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‘Livable Broadway’ input sought by GPTC

Angie Williams Gary gets ready board Gary Public Transit Corp. shuttle bus Tuesday from bus shelter Merrillville. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times

Angie Williams, of Gary, gets ready to board a Gary Public Transit Corp. shuttle bus Tuesday from a bus shelter in Merrillville. | Carole Carlson~Sun-Times Media

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If you go:

What: Public forum on transit needs

When: 2-4 p.m. Friday

Where: Merrillville Town Hall, 7820 Broadway

For information: contact Gary Public Transit Corp., 885-7555

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Updated: April 21, 2014 6:10PM



From its inception at the Indiana Toll Road in the shadow of U.S. Steel in Gary, Broadway stretches south about 15 miles.

Along the way, there are vacant storefronts, a university, strip malls, restaurants and banks. Crossing through two cities and one town, Broadway ends at Indiana 231 in Crown Point.

Broadway offers many options, but many depend on public transportation. The Gary Public Transit Corp. bus system is a lifeline connecting people to jobs, shopping and doctor’s visits.

Buoyed by a $250,000 planning grant, GPTC is envisioning what a “Livable Broadway” would look like along the busy corridor in Gary, Merrillville and Crown Point. The GPTC is hosting a public forum at 2 p.m. Friday at Merrillville Town Hall, 7820 Broadway, to take input on the vision and fine tune it before hiring a consulting firm.

Serving more transit needs is the focus of the GPTC.

“In some trips we are already carrying more people than we have seats,” said David Wright, GPTC marketing director. “If a huge development takes place, that could break the system because we wouldn’t have capacity.”

The Broadway Express carries about one-third of GPTC’s monthly riders or about 25,000 people.

Angela Edwards, of Gary, walks four blocks from her Glen Park residence to catch the bus at 43rd Avenue and Broadway for her laundry service job at Lincolnshire Health Care in Merrillville. She boards the bus at 7:20 a.m. and it arrives at a bus shelter south of U.S. 30 at 7:48 a.m. “I punch in at 8 a.m.,” she said.

Wright said after the forum, the GPTC board of directors will hire consultants to determine the needs and type of transit necessary along Broadway and how to pay for it.

“What we’re looking for is consensus between community and transit system on what we can do,” Wright said.

More transit options appealed to Antonio Martin, of Gary, who catches one bus, then transfers to the Broadway Express for the trip to Merrillville and his job as a prep cook at Applebee’s.

Angie Williams, of Gary, took the Broadway Express on Tuesday to a bus stop on Broadway, just north of U.S. 30. From there, she is picked up by a GPTC shuttle bus for a trip to Southlake Mall.

She said the shuttle stop is packed about 9 p.m. each night as people leave their jobs at Merrillville and Hobart businesses and head north back to Gary.

“Other than this, we wouldn’t have any transportation to get out there,” said Williams, who favors expansion.

“We need this. We want to keep this and, if anything, expand it so we can get better jobs.”

Wright said future bus demand depends on employment and population projections. He said the consultants will sit down with planners in the three communities and plot growth patterns.

“There’s no expectations of making this something that will be put on the shelf,” Wright said. “This will be a road map of how to maintain transit in the future.”



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