Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

"Yes On 1" Nov 8th: Support renewal of the statewide Parks, Soils, & Water Tax supporting parks & trails across MO

One of the most important initiatives up for a vote in Missouri Tuesday involves an issue that is important to everyone in Missouri who walks, hikes, bicycles, or enjoys the outdoors: Amendment 1, to renew the existing tax that supports Missouri's State Parks, soils, and water.

Half of the tax goes to support our state parks, including the Katy Trail, the Rock Island Trail, and over 1000 miles of trails in state parks in every part of Missouri.

The other half goes to soil and water preservation measure that are important to everyone who enjoys the Missouri outdoors--and to our state's farmers and agricultural lands.

This tax provides the primary form of support for our state parks and trails operated by Missouri State Parks like the Katy and Rock Island. If this funding vanishes, our state parks and trails will be in real trouble.

This tax has been in place since 1983 years and is a 1/10 percent sales tax--or 1 cent on every $10 purchase you make.  The tax must be renewed every 10 years.

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Missouri General Election Tues, Nov 8th, 2016: Voter guide - Find your polling place, ballots, candidates, issues

Missouri's general elections are being held across the state on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.

"I bicycle - I walk - I run and I vote" is one of the most powerful statements we can make to any elected leader, in our work to make Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

So whatever your party, whoever your candidates, whatever your issues, please get out and VOTE on Tuesday, November 8th.

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Major new bicycle network implemented in Carthage; which Missouri cities now have the most miles of bicycle lanes per capita?

Carthage, Missouri, is in the process of adding about 24 miles of marked on-street bicycle lanes and routes this summer. A city of just 14,200, Carthage looks to have the most on-street bicycle routes per capita of any Missouri City, once the project is complete. 

The Carthage bicycle route system brings good, marked, on-street bicycle routes within easy bicycling distance of nearly every residence and business in the city.

Creating a comprehensive on-street bicycle route system is one of our top recommendations for Missouri cities. On-street bicycle facilities re-purpose existing road space to create a safe enviroment for bicycling. Because streets already go everywhere in the city, an on-street bicycle route system is the best way to reach all citizens throughout a city.

Because cities already have many miles of existing roads and streets--many of those miles very underused--creating an on-street bicycle route system is typically very inexpensive.

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ALERT: Contact Gov Nixon to oppose complete withholding of Missouri Moves funding for transit, biking, walking

Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly created the Missouri Moves fund, the first state transportation funding in modern history to take the total transportation approach to funding by funding transit, bicycling, and walking alongside road and highway projects.

MoDOT reserved 1/3 of Missouri Moves funding for this type of multi-modal transportation project--and nearly 50% of project applications received were for multi-modal projects.

Recently, Governor Nixon announced that he has withheld the entire amount of Missouri Moves funding--which will completely eliminate the program unless the Governor reverses course and restores some or all of the funding. Full details about the Governor's announcement here.

The Governor needs to hear from you about this decision. He needs to know that Missourians support funding for walking, bicycling, and transit and that it has many benefits for Missouri and Missourians.

Please take a few minutes to speak up and let your voice be heard.

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Governor Nixon withholds entire Missouri Moves funding - first in Missouri history to fund transit, walking, bicycling

In a surprise move yesterday, Governor Nixon has restricted the entire $20 million in funding from the new Missouri Moves cost share funding.

Missouri Moves, passed by the Missouri General Assembly this spring, is the first state transportation funding in Missouri history to take the "total transportation" approach, which makes funding available for transit, walking, and bicycling alongside of road and highway projects.

MoDOT has already solicited and received applications for the funding, which was to be distributed as a local cost share program. In the applications that were submitted, local cities and counties were offering to provide 50-80% of the total cost of the projects.

MoDOT indicated that approximately 50% of the funding applications submitted were for multimodal projects, with many bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects in the mix. MoDOT reserved 1/3 of the total funding for multimodal and bike/ped projects.

In addition to the projects submitted specifically for the multi-modal/bike/ped funding, many of the projects submitted for the 2/3 of the funding reserved for road and highway projects also included bicycle and pedestrian elements.

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Pacific City Council votes 5-0 for pedestrian access on Meramec River Bridge; Franklin County still stonewalls

Earlier this month we issued an Advocacy Alert, asking citizens to contact leaders in Pacific, Missouri, and Franklin County in support of pedestrian access on a new bridge over the Meramec River just at the city limits of Pacific.

Now the Pacific City Council has voted to support pedestrian access on the new bridge by a margin of 5-0--but Franklin County Executive John Griesheimer is still dead-set against modifying the bridge design to include pedestrian access.

The eMissourian reports:

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Bicycling on sidewalks: Not safe, not recommended

Recently, one of our members asked us about a situation where a local police officer had directed him to leave the street and bicycle on the adjacent sidewalk.

Unfortunately, this situation happens occasionally in Missouri. With hundreds of cities and counties and thousands of law enforcement officers, not all of them are as well versed in bicycle law and best practice as they should be. So we do get reports of police officers asking or ordering bicyclists on a busier street and move to the sidewalk instead.

Thankfully, this is a rare occurence in Missouri--and becoming rarer, as bicycling becomes more popular and accepted.

But just to set the record straight, we want to say as clearly as we can:

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Jackson County section of Rock Island Trail moves forward; $212 million development announced along trail; trail to be completed by 2018

Work on the westernmost 17.7 mile section of the Rock Island trail corridor, now jointly owned by Jackson County and the KCATA, is moving forward quickly. 

The County is already working to select an engineering firm to design the trail--the first step in building it. Engineering and design of the corridor is expected to begin soon. Jackson County plans to have the trail open by 2018. According to the Independence Examiner:

Jackson County officials reiterated Monday that a hiking-and-biking trail on an old rail line should be open by late 2018.

“The goal is 2018 for this to be done,” Calvin Williford, the county’s chief economic development official and executive director of the new Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority, told county legislators on Monday.

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Missouri Primary Election Tues, Aug 2nd, 2016: Voter guide - Find your polling place, ballots, candidates, issues

Missouri's primary elections are being held across the state on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016.

"I bicycle - I walk - I run and I vote" is one of the most powerful statements we can make to any elected leader, in our work to make Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

So whatever your party, whoever your candidates, whatever your issues, please get out and VOTE on Tuesday, August 2nd.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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