Regional Active Transportation Plan
By Zach Dripps, MACOG
In July 2016, the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) adopted their first regional long-range active transportation plan. The plan is a result of a 10-month planning process, which will serve as the bike and pedestrian component of the Michiana on the Move: 2040 Transportation Plan. During this time MACOG formed a steering committee, held focus group meetings, and engaged the public through a survey to determine a vision, goals, objectives and infrastructure and programmatic recommendations to strive to achieve by 2040.
Six goals that were identified through the planning process include: connectivity, accessibility, safety, culture, health, and quality of place. These values can be seen in the vision for the Plan:
In 2040, the Michiana Region will boast an interconnected, safe and accessible active transportation network where all residents and visitors can travel from place to place without use of a personal motorized vehicle. Through infrastructure, programs, and policies, walking and bicycling will become a common, enjoyable, and viable transportation and recreation choice that will lead to healthier lives, safer communities, and an economically and socially vibrant region.
In order to take this vision, and implement the various infrastructure and programmatic recommendations, the plan outlines early action steps which are found below.
In addition to the Early Action Steps, the plan incorporates 552 miles of proposed bike and pedestrian projects. Of the 552 proposed miles, the majority is identified as shared use path facilities (47%) or signed routes (32%). These projects, along with smaller local projects such as sidewalk and crossing improvements, will provide safe, connected, and accessible environment for all users. Because of the broad scope and long range nature of this plan, these projects may change as others are implemented, and any project may be improved to a better facility type as circumstances allow.
Since July, MACOG has helped Elkhart and Goshen receive an Indiana Department of Health grant for a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. This plan will help Elkhart and Goshen take the next step to put projects on the ground and better incorporate walking and biking in their communities. We will forming the Michiana Active Transportation Committee in the coming months, which will help MACOG accomplish many of the following Early Action Steps. If you would like more information about the plan, the planning process, or to stay up-to-date on our activities, please visit www.macog.com/activetransportation.
The Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) is a regional intergovernmental agency established to foster cooperative, coordinated and comprehensive planning activities that focus on areas of interlocal importance. This includes but is not limited to transportation, transit, economic development, environment, and other topics that may impact the region. The MACOG region represents Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties in Northern Indiana. For more information, visit www.macog.com.