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Walk and Ride Program promotes physical activity in downtown South Bend

UPDATE: The first Walk and Ride set for Thursday July 20 has been cancelled due to the weather. The next one is scheduled for Thursday July 27. 

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A new program starts Thursday to promote physical activity and bring awareness to all the new features downtown.

The city collaborated with the St. Joseph County Health Department and the Michiana Area Council of Governments to create the Walk and Ride Program. This program puts on short weekly walks and bike rides for people downtown.

The walk starts at 12:15 p.m. at the Century Center. It should last about 30 minutes.

The city says it’s a way to highlight the new opportunities for walkers and bikers downtown with the completion of the smart streets project.

“The primary audience here is the downtown worker who could take 30 minutes out of their lunch hour on a Thursday and take a short walk or ride,” said Deputy Director of Public Works Jitin Kain.

Each week will alternate walking and biking. There is a set route that Kain says could be modified depending on the turn out.

Especially with the recent launch of LimeBike downtown, even those without a bike can easily join the ride.

The result of this program is two-fold.

“It’s a way to highlight the amenities we’ve installed but also encourage the audience, the workers in downtown, to utilize these and then be a little more healthy by taking a walk or a ride,” said Kain.

Kain says the first few weeks will focus on educating the public on how the new features downtown work. He thinks this program will bring exposure to the new amenities installed with Smart Streets.

“It’s a way to educate the public on what’s out there and how to use the protected bike lanes appropriately, but also the new loops that have now been created with the new sidewalk infrastructure that’s now been installed,” he said.

These will be held every week until the end of August, weather permitting.

Kain says he hopes this will be well received and can continue into future years.

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