Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

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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ALERT: Contact the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee to ask for support for Rock Island Trail Funding by Tues, May 3rd

UPDATE 5/3: The Senate Appropriations Committee did indeed zero out all of Gov Parson's propose Rock Island Trail funding, in a vote Monday afternoon.

Please contact your Missouri Senator now - all Missouri Senators - and ask them to support the Rock Island Trail funding when HB 3020 comes to the Senate floor.

Look up your own Missouri Senator here. Call and/or send a message using the contact form on your Senator's web page.

UPDATE 4/28:

The Senate Appropriations Committee is still considering HB 3020, the bill that includes the bulk of the Rock Island Trail State Park funding proposed by Governor Parson.  They have repeatedly scheduled, then postpone hearings.  As of now, the earliest a hearing could take place is Monday May 2nd or Tuesday May 3rd.

These continual delays are GOOD NEWS for Rock Island Trail funding, as they mean that the debate and discussion about this and other funding priorities continues. The initial position of Committee leadership was to ZERO the funding, so we definitely need more discussion and debate in order to move them off of that position!

In the meanwhile,

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State Parks Rock Island Trail funding survives two close Missouri House floor votes - now on to the Senate - How you can help now

After nearly an hour of debate on the floor of the Missouri House, the House today approved Governor Parson's proposal for $69 million in federal ARPA funding to be use to build the most difficult section of the State Parks' Rock Island Trail.

Now the Missouri Budget bills move to the Missouri Senate - where the discussion is likely to be even more intense.

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Katy Trail: $29.2 million annual economic impact in 2022

With the recent acceptance of the 144-mile Rock Island Trail corridor by Missouri State Parks and Gov. Parson's recommendation to spend $69 million in federal ARPA funds building the most complex, difficult, and expensive section of that new 144-mile trail, it might be a good time to review why trails are so important to communities - and particularly, what the Katy Trail has done for Missouri.

What the Katy Trail has done for Missouri: $29.2 million economic impact in 2022

During the pandemic, trails and parks have proven their value over and over again. Use of the Katy Trail rose to about 500,000 annual visitors - the highest visitation rates we have seen.

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Missouri House Budget Committee has approved full Funding for the Rock Island Trail! [2nd Update 31 March]

SECOND UPDATE 31 MARCH 2022: HB 3020 passed the House Budget Committee today with the full $69 million governor's recommendation for the Rock Island Trail intact.

HOORAY!  Huge thanks to Committee leadership and members - and each and every one of you who took the time to contact Budget Committee members and leadership.

All the budget bills now go to the floor of the House.  The debate and vote on those bills is currently scheduled for Tuesday, April 5th.

On the floor of the House, the danger is a floor amendment to reduce or eliminate funding.  Such an amendment can be introduced by any of the 163 representatives - so it is hard to predict whether or not an amendment will be introduced and then whether House leadership will give such an amendment time on the floor for debate and a vote.

After the vote Tuesday and some further procedural votes, the bills are sent to the Missouri Senate for their consideration.

How you can help now:

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Jackson County Rock Island Trail - what happened, what's next, what connections are in the works? Interview with Jackson County RIT officials (Youtube video)

Jackson County has recently completed the main 13.5-mile section of the Rock Island Trail through Lee's Summit, Raytown, and Jackson County - a project decades in the making. The trail is the final link bringing the Katy Trail/Rock Island Trail system all the way across Missouri from the Mississippi River to Kansas City. 
Wednesday we sat with with Jackson County Legislator Tony Miller, Deputy Director for the Jackson County Parks Department Brian Nowotny, and Rock Island Program Manager Matt Davis for an update the new trail:

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Winter bicycling: How, why--and what to wear

Is it a good time to talk about winter bicycling? [Checks front yard] Sure looks like it! 

Why would you want to consider cycling in cold, icy, or snowy weather?  Well, perhaps for all the same reasons you bicycle in pleasant weather:

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MoBikeFed's 2022 Events - Rides, Festival, Capitol Day, Summit and more

Join MoBikeFed for our 2022 events! Help move forward our 2022 legislative agenda, learn about how to make bicycling, walking, and trails better in your community, or  join us for a fun ride - with proceeds benefiting our statewide advocacy work. 

SAVE WITH A 2022 SEASON PASS! Remember that you can save big - and support MoBikeFed's statewide advocacy work at a higher level - when you attend all 5 events, or any 3 of the 5, with MoBikeFed's Event Season Pass.

Click the name of any event to find out more: 

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Join MoBikeFed's Advocacy Network

MoBikeFed is a statewide group of people like you, working together for better bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri. When you join our advocacy network you receive occasional important advocacy alerts and bicycle, pedestrian, and trails news from around Missouri.

Working together we make a real difference! Join our advocacy network: