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Inexcusable feet-dragging earns NICTD special award

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The Active Transportation Alliance is presenting the Broken Spoke Award to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) for its distinction as the least bike-friendly commuter rail service in the nation.  

NICTD — which operates the South Shore Line commuter train line that runs between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana — has achieved the very special status of being the only commuter train line in the nation that does not allow passengers to bring bikes on trains. 

Yes, that’s right, out of nearly two dozen commuter train lines in the nation, the South Shore Line is in a truly embarrassing league of its own. 

But that’s not the only reason NICTD is getting the Broken Spoke Award. 

In addition to the inexcusable feet-dragging with allowing bikes on its trains, the agency is also standing in the way of creating a new Burnham Greenway connecter trail. 

Once complete, the 11-mile Burnham Greenway Trail will connect the Chicago Lakefront to the growing network of trails in the South Suburbs, including the Cal-Sag Trail. 

But currently there is a 2-mile gap in the trail that forces trail users to navigate unsafe intersections and roads. 

Construction on the gap is approved, funded and ready to go — except for resistance from NICTD on allowing the trail to cross its tracks. The agency wants the trail to cross the tracks on a hugely expensive bridge that will take years to build. Also standing in the way of creating the simple track crossing is the South Shore Freight Line. 

Please sign this petition to NICTD, requesting that they move ahead with approving the trail crossing. 

You can also help put pressure on NICTD to allow people to bring bikes on South Shore Line trains. 

Currently, NICTD is favoring a plan to launch a five-year bikes-on-trains pilot program in 2021. That’s right, when the pilot program launches 6 years from now, it would allow people to bring bikes on an extremely limited number of trains for a 5-year period. 

Yes, that time frame is bewildering. NICTD’s preferred solution is no solution at all.  

Commuter train lines around the nation have proven that bikes-on-trains programs can be put in place far more swiftly. 

Let your voice be heard at a public meeting next month. 

The results of NICTD’s Bikes on Trains Feasibility Study and its preferred option for the pilot program will be presented and discussed at a public meeting on July 16 at the Indiana Dunes Visitors Center, 1215 State Road 49, Porter, Indiana, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.