WILLIAM NANGLE: NWI needs better roads, not NIMBY detours

2013-07-28T00:00:00Z WILLIAM NANGLE: NWI needs better roads, not NIMBY detoursBy William Nangle nwitimes.com
July 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The temporary closure of U.S. 30 in Dyer earlier this month got me to thinking.

There are really but a few multilane thoroughfares facilitating thousands of cars moving around the region each day.

North to south in Lake County we have Broadway, Indianapolis and Calumet. East to west there is the Borman Expressway, U.S. 30, the Indiana Toll Road and Ridge Road.

Sure, there are other alternatives, but most have narrow lanes or wind through the region. And what can be gained choosing a less hectic route is certainly lost in time.

Even so, it’s obvious a lot of drivers have come to this conclusion since the back roads are getting crowded with traffic.

So what to do to solve this dilemma? The answer is simple.

Extend an unbroken Cline and Kennedy south to U.S. 30. Upgrade Colorado and connect it to the Borman. Traveling west, extend Main Street into Illinois and make it a four-lane road, upgrade 93rd Street south of 30 to four lanes west of Ind. 55, taking the kinks out. Expand 109th Street east of Crown Point as a four-lane road between Crown Point and Winfield.

Simple enough. Well, easy to write about but not likely to happen anytime soon. The bureaucratic process for improving routes in the region is at best slow.

What makes it even slower are the NIMBYs (not in my back yard) who seemingly oppose anything to build a better network of roads. They have taken a lead in opposition to building an Illiana Expressway, something that will relieve traffic on many existing roads. Signs in opposition to extending Main Street are popping up. There are petition drives and pleas to government officials.

While I understand the angst of those living near roads targeted for expansion, meaningful and necessary progress benefiting the majority should not be stopped.

It’s odd the region boasts a world-class network of interstates that makes doing business here desirable. But at the same time, we have a lousy patchwork of internal roads to facilitate local traffic.

Let’s hope the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, our local council of governments, can agree on a plan supporting an upgrade of region roads.

If anyone doubts the need, travel 109th Avenue east of Crown Point, where traffic backs up seemingly for miles during rush hour.

William Nangle is executive editor of The Times. He can be reached at The Times, 601 45th St., Munster, IN 46321 or at bill.nangle@nwi.com.

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