Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Rock Island Trail update: Missouri State Parks enters new phase with 144-mile Rock Island Trail acquisition--now working on "partnerships" and a fundraising strategy

Missouri State Parks and Ameren have received another extension in their work to hammer out an agreement to transfer the next 144 miles of the Rock Island Corridor between Windsor and Beaufort.

The extension last until December 31st, 2019.

In seeking the extension, and in a Keynote Address at the Missouri Active Transportation Summit earlier in August, State Parks has given us the clearest picture yet of where they see the Rock Island project going.

Missouri State Parks and State Parks Foundation looking to develop partnership and financial support for the new Rock Island Trail State Park

In his Keynote Address to the 2019 Summit, State Parks Deputy Director Mike Sutherland strongly emphasized partnerships, and that State Parks is now looking out to make partnerships to make the next 144 miles of the Rock Island a success.

The filing with the Surface Transportation Board gives more detail about State Parks' plan:

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Major bike/ped goals addressed in new U.S. Senate Transportation Bill

One reason the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation--joined by many colleagues in advocacy groups across Missouri, and many private citizens over the years--has made a point to attend every National Bike Summit since 2005 is that we know that those person contacts with our elected representatives and their staff make a real difference.

Sometimes you don't see the difference day-to-day, or even year-to-year.  But when people who are enthused about better bicycling, walking, and trails from all over the U.S. keep up a sustained effort year after year, and when the effort is organized at the national level by smart organizations who follow up on Capitol Hill throughout the year--over the decades, it makes a real difference.

If you follow politics at all, you know that the last couple of years have been among the most divisive in many years. Both parties find it hard to get together and agree on much.

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Rock Island Trail update: Jackson County Rock Island hits a small bump in the road, but quickly back on track

The 17-mile Jackson County portion of the statewide Rock Island Trail seemed to hit a major roadblock early this month, as a federal agency revoked the county's railroad status and all work on the Rock Island Trail project stopped.  KCUR reported:

A major Rails-To-Trails cycling project in eastern Jackson County, Missouri, that’s been years in the making is suddenly in limbo following a decision this week by the federal government.

On Wednesday, Jackson County stopped construction of the Rock Island bike trail after the federal Surface Transportation Board revoked the county’s authority to operate the one-time railroad corridor.

Jackson County Rock Island's apparent derailment wasn't even a minor speed bump

However, just a few day's later, news reports like this from Fox4KC appeared:

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Announcing the new Guide to Missouri Road Rules, Markings, and Signs for Everyone who Drives, Walks, or Bicycles

Announcing the new Guide to Missouri Road Rules, Markings, and Signs for Everyone who Drives, Walks, or Bicycles.

Ever been confused about bike lane marking or the new green bike lanes, intersection markings, pedestrian crossing signals, and other new markings that many Missouri cities are rolling out? Or do you have a friend who doesn't understand the markings?

Would you like some of the best basic guidance about how to drive around people who walk and bicycle and how to safely bicycle and follow Missouri law?

The new Guide to Missouri Road Rules, Markings, and Signs for Everyone who Drives, Walks, or Bicycles is for you.

About the Guide:

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Missouri Active Transportation Summit - powerpoints, links, notes, and followup from sessions

Many thanks to everyone who attended or presented a session at the 2019 Active Transportation Summit. The Summit was packed full of inspiration, information, and good networking as always. The projects and progress we heard about from all across Missouri (and Iowa!) make all of us really optimistic about the future of bicycling, walking, and trails all across the state.

Below are links to powerpoint presentations and other follow-ups from 2019 Summit  Sessions:

Follow-up or additional items from sessions:

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Darwin Hindman, 1933-2019: Columbia Mayor, "Father of the Katy Trail," Missouri bicycling, walking, and trails champion - funeral & memorial ride Saturday

Former Columbia Mayor and champion of bicycling, walking, and trails Darwin Hindman passed away Monday at age 86.

