Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

St. Louis writer on Segway vs. walking

Christopher Orlet, a St. Louis writer, had this to say about the new Segway Personal Transportation device, in an article in Salon:

Truly what is needed is not another gizmo that provides otherwise healthy men and women with another reason to remain sedentary, but more sidewalks and walking trails, safer intersections, the reappearance of street-side shops and sidewalk cafes that once made urban walking enjoyable, and flatfoot cops on the beat that made that sauntering safe. What is needed are bicycle lanes and routes like the ones you still find in European cities. It is unfortunate that a man as ingenious as Dean Kamen has dedicated the last decade to working to make walking obsolete, when he might have put his considerable intellectual gifts toward creating something to improve, not diminish, the quality of life.

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Slow economy helps (!) St. Louis park expansion

Some local governments don't let the slow economy stop progress. The slow economy presents opportunities as well as difficulties. STLToday reports, The same sluggish economy that has put the squeeze on the department's operating budget has prompted county officials to embark on a massive construction plan to revamp the county's 12,300-acre park system for the next generation.

Nothing specific is on the table yet. But the county is talking about spending about $40 million over the next 20 years on new bike trails, pools, playgrounds, picnic shelters and restrooms - starting next year. . . .

Instead of tackling upgrades at the 59 parks in a piecemeal approach as the special sales tax money trickles in, the county could save money by financing dozens of projects at the same time, said Jim Baker, director of administration.

Because interest rates are low, the cost of retiring the debt on a large number of projects through the special sales tax is likely to be cheaper than the cost of stretching out construction projects for years, when the price tag could rise with inflation, Baker said.
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KC-area trails

Looking for a trail to ride in the Kansas City area? MARC (the Mid-America Regional Council) has information on the MetroGreen project, which is a proposed 1144-mile system of interconnected multi-use greenway trails. The page has an interactive map of proposed trails, and also a printable file listing all existing area trails (PDF format).

A sub-page also lists proposals and plans for connecting the KC area to the Katy trail, including this overview of possible greenway corridors (PDF format) and an overview of on-road connections (PDF format).

Earthriders maintains an exhaustive list of single-track trails in Missouri and Kansas.
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Kansas City Athlete
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Guide to bicycle routes in the St. Louis area

The Gateway Council publishes a great resource for cyclists in the St. Louis area. It's called the BiState Bicycle Tour Book and contains more than 150 different bicycle routes that have been developed by members and friends of the Gateway Council. All of the routes listed in this fourth edition have been updated to reflect changes in routes and traffic in 1997. The cost of the book is $12.00 and you can obtain the book from many of the area bicycle shops as well as the Council office which is located at 7187 Manchester Road, St. Louis, MO, 63143, phone (314) 644-4660.
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Pedestrian deaths in KC this year

According to a KCStar story, Kansas City has had 19 pedestrian deaths this year, as compared with 12 at this time last year.

Many of the deaths and serious injuries for both pedestrians and cyclists have come with the good weather this fall, which has encouraged many pedestrians and cyclists to spend more time outdoors.

At least three recent, serious pedestrian injuries or deaths have occurred as pedestrians attempt to cross 71 Hwy near Gregory. 71 Hwy is a very high speed expressway with limited opportunities for pedestrians to cross safely.

Channel 9 News reports that 71 Hwy also has more than its share of vehicle deaths, and quotes one nearby resident explaining the rash of vehicular and pedestrian deaths: "The road itself is the problem."

Pedestrian issues have been a hot topic on the KCStar's letters to the editor section recently. Selected comments:

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St. Louis Area: Brentwood Blvd meeting Tuesday, 12/10/2002

Bob Foster forwarded this announcement:

The public can attend a meeting about the Manchester Road revitalization project at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Brentwood City Hall, 2348 South Brentwood Boulevard.

The project is a joint effort of Brentwood, Glendale, Kirkwood, Maplewood, Rock Hill and Warson Woods. These six municipalities hope to pool their resources and pay for improvement projects along Manchester. The effort began about four years ago.

Some of the projects under consideration include eliminating utility poles on Manchester, installing new curbing and sidewalks and adding more green space, storm-water sewers and street lighting.

Rock Hill Mayor Robert Salamone said, "The hope is to make this area more attractive and to make improvements to each community but to ensure that each community retains that special character."

The Legislature still must approve a plan that permits these municipalities to set up a special taxing district. Voters also would need to approve a sales-tax increase.

Salamone said that officials from each municipality would offer at the meeting an update on the revitalization plan.
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North KC-area counties begin ambitious trails plan

Clay and Platte county residents have spoken quite clearly about trails over the past two years: They want to build miles of new pathways and greenways where they can walk, bike, skate and ride horses. . . .

A recent survey showed how strongly Clay Countians support these initiatives. Hiking and biking trails were the most highly rated of 28 recreational facilities for families. Trails finished far ahead of the next two highest priorities -- small neighborhood parks and indoor fitness facilities.

Read the complete story, including details of proposed trail networks, on the Kansas City Star web site.
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Katy Trail Guidebook

If I could have what I really wanted for Christmas, it would be a quick fix for a complex problem: Bringing the Katy Trail on into Kansas City from Clinton, so that the rails-to-trails project would span the entire state of Missouri.

But I'm afraid that's going to take some doing.

So I'll have to content myself for now with the sixth edition of The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook . . .

Read the rest of this review on the KCStar's web site.
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Riding the North Shore

Riding to the trailhead my stomach if full of butterflies, I've waited for this for almost 2 years, and I'm finally here seconds away from riding the famous North Shore! . . .

Not too bad starting off, kinda rough with short 1' drops rooty and rocky, the ground is soft and strange compared to the black dirt around KC. . . . So far it's been challenging, but not too scary. We come up on the first major stunt, a small jump/drop and a 4-6" wide skinny that has 3 bends and ends in a downhill log ride…

(A '4-6" wide skinny', in case you're wondering, is a 4- to 6-inch wide board suspended 3- to 4-feet in the air. This one is 30 or 40 feet long and has three curves. It does get a bit wider at the curves. It ends on a log--imagine the trunk of a large pine tree lying on the ground--and you ride the log another 40-50 feet down a hill.)

Click here to read the rest of this excellent story of Patrick McCue's trip to mountain bike Vancouver, including some great photos of the trails, on Freeride
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