BERRIEN SPRINGS — The Berrien County Non-Motorized Summit – a discussion on trails, paths, bike lanes and paved shoulders that connect communities – is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the lobby of the Howard Performing Arts Center on the campus of Andrews University, 4160 E. Campus Circle Dr., Berrien Springs.
The event is being hosted by Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, the Best Practices Committee of The Strategic Leadership Council and Andrews University. The summit is open to the public and is free to attend. Refreshments will be provided. There will be a brief presentation on non-motorized facilities in Berrien County and then a work session to gather input on desired facilities and priorities to help develop a vision.
Major trail efforts in Berrien County include:
• Berrien County Linear Park, the Berrien County Parks Department effort to link existing county parks with a trail, with the first priority along Red Arrow Highway from Bridgman to the Galien River County Park north of New Buffalo.
• Marquette Greenway, a 58-mile trail connecting New Buffalo to Chicago. The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission is working with the municipalities and Friends of Harbor Country Trails to develop a route from the Indiana state line to downtown New Buffalo.
• Indiana Michigan River Valley, a 34-mile trail connecting Niles to Mishawaka, Ind. There is interest in expanding this trail to connect to Berrien Springs, and ultimately to St. Joseph.
Many communities in Berrien County have trail systems, such as St. Joseph’s John and Dede Howard Family Recreation Trail, Buchanan’s Mc-Coy’s Creek Trail and Benton Harbor’s Harbor Shores trails.
There are also efforts to add bike lanes and paved shoulders on roads to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Some major projects include Napier Avenue (Benton and St. Joseph townships), Red Arrow Highway (Chikaming and New Buffalo townships) and M-63 Highway (Hagar Township). Other activities such as adding bike racks, share the road signage and road markings will also make our communities more bike friendly.
The Non- Motorized Summit is funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation and is part of a larger effort to update the Southwest Michigan Non-Motorized Plan and Bicycling Guide for Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties. For information about this event, contact Kris Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 925-1137. Ext. 1521.