Sunday, November 9, 2008

South Bend has done it.....

As a former resident of South Bend I am just so proud of how far they have come in not only implementing portions of their Comprehensive Plan but that they have gone so far, so quickly, in creating a bicycle friendly City. (Actually, I am a little jealous)

Mayor Stephen J. Luecke in his 2007 State of the City address directed staff to:
Develop bike paths that share the road with vehicular traffic by establishing "one major north-south and one major east-west bike path each year during the first five years" of implementation. At 10 miles per year, this will establish a substantial 50-mile network of bike lanes in South Bend.
Complete our riverwalk system from Logan Street to Darden Road in the first five years of the City Plan implementation.

This is from a recent press release from the Mayor.

Expanding on Mayor Stephen J. Luecke’s commitment to develop a 50mile network of bicycle routes in five years, the City of South Bend has unveiled a map showing a proposed bicycle network of more than 88 miles.
“This map will serve as a longterm planning tool for my administration as it continues to add a minimum of 10 new miles of bicycle routes each year,” Luecke said. “It will also show the entire community our vision for a comprehensive network that provides safe routes for bicyclists to reach every segment of South Bend.”

Now in the second year of implementation, the emerging network is expected to have 32.8 miles completed by the end of this year (24.5 miles since the mayor’s 2007 State of the City 50mile pledge). The proposed new routes will feature a yettobe determined combination of:

Bicycle lanes – Painted fivefootwide lanes on each side of the road between traffic and parking lanes. (Example: Mishawaka Avenue)

Multipurpose paths – Offroad, paved pathways limited to bicycles and pedestrian traffic. (Example: Riverside Trail, Portage Avenue)

Designated routes – Streets marked by “Share the Road” signs that are recommended for bicycle and vehicular traffic. (Example: Ford Street)

The network map is now available on the City’s web site at
It shows already completed routes, proposed routes to be added by the city by the end of 2011 and beyond as well as adjoining bicycle routes outside the city limits. Of the more

than 106 miles on the map, more than 34 miles will be in place by the end of 2008.
How amazing is that! When I lived there I can't remember there being any bike lanes, and now they are going to have 34 mile of lanes/paths! Hat's off to the Mayor and his entire staff proving that they can work together to acheive such great things!

In creating the proposed network, city officials identified routes that provide safe access to destinations, including employment centers, schools, libraries and parks as well as connect to existing routes in neighboring areas. The routes were selected in consultation with representatives of the Bike Michiana Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy organization representing eight local bicycle groups.

The City will determine priority routes to implement each year based on its desire to link key destinations, construction schedules, existing road conditions, funding and other factors. A street must be at least 48 feet wide to incorporate two 11foot travel lanes, two 8foot parking lanes and two 5foot bike lanes. With a limited number of City streets of that width, the City in some places would need to remove a parking lane on one side of a street to add painted bicycle lanes.
“With high gas prices and efforts by residents to keep in shape, more people are riding bicycles. They legally have the same access to roadways as cars, trucks and other vehicles,” said Gary Gilot, director of public works. “We’re trying to balance the interests of bicycles, motorists, and neighbors and businesses who rely on onstreet public parking.”
As the City implements new routes each year, planners will work in consultation with
adjacent property owners, neighborhood groups and the bicycling community for optimal

This is near and dear to my heart because after looking at the map, they put a bike lane on the road that I used to ride to work on!

Now, Fort Wayne already had many many miles of paths with the Rivergreenway already in place so comparing the two is not apples to apples but still....

I beleive that Fort Wayne has the talent and ability to work together to accomplish this and more in the future.

1 comment:

Scott Spaulding said...

Thanks for posting. Enjoy seeing how other cities handle things.