RDA Comprehensive Plan Update
Crown Point, Indiana
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) has done much to develop infrastructure and the economy of the Northwest region of Indiana. In the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly, the RDA requested financial assistance to construct a southern extension to the South Shore commuter railroad. The West Lake Extension (WLE), with an estimated construction cost of $571 million, would run south along the western border of Lake County, directly serving the communities of Hammond, Munster, and Dyer and providing more convenient commuter access to a much broader region. The General Assembly approved a $6 million per year, 30-year grant, to support the RDA’s debt service obligations, but requested that the RDA update their Comprehensive Strategic Development Plan (CSP). The updated CSP highlights opportunities to create community and economic development in strategic locations along the corridor, thus showing a return on the state’s investment in the infrastructure.
American Structurepoint’s planning and engineering staff worked in conjunction with Policy Analytics to develop this updated plan for the RDA. Our tasks included an evaluation of both the existing South Shore line and proposed WLE route and stations to determine likely locations for development or redevelopment and the highest and best uses for those properties. The solution included defining a variety of land use types, explaining applicability as it relates to community readiness, and identifying specific locations for those land use types within station areas. Our company also helped to calculate development cost scenarios that were used as inputs in the regional economic and revenue impact analysis completed by Policy Analytics. This analysis was necessary to explain to the General Assembly how the investment in the corridor can help to set the stage for development opportunities and produce a revenue return to the state. Our specialists also developed a process and procedures for a potential TOD grant program that would allow the RDA to assist the impacted communities in developing their own detailed master plan for their station areas, as well as complete a more detailed market demand analysis and zoning and development standards. The CSP will also include best practices from around the United States to support the communities with their implementation efforts. The Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association selected this strategic plan for the Outstanding Transportation Planning Award for 2017.
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Awards + Recognition
2017 Hoosier Planning Awards