Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Lack of safe places to walk and bicycle dramatically impacts health in rural Missouri communities: A call to action

The systematic dis-investment in safe places to walk and bicycle has had a tremendous impact on the health of the 50% of Missourians who live in communities in rural and outstate Missouri.

We have been talking about this health and investment disparity for years.   But this year, I dug into the data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the U.S. Census, and other data sources to really show, definitively and through the data, that rural and outstate Missouri realliy does have lower access to safe places to walk and bicycle, and that really does have devastating health effects on these communities.

This is a clarion call to leaders and politicians in Missouri, to citizens, and to groups like ours that advocate for more, better, safer places to walk and bicycle: Rural Missouri wants and needs better, safer places to walk and bicycle.

Slides, notes, and data below are from a session at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC in March, 2016. This article summarizes that presentation, which can be downloaded as a powerpoint file or PDF file. Notes in the powerpoint file indicate the source of data and charts/maps, photos credits, and so on for each slide.

Read more

ALERT: Will bike/ped be included on the Champ Clark Bridge replacement, crossing Mississippi River near Louisiana?

MoDOT is replacing the Champ Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River.  It is the only river crossing between Hannibal MO & Alton IL in the St Louis metro area. Current plans are for wide shoulders for the new bridge, but no sidewalk or pedestrian accommodation.

As with other river bridges in Missouri, MoDOT and IDOT will be more willing to include good, safe bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on this bridge if the public speaks up and clearly asks for them.

Major river bridges like this are vital infrastructure that affects the availability of bicycling and walking routes in the nearby cities, in the region around the bridge, and across the state. Whether you live, work, or vacation in the area--or would like to!--your voice is a welcome part of this conversation.

If you would like to contact MoDOT, please ask them to make sure that the bridge is accessible to people who bicycle AND walk.

Read more

Resources for planning Missouri bicycle and trails routes and trips

A question we are commonly asked: How can I find existing or planned bicycle routes and trails around Missouri?

Whether you are planning a bicycle tour, are going on a vacation where you want to find new and interesting places to ride, or just want to find places to bicycle or trails in or near your hometown, these resources will help.

Are you planning bicycle facilities or routes in your city or region?  These resources will be helpful for that purpose as well.

We are fortunate to live at a time when bicycle routes, trails, planning, and construction is blossoming across Missouri. We have more good route choices than ever. But it also means that you have to look at a lot of different resources to get a full picture of what is going on.

Bicycle Route & Touring Maps

A few mapping resources have now done a lot of the work of compiling various bicycle route, trail, non-motorized usage, and motor vehicle usage patterns in order to create online bicycle maps and bicycle route wayfinding systems. These show at least some trails and bicycle routes, and their bicycle wayfinding feature usually gives you at least a decent first-draft of a route.

Read more

Is Branson's Spirit of 76 Project the largest Complete Streets project in the state? The country? The Universe?

Branson, Missouri, has started work on one of the biggest and most ambitious Complete Streets projects in Missouri--and in the U.S. and the world, as well.

Branson's New Spirit of 76 Project will give the Branson "strip"--where theaters and tourist attractions line the street and vie for the attention of 7.5 million visitors annually--a completely new and more attractive look.

For years, Highway 76 through Branson has been a problem and an eyesore in need of a fix.  The area is unwalkable, unbikeable, and--given that it is a national tourism center that attracts millions of out-of-state visitors annually, literally by the busload--about as physically unattractive as possible.

Visitors and tourists are injured and even killed on a regular basis--Highway 76 is that difficult and dangerous for visitors.

Branson is never lacking for vision, however. Incremental improvements along the strip have been moving forward for years--for example the sidewalks and crosswalks you see on Highway 76 today. Local advocates listed Hwy 76 intersection improvements for pedestrians as among the state's High Priority Bicycle/Pedestrian/ADA Project List in 2010.

Read more

Quad-State Trail and Missouri Statewide Trails System updated, Version 4 - what will trails in Missouri look like in 10 years?

We first announced the Quad-State Trail Plan on this web site in 2005. At that time, we had no idea how much of the system would be built or how extensive the additions to that original vision would be in just 11 short years. 

At that time it was just a plan, a vision. Now, so much of it is reality--and much more is just within our reach.

The overall vision is an interconnected trails system that connects portions of four states, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska--though with recent additions the trails system touches Illinois as well. 

What has happened since 2005 is that basic plan has been augmented with many, many new trails and trails plans across Missouri--including the Rock Island Trail, which will combine with the Katy Trail to create a 500-mile cross-state trail loop system.

Missouri's statewide trails plan

Missouri needs, but does not yet have, a statewide trail plan. In the absence of an officially adopted statewide trail, this map has played that role over the past 11 years. If your part of the state has major trails or trail plans that are not shown here, please let me know--and we will add them.

What's new?

What's new in Version 4.0 of the Quad-State Trail and Missouri Statewide Trails Vision?

Read more

2016 MO Legislative Session Roundup: ATVs on Katy stopped, $20 million highway/bike/ped/transit funding, several important bike/ped projects funded

We had some amazing legislative results in Jefferson City this year--thanks, as usual, to the many citizens and allied groups who took the time to contact their legislators, visit the Jefferson City for Capitol day, and support our work in Jefferson City.

Read more

MoDOT announces historic $20 million Missouri Moves program; 1/3 of funds dedicated to bicycling, walking, multimodal

For over a decade we have been working to build allies and statewide support for multi-modal transportation funding for MoDOT.

It has been a long slog, and though we have seen many hearts and minds change, we have yet to see any state funding change.

Until recently.

