Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

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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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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