Hammond’s bike trails create scenic views, link to Northwest Indiana’s system

2013-07-10T02:00:00Z Hammond’s bike trails create scenic views, link to Northwest Indiana’s systemLu Ann Franklin nwitimes.com
July 10, 2013 2:00 am  • 

Bike trails link communities from Illinois and Indiana and attract both avid bicycle enthusiasts and walkers. They also contribute to the quality of life in those communities. Northwest Indiana now has 130 miles of trails in three counties.

As part of that system, Hammond offers a number of scenic bike trails, with more being proposed.

More than three miles of Fitness/Bike trails connect three facilities run by the Hammond Port Authority in North Hammond.

The trails wind through Wolf Lake and Forsythe Park, go behind Lost Marsh Golf Course on 125th Street, continue along George Lake and over the Pedestrian Bridge that spans Indianapolis Boulevard and New York Avenue. Recently, the Wolf Lake Trail was completed to 129th Street. The final portions of the trail system will run from 129th Street to the boardwalk that goes across Wolf Lake and then from behind the Illiana Yacht Club to 112th Street.

Another set of trails take non-motorized vehicles and walkers from central Hammond to the Little Calumet River that is the city’s border with Highland and Hammond.

A leg of the 17-mile Erie-Lackawanna Trail begins with a trail head at Rabin Plaza and continues through to Crown Point. In Hammond, the bikeway runs south of Rabin Plaza and splits into two sections. One goes directly south from Harrison Park to the Little Calumet River parallel with Hohman Avenue. The other runs diagonally southeast past Windrich Park, transects Columbia Avenue, continues past Cabela’s and Optimist Youth Sports Complex and meets the trail along the Little Calumet River.

Last summer, Hammond and Highland worked together to pave a gravel path on top of the Calumet River levee from Wicker Park west to Northcote Avenue as part of the Erie-Lackawanna Trail . That provided a continuously pave asphalt trail for bikers and pedestrians.

The Monon Bike Trail will soon cross the Little Calumet River and connect with Munster’s bike paths thanks to an interlocal agreement between Hammond, Munster and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates the South Shore rail lines.

The first portion of Hammond’s Monon Bike Trail currently goes north from the Little Calumet River to Lyman Avenue and Southmoor Street.

A new pedestrian/bike bridge is now under construction and will take the trail across the Little Calumet River. The old Monon rail trestle was demolished to make way for the bridge. That trestle was a pinch point for debris blocking the flow of water in the Little Calumet River. Crews hired by the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission repeatedly experienced problems trying to reach that debris because of the trestle’s construction.

This new bridge is being built on pier columns that once held the rail trestle but will be high enough to prevent the debris from accumulating.

Munster and Hammond will be responsible for the underpasses and maintenance of the bridge, according to the agreement.

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