The Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC) is putting the final touches on plans for Northwest Indiana’s first rapid bus service, the Broadway Metro Express, launching in summer 2017.
The idea of a regional bus rapid transit (BRT) line is a key recommendation in Gary’s Livable Broadway Plan. The plan was developed in a partnership between GPTC, Indiana Department of Transportation, the cities of Gary and Crown Point, and the town of Merrillville.
Broadway Avenue is a high-vehicle thoroughfare with stretches that are lacking sidewalks, crosswalks and easily accessible bus stops. Livable Broadway focuses on economic development and improved livability, with rapid bus service and land use plans that aim to strengthen the corridor.
GPTC recently held two open houses and a public hearing on the project, offering residents an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed bus route.
A majority of attendees at the October 4 public hearing, including Active Trans staff and supporters, spoke in support of the project. Community members were enthusiastic about the new amenities that the upgraded system would provide, especially faster and more frequent service.
At the November GPTC Board Meeting, committee members made the final decisions about the name and alignment of the route, based on recommendations from residents.
The decided alignment will run for over 10 miles, connecting Gary and Merrillville and providing quick and frequent access to major destinations, including the Veterans Administration Hospital, the Lake County Government Center, Southlake Methodist Hospital and the Purdue Research Park.
Planned amenities of the service include new bus platforms, with public art by local artists and new crosswalks. Bus bypass lanes and stop consolidation will help make the buses run faster.
Noticeably missing from the project plans are Transit Signal Priority (TSP) and bike lanes. TSP is a technology that enables a bus system to communicate with traffic signals in order to keep the bus on schedule – and is frequently a key feature of rapid bus services.
In addition, the resurfacing of Broadway is part of the project plan, which offers the opportunity to add bike lanes that would make the corridor even more livable.
While we're excited about this project, it could certainly bettter and you can help make that happen. Tell GPTC that you support TSP and bike lanes on Broadway by emailing PlanningManager@gptcbus.com or calling 885-7555 x204.
For more information, check out the Livable Broadway website. If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch with Leslie Phemister at Leslie@activetrans.org.
Photo Credit: Gary Public Transportation Corporation