Land Use Committee

NIRPC Office, Dune Room February 06, 2020

10:30 - 11:30 am

6100 Southport Road

Portage, Indiana 46368

(219) 763-6060


Call to Order

Greg Stinson


Approval of Minutes of October 3, 2019 Meeting


Living Streets Update Presentation (handout)

Mitch Barloga


Regional Planning

Eman Ibrahim

    1. UPWP FY 2021-2022 Overview

    2. Indiana Legislative Update – Planning/Zoning

    1. Communities Update Everyone

    2. Downtown Hammond Plan Update Eman Ibrahim

    1. Next Meeting

    2. Next meeting Thursday Abril 02, 2020 at 10:30 am


Requests for alternate formats please contact NIRPC at (219) 763-6060 or Individuals with hearing impairments may contact us through the Indiana Relay 711 service.

For Interpreter Services please contact NIRPC at (219) 763-6060 or 72 hours in advance of the scheduled meeting.

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.


NIRPC Dune Room October 3, 2019 Minutes

Members & visitors: George Topoll, George Malis, Michael Barry, Nick Bellar, Kristina Kuzma

NIRPC Staff: Eman Ibrahim, Gabrielle Biciunas, Meredith Stilwell, Kevin Polette George Topoll called the meeting to order at 10:32 am with the Pledge of Allegiance.

On motion by Nick Bellar and second by Michael Barry, the minutes of the June 6, 2019 meeting were approved.

Living Streets Presentation

Gabrielle Biciunas presented on the Living Streets policy. NIRPC adopted the Complete Streets policy in 2010 and is now moving forward with the Living Streets policy due to the significant increase in green infrastructure planning over the last 10 years. The objective is to merge the Complete Streets and Green Streets policies into the Living Streets policy. To accomplish this objective, NIRPC will create a Living Streets workshop to review the draft document in detail.

The first meeting is scheduled for November 13, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in the Lake Michigan Room at NIRPC. The final draft document will be discussed at the topical committees before being presented to the TPC and Full Commission meetings.

Regional Planning

Eman Ibrahim updated the committee on the Sensible Tools Handbook Update. The 2007 Handbook was based on the Indiana planning and zoning law of 2003. The updated Handbook will be compatible with the 2017 edition of the planning and zoning book. The updated Handbook is comprised of two parts, planning and making decisions. The working group met in September and 4 focus areas have been determined: public health, green environment, economic equality and sustainable transportation.

Eman Ibrahim updated on E-Commerce in Northwest Indiana. NIRPC is investigating impacts of e-commerce to offer recommendations to municipalities on how best to anticipate the impact of e-commerce and how to mitigate the effects of the land use and transportation while taking advantage of the opportunities and benefits offered. With completely new trends and without much research, it is a struggle to get the data. Meetings are being held with the NWI Forum and the Lake County Economic Alliance to help determine where distribution centers and warehouses are located. A map has been completed for each community to show distribution center and warehouse locations. Meetings are being held with the communities to get more information for this project.

Eman Ibrahim updated the Committee on the Transit Oriented Development Project. The RDA is working to define the TDD area along all the South Shore stations and proposed West Lake corridor. NIRPC is completing a different analysis, looking at not only these station areas, but also bus corridors and would like to create a funding program at the end of the project analysis. Different MPO TOD programs are being looked at for ideas.

Communities Update

Nick Bellar noted that 109th is currently being worked on. A lot of right of way acquisition is being done currently. There will be a passing blister at Arizona and 109th and A passing blister was installed at Fayette at the Wyndance subdivision. Right of way acquisition at Grant Boulevard is also in the works.

Michael Barry stated a high-end development has been proposed for the old water park in Porter. There is currently not enough sewer capacity and solutions to the issue are being looked into and priced out. A trucking company has expressed a desire to move to Porter at an existing gas station and parking area located where I-94 and US20 meet, but is very much preliminary.

Kristina Kuzma reported that Lake County is revising its subdivision and zoning ordinances. A consultant has been hired. They are focusing on farmland preservation.

George Topoll reported that the Lake Michigan Coastal program accepted Union Township’s preproposal for a grant to incorporate a comprehensive plan.

Eman Ibrahim reported that Jeff Speck has been hired to complete the downtown Hammond plan. A train stop is being proposed on the Westlake corridor and an EIS has already been completed. George Malis noted Hammond recently had the official opening of the hiking/biking bridge near Conkey.

The next meeting of the Land Use Committee will be on February 6, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. Hearing no other business, George Topoll adjourned the meeting at 11:30 a.m.

