Niles Township works to bridge River Valley Trail gap

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Jul 312017

NILES — North of the Indiana-Michigan state line, one curvy little gap cuts the Michigan portion of the River Valley Trail in two.It’s a 1.2-mile stretch in Niles Township that has interrupted the ride or hike for trail users for several years.

But finally it’s on track to be completed — possibly in just over a year’s time.

 “We’re almost there,” said Jill DeLucia, chairwoman of the Niles Township Parks Commission. DeLucia’s hoping residents come to the Township Hall on Bell Road for an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today to take a look at the final plans and to give their input.

“Whether it’s the location of benches or avoiding a certain area or making sure there’s signage in a certain spot, you get some great feedback from the public,” DeLucia said. “Any feedback is helpful in crafting a plan.” Wightman & Associates of Benton Harbor has engineered plans for the 1.2-mile piece of trail, which will fill the gap from where the township’s existing trail, which starts at the state line, ends at Brandywine Creek Nature Park to where the city of Niles’ portion of the trail picks up to the north at Fort and Third streets.

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We take LimeBike for a test spin in South Bend

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Jul 122017

Joe Ditz – SOUTH BEND — We find one LimeBike bicycle parked outside of Cops & Doughnuts-Dainty Maid Precinct, right where the smartphone app says it is.

Curious cops stop by to see what photographer Santiago Flores and I are doing Tuesday with the neon green bike, the first steed of the city’s new bike sharing program to officially hit the street.

I click “unlock” on the app, and it immediately finds the QR code on the bike seat. I could have also punched in the plate number. The lock flips open with a chime.

I heave the bike off of its kickstand — it feels like someone has loaded it with two big bags of groceries. And I cruise down bike lanes and downtown cycle paths, sitting completely upright and ringing the bell.

It rides like an old-world city bike. Not fast. But steady. It has just one speed, so riding uphill would surely mean hopping off of the seat to pedal.

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South Bend cautiously moving forward on bike sharing

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Apr 112017

SOUTH BEND — The city can likely support a bike-sharing program, but officials want more time to determine which type.

The issue’s complexity, some of it coming as a surprise to the city administration, warrants more research and planning, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Monday, moments after he announced details of his second annual Mayors’ Bike Ride at a Howard Park news conference.

“We want to make sure we get this right the first time,” Buttigieg said, “because when you lock in on a certain plan, especially if it’s a private partner, you have to make sure you’re getting it right. But the sooner we can have it, the better, because I really do think it will be an enhancement to quality of life here.”

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Mayors’ Ride returns to South Bend, Mishawaka

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Apr 112017

SOUTH BEND — The Mayors’ Ride, which invites bicyclists to spin along bike routes by the St. Joseph River, will return May 7 for the second year with only a small change in its route.

The free bike ride will run between 8 a.m. and noon that Sunday. Bicyclists of all ages will be able to join it at any time in those four hours, starting at either St. Patrick’s County Park or Howard Park in South Bend or at Central Park in Mishawaka.

An obstacle course, inflatable play equipment and food trucks will be posted at Howard Park, said Aaron Perri, director of the city’s Venues, Parks and Arts, at a news conference Monday to promote the event. And there will be cookies, fruit and water at all three stops.

 Police from South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County will once again be on hand to help with safety at key intersections, said Pete Jank, president of the Bike Michiana Coalition.
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