League of American Bicyclists' Top 14 Ways to Improve Missouri's Bicycle Friendly State Ranking

Recently the League of American Bicyclists released its annual Bicycle Friendly States ranking. Missouri is currently ranked at 34th of the 50 states--meaning that we are doing a lot of things right--far more than we were doing 10 or 20 years ago!--but that we also have a lot of work to do to catch up with other states across the nation.

Our annual Capitol Day helps move policy and funding in support of bicycling, wa
Our annual Capitol Day helps move policy and funding in support of bicycling, walking, and trails

The Bike League's state rankings released earlier this month included and overview of Missouri's ranking by category and a few specific suggestions.  But today the League released a far more detailed report with recommendations for Missouri.

These recommendations by the most respected bicycle advocacy group in the nation carry a lot of weight.  The harmonize almost exactly with MoBikeFed's recommendations as the statewide bicycle advocacy group in Missouri--recommendations that have been developed over the course of years by our statewide Legislative Committee and Advisory Commission.

We urge MoDOT, Missouri legislators, Missouri state agencies, and MoDOT's regional transportation planning partners across Missouri to work to adopt these recommendations.

The planning and project selection process currently underway as part of Missouri's proposed statewide transportation funding plan, set for a statewide vote August 5th, creates an unprecedented opportunity to implement these suggestions.

Below is the full text of the League's recommendations for Missouri.

There are a LOT of recommendations here, so we have helped identify our very highest priorities using this system:

  • Top recommendations of the League of American Bicyclists are highlighted in yellow.
  • Very top priorities of MoBikeFed as identified by our Advisory Commission and Legislative Committee (which are always also League of American Bicyclist identified priorities) are highlighted in green.
  •  identifies those priorities that the current Missouri statewide transportation funding initiative can help move forward in a significant way

Legislation and Enforcement

  • Adopt a safe passing law with a minimum distance of 3 feet to address bicyclist safety.
  • Adopt a vulnerable road user law that increases penalties for a motorist that injures or kills a bicyclist or pedestrian.
  • Adopt a statewide, all-ages cell phone and texting ban to combat distracted driving and increase safety for everyone.
  • Adopt a law allowing transportation agencies to post 20 mph or lower speed limits under certain circumstances.
  • Collect data regarding enforcement actions against motorists based on incidents with bicycles, such as traffic tickets issued, prosecutions, or convictions.

Program and Policies

  •  Incorporate routine accommodation of biking and walking in every transportation project built over the next ten years, wherever needed and as appropriate to the location and situation. UPDATE: Just this spring, MoDOT has made significant progress in adopting a policy statement more supportive of integrating bicycling and walking into every transportation project: "every transportation agency, MoDOT included, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems."
  • Adopt a state bicycle design manual that includes design drawings, guidance on when to use established and innovative design treatments, and public engagement.
    2014 Missouri rankings by category
    2014 Missouri rankings by category
  • Adopt a policy requiring state office buildings, state park and recreation facilities, and other state facilities to provide bicycle parking.
  • Update the state rumble strip policy to ensure compliance with the November 2011 Federal Highway Administration guidance.
  • Require that rumble strips are not installed unless a traffic safety study proves they are necessary.

Infrastructure and Funding

  • Create a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian transportation fund statewide and for each region and metropolitan area in the state, to support much-needed projects such as:
    • The top priority sidewalk gaps as identified in existing regional sidewalk assessments and by communities across Missouri
    • Top priority project in city, county, and regional trails, bicycle, and pedestrian plans
    • Safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians
    • Reasonable targets are: An annual amount similar to that annually allocated for Transportation Alternatives projects (statewide, per District, Per MPO or RPC); or $8 per resident per year.
  •  Create a Walk & Bike to School Safety & Connectivity Fund for each region and metropolitan area in the state, to support much-needed projects such as:
    • Sidewalk and trail connections between neighborhoods and schools
    • Safety Improvements for school zones and school crossings
    • The federal Safe Routes to School allotment of approximately $1 per resident per year proved to very insufficient for demonstrated need. Suggested starting point: $2 per resident per year.
  •  Create a prioritized list of roads needing shoulders in every region of the state, and devote a percentage of new funds to systematically adding needed shoulders. All shoulders must contain sufficient clear space for safe bicycle travel and rumble strips must at minimum follow national guidelines for bicycle compatibility. Systematically address gaps on shoulder coverage on major highways.
    Cyclists often use shoulders on state highways to travel
    Cyclists often use shoulders on state highways to travel
  • Incorporate safe bicycle and pedestrian access into every major river bridge that is built or reconstructed in the next ten years and add access when opportunities arise. For example:
    • Platte Purchase/Fairfax Bridges in the Kansas City area
    • Hwy 47 Bridge at Washington, MO
    • Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, MO
  •  Refine, mark, and officially adopt into the U.S. National Bicycle Route System all current national bicycle routes in Missouri, and other regional and statewide bicycle routes as appropriate, including:
    • Route 66 Bicycle Route
    • Way of American Genius Bicycle Route
    • Lewis and Clark Bicycle Route
    • Great Rivers Bicycle Route
    • American Discovery Trail
    • Mississippi River Trail bicycle route
  •  Create appropriate, safe pedestrian access across every interchange and overpass that is built as part of the I-70 project. Create continuous bicycle friendly and accessible frontage roads along the entire length of the I-70 corridor.
  •  Minimize extent and cost of any I-70 and other major highway corridor updates to reflect current actual, low growth rate in vehicle miles traveled rather than overbuilding these highways in anticipation of future traffic growth that may never occur.
  •  Create a truly statewide interconnected trail network, dramatically extending the current state trail network centered on the Katy Trail. Create a plan to connect every Missouri region and community to the statewide trails network build the priority segments in the next ten years.

Education and Encouragement

  •  Create and distribute a comprehensive statewide bicycle map, similar to that currently available on MoDOT's web site, in print and electronic versions. UPDATE: MoDOT is currently very close to releasing an updated version of its statewide bicycle map and has been working with MoBikeFed and our allies to ultimately create both online and printed versions of the map. MoDOT has integrate more bicycle elements--such as a Katy Trail Map and map of the TransAmerica Bicycle Route in Missouri (USBR 76) on the official state highway map.
  • Hold a state bicycle summit with opportunities for professional development, contact with elected officials, and networking.
  • Create a state bicycle riders manual to ensure cyclists have a pocket guide for rules of the road, relevant laws, state bike routes, and other necessary information.

Evaluation and Planning

  •  Create and implement a Statewide Strategic Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and regional bicycle and pedestrian plans in all Missouri Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Regional Planning Commissions, and MoDOT Districts. UPDATE: MoDOT top leadership has indicated to us that they support creation of a statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
  • Adopt a mode share goal for biking to encourage the integration of bicycle transportation needs into all transportation and land use policy and project decisions.
  • Establish a statewide bicycle advisory committee to provide accountability for bicycle projects and programs. The BAC should include diverse representation, formal inclusion in decision making, a workplan, and regularly held meetings (at least quarterly). Conduct a bicycle economic benefit study to showcase the positive impacts of bicycling for tourism, health costs, economic development, job creation, and transportation return on investment.

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