Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

A short time remains in the public comment period for federal TEA-21 re-authorization

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking public comment on the TEA-21 re-authorization legislation that will be considered by congress starting in January 2003. USDOT will take public comment through December 31st, 2002.

Your comments need not be long or detailed. A simple statement such as "I support the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian projects and planning in TEA3" says a lot. Click here to leave a comment with USDOT (you must register before commenting).

You can find out more about TEA3 and the issues involved, at the Alliance for a New Transportation Charter website (read also their TEA3 Action Alert).

It is very important that the DOT hear from cyclists writing in support of cycling issues. TEA-21 and ISTEA have done more to improve the bicycle transportation outlook in the United States than any other plan or program in the past 10 years or so. TEA-21 includes incentives to local government bodies to create special bicycle and pedestrian projects, but even more important, to make bicycle and pedestrian planning a regular part of the overall transportation planning picture for every government body across the entire U.S.

When we win the battle for TEA3, we win a thousand battles at one stroke.

We know that the highway lobbyists are mobilizing their supporters to flood the DOT with comments supporting more and bigger construction projects friendly to motor vehicles. Bicycle and pedestrian supporters must provide a balancing back-pressure of public opinion to let our public officials know that Americans support these transportation choices.

The Department of Transportation's TEA3 site has a great deal of information about the legislation and reauthorization timeline.

TEA3 has the potential to do everything TEA21 did and more. Among the proposed TEA3 initiatives is a "Safe Routes to School" proposal. This has the potential to have a positive impact on the health of young people around the country (childhood obesity is at an all-time high, in large part because our children are driven most everywhere previous generations biked and walked) and to dramatically improve the bicycle- and pedestrian-friendliness of communities.

Click here to find out more about the TEA3 Safe Routes to School proposal on the Transact web site.
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IMBA Pleased With New BLM Mountain Biking Plan

Press release from the International Mountain Biking Association" (IMBA):

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a final National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan for the management of mountain biking on the BLM's 262 million acres of public land. The 31-page document represents the most comprehensive mountain bike management plan created by any land management agency.

The plan was announced yesterday, November 12, at the National Trails Symposium in Orlando, Florida."This is a great plan," said IMBA's executive director Tim Blumenthal. "It addresses the current desires of mountain bikers, leaves most decision making to local managers, and is adaptable as the sport evolves."

The BLM decided to produce a mountain bike-specific plan last year following a flood of comments from IMBA leaders and members on the BLM's Off-Highway Vehicle Strategy. That plan originally proposed to group mountain bike management with that of motorized vehicles. Mountain bikers played a key role in shaping the new plan. The BLM considered thousands of cyclists' comments, sent a team of leaders to the 2002 IMBA Mountain Bike Advocacy Summit, and included long-time IMBA advocate Mark Flint of Tucson, Arizona, as an advisor.The BLM did not adopt suggestions from the American Hiking Society and others that recommended a "closed-unless-open" trail policy and a prohibition of bicycling from national conservation areas.IMBA believes the 10-year plan sets a positive, proactive direction for the BLM. It offers constructive advice to local managers, clearly recognizes changing demographics, identifies emerging bicycle and trailbuilding technologies, and discusses other issues unique to mountain biking.The BLM now faces the challenge of implementing the plan. IMBA will cooperate with the agency by providing volunteer resources and technical assistance. IMBA will also continue to seek adequate recreation management funding from Congress.The plan is available at: https://www.blm.gov/mountain_biking/

Missouri's Marvin Johnson adds: "[BLM has] adopted a mountain bike plan for its immense land holdings that could turn out to be the most positive turn for the sport in the past three years. Access to the back country for mountain biking has been under a high-pressure offensive from passive-use advocates such as the Sierra Club and various Wilderness-related organizations, who campaigned heavily to restrict us from BLM property as the legislation was making its way down the pipe.

"There is no way to stress the importance for all mountain bikers to keep the land access fires blazing by writing and e-mailing politicians, and local, state, and government officials any time an issue surfaces. The best way to celebrate our victory is to send IMBA ten bucks with your thank you note attached. Read the release."
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The Mississippi River Trail (MRT)

From Lake Itasca, MN to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River Trail will be a signed bike route, mostly on the roads, that gives cyclists a close-up look at America's greatest river.

