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Freight Planning in Northwest Indiana


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Located on the eastern edge of the Chicago metro region, America’s Midwest transportation hub, Northwest Indiana stands right at the crossroads of trucks, trains, ships and planes carrying freight across different regions of the United States and throughout the world. How can the region unlock the economic benefits and opportunities of this freight activity, while limiting the impacts that freight traffic has on infrastructure, communities, and environment? No easy answers exist, but the process necessary for achieving this balance is what freight planning all about.

Freight Planning in Northwest Indiana

  1. 1. Freight Planning in Northwest Indiana Jack Eskin Regional Planner Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
  2. 2. AGENDA What is Freight? What is Freight Planning? Trends and Issues in Freight Planning Major local projects Opportunities and Challenges in Freight Planning NIRPC’s Freight work 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan IllianaWhite Paper At-Grade Crossing Study Northwest Indiana Freight & Logistics Study
  3. 3. WHAT IS FREIGHT? The commercial shipment of cargo through various modes of transportation: Traditional Truck Rail Maritime Air Cargo Expanded Pipeline Utility Broadband
  4. 4. WHAT IS FREIGHT PLANNING? Freight planning is a collaborative effort between public entities, private businesses, communities, and advocacy groups to: Manage and improve the safety and efficiency of shipping goods Integrate freight priorities into the ongoing planning process. Minimize the congestion and hazards associated with freight on communities and the environment Identify and promote the regional economic opportunities Identify the relationships between land use, environment, social equity and economic development with freight mobility issues and traffic patterns.
  5. 5. FREIGHT PLANNING: TRENDS & ISSUES Overall increase in freight shipments Intermodal containers: Americans consume a lot of foreign goods Oil and gas shipments: Fracking means more tank car trains American intermodal system competes with Panama Canal as a pathway for global distribution Panama Canal widening could change global patterns Chicago is the hub of the American intermodal system All eastbound traffic must go through Northwest Indiana Congestion in Chicago has led towards freight traffic seeking bypasses to the city US 30, IllianaExpressway, CN’s EJ&E acquisition Increased freight traffic in the suburbs
  6. 6. ILLIANAEXPRESSWAY New 46-mile interstate highway From I-55 (Wilmington, IL) to I-65 (Lowell, IN) Would serve as bypass for trucks moving through Chicago metro region Avoid in urban congestion Create stronger road connection to new south suburban intermodal facilities Can help drive the new south suburban airport Points on Contention: Distance Toll structure Sprawl Project Cost ($1.5 billion)
  7. 7. EJ&E ACQUISITION BY CANADIAN NATIONAL Canadian National (a Class I railroad) purchases the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern (a short line railroad) Opportunities to route intercontinental trains away from downtown congestion Higher volumes of trains moving through town centers Northwest Indiana South Cook County Will County Economic development opportunities Kirk Yard (Gary) Now CN’s primary Midwestern classification yard $141 million investment, over 100 jobs
  8. 8. FREIGHT PLANNING: CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES Challenges Balancing quality of life with increased freight activity Congestion, air quality, environment, safety, transit operation, walkability Methods: Planning, development agreements, quiet zones, grade separation, identifying designated shipping routes Opportunities Leveraging existing infrastructure to spur economic development on vacant sites
  9. 9. NIRPC’S FREIGHT WORK Activities: Collect, manage, and analyze freight datasets Set regional freight performance measures Convene freight stakeholder meetings for regional projects Inform policy discussions Reports: 2040 Regional Plan Freight chapter IllianaWhite Paper Freight chapter At-Grade Crossing Study Northwest Indiana Freight &Logistics Study
  10. 10. 2040 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FREIGHT CHAPTER Policy Recommendations Corridor Planning & Cargo-Oriented Development Highway-Rail Grade Crossings Multimodal/Intermodal Development Freight-Supportive Land Use Planning & Zoning Extra Heavy Duty Truck Route Modal Shift to Rail & Maritime PlanCOMPREHENSIVERegional2040For Northwest Indiana
  11. 11. CORRIDOR PLANNING & CARGO-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT Policy Recommendations Prioritize land along existing rail & truck routes for freight-related development Reactivate brownfields and vacant land for economic reuse Cargo-Oriented Development model in South Suburban Chicago
  12. 12. HIGHWAY-RAILROAD AT-GRADE CROSSINGS Policy Recommendations Reduce congestion and increase safety at crossings Prioritize most problematic at- grade crossings for grade separation Maintain a corridor approach
  13. 13. MULTIMODAL & INTERMODAL DEVELOPMENT Policy Recommendations Increase intermodal and multimodal facilities to maximize efficiency of each transportation mode Transloadingfacilities Reduce environmental impacts of goods movement Benefit from growth in Transportation, Distribution & Logistics sector Opportunities: Gary Airport Porter County Airport Kingsbury Port of Indiana Gibson Yard
  14. 14. FREIGHT-SUPPORTIVE LAND USE & ZONING Policy Recommendations Balance freight facilities with community livability Establish good neighbor practices: Buffers Open space requirements Low impact design Context-sensitive lighting Green building techniques
  15. 15. EXTRA HEAVY DUTY TRUCK ROUTE Policy Recommendations Maintain and enhance US 12 & 20 Industrial highway system, running from Hammond to South Bend Ultimately links Northwest Indiana steel with Michigan and Illinois manufacturing INDOT has been relinquishing ownership of the road to communities
  16. 16. MODAL SHIFT TO RAIL & MARITIME Policy Recommendations Reduce truck volumes where necessary by shifting freight to other modes Rail Maritime Lower environmental impacts Emissions Congestion Leverage tremendous existing rail and port infrastructure
  17. 17. ILLIANA& 2040 PLAN POLICIES: MIXED COMPATIBILITY Corridor Planning & Cargo-Oriented Development Inconsistent Highway-Rail Grade Crossings Uncertain Multimodal/Intermodal Development Mixed Freight-Supportive Land Use Planning & Zoning Uncertain Extra Heavy Duty Truck Route Neutral Modal Shift to Rail & Maritime Inconsistent
  18. 18. AT-GRADE CROSSING STUDY A regional inventory and feasibility study of the worst railroad/highway at–grade crossings in Northwest Indiana Serve as an established resource for potential at–grade crossing projects in the region Components: Profile crossing survey Profile different structures Data metrics Cost calculation methodology Financing opportunities Profiling the Top 15 General findings General recommendations
  19. 19. Calumet Avenue (Hammond) •US 41 •NICTD and CSX •Ave Delay per Motorist: 1:19 •Ave Gate Down Time: 2:23 •Delayed Vehicles: 4,469 •Delayed Vehicles/AADT: 26% •4% chance of annual accident Assessment •High Demand: Heavy auto traffic, commuter trains, intermodal trains •Very Expensive: Long and wide bridge, would need eminent domain •Recommendation: Pursue grade separation as long term priority
  20. 20. 1,016 foot bridge $19.7 million
  21. 21. Calumet Avenue (Munster) •Local road •CN and CSX •Part of larger redevelopment •Ave Delay per Motorist: 1:54 •Ave Gate Down Time: 2:57 •Delayed Vehicles: 859 •Delayed Vehicles/AADT: 3% •4% chance of annual accident Assessment •High Demand: Heavy auto traffic, increasing intermodal trains, and clear community consensus •Very Expensive: Two railroad flyovers •Recommendation: Pursue grade separation through additional funding, as part of a broader plan
  22. 22. 2 elevated rail bridges $54 million total
  23. 23. Francis/15th(Chesterton/Porter) •Local Road •Area redevelopment plan, HSR plan •Amtrak, CSX, NS •Ave Delay per Motorist: 1:41/2:11 •Ave Gate Down Time: 3:04/3:58 •Delayed Vehicles: 88/789 •Delayed Vehicles/AADT: 8%/21% •3% chance of annual accident Assessment •Mod. Demand: High train traffic, but low auto traffic, high delay •Relatively Inexpensive but difficult: Small bridge, but eminent domain would be necessary (18th/Busseflyover) •Recommendation: Pursue at–grade separation only if it is in line with Chesterton & Porter’s Redevelopment Plans
  24. 24. 946 foot bridge $5.3 million
  25. 25. NORTHWEST INDIANA FREIGHT & LOGISTICS STUDY Will build upon the 2010 study Collect, analyze, and explain data on freight companies and freight employment in Northwest Indiana Identify existing and developing supply chains and clusters in Northwest Indiana Build better links between Northwest Indiana, Metro Chicago, and the State of Indiana Serve as a resource for public policymakers, private companies, and communities when weighing in on economic development and transportation initiatives
  26. 26. THANK YOU! Jack Eskin Regional Planner Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (219) 763-6060