PORTAGE │ The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District would like to build a high-level platform at its Gary Metro station, but the cost could go into “hundreds of millions of dollars,” said NICTD’s Joe Crnkovich.
The topic of the platform came up during Tuesday’s Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission transportation meeting, when Gary resident Jim Nowacki asked Crnkovich about the status of the three South Shore stations in Gary.
Crnkovich said the problem with building a high-level platform at the Metro station, similar to the ones in East Chicago, Hegewisch and other areas, is there are restrictions regarding the bridge that takes the train over Gary.
“We’re looking at other alternatives,” Crnkovich said. “Nothing has been decided yet. This is something NICTD will be doing in concert with the city of Gary. As of right now the status quo shall continue with the three stations in Gary.”
Meanwhile Crnkovich said ridership on the South Shore was up more than 2 percent in April compared to a year ago. As of the end of April ridership was still down “a little bit” overall for the year compared to 2013. Crnkoovich said the drop was due to wintery weather in January and February. There was also one less working day in April than there was in the same month last year.
Weekend ridership went up more than 10 percent, however.
“Finally, with the weather getting better, people decided they didn’t want to be cooped up in their houses anymore,” he said.
In other news NIRPC nonmotorized transportation and greenways planner Mitch Barloga presented a U.S. Census report released this month that reporting a nearly 60 percent increase in bike commuting across the country since 2000.
However, Barloga said, biking is still low on the commuting scale, with cyclists comprising 0.6 percent of all commuters.
Portland, Ore., Has the highest rate of bicycle commuting at 6.1 percent. Neither Chicago nor Indianapolis made the top 15 in bike commuting. Madison, Wis., was second at 5.1 percent.
For more information on the study visit www.census.gov.