WINFIELD | Town officials are mapping plans to make the community more friendly to bicycle and foot traffic.
A pedestrian and bicycle route plan drafted by officials has been approved by the Town Council.
Grant funding of up to $50,000 is being requested from the federal Creating Livable Communities program. The town would be responsible for up to $10,000 in matching local funds.
The money would be used for a study to plan details of the route, Clerk-Treasurer Rick Anderson said.
"Many communities already have bike paths and trails," Anderson said. "We're a little behind. We're trying to get from point A to point B."
The plan approved by town officials shows sidewalks installed along main roads including 109th Avenue and Randolph Street, and also along parts of several other arterial streets.
Sidewalks currently are installed only within some of the town's newer subdivisions, and there are none on arterial roads.
A network of off-road bike-hike trails is shown running alongside some of the same streets and also on a trail circling the community.
One possibility is that if one of the areas with a trail shown on the map comes in for development, the developer would need to include a trail in some manner, Anderson said.
"The ultimate location (of the trail) would be determined through discussion and negotiations between the developer and the town at the time of development approval," Anderson said.
An off-trail diagonal route is pictured on the map running southeast along an abandoned rail line from west of Colorado Street to east of Randolph Street.
The diagonal route ultimately could connect to the Erie Lackawanna bike-hike trail in Crown Point, Anderson said.
It's too early in the process to know which routes will be truly off road and which trails will be on the roadway in dedicated marked lanes, Anderson said.
A roundabout, or circular intersection, is pictured at Randolph Street and 117th Avenue.
"One of the goals is to increase the walkability and access to our downtown retail area," Anderson said. Upgrades to the intersection of 117th Avenue and Randolph had already been completed as part of that goal, Anderson said.
Improving pedestrian and bicycle accessibility is a priority for town officials, Town Council President Gerald Steiner said.
The Winfield area originally developed as a rural community, Steiner said. "We don't have sidewalks. Hopefully we'll get the funding.
"We want to find ways to get the town more connected," Steiner said.
The Creating Livable Communities program supports community based transportation and land-use projects that bring vitality to downtown areas, neighborhoods, commercial cores and transit corridors.
Funding requests are made through the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.