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December 11, 2012

Commissioners OK state bike route

Biking corridor will run through Howard, Miami counties

PERU — The Miami County commissioners Monday signed a resolution expressing their support for a state bike route that will run through Miami and Howard counties, and potentially link to a national biking route stretching from upper Michigan to southern Louisiana.

The Hoosier Rails to Trails Council is working to establish the Indiana portion of the corridor named U.S. Bike Route 35. Richard Vonnegut, vice chairman of the council, said the route will run from the Michigan border through LaPorte County down through Indianapolis to Louisville, Ky.

He said the United States Bicycle Route System proposes to establish a series of officially designated, cross-country bikeways using existing roads for long-distance cyclists to follow while traveling by bike across America.

In Miami County, the route follows the Nickel Plate Trail through Peru and cuts over to North 400 East in Howard County, and follows that road into Tipton.

Earlier this year, commissioners approved East Lover’s Lane Road and Denver Park to be used as part of the bike route. The proposed path through Peru follows North Broadway Street, North Water Street and West 7th Street.

The resolution signed Monday by commissioners also petitions the Indiana Department of Transportation to actively cooperate with the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council to designate the bike corridor.

Vonnegut said each portion of the path must be sanctioned by state, city and county governments, as well as any trail owners, before it can be designated as an official bike route.

Once the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council receives approval for U.S. Bike Route 35 from all the necessary government agencies, he said the organization will submit a folio to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation, which can officially establish the roadways as a national bike route.

The route is projected to be designated sometime next year.

After receiving the designation, Vonnegut said each state southward can then add itself to U.S. Bike Route 35 to complete the national route to Louisiana.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He can be reached by phone at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

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