Chesterton Tribune



County endorses statewide bike path crossing Chesterton and Porter

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The towns of Chesterton and Porter are two locations along a cross-state bicycle route system proposed by the Hoosiers Rails to Trails Council.

The Porter County Commissioners on Tuesday this week gave permission and their endorsement for the non-profit HRTC to use the roads here as part of their AA route creating a link from Dyer to Fort Wayne and making further connections into Illinois and Ohio.

Representing the Indianapolis-based HRTC, Raymond Porter said the organization wishes to develop the Hoosier Hike and Bike Centennial route to be completed in time for the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 11, 2016. The different routes would form a trail system reaching to all corners of the state, he said.

According to Porter’s map, the local arm of the AA route would enter Porter County through the Prairie-Duneland Trail which starts in Hobart and ends at its eastern trail head at 15th Street in Chesterton and would then go north to Woodlawn Ave. in Porter.

Hooking a right, the route would then turn left on Waverly Rd. which intersects the Calumet Trail north of town. The HH&BC would leave Porter County on the Calumet Trail and continue east to Michigan City.

Porter said other locations planned for the AA route include South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen and Angola. The hope is for the HH&BC to also connect to the United States Bicycle Route 35, which runs from Northern Michigan to Mississippi.

HRTC Vice-President Richard Vonnegut said the route will use existing roads and bike paths so there is no extra cost for maintenance for the communities they seek endorsements from. Counties and municipalities can decide if they want to use signage, and are not required to, he said. Many bike maps can now be accessed on electronic devices in lieu of signage, he added.

Counties can benefit financially from having biking and hiking trails because they contribute to local tourism, said Vonnegut. Those who travel on them are more likely to stop and spend money in local communities than those traveling by car, he said.

Following the standards set by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials, Porter said he will be asking all municipalities on the route for their endorsement. He said he explained the route to the Chesterton Town Council last week and they “seemed to be on board, for the most part.”

He plans on speaking with the Porter Town Council soon.



Posted 8/8/2014








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