Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

UNBELIEVABLE: St. Charles County tries to prevent O'Fallon from upgrading its own Main Street

Recently, the city of O'Fallon decided to take some major steps to upgrade its main street--making it friendlier for walking, bicycling, businesses, visitors, and motorists via a so-called "Road Diet". Things got ugly when St. Charles County stepped in with a $2.5 million threat if the city implements the project. Now St Louis regional advocacy group Trailnet is stepping up now to defend better communities for walking & biking.

An unbelievable scenerio, as a county pressures a city to take a big step backwards

This is, frankly, one of the most unbelievable scenarios we have seen in many years of advocacy for better communities for walking and bicycling. The city, which is close to the situation and knows its own needs, had gone through a detailed planning process for improving its main street.  The process included public meetings, interviews, and many other forms of public outreach to find out what O'Fallon citizens and businesses really want and need from the project.

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Jackson County & KCATA announce partnership to acquire final piece of cross-state Rock Island-Katy Trail system

Today Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, the KCATA, and other local partners announced a historic partnership designed to fund acquisition of the final piece of a statewide trail system that has been decades in the works: The 17.7-mile section of the Rock Island Trail that brings the trail into the heart of the Kansas City metro area.

Jackson County's press release gives the details:

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority President and CEO Joe Reardon announced a cooperative agreement today that will provide the financing necessary for the future acquisition of the 17.7 miles of the Rock Island Corridor from Union Pacific Railroad.

"This is an historic step forward for our entire community. The significance of this announcement, and its potential to shape our county's growth for generations to come, cannot be overstated," said Sanders.

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Enjoying the Ride - Special Situations

Cycling can take many shapes and forms.  Today we look at special situations that come with a unique set of considerations.  These include group rides, riding on multi-use trails and sharing the road with other users. 

Group Rides

Group rides can be one of cycling’s great joys.  There’s nothing like sharing the road with a bunch of like-minded folks.  Riding in a group is different in may ways than riding alone.   Here are a few rules that will ensure your safety and make  your ride more fun.

Never ride more than two abreast.  Most states prohibit this practice.  When traffic conditions warrant, ride single file.   You’ll also want to pay attention to how you communicate with other cyclists in the group.  Use both hand and verbal signals to indicate turns and road hazards.  Be especially careful when passing through intersections.  Remember, each bicyclist is responsible for his or her safety.  Look for approaching traffic before proceeding and always follow all traffic laws.

Multi-Use Trails

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Cross State Rock Island & Katy Trail System: Where are we? What remains to be done?

With the announcement last week that Governor Nixon and Missouri State Parks intends to complete a long-awaited piece of the Katy Trail-Kansas City connection in 2016, it brings up the question: What will it take to actually complete the potential 217 mile Rock Island Trail across Missouri?

What are the different sections of the potential trail?  What other existing trails will they connect to? Who owns each section?  What is the status of each section? 

Proceeding from west to east, the brief summary is this:

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Missouri Transportation Funding: 43 bicycle, pedestrian, trails organizations unite to ask legislators to support bicycling and walking

This summer, forty-three pedestrian, bicycle, trails, health, disability, and community organizations came together to send a united message to more than 400 Missouri elected officials and decision makers.

The sign-on letter went to Missouri legislators, members of Congress, Governor Nixon, MoDOT leadership, and transportation decision-makers across the state.

The letter makes the case for improving walking and bicycling as an important part of any transportation funding plan:

Missouri does not need extensive new or greatly expanded roads or highways. But Missouri does need to:

  • Maintain the road and highway system we have
  • Improve safety for all users of the road system
  • Add transportation choices--such as walking and bicycling--that far too often are simply not available to Missouri residents.

The letter makes specific requests to each official who received the letter, including:

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What can Missouri cities do to improve bicycling and walking? Perspectives from two cities

What can cities do to improve bicycling and walking?  What are the first steps they can take, how can they build support of residents, city staff, and elected officials?  How can they overcome obstacles and objections?  How can they find funding and make effective plans?

Today MoBikeFed was very pleased to be part of a presentation at the 2015 Missouri Municipal League Conference, alongside representatives of Warsaw and Lee's Summit, talking with city and county officials from across Missouri about these issues.

