Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Regional Active Transportation Connectivity Plan

The Summer 2015 MACOG newsletter, the "MACOGazetter" includes an article on the Regional Active Transportation Connectivity Plan.  This plan came out of a desire to give greater visibility to bicycle and pedestrian needs this year than would be possible in the major planning process called "Michiana on the Move: 2040 Transportation Plan."

What is significant about this plan is that it gives major emphasis to cycling and walking as valid modes of transportation, and it asks for input from the community for the plan.

"This plan will build upon the work each local public agency has done to develop a comprehensive active transportation (bicycle and pedestrian network. Much like the 2040 Transportation Plan, this plan will look at long-term goals and projects."

"This plan will analyze existing active transportation networks in order to assess the quality of the facilities and identify gaps. Many parts of the region have access to quality active transportation options, while other areas are missing this key transportation option. Through outreach and working with stakeholders, the plan will create a vision for active transportation in the region and suggest implementatiion strategies for communities.

If you are interested in being involved in the planning process, please send an email to with the subject line Active Transportation Connectivity Plan."

The article goes on to explain what active transportation is. Note how they link healthy people with healthy places:

"Active transportation is the means of getting around that is powered by human energy, primarily walking and bicycling. Active transportation offer the promise of improving the health of our people and places we live.
  • Healthy People:  America faces n obesity crisis, with more than two-thirds of American adults either overweight or obese. By making walking and biking safe and convenient, we can make it much easier for people to build routine physical activities into their daily lives.
  • Healthy Environment: Enabling people to walk or bike for some of their short trips can go a long way in helping our communities efficiently address numerous environmental challenges, from air pollution to climate change.
  • Healthy economy: Active transportation systems also foster economic health by creating dynamic connected communities with a high quality of life that catalyzes small business development, increases property values, sparks tourism and encourages corporate investment that attracts a talented, highly educated workforce. Active transportation also offers economic benefits to families by providing transportation options that don't require consuming gasoline at $3 per gallon.
  • Mobility for all: Near--universal reliance on the automobile for transportation leaves many people out of the equation, stuck with no way to get around. Children, the elderly, the visually impaired or otherwise physically challenged, those with lower incomes, or those who simply choose to not have access to a car, are among the groups that benefit most when opportunities to safely walk or bicycle are improved."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chip sealed roads

Every time I see a road that has been chip sealed, I take comfort in the fact that the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail will never been resurfaced with such a bicycle-unfriendly surface.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Street work in Shipshewana impacts parking

Mike Sutter, Shipshewana Town Manager, reported at the Pumpkinvine Advisory Committee meeting Aug. 11 that construction on several town streets will make it more difficult for people to park at the Wolfe Building and to navigate through town to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.

The work is being done on Morton Street where the Wolfe Building is located.

From early August to early September, the work will be on Morton St. from North Street to Main Street. Because of this work, it will be difficult to park at the Town Hall (Wolfe Building).

From Sept. 8 to the end of November, the work will be on Morton St. from Main St. to East Middlebury St.

Sutter indicated that there is plenty of parking at the town ball fields off  N 735 W east of town.

Additional (though unofficial) parking is available west of the Subway restaurant and at the Shipshewana-Scott Elementary School on evenings and weekends. 

John Yoder
Friends of the Pumpkinvine

Trail use

It is always encouraging to see people on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, and it is even more encouraging to see groups suing the trail as a destination for a group outing.

Last Saturday, Aug. 8, I was with a group riding from Goshen to Aunt Karen's in Middlebury for breakfast when I saw people in red shirts helping bikers safely cross County Road 127 north of Goshen. It appeared that there was some sort of organized ride going on. I knew that Aug. 8 was also the day of the Amish Land & Lakes ride, but I was fairly sure that they did not come that far south with their routes.

I then began to see other riders in red shirts, so when the opportunity presented itself, I asked one of them what group they were with. They said that they were from a Baptist Church in Elkhart.

I continued on toward Middlebury on County Road 35 -- the gap in the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail -- when I saw a large group of people and at least a dozen cars at the small Pumpkinvine Nature Trail parking lot at County Road 35. This parking lot was designed to hold six or seven cars, and it was jam packed with twice that many. I'm not sure what the group was doing -- whether they were meeting riders at the end of their ride or just getting ready to start a ride. I'm guessing they were supporters waiting for riders from Goshen, because when we returned 90 minutes later, they were gone.

How gratifying it is to see groups like this using the trail for a group event.