Commuter rail requires higher population density

2013-11-24T00:00:00Z Commuter rail requires higher population density nwitimes.com
November 24, 2013 12:00 am

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky emphatically supports the idea of extending the South Shore line to Dyer but overlooks a less expensive and environmentally sound alternative.

An Amtrak line spanning the run between Dyer and downtown Chicago already exists. The feasibility of adapting this line to commuter service must be explored first before taxpayers spend $58 million per mile on Visclosky’s proposal.

Mass transit is more cost-effective when population is dense at terminus points. By that measure alone, the extension to Dyer doesn't compute.

It will encourage more sprawl, hasten white flight from urban areas, and result in more fossil fuel burning as unsustainably small numbers of commuters living in far flung places like Cedar Lake and Crown Point drive the 12 or so miles to Dyer to begin their 35-mile, 90-minute rail trip to the city.

This idea gives new meaning to the definition of boondoggle.

- Thomas Markovich, Hammond

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