Wheels and Heels – July 2003

E-mail news from MoDOT Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator Caryn Giarratano

Greetings, Windbenders!

During a June meeting with nine elders of the Amish community, I discovered their buggy transportation needs align closely with bicyclists’ needs regarding shoulders. They prefer rumble strips be close to the edge line to give them as much shoulder as possible for traveling without blocking traffic. They also prefer paved shoulders rather than earth or gravel.

The new “Share the Road, It’s the law!” bumper sticker has been put on hold while research is done to insure that “It’s the law” is accurate.

We are drafting a pedestrian policy that reads, “Pedestrians shall be accommodated along all state roads in urbanized areas when feasible. Examples of accommodations may include: sidewalks, pedestrian heads on signals, crosswalks or grade separations.” The next step is to discuss the draft with district personnel and other MoDOT units to insure there are no unintended consequences. The draft will then be submitted to MoDOT’s Engineering Policy Committee

The policy to change the MoDOT Standard Plans to allow only the use of bike-friendly grates in roads and shoulders has been put on hold. The issue is not whether to use the friendly grates; the issue is to decide the type of structure that will hold the grates. Thankfully, many road designers are using the bike friendly grates anyway since both the parallel bar and curved vane grates are included in the standard plans.

The rumble strip report from Dr. Gary Spring, UMR professor, has been submitted to MoDOT and is being reviewed by the chief engineer.

The A to Z by Bike booklet has been received and distribution has begun! This colorful, attractive bicycle safety booklet will be appropriate for teachers, police officers, bike rodeo organizers, bike shop owners and bike clubs to use free of charge to inform fourth graders to adults on correct bicycle usage. The book includes off-road rules and a summary of the Missouri State Statutes regarding bicycles, as well as safety tips and the meaning of traffic signs.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee met in May and will meet again August 4. Subcommittees were formed to discuss rewriting MoDOT’s share the road policy, writing new bicycle and pedestrian legislation, updating the Highway Patrol website, revising the Missouri Driver Guide and identifying cross-state bike routes Each representative from the seven largest cities (MPOs), the representatives of seven state agencies and members of eight local government or advocacy groups reported their bike / ped activities. At the August meeting, the 10 MoDOT district contact people will be given an opportunity to report.

Spotlight on District 4 - Kansas City Region – Cass, Clay, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Platte and Ray counties
Last summer, the district completed a bicycle project on the Heart of America Bridge (Route 9) in downtown Kansas City. As a part of this project, MoDOT installed bike-friendly grates and share the road signs. MoDOT also restriped the southbound structure of this major river crossing to provide a wider shoulder for bicyclists.

Later this year, MoDOT will be working with the City of Blue Springs to improve bicycle access on Highway 40 and Highway 7 through the city. This project will provide for bike friendly grates, signs and striping improvements. This is a city-led project and is funded through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program.

As a part of the Riverfront Heritage Trail, MoDOT is working with the City of Kansas City to provide improved bicycle and pedestrian access across three overpass bridges in downtown Kansas City. MoDOT has secured funding to improve the grates, sidewalks and railings on these bridges.

MoDOT is also working closely with the Platte County Parks and Recreation Commission to provide a parallel trail to Highway 45 from approximately I-29 to Highway 9 in the northland. Bicyclists are already accommodated on the shoulder of Highway 45, but because this road connects schools and churches to many subdivisions in the area, Platte County is interested in providing another transportation option for its citizens. Construction should begin in the fall of 2003.

Spotlight on District District 5 - Central Missouri Region – Benton, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Gasconade, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage and Pettis counties
The mid-Missouri area has several ongoing and completed projects utilizing Federal Enhancement Funds to create a transportation network for bicyclist and pedestrians.

The City of Jefferson is constructing a greenway system that allows bicyclist and pedestrians a transportation alternative within the city. The city has also utilized enhancement funds for new community sidewalks. A shoulder-restriping project to better accommodate bicyclists across the northbound Missouri River bridge at Jefferson City included grate replacements and the installation of share the road signs.

The City of Columbia has created a network called the Bear Creek Trail for bicyclist and pedestrian use through the city. Columbia has also constructed three pedestrian bridges in the past year over I-70, Business Loop 70 and Route 163.

The City of Fulton is currently constructing the Stinson Creek Trail, a paved multi-use path, within the city that will provide a safe mode of transportation for a variety of users.

These projects provide safe transportation facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians within the community. Once completed, they will form an integral transportation system for residents to travel to and from work, school, recreation areas, shops and restaurants.

Spotlight on District District 8 - South Central Region – Christian, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Laclede, Ozark, Polk, Stone, Taney, Webster and Wright counties

The City of Springfield’s Vision 20/20 Plan for Parks, Greenways and Open Space has identified 130 miles of potential greenway trails interconnecting throughout the community. MoDOT has administered some of the funding through the Transportation Enhancement Program that has helped build several trail miles.

The Frisco Highline Trail is a Rails-to-Trails project currently extending 12 miles from Willard to Walnut Grove. The trail will eventually lead all the way to Bolivar, providing a 30-mile trail for bicyclists and pedestrians. Construction is underway on a portion of this trail that extends from Springfield and connects to the existing trial in Willard. Since the trail has opened, Willard’s downtown area reports a surge in redevelopment of small business on the main street directly across from the trailhead.

The South Creek/Wilson’s Creek Greenway is currently a five-mile trail and will eventually span 10 miles connecting Meador Park to Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. It currently links Nathaniel Greene Park, the Japanese Gardens, Close Memorial Park and Horton Smith Golf Course along with Carver Middle School and a variety of neighborhoods along its route. A pedestrian and bicycling overpass was also funded through MoDOT enhancement funds and allows trail users to safely cross Kansas Expressway.

The Galloway Trail is a six-mile trial connecting Pershing Middle School on Seminole Street to Sequiota Park and onto the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. The most recently completed (2002) section connecting Pershing Middle School to the trail provides children living in adjacent neighborhoods a safer route to school.

Jordan Valley Park is part of a redevelopment of downtown Springfield that includes an ice-skating arena, expo center, parking garage, minor league baseball stadium and a greenway trail system. MoDOT has administered Enhancement, Economic Development and Transportation Community System Preservation Funds for sidewalks, landscaping, period lighting and bike lockers. The baseball stadium, expo center and parking garage are currently under construction with completion scheduled for this fall and early next spring.

MoDOT has also partnered with Greene County in utilizing Surface Transportation Program-Urban Funds to provide sidewalks in neighborhoods around Cherokee Middle School, Carver Middle School and Jeffries Elementary School. Springfield Public School students are not provided busing if they live within 1.5 miles of schools they attend. Sidewalks have been constructed in some neighborhoods around these schools to help provide a safer route for students to travel. The most recent sidewalk project was completed in early June 2003 in the Cherokee Estates neighborhood.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you feel may be interested. If you are not on the mailing list and would like to be added, please email me your address information.

Tailwinds, Caryn

giarrc1 @ mail.modot.state.mo.us, 573-522-9297, POB 270, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0270