The Top Twelve: The most important Missouri bicycling, walking, and trails stories of 2015

2015 was a banner year for bicycling, walking, and trails across Missouri, as communities, agencies, elected officials, committed individuals and groups worked hard to make Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

Let's look at some of the highlights of 2015:

12. CONGRESS: President signs $305 billion transportation bill with improvements for bicycling and walking

This is the year that the nationwide movement in support of bicycling and walking really proved that bicycling and walking has bipartisan support in Congress and that we can make progress in both Democratic controlled and Republican controlled Congresses. The end result in 2015 looks so much better then 2012 did--and Missouri members of Congress of both parties played a key roles in helping that happen.

11. STATE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING: 43 bicycle, pedestrian, trails organizations unite to ask legislators to support bicycling and walking

To the disappointment of supporters of walking and bicycling in Missouri, legislative proposals to solve Missouri's transportation funding crisis in 2015 failed to include solutions for statewide funding for walking, bicycling, and transit. After those proposals stalled in Jefferson City, MoBikeFed help facilitate a letter, signed by a unified group of bicycle, pedestrian, trails, community, and health organizations from across the state, that went to over 400 Missouri legislators, members of Congress, MoDOT and agency officials, and other decision makers.

The letter made a clear statement of our united support for walking and bicycling and made it clear that our statewide movement will be fully engaged in the discussion about Missouri transportation funding as it moves forward in 2016.

10. STATEWIDE BICYCLE TOURISM: Bicycle Route 66 route unveiled--2493 miles through Missouri and 7 other states

The 2,493-mile route through eight states has been in the works for several years.  MoBikeFed has worked closely with the Adventure Cycling Association, MoDOT, and local communities along the route to help create the best possible bicycle route across Missouri for Bicycle Route 66.

9. MISSOURI CITIES: At long last, St Louis hires dedicated bike/ped coordinator; Bike St Louis completes 130 miles of bike routes; STL biking growing 5th fastest in the U.S.

Completion of Bike St. Louis Phase 3 means more than 130 miles of bike routes in STL City, including 10 road diets and the city's first cycletrack, a traffic-protected bicycle lane.

Census data shows that St. Louis is the 5th fastest-growing city for bicycling in the U.S. Cycling in the city has nearly tripled since 2000 and nearly quadrupled since 1990. The city has zoomed ahead of other Missouri cities and drawn even with Missouri's perennial favorite best bicycling city, Columbia. Reasons include a very strong local cycling advocacy community, over a decade of steady improvement to the Bike St Louis system, and recent improvements such as Complete Streets policies, anti-harassment laws, and the new citywide bike/ped coordinator.

Progress in many other Missouri cities has been promising as well--Kansas City is working on a new comprehensive bike plan, Columbia is working on Vision Zero, Springfield and St Joseph have continued to grow their bicycle and trail networks, Warsaw is set to adopt a Complete Streets policy and comprehensive trails & bikeways plan--and many, many more too numerous to list here.

8. MOUNTAIN BIKING: Major victory for mountain biking in Missouri: Mountain Biking to be allowed in Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Under a new General Management Plan recently adopted by the National Park Service, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways will, for the first time since its founding in 1964, allow mountain biking on Scenic Riverways trails. ONSR is Missouri's closest (and only) equivalent to a National Park.

7. BICYCLE MAPS: MoDOT releases new statewide bicycle maps - first update in nearly 10 years; free download

Updating Missouri's bicycle maps has been one of the top items in our Vision for Bicycling and Walking for quite some time. Now MoDOT has released a new version of their online maps that is a very significant update over previous versions. Click here to view and download the new MoDOT statewide bicycle maps in PDF format.

6. ROAD SAFETY: Ongoing trial of Sunset Hills Mayor who, according to witnesses 'attacked the bicycle rider' then 'floored it and took off'

The ongoing trial of Sunset Hills Mayor Mark Furrer, who is accused of hitting cyclist Randy Murdick with his car, then driving off, was a big story throughout 2015.  The Mayor staved off an impeachment attempt early in the year. Recently, Furrer's trial included damning testimony from several witnesses who contradicted the Mayor's account of events and support cyclist Murdicks' account. As the trial was wrapping up, the judge suddenly declared a mistrial, guaranteeing that the search for justice in this case will continue into 2016.\

5. WALKING: The national Walk Friendly Community program takes major strides in Missouri

A number of MIssouri communities are now working hard towards this relatively new national a designation--meaning that Missouri could soon become a national leader in this effort. Find out how to get your community involved here.

4. ANTI-HARASSMENT: 18 Nov 2015: Wildwood MO becomes 8th Missouri city to adopt anti-harassment policy for bicyclists, pedestrians

Another area where Missouri is fast becoming a national leader is in the adoption of anti-harassment policies.  Columbia led the way adopting its policy in 2009; now eight Missouri cities have adopted anti-harassment policies, including 4 of the 5 largest cities, several suburbs, and small rural communities.

3. MISSOURI LEGISLATURE: Bicycle insurance requirement defeated in Missouri House; anti-texting, bike/ped funding, penalties for drivers who injure/kill stalled due to legislative gridlock

In December 2014, we learned that Rep. Redmon of Canton had introduced a bill to require all people who bicycle to hold liability insurance--similar to that required of automobile drivers. By February, thanks to the diligent work of our statewide network of supporters--and many thousands of calls and emails to legislators in opposition to the bill--the bill was officially withdrawn.

Other legislative priorities--anti-texting, penalties for dangerous drivers who injure and kill, and dedicated state funding for bike/ped
--made good progress during the session but were finally stopped by legislative gridlock during the final weeks.  We'll be back in 2016!

2. FEDERAL SUPPORT: Federal, State and Local Organizations Joined Forces to Assess and improve Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety across America--and in Missouri; Six Missouri cities take Sec. Foxx's Safe Streets Challenge

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx led a nationwide comprehensive effort to improve safety for people who bicycle and walk--the strongest leadership we have seen from Washington DC on this issue in decades. Six Missouri cities joined Sec. Foxx's national Mayors Challenge for safer biking & walking.  (Your city can still join the challenge--follow the link for details.)

1. ROCK ISLAND TRAIL/KATY TRAIL:

Yes, that means we have no fewer than THREE major Rock Island Trail stories this year. Each of them individually is something we and our many allies across the state have been working towards and waiting for, for decades.  Together, they mean that the Rock Island Trail--which is potentially at least 210 miles long and combines with the Katy Trail to make a statewide trail loop over 450 miles long--is clearly the top story for bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri for 2015. 

Thanks for helping make 2015 a wonderful year for bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri. Let's continue to work together to make sure 2016 is even better!

 

The Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation is the only statewide organization working to implement a comprehensive Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri that envisions 1. A world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation network statewide, 2. Improved safety for all road users, 3. A powerful, unified statewide movement in support of bicycling, walking, and trails, and 4. Many more Missourians enjoying walking and bicycling on a daily basis.

In short, our Vision is to work towards exactly the sort of progress in bicycling and walking across Missouri that we see outlined above. Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality!

 

Share this:

Tags: