create changes in regional planning.
On Monday, the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation Policy Committee approved a first reading of a resolution dealing with an Adjusted Urbanized Area boundary for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
This boundary determines the amount of federal highway and transit dollars available to Northwestern Indiana urbanized areas, said Kevin Garcia, NIRPC data resources planner, in a report to the committee. The adjusted boundaries also determine the area where some types of federal highway and transit dollars can be spent.
The census revealed changes in population density and count as well as newly developed areas. Other criteria for determining an urbanized area boundary include impervious land cover, such as parking lots, and complex environmental systems, he said.
The irregular edges produced when mapping urban area boundaries using the Census Bureau data is a problem because those edges make the map less useful for transportation planning purposes, according to documents Garcia presented.
The Adjusted Urbanized Area resolution approved by the Transportation Policy Committee is also called a “smoothed” boundary, which evens out those irregular mapping edges.
This new map encompasses most of Lake and Porter counties from Whiting as far south as Cedar Lake and west from the Indiana/Illinois State Line to past Chesterton and Valparaiso. It picks up again west of Beverly Shores and extends through LaPorte County north along Lake Michigan to include Michigan City and Michiana Shores and south through the city of LaPorte.
The resolution for the Adjusted Urbanized Area will be presented for a second reading at the Dec. 11 meeting of the Transportation Policy Committee. It will then go to the full NIRPC board for its approval on Dec. 13.
In other business, the committee heard about projects that have been let during October by the Indiana Department of Transportation LaPorte District.
- Walsh & Kelly of Griffith was awarded the nearly $3.6 million bid for preventative maintenance on U.S. 30 from Ind. 55 to Ind. 51 in Lake County.
- Rieth Riley of Goshen was awarded the $42,053 contract for median construction on Ind. 312 from Chicago Avenue at the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad and Huish Drive in East Chicago.
- Walsh & Kelly also won the bid of about $145,000 to construct bike/pedestrian facilities in Porter County at Meadow Lane, Green Acres, Summit Street and Pineview Lane.
- Midwestern Electric of Indianapolis was awarded the nearly $101,000 bid to install new or modernized traffic signals at 34th Street, 0.74 mile south of Interstate 80/94 in Lake County.