Alex and I took a bike ride on the new trail built on Indiana University Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW) campus last night. The new trail runs more or less north and south along the east side of the St. Joe River. The city is building another trail on the west side of the river across from the IPFW campus. That trail is a part of the Rivergreenway system in Fort Wayne.
This trail is actually "Native Trees of Indiana" trail - you can see the description signs in the distance, near the trees they describe.
Alex is so competitive!
The Vendrely bridge here connects IPFW with the Rivergreenway system on the west side of the river.
Immediately south from the bridge is Johnny Appleseed Park, the final resting place of John Chapman, who in the 1800's shared his passion for apples with settlers in the old Northwest Territory. The park is inviting, but getting across Coliseum Boulevard's 4 lanes of high speed traffic has been a problem for a long, long time. Well, the city has it figured out by taking the trail under Coliseum Blvd by following the river under the bridge.
Here's the incline from below the bridge up to the bridge deck crossing the river.
Voila! On the Coliseum Blvd bridge, in my own bike / pedestrian lane, I can safely cross the river without the risk of spreading my blood and flesh all over someone's car.
Although the new trails are great for recreation, they are not good for most folks interested in transport by bike, because the trails meander with the rivers, adding miles to an otherwise shorter and more direct commute. Plus, the yearly floods take much of the trail system out of commission for one to two weeks at a time.
The city must be commended (and IPFW) its dedication to making Fort Wayne a more bike friendly place. Sharrows are showing up here and there. Bike signs are springing up along city streets. And a few bike-only lanes are set up downtown. The city is planning even more bike infrastructure improvements in the future, including education for drivers and for bicyclists, so both parties can share the roads responsibly.
For something completely different, here's one of the few visible and remaining fiberglass mastodons the city made available to businesses maybe 10 or 12 years ago. After Chicago's cow contest, Fort Wayne decided to do it's own decorate a fiberglass Mastodon contest. Mastodon skeletons are still occasionally found in surrounding peat bogs that are mined for their peat and black dirt.