MoDOT installing J-Turns at rural intersections with no provision for safe bike/ped crossing - disconnecting rural bicycle routes

MoDOT has been installing an increasing number of "J-Turns" on rural highways. 

J-Turns convert intersections that are currently perfectly usable by people who bicycle and walk, into intersections that are, in many cases, essentially unusable.

Installing a J-Turn intersection takes a route that was previously an excellent, completely usable bicycle route and disconnects it.

Some J-Turn project examples:

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Rock Island Trail State Park: Missouri Legislature's final budget eliminates Gov Parson's $69 million funding proposal - but $1 million private funding restored

Today the Missouri General Assembly gave final approval to HB 3020, which included Governor Parson's proposal to spend $69 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to develop the most difficult and expensive part of the new Rock Island Trail State Park. 

The governor's proposal survived two votes on the House floor, but was cut by the Senate's version of the bill, which was also adopted by the House today.

"This is a lost opportunity and that is disappointing," said Brent Hugh, Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation.

"But communities along the old railroad and supporters from across Missouri line have been working for decades to preserve the corridor and develop it as a new State Park and cross-state trail, and have made tremendous progress.  We have a lot of optimism about the future of the trail and the many opportunities to develop it and benefit trail communities and Missouri as a whole."

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Joplin Globe Editorial: Restore Rock Island funding - Cutting it is a Poor Business Decision

Monday the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of HB 3020, allocating Missouri's portion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. The committee bill removed the entire $69.2 million Governor Parson had recommended for construction of the major "hard parts" of the 144-mile Rock Island Trail State Park. 

Thursday, the full Senate passed HB 3020 - and still, there was not even $1 for the Rock Island Trail.

The Joplin Globe let us know how they feel about this decision - and they didn't pull any punches:

The decision to zero out funding for the Rock Island trail is a poor business decision for Missouri.

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ALERT: Missouri Senate Committee zeros Rock Island Trail funding - Could come back in conference committee - What you can do now to help

UPDATE May 5th: Good news: Tuesday the Conference Committee restored the $1 million Rock Island Trail State Park Endowment funding plus an additional $150K funding for 2023 in HB 3006.

Less Good News: Wednesday the  HB 3015 Conference Committee failed to restore any of the $3.5 million for the RIT in 2022. The good news here is that several on the Committee spoke in favor of restoring some of the funding. But two key Senators - Vice Chair Lincoln Hough and Senator Sandy Crawford, whose district takes in a good piece of the new 144-mile State Park - spoke against any increase.  Sen Hough, in particular, was vehement in his opposition.

We are still waiting for the Senate to take up HB 3020, which includes Governor Parson's proposed $69 million in funding to build most of the most difficult parts of the new 144-mile statewide trail connection.  It may come to the Senate floor later Thursday or Friday - or perhaps it will go into next week. 

We know that intensive discussiosn and negotiations are going on over the Governor's proposal and other aspects of HB 3020, which is the state plan for spending some billions of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding sent to Missouri.

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