Chesterton Tribune



Prairie-Duneland Trail officially part of designated US bike route network

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The Praire-Duneland Trail is now officially part of a recognized 58-mile U.S. Bicycle Route between Illinois and Michigan, and that route is now one of three spanning Indiana from border to border over 610 combined miles.

On Friday, the Indiana Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Adventure Cycling Association, Bicycle Indiana, and the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, announced the designation of those three U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBRs).

USBRs are formally numbered bicycle routes connecting communities and the nation. “The routes are for experienced long-distance bicycle riders--generally considered ‘touring cyclists’--who are comfortable riding on most types of facilities, including roads without any special treatments for bicyclists,” INDOT said. “This group also includes utilitarian and recreational riders who are confident enough to ride on busy roadways and navigate in traffic.”

“INDOT is proud to partner with the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, Bicycle Indiana, and the Adventure Cycling Association to turn the idea of a bicycle route network throughout the state and the nation into a reality,” said INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson. “Indiana is the true crossroads of America, validated not only by our roadways, but now by our bicycle routes as well.”

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved INDOT’s applications for USBR 35, USBR 36 and USBR 50 at its annual meeting last month in Chicago. AASHTO also approved new USBR miles in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, and Vermont, bringing the system o more than 11,000 miles. And Indiana’s total USBR mileage is now seventh in the nation.

“The designation of these routes puts Indiana at the crossroads of a budding network of national bicycle touring routes,” said Nancy Tibbett, executive director of Bicycle Indiana. “This is a good thing for Indiana, since studies show that bicycle tourism is growing rapidly, and that bicycle tourists spend more and stay longer than other travelers.”

“Indiana is delighted to be joining 22 other states as part of the U.S. Bicycle Route System,” said Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. “We take great pride in our rural roadways and the charm of our natural assets and destinations. Hoosiers look forward to sharing their roads and communities with bicycle tourists as they travel the Indiana portions of these U.S. bike routes.”

Indiana’s three USBRs:

* USBR 36: This 58.7-mile route runs between Illinois and Michigan, with 35 miles of it on off-road trails, including the Prairie-Duneland Trail. After crossing the Illinois state line, it diverts in Hammond from an urban setting to a loop trail around Wolf Lake and connects with the Erie-Lackawannal, Oak-Savannah, and Prairie-Duneland trails, eventually leading riders to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The Dunes Highway, or U.S. 12, then takes cyclists through Michigan City and eventually across the Michigan state line.

* USBR 35: The nearly 381-mile, north-south route crosses Indiana from LaPorte County on the Michigan border to Jeffersonville at the Big Four Bridge over the Ohio River.

* USBR 50: This 160-mile east-west route traverses Indiana from the Illinois border, near Terre Haute, to the Ohio border, near Richmond.


Posted 11/9/2015




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