Last month the Missouri General Assembly approved and this week MoDOT announced the first state transportation funding program in modern Missouri history to allow funding for highways--and transit, bicycling, and walking.

This is a historic step forward for Missouri--and a step whose historic significance should not be underestimated.

For decades, Missouri's fuel tax has been dedicated to roads and highways only.   The state has funded public transit at an occasional low level, and usually given no funding at all for bicycling and walking.

Going forward, that must change. Our transportation planning and funding must meet the needs of Missouri's people--who walk, bicycle, drive and use transit, buses, vans, airplanes, boats, and every other type of transportation option available--and not the needs of Missouri's automobiles alone.

Read more

Daniel Boone Bridge Bike/Ped Path opens; 7th MO River Crossing; Photos; Ribbon Cutting Ceremony June 18th

Last week MoDOT opened the new bicycle/pedestrian path on the I-64/US-40 Daniel Boone Bridge over the Missouri River at Chesterfield. Construction crews working on the last details of the path were kind enough to allow MoBikeFed Executive Director Brent Hugh access to the new path one day before it officially opened.

The views of the river are stunning and the connection the path makes--between the Katy Trail and the Monarch Chesterfield Levee Trail--is vital. The Monarch Chesterfield Levee Trail in St. Louis County is 10.5 miles long and will eventually be 17 miles long. On the north side of the river, the Katy Trail is 240 miles long and will soon join with sections of the Rock Island Trail to reach all the way across the state.

The new path creates, for the first time ever, easy, safe bicycle and pedestrian access to the Katy Trail for residents of the Chesterfield area in St. Louis County.

Read more

Daniel Boone Missouri Bridge bike/ped crossing opens - major new bike/ped connection across MO River

This week, MoDOT will announce the official opening of the new bicycle/pedestrian Missouri River crossing at the Daniel Boone Bridge (I-64/40 connecting St Charles and St. Louis Counties). 

The Boone Bridge is a very important connection for the state's bicycle and pedestrian network and we are thrilled to have this new trail connection open for use.

The Boone Bridge bicycle/pedestrian trail connects the Monarch Chesterfield Levee Trail on the south side of the river with the Katy Trail on the north side.  This is a very important connection for local, regional, statewide, and national trail and bikeway systems, because the nearest crossing points are 11 miles downstream at St. Charles and 54 miles upstream at Hermann.

The connection is important to the local trail systems, the regional Great Rivers Greenway River Ring system, the Quad-State Trail System, the Katy and Rock Island Trail systems, and several national bicycle touring routes, including the Lewis and Clark Bicycle Route, Great Rivers South Bicycle Route, and the American Discovery Trail.

Read more

$20 million progress: Missouri General Assembly approves first-ever multimodal transportation funding in Missouri

This year, the Missouri General Assembly took a historic step by authorizing $20 million in multi-modal transportation funding. This is, as far as we know, the first time in history that Missouri has allocated state transportation funds that have the flexibility to be used to meet any and all of Missourians' transportation needs--whether those by motorized, walking, bicycling, public transit, or some combination of all of those options.

Missouri has traditionally funded highways through the fuel tax and given a small amount annually towards transit and special individual projects. The state fuel tax provides the vast majority of state transportation funding and it is restricted to use on state roads and bridges. No state funding has been available for MoDOT to use on vital bicycle and pedestrian connections on state roads that cut through our cities and connect the state.

That means that no state funding has been available for the most typical type of transportation project in 21st century Missouri--a road project that includes elements for motorized transportation, for walking, for bicycling, and for public transit, all wrapped up in one project.

Read more

Petition with over 5000 signatures opposing ATVs on the Katy Trail presented to Missouri legislative leaders

Recently Reid Cranmer, who started an online petition opposing the infamous ATVs on the Katy Trail bill introduced in the Missouri House this year, paid a visit to Jefferson City to present the petition, with over 5000 signatures, to leaders in the Missouri House and Senate.

Cranmer, formerly chair of the Missouri Bicycle Racing Association (MOBRA), is a member of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation Advisory Commission and is planning to run for MoBikeFed Board in August.

Pro-Katy Trail petition presented to key legislative leaders

Cranmer presented the petition to House Speaker Todd Richardson, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, and several other key Senators and Representatives, in meeting arranged by the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation.

Cranmer reported that the meetings went well:

There was only one Legislator, from the Cape Girardeau area, who expressed their support for HB 2047. All other lawmakers I met with gave me their support to keep HB 2047 off the floor. I also met with Senators. We want them to keep an eye out for HB 2047 in an amendment process to a SB.

Senators haven't really heard of HB 2047 but Sen. Bob Onder said he would make sure to kill any HB 2047 amendments.

Read more

Historic deal for Missouri trails: Jackson County & KCATA purchase 17.7 mile section of Rock Island Trail

Today another important piece was added to the planned 500-mile cross-state Rock Island/Katy Trail system. Jackson County, KCATA, and Union Pacific held a ceremony today to complete the purchase and sign the deed that finalizes the County's ownership of the corridor. 

"Today we will purchase the Rock Island Corridor," said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. Former County Executive Mike Sanders, who has worked over the past several years to bring the deal to completion, spoke about the economic benefits of the upcoming trail and transit connections to the adjoining communities.

Robbie Makinen of the KCATA and representatives of Union Pacific also spoke.

This is a historic day for Jackson County and for trails in Missouri--one many people have been working many years to bring to reality.

Work in the county's 17.7 mile portion of the Rock Island Trail will begin immediately and be completed in the next few years. This segment will connect with the 47.6 mile Rock Island Trail state park segment that brings the connection to Windsor, on the Katy Trail--and segment that will be open later in 2016.

Read more