The presentations give a variety of viewpoints about how Missouri cities have integrated bicycling, walking, and trails to make better and more vibrant cities:

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Major Katy/Rock Island progress: Gov Nixon commits to completing Katy Trail connection to Kansas City by 2016

The important multi-decade initiative to connect the Katy Trail system across the state, from state line to state line and to St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas on each end of the state, is will reach a major milestone next year, according to an announcement by Governor Jay Nixon today.

Governor Nixon spoke to trail supporters at the North Jefferson Katy Trailhead at 1:45pm today, with the news that Missouri State Parks is commited to completing the major portion of the Katy Trail connection to Kansas City, on the Rock Island railroad corridor from Windsor to Pleasant Hill, by the end of 2016.  The Governor's press release said:

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Amtrak begins offering bicycle roll-on service on the Capitol Limited

September 14th, Amtrak began offering bicycle roll-on service on the Capitol Limited route, which serves numerous bicycle and trail friendly communities in the eastern U.S.

MoBikeFed has been part of a national coalition of bicycle groups who have been making a concerted effort to improve bicycle roll-on capacity on passenger trains across the U.S.  Bicycle roll-on service has been available on the Missouri River Runner routee, which parallels the Katy Trail across Missouri, since the late 1990s when MoBikeFed leaders approached state legislators and Amtrak officials with the idea.

Bicycle roll-on service is nearly universal on European trains, but still rare on U.S. passenger rail.  Amtrak will be being offering greatly expanded and improved bicycle roll-on service on Missouri routes, including the River Runner, the Southwest Chief, and others, when new rail cars are delivered in the next few years.

We are strongly encouraging Amtrak to expand this pilot project for bicycle roll-on service to many more routes across the U.S. as quickly as possible.

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Safe Cycling: 3 Ways to Get More Out of Each Ride

As a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor (LCI #4661), I teach people how to ride in traffic.  A big part of it is about learning to safely coexist with cars, trucks, buses and even other cyclists.  Traffic can be pretty intimidating for most folks until they get used to it.  
But it’s about more than just safety.  It’s also about how to ride well because when we ride well, cycling becomes more fun.   Here are three easy ways to ride better and have more fun cycling as a result.
Use all of your gears to better control cadence and ride further and faster with less effort.
Focus on Cadence, not Speed
Do you want to go faster and further while feeling more relaxed?  Then focus on cadence instead of speed!  Cadence is your pedaling rate measured in revolutions per minute.  Keep it as steady as possible…ideally between 75 and 95 revolutions per minute, even if it means dropping to a lower gear and slowing down when climbing hills or pedaling into the wind.
How can you tell what your cadence is?  A cycling computer will measure it for you.
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Safe Cycling: Hazard Avoidance Maneuvers

If you cycle on roads surrounded by motor vehicles, you already know just how important it is to follow traffic laws and anticipate problems before they occur.  Doing so will go a long way towards keeping you safe.  Many cyclists ride an entire lifetime without having any serious encounters with cars.  Here’s hoping you’re one of them.
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Missouri Rock Island Trail hires first Executive Director

The Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc. (MORIT) has hired Greg Harris of Rolla, an experienced fundraiser, as its first executive director.

The Gasconade County Republican wrote:

Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc., (MORIT) board members hired Greg Harris of Rolla as MORIT’s first executive director at the June 1 board meeting in Stover, Mo. 

Board members discussed the possibility of hiring an executive director at the March meeting as Chrysa Niewald, MORIT presi- dent, said the work was becoming too much for the board president and volunteers.

After reviewing Harris’s application, the board believed he would make a good fit.

“The board unanimously approved the decision and feels it gives credibility to the board as we move forward,” Niewald said.

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Action Alert: Let MoDOT know YOUR priorities for I-70 innovation and MoDOT's future direction

Recently, MoDOT announced a visioning process for the I-70 corridor.  MoDOT is asking Missourians to submit their innovative ideas and vision for what I-70 should be.  With MoDOT currently undertaking a national search for a new MoDOT Director, the direction the agency takes on I-70 is likely to set the tone for MoDOT's immediate future.

TAKE ACTION: Take a few minutes to let MoDOT know your thoughts about the future of the I-70 corridor--and please include some of the innovative ideas we suggest below.

Take Action: What innovations for I-70 can you suggest that will improve bicycling and walking along this corridor?

Please take the time to respond to MoDOT's request for innovation on the I-70 corridor on its Road to Tomorrow website.

Below are some suggested innovations that you can submit to MoDOT:

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