Bike ride raises awareness for urban trail need

A local group makes a push to get Urban Trails on the city's southeast side.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A couple dozen people gathered at McMillen Park Sunday afternoon for a bike ride to raise awareness to the need for more urban trails. The group is pushing to get trails into the inner city to make it safer and easier for people living on the southeast side to travel around the city.

The ride was hosted by leaders from the Urban Trails Project and Omotayo Rite of Passage. It was the third annual Father’s Walk for Fitness. The bike ride and walk was an idea to get fathers out with their children in a healthy and active way, showcasing the positive role fathers have in their children’s lives as well as to bring awareness to the lack of urban trails on the city’s southeast side.

People rode about five miles along the Rudisill bike lanes from McMillen Park to Foster Park which are two areas of the city they’d like to see be connected by trails. Community members who live on the southeast side want to have the option they say their neighbors in other areas of the city have to take bikes as an alternate form of travel or an easy way to exercise.

“The Urban Trails is definitely needed,” said Diana Rogers, the founder of Omotayo Rite of Passage as well as a Fort Wayne police officer. “One of the things we do have is we have beautiful parks, but there’s not a lot of ways to get there safely, so having a trail would give us that vehicle to do that safely and get our children out of the streets,”

The complaint is that the current bike lanes are narrow, and some riders have had a few close calls, especially with the traffic right hand turn lane cutting across the bike lane on Rudisill Blvd.

One of the main goals of the group is to add a trail down Hanna Street because it less busy and safer and would give people direct access to downtown. Members of the Urban Trails Project have brought the issue up to city council members during a few meetings. Their hope is to use Legacy Fund money to widen the sidewalks in the area and create the trails.

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