April 2015

Meeting Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2015



Transportation Policy Committee Meeting

NIRPC Auditorium

April 14, 2015


Members Present

Joe Simonetto, Matt Deitchley, Jeff Huet, Claudia Taylor, Joe Crnkovich, Mark O’Dell, Tom MacLennan, Art Biciunas, Dave Decker, David Wright, Stan Dobosz, Frank Rosado, Jr., Tyler Kent and La’Kisha Girder.


Joe Wszolek, Lyndsay Quist, Tina Rongers, Joe Rurode, Ron Wiedeman, Stephanie Smith, Chris Moore, Julia Surber, Matt Deitchley, Peter Kohut, Keith Benman, George Janiec.


Steve Strains, Belinda Petroskey, Gabrielle Biciunas, Mitch Barloga, Eman Ibrahim, Sarah Geinosky, Gary Evers, Stephen Sostaric and Mary Thorne.

1.       Call to Order, Opening and Announcements

a)      Chairman Stan Dobosz called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and self-introductions.

b)      The INDOT voluntary participation survey was available.

c)       On a motion by Joe Simonetto and a second by Dave Decker, the minutes of the March 17, 2015 meeting were approved as submitted.

2.       Presentation – Project Planning Review Update

Mitch Barloga referred to a memo from Ty Warner stating that staff will review all projects for CMAQ, STP and HSIP for all counties to insure conformity with our plans and policies with regard to ADA compliance, Livable Centers, Complete Streets, NEPA and transit service expansion.  NIRPC plans to have a pre-application eligibility review for all projects, as to some other MPOs do, before the next call for projects.

3.       Planning

a)      2040 CRP Update – Mitch Barloga reported that the draft update is in the public comment process until April 27.  Recommendation of the draft plan by the Pathway to 2040 Implementation Committee would take place at their meeting on April 30, followed by recommendations by the Environmental Management Policy Committee and Transportation Policy Committee at their May meetings with final adoption by the NIRPC full Commission at their meeting in May.

b)      Regional Corridor Study – Eman Ibrahim gave an overview of the work done to date as part of implementation activities.  She pointed out the 23 gaps in connectivity in the region as identified through the study.  A study is currently being performed for the Willowcreek Road extension.  Criteria was suggested for safety, travel times, congestion and connection.  Gabrielle Biciunas highlighted the results of the survey.  It was noted that most of the respondees to the survey traveled through Porter County and most traveled by automobile and the results could be skewed.  Also, the results do not address truck traffic, which will be a large issue in La Porte County in the future.  Gary does not have many connection issues; however, Hammond does.  Scott Weber ran a model on the 23 corridors based on a 2015 scenario.    The Willowcreek Corridor showed the best improvement for improved connectivity but congestion would also increase by 57% in vehicle miles traveled.  He described the results for the rest of the corridors.  Eman Ibrahim asked the committee to contact her with any other suggestions or comments.

c)       Public Comment Period – Stephen Sostaric said a portion of the comments received to date was available.  The comment period ends April 27.

d)      Functional Classification System Update – Sarah Geinosky reported that the inventories on road function class was mapped and roads were classified as arterial, collector and local.  INDOT and DOT were satisfied with the update.  Steve Strains commented that he was impressed with the detailed review by INDOT and DOT, and also by staff’s working well with the communities to complete the update.  On a motion by Joe Simonetto and a second by Jeff Huet, the Committee voted to approve the Functional Classification System Update.

e)      Congestion Management Process (CMP) Update – Scott Weber said the Willowcreek Road extension was in the 2040 Plan running from 700N to US 30.  The information was available as a handout.  The CMP is being amended to extend to 100S in Porter County and is being put into the 2040 Plan update.  The results of the analysis of the four no-build alternatives shows level of congestion worsens.   The recommendation is that the Willowcreek Road extension is necessary as a capacity adding alternative.  Dave Decker moved to approve the Congestion Management Process update adding the Willowcreek Road extension and Joe Simonetto seconded the motion.  Brief discussion followed.  The Committee voted unanimously to approve the Congestion Management Process Update as presented.

f)       Quarterly Tracking – Amanda Pollard said the reports are due no later than April 21 but asked that LPAs get them in before that date.  Meetings in May will be held with Crown Point, Hammond, Lake Station, East Chicago and Munster.

g)      Updated Planning Agreement – Steve Strains reported that the agreement between NIRPC, INDOT and the transit operators which describes their roles and responsibilities is updated every four years as required by MAP-21.  The agreement was included in the materials.

