Great news! On Friday, July 31, 2015 NICTD’s board formally approved a short-term plan to get bikes on trains! They showcased two prototypes at the meeting that would lock into existing cars with the 3/2 seating arrangement. They will test these prototypes this fall and a pilot program will begin in April 2016. Save the Dunes starting asking NICTD for action on this over four years ago, and ever since we’ve been working side-by-side to understand the project’s challenges and opportunities together. Save the Dunes remains committed to helping them – and our entire region – plan for the necessary supporting infrastructure (bike racks, trail improvements, connections, etc.) moving forward.
NICTD stated that they will modify 3 cars and equip half the car with bike racks and leave half the seats so bikers can ride near their bicycles. The cars would be used on warm-weather weekends; the schedule will soon be determined. Seattle-based Sportworks, experts in bicycle transit rack design, worked with engineers at NICTD to develop a workable short-term solution.
Things like this don’t happen without advocacy organizations like ours, and we encourage you to support our work by becoming a member or making a donation here.
Save the Dunes has taken a leadership role in the project as part of our desire to increase non-motorized access to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park, yet clearly the benefits would be experienced region-wide.
The Advisory Committee includes NICTD, NIRPC, Save the Dunes, NPCA, The Town of Beverly Shores and the City of Gary. Quandel Consultants recently shared the mid-term plan with the public on July 16, 2015. That plan requires that NICTD purchase new cars to retrofit at least 5 existing cars to accommodate 30 bikes and 30 passengers for a warm-season, non-peak weekend program. New cars are expected within the next 5 years, so we and others have asked NICTD for this shorter-term solution to complement that.
This project is a wonderful example of what we can do together as a region through listening, learning, and problem-solving together. Thank you, NICTD!
For more about this key Save the Dunes effort, visit our website here.