Friends of the Pumpkinvine Trail questioning why warning signs h - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Friends of the Pumpkinvine Trail questioning why warning signs haven't gone up

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The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail goes from Elkhart through Goshen and Middlebury and ends in Shipshewana.

John Yoder is the President of Friends of the Pumpkinvine Trail. It's a group that promotes the popular trail. "There are 88,000 users in the Middlebury area and 60,000 here in Abshire Park," says Yoder.

One of users is Katie Carl, who put in six miles on Friday. She says she feels pretty safe on the trail, as long as she's paying close attention.  "You just have to be careful to slow down or make sure you stop every time you come to a road, ever if you don't hear cars coming," she says.

Yoder says the group secured a grant for $1,000 a year ago to put up warning signs for drivers about upcoming crossings. He says the need became apparent after a rider was killed at the County Road 127 crossing in September 2013.

"To have this happen, this tragedy happen, is really unfortunate. Really unfortunate. Goes against everything we wanted from the trail experience," says Yoder.

Yoder says the money is there. He just wants to know why the signs haven't gone up.  "It's the county highway department. Why haven't they done it? I'm mystified," says Yoder.

Yoder says it's Elkhart County Parks and Recreation's job to manage getting the signs up and the Highway Department's role to do the work.

FOX28 reached out to the highway department and while we haven't heard back, we did speak to the Superintendent for Elkhart County Parks Scott VanOmmeran. He says he's aware of the grant money that has been earmarked for warning signs, but says he's not sure when they will go up.     

VanOmmeran says if you're using the trail to please know what bicycle safety laws are, and obey them. Yoder echoes that, acknowledging riders could also do a better job of keeping the trail safe. "Bikers need to be aware that when they cross the road. They don't have the right of way," says Yoder.

VanOmmeran says the department been focused on another issue about whether to allow motorized vehicles, like golf carts, on the trails for people with disabilities to use. He says they're working to draft a policy on that.  
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