Missouri has joined the states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee as having fully designated and signed its portion of the Mississippi River Trail.

Read more about the MRT on the St. Louis Bike Fed's site.
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Critical Mass bites back . . .

Cartoon strip "Roadkill Bill" found something besides bicycles that has a critical mass out on today's roads . . .
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Join MoBikeFed

The Missouri Bicycle Federation is the only state-wide group advocating for the rights and interests of all types of bicyclists throughout Missouri. Support bicycling in Missouri by joining MoBIkeFed! Now you can pay your membership dues with a credit card, with our brand-new online membership form (you can also join the old fashioned way if you prefer).
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Missouri senator & congressman poised to influence TEA-21 re-authorization

An article in today's St. Joseph News-Press reports on the progress on TEA-21 re-authorization. TEA-21 and its predecessor, ISTEA, have been the main federal funding vehicle for bicycle- and pedestrian-related transportation improvements over the past 10 years or so. Projects include such things as bike/hike trails and comprehensive bicycle transportation plans such as BikeKC, recently passed by Kansas City, MO.

Last year, Missourians paid $757 million in federal fuel taxes and Missouri received only $592 million back. The article explains the reasoning behind the funding formula that makes some states "donor states" and others "recipient states".

According to the article, Missouri Senator Kit Bond "with his 16 years of seniority, serves on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, along with the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, with a chance to play a prominent role in drafting the legislation". (However, with the recent changes in the senate, Mr. Bond may be pegged to chair a different committee.)

Missouri Congressman Sam Graves (6th district, St. Joseph area, Republican) is on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Both would be key players in the TEA-21 re-authorization, and need to hear regularly from Missourians who support bicycle, pedestrian, and mass transit initiatives (click on legislators' names, above, to visit a page with info about how to contact them).

Bob Foster of the Missouri Bicycle Federation is particularly interested in finding any cyclists or cycle-related businesses who have worked with Senator Bond in the past. Read Bob's article to the STLBikeFed email list.

Read the complete St. Joseph News-Press article here.
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Touring the Arkansas Ozarks

By Todd Blackwell, Lake of the Ozarks. Touring by bicycle is not only about pedaling a bicycle around all day… it is about a different and exciting way to experience the many aspects of our world that we take for granted; the everyday places and faces that we speed by without notice. We tend to overlook these ordinary elements due in part to our hectic lifestyle. There is something new and exciting around every bend, over each hill, and in every small town we travel through. One can never fully appreciate the adventure that this method of travel affords unless they experience this for themselves . . .
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Lawsuit threatens St. Joseph riverfront hike-bike trail

Today the St. Joseph News-Press reported that the owner of a nearby riverboat casino plans a lawsuit to clear up disputes over the land a proposed riverfront hike-bike trail would be built on. Casino owner Bill Grace claims that he controls, either through options or leases, land the trail would be constructed on.

Grace called the trail an “absolute waste of money” that would attract “joggers and winos up there, and that is all you are going to get.” People who use the trail will not be “buying anything. They are walking.”

Construction on the trail has been postponed until the legal problems are cleared up.
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Dear Driver:Please Share The Road

Equal Rights for Cyclists campaign has written an interesting and useful letter to motorists and bicyclists, outlining the rights and responsibilities of both. The interesting thing about this letter is that ERCC went to a deal of trouble to test a lot of different versions of the letter, finally arriving at a statement that helps both motorists and cyclists understand how to drive on the road, not because "someone said so" but because they are good common sense.
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Touring across Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas to Colorado.

By Ken Kifer. By the time I reached Ava in the afternoon, I was very hot and tired. As I was riding along, a man drove out to stop me. Earl was 75 years old, and he had crossed the United States by bicycle when he was 70. He told me about the local bridges, about his travels, and about his philosophy of life. He and his wife gave me a plate of food to eat . . .

Click here to read the rest of Ken's cycling adventures across Missouri.
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Why is little Johnny obese?

Roadkill Bill has the answer . . .
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St. Joseph Hike-Bike Trail Delayed

The St. Joseph News-Press is reporting today that a planned hike-bike trail along the Missouri Riverfront has been delayed because a nearby riverfront casino operator fears that the proposed trail will limit his development options.
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