Submitted by: Debbie Barkowski
For many years, I commuted to and from Chicago for work, and during that time, I relied on public transportation, which provided two major benefits: cost savings and quality of life.
Taking the train was an affordable form of transportation, and it meant less wear and tear on my car and less money spent on gas. Not to mention, it’s safer than most highways and an environmentally friendly way to commute. I cannot overstate the value of quality of life when I’m able to read the news, a book, or safely check email for 35-50 minutes twice a day.
To that end, now that I live in the Michigan City area, I am excited at the prospect of the Double Track Initiative of the South Shore Line. The project seeks to establish a second rail line from Gary to Michigan City, allowing for a shorter trip between Chicago and Michigan City as well as more frequent rail service.
What does this mean for you?
Significant cut in the commute time to and from Chicago
More trains for increased frequency to and from regional locations on weekdays, weekends, and holidays
Short-term construction as well as long-term job opportunities
As with any major change in infrastructure, it takes time and some thoughtful dialogue. Information and updates on the Double Track NWI project can be found online here, and public events have been hosted and will continue to take place as it moves forward through various stages.
The double track will make it much more convenient to take a train from Miller, or Ogden Dunes, to Michigan City.
According to Nicole Barker, Director of Capital Investment and Implementation for the South Shore Line, the Double Track will have a substantial positive economic impact on Michigan City and the region. “I truly believe that the Double Track NWI project will be a game-changer for our region. It will dramatically cut commute times to and from Chicago, making our communities more desirable than ever before for those who want to live in a beautiful area near Lake Michigan and get to and from Chicago quickly.”
I too see the potential for more people to move and settle down in the Michigan City area, while maintaining their commutes to Chicago. “If northwest Indiana is going to thrive economically, we must draw new populations – including young Millennials – to our region. I believe that a faster commute time will be part of that equation, as will the amazing quality of life we have here due to our vast natural resource treasures like Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park. It’s important to simultaneously value these assets while expanding our transit options and increasing our population,” says Barker.
By no means am I a transportation expert, but I can attest to the value of commuting by train. Providing increased accessible transportation between two great cities can only expand opportunities for residents from Michigan City to downtown Chicago. In order to cultivate a thriving economy, we need initiatives and structures in place like the Double Track that will provide access to jobs, improved transportation options, and economic investment in the overall quality of life of the region.
Additional information about the Double Track project, including detailed maps and plans, can be found at www.doubletrack-nwi.com.
Check out this video that talks a little more about it.
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