Porter Beach parking plans draw more criticism

2013-07-23T20:33:00Z 2013-07-23T21:17:06Z Porter Beach parking plans draw more criticismHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 23, 2013 8:33 pm  • 

PORTER | Carl Dahlin, resident of Porter Beach, spoke to the Porter Town Council on Tuesday night in opposition to the National Park Service’s proposed parking lot at Porter Beach on Wabash Avenue.

“They pick apart people piece by piece until they get what they want and that’s what they are doing now,” Dahlin said.

Board member Elka Nelson agreed and said that since the environmental assessment came out that revealed plans for additional parking and changed traffic patterns, she has received many comments in opposition.

She encouraged the public to comment on the assessment via the National Park Service website, parkplanning.nps.gov/indu, by Aug. 9, the last day they are accepting comments.

“They want to bring more people to the beach and I guess they want to allocate a grain of sand per person," Nelson said. "It is a very large burden on the town of Porter as they aim to add people to the park and don’t add any staff to assist in the form of lifeguards or crowd control."

Nelson said the town's dive team assists with rescues without any financial assistance from the National Park Service. She also worries about the damage more parking may do to the area. 

“There is the environmental impact of this — putting in large concrete parking lots is going to replace dunes,” she continued.

At the last council meeting, a resident expressed concern about parking being prohibited on Dearborn Street at Porter Beach, although an ad hoc organization, the Dearborn Parking Association, has been issued permits.

Nelson said other residents have expressed there are similar issues on other streets at Porter Beach, so she asked town officials to do a study, survey the streets, and meet with emergency personnel about safety concerns before making any recommendations.

Nelson further recommended continuing nonenforcement of the parking ban until the situation has been resolved.

Fire Chief Lewis Craig was presented with the 2013 Global Award for District 1 by Tom Orrell, chairman of the District 1 Indiana Firefighter’s Volunteer Association.

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