A memorial bicycle ride and funeral service will be held Saturday, June 22nd, 2019, in Columbia:

The mile-long ride will begin at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the Darwin and Axie Hindman Discovery Garden in Stephens Lake Park, 2300 E. Walnut St. The group will then ride to the memorial service at Calvary Episcopal Church, 123 S. Ninth St., which will begin at 1 p.m.

PedNet asks that as many people as possible bike to the start of the route at Stephens Lake Park, and those who drive should park in the lot off Old 63.

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Over 100 miles of Katy Trail closed to flooding, devastating effects on Katy Trail businesses, communities

According to the Missouri State Parks Current Flooding Conditions page, over 100 miles of the Katy Trail is currently closed due to flooding along the Missouri River. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently reported on the devastating impact the loss of business is having on the Katy Trail businesses and communities.

Many of those businesses depend on Katy Trail customers, with many at 50% or even more of their business coming from Katy Trail users.

(If you're planning a trail visit or vacation this year, keep in mind that over 180 miles of the Katy Trail and connected Rock Island Trail are still open and completely unflooded!  Some sections on the eastern portion are still open, and the entire stretch of Katy/Rock Island from Booneville west is completely unaffected.  Because the businesses and communities there open and looking for business!)

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Rock Island Trail "Rock the Trail" ribbon-cutting June 1st, 10am - Jackson County opens Phase 1 of connector to Rock Island/Katy Trail State Park

In 2016, Jackson County and the KCATA announced a deal to acquire 17.7 miles of the Rock Island Corridor. Now, three years later, they are ready to cut the ribbon on the first 6 miles of the completed trail, through portions of Lee's Summit and Kansas City--and they are inviting everyone to join them:

Jackson County will celebrate the official opening of Phase 1 of the Rock Island Trail on #NationalTrailsDay, Saturday, June 1 . Please join us for the "Rock The Trail" Ribbon Cutting ceremony at 10 am.

Location is 12600 E. 98th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, just off of Bannister Road and near the trail's Vale Tunnel, which passes under Bannister.

The Facebook Event Page for Rock the Trail is here.

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Bike-to-Work Day 2019: Jefferson City named Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community, Kirkwood HM, 1.5 million Missourians now live in a Bicycle Friendly Community

Today is Missouri Bike-to-Work Day--one of the high points of National Bike Month and Bike Week--and this year we really have something to celebrate: After years of work, Jefferson City has been awarded a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community award, and Kirkwood has received Honorable Mention in the Bicycle Friendly Community awards.

Jefferson City and Kirkwood join 10 other Missouri communities with Bicycle Friendly Community recognition--and with a total population of 1,453,449 living in those communities.

So nearly 1.5 million Missourians live in an officially recognized Bicycle Friendly Community.  That's worth celebrating!

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UPDATE on Rock Island State Park bill passage; Majorities were overwhelming in both House and Senate; Please say thanks to supporting legislators today

Friday is the last day of the 2019 Missouri legislative session--and we have a LOT to celebrate this session with the passage of SB 196, which will create the Rock Island Trail State Park Endowment Fund.

SB 196, which now awaits Governor Parson's signature, gives strong legislative support to the idea of the Rock Island Trail State Park--and State Parks needed that legislative seal of approval as they move forward with negotiations to accept the corridor as a rail-trail between now and August 2019.

The 144-Mike Rock Island corridor under discussion will, if completed, become one of the longest new rail-trails in the U.S. in recent decades.

A few important updates on the bill that have come to light since it passed last Friday:

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Announcing the Butterfield Stage Experience - A New 250-mile Gravel Bicycle Route connecting the Katy, Rock Island, and Frisco Highline Trails

The Butterfield Stage Experience is a new mostly gravel bicycle touring route consisting of county gravel roads and multi-use trails using/paralleling the historic Butterfield Stage Route in Missouri

 Currently over 250 miles in length--and more to come!--the route is low-traffic trail-like experience that leads you straight to the heart of rural Missouri and visits many of the historic Butterfield Stage sites and monuments across the state. The route is accessible to most who enjoy natural-surface routes like the Katy Trail and Rock Island Trail--and are ready to take the next step towards adventure.

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