The IN-MI Trail planning and development group met in early December to review progress on this 34 mile interstate trail connecting Niles, Mich. to Mishawaka, Ind. Attendees included representatives from both states as well at the engineering firm currently doing engineering work on the Niles Township portion of the trail and the National Parks Service .
Highlights of the recent progress are:
- Ten fitness stations have been installed along the trail in Niles City.
- Funding has been secured for most of Phase I construction in Michigan’s Niles Township. Of the $141,000 local match needed for the grants, only $26,000 remains. Construction from the Ind.-Mich. state line northward for the 3 mile Phase I section is expected to begin in the spring of 2014, with completion in the summer. Meanwhile, property acquisition is on-going for Phase II, further to the north.
- In Indiana’s St. Joseph County, federal funding has been secured for engineering and construction of a ½ mile section north of the town of Roseland in 2015. A highlight of this section will be the mid-block crosswalk at Cleveland Road, a 4 lane major artery. This crossing will feature a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon System (PHB), formerly known as the HAWK. The next step will be to extend the trail northward to the state line: the St. Joseph County Parks acquired that property several years ago, and will proceed with development when funding becomes available.
- Notre Dame is working on becoming a Bicycle Friendly Campus. They are also considering an off-street multiuse trail paralleling Angela Street along the southwest part of the campus. This section of Angela is currently a signed bike route, but has no bike lanes. They are also considering a path along the west side of campus.
- Immediately southeast of downtown South Bend is trail that was constructed many years ago and does not meet modern Shared Use standards. The city is considering improvements using CMAQ as a possible funding source for this area, as well as for an area just north of downtown. The city is also implementing a Smart Streets Initiative which is intended to make the downtown much more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
- There is regional and national interest in connecting the IN-MI Trail to a cross-state trail being developed in northern Indiana. The National Parks Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) is working with the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) on a trail from the Illinois to Ohio state lines to make this dream come true.
I offer my thanks to Marcy Colclough, a Senior Planner at the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission for allowing me to plagiarize and summarize from her excellent meeting minutes and map image.