DRAFT 12-11-19



WHEREAS, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) promotes an equitable and effective multimodal, regional land use/transportation system that is safe, as well as energy, environmentally and fiscally efficient, maximizes regional connectivity, serves the mobility needs of all citizens, utilizes stormwater runoff mitigation best practices, improves the health of the general public, and is environmentally sensitive; and

WHEREAS,, NIRPC promotes sustainable transportation that encourages walking, rolling, bicycling and transit use while promoting safe operations for all users, while improving the natural and built environment via the integration of more energy efficient and ecologically friendly management practices, as increased walking, rolling and cycling offers the potential for better air quality, reduces motor traffic, curbs fossil fuel reliance, fosters a more efficient right-of-way, promotes greater health of the local population and manages stormwater runoff while allowing for the implementation of permeable surfaces, referred to commonly as “Green Streets” concepts; and

WHEREAS, "Complete Streets" are roadways that accommodate safe, efficient and equitable access for all users by law including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities; and

WHEREAS, Complete Streets are achieved when transportation agencies routinely plan, design, construct, re-construct, operate, and maintain the transportation network to improve travel conditions for all users of the roadway, and adopt methods that increase the longevity, accessibility, and efficiency of the roadway in a manner consistent with, and supportive of, the surrounding community; and

WHEREAS, increasing active and sustainable transportation (e.g., walking, rolling, bicycling, using public transportation and low-emission vehicles) offers the potential for improved public health, economic development, a cleaner environment, reduced transportation costs, enhanced community connections, social equity, and more livable communities; and

WHEREAS, Complete Streets principles have been, and continue to be, adopted nationwide at state, regional, and municipal levels in the interest of adherence to federal regulations that promote multimodal transportation options and accessibility for all users, including NIRPC’s 2010 Complete Streets Policy & Guidelines; and

WHEREAS, “Green Streets” represent a stormwater management approach that incorporates vegetation (perennials, shrubs, trees), soil, and engineered systems (e.g., permeable pavements) to slow, filter, and cleanse stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces (e.g., streets, sidewalks); and

WHEREAS, NIRPC seeks to combine both Complete and Green Streets principles into a unified policy called “Living Streets;” and

WHEREAS, Living Streets provide for the development of pedestrian, rolling, bicycle, transit and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, green stormwater infrastructure, and ecological revitalization which offers long term cost savings, public health improvements, pollution reduction, water quality and habitat improvement, increases green space while reducing fossil fuel demands, and creates safe opportunities for convenient active transportation; and

WHEREAS, Living Streets improvements follow Universal Design principles that include, but are not limited to, marked bicycle lanes on the roadway, paved shoulders, signed bike routes, safe access to bus stops, shared use paths, sidewalks, bicycle parking facilities, marked or raised street crossings (including over- and under passes), pedestrian signals, signs and auditory cues, multi-purpose spaces, vegetated swales, green gutters, rain gardens, stormwater curb extensions, pervious paving, stormwater planters, increased green space, and urban street trees; and

WHEREAS, providing access for people with disabilities is a civil rights mandate that is not subject to limitation by project costs, levels of use, or "exceptional circumstances” where the Americans with Disabilities Act requires pedestrian facilities that, when newly constructed or altered, be accessible; and

WHEREAS, NIRPC is responsible for planning and programming transportation projects that utilize federal grants which adhere to goals and objectives from previously adopted documents such as the NWI 2050 Plan, Creating Livable Communities, Greenways+Blueways 2020 Plan, the Marquette Action Plan, and other applicable documents; and

WHEREAS, it is NIRPC's vision to undertake bold planning initiatives that positively impact Northwestern Indiana's future to create a strong, accessible, safe, sustainable, climate-resilient, clean and high-quality environment in which to live, work and play.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that NIRPC supports the concept of Living Streets and hereby establish the attached Guidelines to incorporate Living Streets facilities to the most practicable extent as proposed by the project sponsor in all transportation projects using NIRPC-attributable federal funds;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Living Streets Guidelines are hereby established wherein project sponsors need to provide in the written request for federal funding documentation providing for the inclusion of Living Streets facilities in the proposed project seeking NIRPC-attributable funds and application materials must include a description of the facilities;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that sponsors using other local, state, or non-NIRPC attributable federal funds be encouraged to accommodate practicable Living Streets facilities, in the planning and design of all proposed transportation projects;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NIRPC-based stakeholder committees responsible for various funding priorities utilize these Living Street Guidelines and review proposed project descriptions to account for Living Streets adherence, and providing

exemptions to projects where deemed appropriate.

Duly adopted by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission on this historic day somewhere in the near future.


