EDITORIAL: Valparaiso moving on public transportation

2014-02-06T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Valparaiso moving on public transportation nwitimes.com
February 06, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Valparaiso is planning for a bus/train depot as part of a transit-oriented development. It's a sign of the popularity of public transportation.

Valparaiso operates both the V-Line, for routes around the city, and the ChicaGo Dash, to take commuters and sightseers to and from Chicago.

The ChicaGo Dash and V-Line buses have become so popular that the city has outgrown the existing bus station.

Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas addressed this in his Jan. 27 State of the City address at the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.

"Having a thriving commuter facility in our downtown adds to the vibrancy and has created more demand for high density around the district," he said.

"More people, especially empty nesters and young professionals, want to live near the downtown and have access to the ChicaGo Dash and the V-Line," Costas said. "More housing around the downtown creates more critical mass and sustainability and ensures a downtown that will thrive for decades."

The city has hired American Structurepoint to look for suitable locations near the downtown.

The transit-oriented development should include high-density residential and commercial development to be handy for commuters. 

The development will help the city attract young residents. Millennials are more likely than older generations to prefer public transportation and to prefer high-density housing.

But empty nesters, too, enjoy downsizing both their home and their fleet, so public transportation can help them remain mobile.

The new site should accommodate parking for at least 200 cars and include a train station as well. It's a long way off, but the possibility of high-speed rail requires including that prospect in the planning today.

That rail service would include a route between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio.

This project should be planned well, and built well, as an example to other communities of what can happen as public transportation is embraced by a new generation.

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