The City of South Bend has invited the public to an open house to view and comment on plans for Lincolnway West improvements. The open house will be Thursday, October 9 at the LaSalle Branch Library, 3232 W. Ardmore Trail. The library is just a few hundred yards west of Bendix Drive on the City’s west side.
The improvements are wide ranging, but cyclist will be most interested in two Lincolnway West proposals:
- the bicycle lanes from Maplewood Ave. to Sherman Ave. (about 2.3 miles)
- sharrows for Sherman Ave to William St. (0.5 miles).
When she heard the news, Karen Haun of the Bicycle Michiana Coalition (BMC) said “I am so glad this will be happening to LWW and the west side. She added that “I also think that the railroad bed behind Holy Cross church and school should be turned into a bicycle trail.”
That rail-trail project has been discussed among some biking and walking advocates for several years, and has been referred to as the West Side Greenway. But it has never been in any of the planning documents by either the City or the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG). Mike Divita, a Planner with the South Bend Department of Community Investment said “The corridors plan includes the rail-trail project you mention, the first time that idea is formally in a plan.” Divita went on to say “If the City’s proposed realignment of tax increment financing districts is approved, the City will have more resources available to pursue property acquisition of that line and trail development.”
Judy Lee, President of the BMC echoed Haun’s opinion that the rail trail should be a high priority, affirming that “BMC supports the rail trail project”.
Bicyclist should view this open house as another opportunity to support cycling, and to counter the voice of motorists who think money is being wasted on improving safety for biking and walking.