Living Streets Planning & Design Guidelines

Below are planning and design guidelines to assist project sponsors in the accommodation of all users (bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, motorists and people with disabilities, hereafter referred to as “Living Streets” facilities). Project sponsors shall use these guidelines in planning for and designing their projects. The Guidelines will be used by NIRPC staff and relevant committees as the proposed project is processed through current project selection and planning review.

  1. Living Streets facilities shall be established on rehabilitation, restoration, and

    resurfacing (3R), partial 3R, and new construction and reconstruction (4R) projects unless one or more of the following conditions are met (entities will be required to provide evidence for justification of exemption(s):

    1. Where non-motorized users are prohibited by law from using the roadway.

      In this instance, the applicant should accommodate Living Streets facilities as practicable within the right of way or within the same transportation corridor. Such projects shall still be inclined to incorporate green infrastructure improvements referenced in the above document.

    2. The cost of establishing Living Streets facilities that meet applicable standards would exceed 15% of the cost of the larger transportation project. Eligible costs may include additional right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, utility replacement by way of natural infrastructure, vegetative additions, and other construction costs with the establishment of said facilities.

    3. Where the project consists of minor maintenance or repair (reconstruction is not included). Minor projects include, but are not limited to, emergency and periodic/preventative maintenance.

    4. Where the project consists primarily of the installation of traffic control or safety devices and little or no additional right-of-way is to be acquired.

    5. There are topographic or natural resource constraints.

    6. Where factors indicate an absence of need.

    7. Where existing Living Streets facilities currently exists or are scheduled for construction within or near the corridor.

  2. On proposed 3R and 4R projects that do not increase vehicular capacity, Living Streets facilities shall be incorporated where applicable and as proposed by the project sponsor including in the following ways:

    1. Resurfacing including striping for additional shoulder width and/or crosswalks, as well as bike lanes where feasible in urban settings.

    2. Signalization including installation of pedestrian activated signals, and/or review of proper operation and timing of pedestrian phases.

    3. Restriping sufficiently wide pavements and bridge decks for additional shoulder width in accordance with applicable federal guidelines.

    4. Bridge deck replacement with extension of bridge deck (or other means) to accommodate all users.

    5. In cases where an adopted regional or local plan proposes a bikeway, rolling or pedestrian way that would pass under or over a bridge that is to be reconstructed, the bridge shall be reconstructed to accommodate intended users.

    6. Intersection upgrades including crosswalks and pedestrian actuated signals.

    7. In rural areas, paved shoulders should be included in all new construction and reconstruction projects on roadways used by more than 1,000 vehicles per day (ADT). Shoulders with a minimum of five-foot paved asphalt width preferred, accompanied by bicycle-friendly rumble strips. Paved shoulders have safety and operational advantages for all road users in addition to providing a place for bicyclists and pedestrians to operate.

    8. Addresses right-of-way flooding.

    9. In stormwater runoff areas generated from human land uses.

    10. In places where additional vegetation can lead to improved pollinator habitat,

      heating/cooling cost savings, and increased public health.

  3. The design and development of the transportation infrastructure shall improve conditions for all users by:

    1. Planning projects for the long-term. The design and construction of new transportation facilities should presume demand for all users, aim to improve health and increase ecological resilience, and not preclude the provision of future improvements. In particular, where development is projected to change the character of an area from rural to suburban to urban over the long-term, it is encouraged that adequate right-of-way and infrastructure be established as part of a near-term project to accommodate future facilities where applicable. Every project should be planned and designed with the ultimate, long- term goal of creating, over time, Living Streets facilities.

    2. Connecting Living Streets facilities across jurisdictional boundaries. As the metropolitan planning organization, NIRPC has a vantage point from which to recommend to the jurisdictions the connection and continuity of facilities for all users for the purpose of qualifying for federal funding. One way which NIRPC does this is through the Comprehensive Regional Plan which is updated every five years.

    3. Designing context-appropriate facilities to the best currently available standards and guidelines. The design of said facilities shall be in accordance with applicable federal guidelines.

    4. Addressing the need for bicyclists, rollers and pedestrians to cross corridors as well as travel along them. Even where bicyclists, rollers and pedestrians may not commonly travel along a corridor that is being improved or constructed, they will likely need to be able to cross that corridor safely and conveniently. For instance, a roadway project that does not contain a bike facility (interstate highway) should address bridge crossings that are hostile for bicycles, rollers and pedestrians. Therefore, the design of intersections and interchanges shall accommodate cyclists, rollers and pedestrians in a manner that is safe, accessible and convenient.

    5. Creating a more connected, renewed, united and vibrant Northwest Indiana. Living Streets projects support NIRPC’s planning initiatives including those that address climate change and its potential impacts.