New Bike Lanes on South Bend’s West Side Create an Excellent Downtown-to-Airport Bike Route

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New Bike Lanes on South Bend’s West Side Create an Excellent Downtown-to-Airport Bike Route

Looking East on W Colfax

Looking East on W Colfax (Toward a One-Way Section; W Lasalle is at Left)

A little over a year ago, I wrote about the need for a good bicycle route from downtown to the airport. I was particularly interested to know if there were plans to connect the nice (but very short) separated bike / pedestrian path on Voorde Dr with a route all the way to downtown.

Although I was aware that South Bend was in the process of striping new lanes on the city’s west side, it didn’t occur to me until this weekend that there is now a great route all the way from downtown to the airport! In my humble opinion, the city hit a home run with this route selection: it is safe, pleasant and hits several major destinations.

I believe this route is particularly important because the airport is our regional transportation hub: in addition to airplanes, the airport is also our local Greyhound terminal and the South Shore commuter train terminal (which runs all the way to Chicago). As an added bonus, the downtown-airport bicycle route runs by Bosch (which has a high density of dedicated employee cyclists) and the South Bend Amtrak station as well!

Looking Southwest at Corner of W Lasalle and La Porte (to Avoid a One-Way Section of Colfax)

Looking Southwest at Corner of W Lasalle and La Porte (to Avoid a One-Way Section of Colfax)

For the westbound trip (i.e., to the airport) head out of town on either Colfax or Washington (I have a slight preference for Washington because it goes past the Center for History, which is an awesome facility). If you started on Washington you can continue on it all the way to Olive, or if you prefer bike lanes, head right (to the northwest) when you hit La Porte Ave to get to W Colfax. There’s a short section of W Colfax that is one way only (to the east), so stay on La Porte past Colfax until you can make a left onto W Lasalle Ave and pick up the bike lane — even if you started on Colfax you’d need to make this jog on La Porte to avoid the one-way section.

The bike lanes on Colfax are great! You need to make a slight jog to the northwest at Studebaker St as Colfax becomes Orange St, but the bike lanes are continuous (you may not even notice the change of street name). Continue on Orange all the way until it merges with Washington St. and becomes Bendix Dr (this takes you past Bosch and the Amtrak Station).

After a little zigzagging, Bendix heads due north, and also has excellent bike lanes until its intersection with Westmoor. Turn left on Westmore St and and head west until you’re forced to bear right (north) on N Sheriden St.

Continue north on Sheriden, which crosses Lincoln Way West, until you can make a left (west) onto Voorde Dr. From there you’ve got a separated bike / pedestrian path all the way into the airport. My wife and I took this route to the airport yesterday, and I was blown away by how pleasant and safe it is!

Here’s a map showing the complete route (note: this is for the westbound route and includes a minor detour on W Lasalle Ave due to a short one-way section on W Colfax Ave; for the return trip just stay on Colfax):

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By | 2008-10-20T15:21:41+00:00 October 20th, 2008|Categories: Routes|Tags: , |4 Comments