4.       Programming

a)      Gary Evers reported that INDOT no longer allows carryover of funds.  He described the spending plan closeout and said we will be over expended by about $5,000.  If we underspend, we will lose the money.  The dollar amounts for each of the four FY 2016 through 2019 for the Chicago Urbanized Area totaled $22,956,417 and the dollar amounts for each of the four FY 2016 through 2017 ONLY for the Michigan City Urbanized Area totaled $2,437,530.  The FTA transfer deadline is the end of May.   Contact Gary Evers with any questions.

5.       Indiana Department of Transportation

Lyndsay Quist reported on the lettings.  B33936, bridge work on SR 249, will relet on May 7.  Matt Deitchley said an STIP open house was held and it was a very useful meeting.  See the website for more information.

6.    Transit Operators Reports

a)      LaPorte Transit – Tom MacLennan reported that the Transit Triangle service ridership is increasing.

b)      Valparaiso V-Line and Chicago DASH – No report was given.

c)       East Chicago Transit – No report was given.

d)      GPTC – David Wright reported that March ridership is up 4% over March 2014 and the 1st Quarter is up 2% over the same period last year.  The next Livable Broadway steering committee meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. on May 5 at the Crown Point Public Library.

e)      Michigan City Transit – No report was given.

f)       NICTD – Joe Crnkovich reported that March ridership was up 3.9% over March of 2014.  The NICTD Board is looking at a possible fare increase.  Public hearings will be held during April.  Go to http://www.nictd.com/service-news for a list of meetings dates.  Temporary stairs are being built at the East Chicago station and the elevator will be open for those with disabilities.  Work should be done in two weeks.  The overhead wire project continues east of Michigan City.  NICTD is going out for engineering for bridge rehab work.

g)      North Township Dial-A-Ride – No report was given.

h)      Opportunity Enterprises – Claudia Taylor reported that the two new business are in service.  American Public Transportation Association is hosting the 2015 annual Roadeo and five OE drivers are competing in the skill competition.  The top two drivers will go to the state competition.

i)        Porter County Council on Aging and Community Services – No report was given.

j)        South Lake County Community Services – No report was given.

7.       Regional Transportation Partners – No reports were given.

8.       Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration – No reports were given.

9.       Planning Neighbors – No reports were given.

10.      Public Comment on Agenda Items – No requests were received.

11.      Other Business, Staff Announcements and Upcoming Meetings

a)      Other Business – No other business was presented.

b)      Announcements – Stephanie Smith said a flyer is available on a series of green fleet educational sessions being hosted by South Shore Clean Cities.  Registration is being taken.

c)       Upcoming Meetings at NIRPC – The Land Use Committee will meet at 10:00 a.m. April 15 at NIRPC.  The Finance & Personnel Committee will meet at 8:00 a.m. April 16 at NIRPC.  The Executive Board will meet at 9:00 a.m. April 16 at NIRPC.  The Ped, Pedal & Paddle Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. April 23 at NIRPC.  The Pathway to 2040 Implementation Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. April 30 at NIRPC.  The Local Government Advisory Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. April 30 at NIRPC.  The Environmental Policy Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. May 7 at NIRPC.

The next Transportation Policy Committee meeting will be at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 12 at NIRPC.

On a motion by Joe Simonetto and a second by Dave Decker, Stan Dobosz adjourned the meeting at 10:10 a.m.


A Digital MP3 of this meeting is filed.  Contact Mary Thorne at the phone or email below should you wish to receive a copy of it. 

For requests for alternate formats, please contact Mary Thorne at NIRPC at (219) 763-6060 extension 131 or at mthorne@nirpc.org.  Individuals with hearing impairments may contact us through the Indiana Relay 711 service by calling 711 or (800) 743-3333. 

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, parental status, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.