Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

Cycling from cafe to cafe in the northland . . .

From the day after Thanksgiving until the day before Christmas each year an invisible dome comes down and settles over our town, extending out in all directions as far as I can ride on my bicycle, endowing every person I meet and every place I go with a Camelot quality.

Read the rest of this essay by Liberty, MO, cyclist Ed Chasteen in the Platte County Sun-News.

Note this tidbit: a new bike trail is being built around the perimeter of the new developments [in Kearney] back toward Liberty on Highway 33.
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KCStar story on walking, biking advocate

Today's KCStar ran a lengthy article on Dan Burden, one of the nation's leading advocates for creating bikeable, walkable communities. Excerpts:

Americans now use automobiles for more than 90 percent of their daily trips. . . .

The result of this automotive addiction: A world where children are sometimes bused 300 feet to school because they can't safely cross eight-lane suburban boulevards. Two-hour commutes on clogged highways. Quaint main streets forsaken for windowless hulks set in acres of asphalt.

"America is out of sync with its values," Burden tells 100 people who have gathered for a slide presentation in a school cafeteria. "We say we're for kids. We say we're for safety. We say we're for families. And we build this ..."

A slide comes up of a woman pushing a stroller along the shoulder of a busy road, a toddler with her walking inches from the traffic.

Children and the elderly suffer most when the automobile conquers a town, Burden says. In a car-dominated landscape, those who can't or won't drive suffer impaired mobility, recreation, health and peace of mind.

The damage can be repaired, Burden says. Our towns and cities can be refashioned into places where children bike to school and their parents walk to work, where picking up a gallon of milk doesn't have to burn a pint of gasoline.

Read the complete story on the KCStar's web site.

Visit Dan Burden's own web site, Walkable Communities, Inc..
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January meeting to combat childhood obesity in KCK

Kansas City Kids Obesity Project is holding a town hall meeting from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 29 at Jack Reardon Civic Center, 500 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan. The meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The meetin'gs purpose is to discuss and find ways to solve the problem of childhood obesity and its causes, poor eating habits and inactivity.

The event will bring together children, pediatricians, chefs and fitness experts to discuss child obesity and educate participants about its dangers, especially for 9- to 13-year-olds. Presenters will describe simple things children can do to lower their risks for obesity, such as drinking more water and fewer soft drinks, playing outdoors more, and spending less time with computers and televisions.

In Jackson County, 16 percent of 5- to 20-year-olds are overweight, and 27.3 percent are obese, according to a WIC study.

Registration is required and limited to the first 300 persons. To register, call (816) 983-6908. Registrations must be received by Jan. 22.

See the full story in the KCStar.
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Grain Valley requires sidewalks on only one side of street

Grain Valley joined surrounding communities on Monday in requiring only one sidewalk on either side of the road. . . .

Aldermen Steve Whitton and Melanie Norris had urged the board to required two sidewalks in most residential areas, citing Mid- America Regional Council recommendations that growing communities attempt to remain walkable.

But the majority of the board sided with developers and some city officials who said that one sidewalk had become the industry standard.

Read the complete story in the Blue Springs Examiner.
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Olathe, KS, bike facilities need citizen support now

Dale Crawford (Dcraw7076@aol.com) is working on design of the new bicycle-friendly overpass at 127th and I-35 in Olathe, Kansas (see the MoBikeFed Bicycle News & comments for more details about the overpass). Crawford writes that much of 127th street will have bike lanes. Due to the way funding and design proceeded, the overpass itself will have wide curb lanes rather than separate bike lanes. Crawford is pretty satisfied with design of the overpass itself, and with the bike lanes on other sections of 127th Street.

But he is pushing for a re-design of the transition section leading up to the overpass to make it work better for bicycles. This section was designed before the grant was received that provided the extra funds to make the overpass bicycle-friendly. So it is going to take some work and some money to re-design this transition section to make it work better for bicycles. Crawford writes:

I can use some citizen help on getting "full" AASHTO accommodation through the transition zones. Granted they will be better than any other bridge I'm aware of in Johnson County, but the rest of the transition zones can be better.

I also need Olathe voices stepping up to push for a full intermodal transportation network study. We had it 2002 budget but it got cut during budget reductions after the 2003 budgets were approved assuming the study was going to happen with 2002 money. This study would improve the initial design criteria for major project so we don't have to shoehorn in bike facilities in the middle of the process.

Please email Dale Crawford to find out what you can do to help. You can also find contact information for Olathe City Officials on the Olathe web site.
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KC Bikes and Trikes for Tykes needs new home

According to a Kansas City Star story, Kansas City Bikes and Trikes for Tykes, which distributes thousands of free bicycles to children in the metro area, is losing its warehouse space and needs a new home.

