Time to rethink South Shore realignment

Leigh Coburn has reopened the discussion on the South Shore rail realignment, suggesting that things have changed since the major debates took place in 2009. I couldn't agree more.

I believe all of us should re-examine the issue and answer this question: What is best for Michigan City?

Should we choose the 11th Street route — in which $11 million in property value would be demolished; in which 17 streets would end in cul-de-sacs south of 11th, creating access problems for police, fire, EMTs, school buses and sanitation, recycling trucks; in which 800 parking spaces would displace other properties, creating both a traffic problem and an eyesore, further restricting commercial development south of the tracks; and in which fenced off, double tracks that would become a major maintenance problem and eyesore.

Or, should we choose the northern route with almost no property demolition; in which passengers would use an intermodal station in the midst of our City's most attractive assets: Lighthouse Place, Washington Park and Marina, and Blue Chip Casino, not to mention the Old Lighthouse Museum and Lubeznik Center for the Arts; in which space exists for up to 1,000 cars without creating a visual blight in the downtown area; in which a commuter station would complement further residential and commercial development in the north end.

Of course, it is a complex issue. There are environmental, financial, aesthetic and engineering issues to be considered.

Since the final rail alignment will be with us well into the next century, let's rethink things and ask ourselves what is best for Michigan City.

Fred Miller

Michigan City

 

Hospital needs upgraded trauma center

Before (Franciscan Health Michigan City) gets too far in building the new hospital, it is time for them to include a Level 3 Trauma Center, not just an emergency room.

With it's close proximity to I-94, it would be the perfect location. With all the industry and traffic in the area, it is sorely needed. We cannot continue to fly patients to Chicago or South Bend for treatment. When a serious injury happens, time is of the essence.

Too many lives are being lost due to the delay in trauma center treatment caused by transporting people so far. The time to act is now, before the building progress makes it difficult to add the Level 3 Trauma Center. La Porte and Porter County residents deserve this.

Rich Thielman

Michigan City

Editor's note: Dean Mazzoni, President and CEO of Franciscan Health Michigan City, offered the following response to this letter:

“The new hospital is being constructed with trauma capabilities incorporated into the design, so it would not slow construction to include those. The hospital is being designed to accommodate trauma cases. For example, there will be two trauma rooms in the Emergency Department and a helipad outside to allow us to accept, or to transport, critical patients.

We don’t intend at this time to pursue state trauma designation, but that is something we may revisit in the future.”

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