A few days ago I wrote about my least favorite non-links, or “missed connections” in Michiana. Now I would be remiss if I didn’t applaud the “best connections”, where some kind soul went out of her way to link neighborhoods rather than force traffic onto congested arterial “traffic sewers”.
Here are my top five:
1. Wembley to Brighton: Perfect example. You can even see the old curb on Brighton. Without this connection it would be impossible to get from Darden to Darden. Now it only requires an ugly little right-to-left along Ironwood.
2. “The Neighborhoods”: If you’re a roadie in north South Bend then chances are you’re already intimately familiar with this string of subdivisions connecting Mayflower to Lilac. I hit this gorgeous route on nearly every ride over 25 miles. Fantastic!
3. Bulla at Twyckenham: It lets bikes through but not cars. Without it all the hungry Notre Dame graduate students would have to go down to the increasingly overtrafficked Vaness to get to Martin’s and all points east.
4. Hickory Village Apartments to Tanglewood Ct: This might technically be a non-link, and someone could put up a fence here at any time. But for now it’s an illicit Northeast Passage connecting Hepler to Day and the Grape Road shopping district beyond. Is it a hopeful ray of light, or just another sad reminder of how our infrastructure is dependent on the kindness of strangers?
5. University Village to Cripe: This one’s super-secret, so keep it on the DL. It’s the only way to get to Notre Dame from the Northwest without taking 933 or Juniper.
Honorable Mention: Oak Park at Oak Ridge. It shows how rare good links are that this one is actually a non-link unless you cut through some poor sucker’s flower garden. This was probably the steepest street in South Bend until the city blocked it off to all traffic (rather than just car traffic). Now the neighbors are intent on turning it into an extension of their gardens rather than the only link between Edison Park and Wooded Estates. Zounds and drat!
Sure, this list is very heavy on north South Bend, but that’s what I know. It just goes to show how tough it is to get around that it’s almost impossible to know what routes are through and which aren’t until you try them. That’s why I started the Michiana Bike Map, an online resource for bike route planning in the area.
What are your favorite serendipitous links?