"What we would really like to see is 15,000 square feet of storage year-round, and up to 30,000 square feet during the two months of the (Christmas) season," Lawson said.

If you can help, call Bikes and Trikes for Tykes at (913) 371-6551.
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Cycling map of KC area online

I have just posted a cycling map of Jackson County, Missouri, that covers all of the southern part of Kansas City (south of the river) and surrounding areas.

It shows many of my own favorite routes and shows many of the best ways to get around difficult obstacles in the area, like freeways and the Blue River Valley. It also shows many continuous routes using only quiet neighborhood streets.

See the Jackson County bicycling maps online on my web site.
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Regular exercise key to maintaining ideal weight

University of Kansas professor Joseph E. Donnelly studies how people lose weight and maintain their weight loss.

The best way to maintain weight loss is to exercise, Donnelly said, adding, "There is nothing that is even a close second." His research suggests a target goal of burning 2,000 calories a week, which equals about five hours of exercise a week. (2000 calories is approximately 40 miles of bicycle riding.)

Donnelly also suggests eating 35 servings of fruits and vegetables per week. Eating 35 servings of fruits and vegetables a week, as federal guidelines suggest, gives a person a lot of nutrition without a lot of calories, Donnelly said. "You get to feel full, and you get to chew," he said.

Craig Weinaug, a participant Donnelly's study, started riding a bicycle to work, a jaunt of almost six miles. On weekends, he often adds 125 to 200 miles on his bike.

"They encourage you to find something that you can adopt as a permanent thing that you like to do," said Weinaug, 50. "I ride unless there is ice on the ground or it's raining."

Read the entire story on the Kansas City Star's web site.
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Input needed on Kansas City transportation funding

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), which distributes and coordinates federal transportation money for the entire Kansas City metropolitan area, is soliciting public input on its latest round of "TIP" amendments. These include a number of bike/ped-related projects.

I would encourage you all to look these projects over and give MARC a response. If nothing else, simply write a short email message saying that you support bike & pedestrian projects. If they don't hear from us, they will assume we don't exist . . .

Public input request is at: http://www.marc.org/input.htm.

Send your input to tip@marc.org.

You can read my own response to the TIP amendments on my KC Bicycle Log.
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Olathe, KS, to include bicycle facilities on new overpass

The Kansas City Star reports that Olathe, KS, has been gathering grants and funding for a new overpass over I-35 at 127th Street. The new overpass will not include ramps onto I-35. The new overpass will probably be built 2004-2005. The Star reports:

The latest piece [of funding] is an $840,000 grant from the Mid-America Regional Council announced Monday. That money will be used to expand the six-lane overpass to add a 10-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian lane. The lane will link trails on the east and west sides of I-35.

"That will hopefully pull bike traffic off 119th and 135th streets," said Merv Gleason, public works program coordinator.

Olathe is also planning a 3.1-mile trail, the "Mahaffie Pedestrian and Bike Trail", that will go north from Olathe North High School. Plans are for the trail to be completed by Spring 2003.
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Learning from Omaha?

Maybe Missouri governments have something to learn from the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department. According to a recent Omaha World Herald story:

Omaha's Parks and Recreation Department pulled in a record $34.7 million this year from outside endowments, grants and foundations.

That is more than what the Kansas City, St. Louis and Lincoln departments combined to draw during a comparable time period.

Those who work with the Omaha Parks Department said the city's success comes from aggressive pursuit of funds, meticulous planning and a record of making good on its promises. . . .

Lyn Wallin Ziegenbein, the Peter Kiewit Foundation's executive director, said the Omaha Parks Department's professionalism is the main reason her organization keeps answering the city's call.

"We find them effective, responsive, accurate, thorough and timely," she said. "That's not always how it works with different groups, but the City Parks Department is like that every single time."
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Raytown postal carrier killed by motorist

A Raytown postal carrier, James Fussell, delivering mail on foot, was killed December 3rd at 5:40 P.M., some time after sunset.

Here are the facts of the case:
  • The collision took place near the corner of 65th Street and Laurel Ave. in Raytown. Laurel Ave. is a quiet neighborhood street with 25 MPH speed limit.
  • The automobile struck Mr. Fussell as he crossed Laurel about 30 feet from the streetlight at the corner of 65th and Laurel.
  • Police determined that the streetlight was operating correctly.
  • As required by postal service regulations (since changed), Mr. Fussell was wearing his dark blue postal carrier's uniform. He was wearing a dark or black coat as well.
  • Postal Carriers have been complaining for years about late starting times that, at this time of year, do not give carriers with big routes enough time to finish their routes before dark. Since the accident, the Postal Service has allowed carriers in this area to start earlier.
  • The immediate area has several bright Christmas light displays that might be distracting to drivers.
  • The automobile driver was not charged.

Coverage of this incident:
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