Missouri Bicycling, Walking, Running, and Trails News

HB 698, preventing creation of any new State Parks, passes MO House - but with Amendment allowing Rock Island Trail State Park

HB 698, sponsored by Rep. Pietzman of Troy, has just passed the Missouri House by a voice vote. The bill prevents Missouri State Parks from purchasing any new land until all current deferred maintenance is up to date.

HB 698 would have stopped any new state parks--including the Rock Island Trail--but a friendly amendment saved the trail

As we warned in a previous article, and discussed with legislators yesterday at our annual Capitol Day, HB 698 as originally drafted would have prevented State Parks from accepting the 144 miles of the Rock Island railroad corridor that Ameren is prepared to donate to Missouri State Parks later this year.

That is the bad news. Now the good news:

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Capitol Day 2017: Citizens visit the Capitol with messages about trails, safe roads, importance of bicycle, pedestrian, and trails funding in Missouri

Supporters of bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri visited Missouri's Capitol Monday for the 14th annual Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol.

We held our annual legislators ride and rally and visited the office of every Missouri state elected official with an information packet about our legislative priorities for 2017.

News media from around the state covered Monday's event. The Jefferson City News-Tribune wrote:

The advocacy efforts of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation's Capitol Day on Monday centered around four issues — the foremost was support for an anticipated expansion of the Rock Island Trail, likely threatened by a bill to limit acquisition of land for state parks.

"It's an amazing investment in rural communities we don't want to miss," the federation's Executive Director Brent Hugh said of the trail's expansion.

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Capitol Day 2017: Rock Island Trail, Transportation Funding, Loose Dogs, Distracted Driving - our top legislative priorities for April 10th

Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol is coming up soon--Monday, April 10th, 2017.  What are the most important legislative issues we are working on--and that participants will be discussing with their state legislators Monday?

Economic importance of bicycling, walking, and trails to Missouri

One of the most important reasons we advocate for more bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri--and a reason that every elected official can understand--is because they are important to our economy.

Thanks to the (wonderful!) Adventure Cycling Association for sharing their bicycle tourism brochure with us so that we could make a Missouri-specific version for use on Capitol Day, we have a beautiful brochure we will share with Missouri legislators Monday that makes these important points:

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Kansas City voters approve $600 million bond package for complete streets; St Louis approves MetroLink expansion

In recent years, voters across the nation have proven they are willing to approve major infrastructure initiatives if they include public transportation, bicycling, walking, and trails. 

Tuesday we saw that the trend holds true in Missouri as well: Kansas City voters passed a $600 million "Complete Streets" bonding package by an overwhelming marging, and St. Louis voters approved a half-cent sales tax for MetroLink expansion and other infrastructure improvements.

Kansas City's new infrastructure proposal gives emphasis to Complete Streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and accessibility

The Kansas City Star summarized the Kansas City bond issues that passed Tuesday:

For years, Kansas City residents have pleaded for better roads, bridges, sidewalks and flood control. On Tuesday, voters put those community priorities ahead of individual pocketbook concerns and approved a massive, $800 million infrastructure package and the property tax increases to help pay for it.

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Missouri Municipal Elections Tues, April 4th, 2017: Voter guide - Find your polling place, ballots, candidates, issues

Missouri's municipal elections are being held across the state on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017.

"I bicycle - I walk - I run and I vote" is one of the most powerful statements we can make to any elected leader, in our work to make Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

So whatever your party, whoever your candidates, whatever your issues, please get out and VOTE on Tuesday, April 4th.

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Apr 4th Elections: Kansas City Council adopts Complete Streets initiative for proposed GOBonds funding

Cities across Missouri have started to make a practice of including important walking, bicycling, and trails projects and maintenance in their regular capital funding and bonding proposals. But--until now--Kansas City, Missouri, never has.

After many months of work by citizens, community leaders, city staff, and elected officials, Kansas City has a very important capital improvement bonding proposal on Tuesday's municipal elections ballot.

And thanks to the work of BikeWalkKC advocates, working together with supportive citizens, staff, and elected officials, the proposal takes a step that Kansas City has never taken before: It gives very strong support to the city's long-neglected sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and other basic infrastructure used by people who walk, bicycle, and use transit.

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Strong local support for walking and bicycling on the new Champ Clark Mississippi River Bridge at Louisiana MO: What are the options, with photos

For about the past year, the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation has been talking with MoDOT and local citizens in the Louisiana, Missouri area about including bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on the new Champ Clark/Hwy 54 Bridge across the Mississippi River.

We don't want to build a major new river bridge in Missouri and leave out needed accommodations for people to walk and bicycle across the bridge safely.

And, as we have found in communities across Missouri, local support for safe walking and bicycling access on the new bridge is strong.

Are pedestrian and bicycle facilities a good investment?

Cost is the issue that comes up over and over in talking about pedestrian and bicycle accommodations on bridges like this.

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Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol April 10th - Join us!

Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City is April 10th--coming up soon.

>>> Register - volunteer - and/or bring a display for your business or organization at Capitol Day here

This year we have a new governor, new administration, and many new legislators who need to be educated about the importance of bicycling, walking, and trails to Missouri.  Your personal visits at Capitol Day are by far the best way to do this.

We and our partners across Missouri are working on many important legislative issues this year, including:

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ALERT: Contact Congress to support 2017 National Bike Summit Congressional visits this week

Every March a delegation of bicycle and pedestrian advocates from across Missouri go to Washington, DC, for the National Bike Summit.  We spend a couple of days meeting with other advocates from around the country and sharing ideas and best practices.

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Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails plan coming together for rural southwest Missouri - extension of Razorback Trail to SW MO possible - public meeting Mar 6th

A very important development this month in southwest Missouri: Local communities and regional planning organizations are working together to create a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan. If you live in the area, you can join a public meeting in Pineville Monday, March 6th (details below).

If you live outside the area but have an interest in the regional bicycle & pedestrian plan, please complete the online survey.

What are the possibilities?

The most immediate and exciting possibility is to extend the Razorback Trail north to Jane and Pineville. However, regional planners are using the opportunity to create a truly regional bicycle, pedestrian, and trails plan. 

Will it be possible to continue the Razorback Trail connection up north through Anderson and potentially the Neosho and Joplin areas?

Can existing area trails be connecting into a single seamless network? Are regional, statewide, and national bicycle touring routes through the area possible? Is it possible to connect trails and routes in the four-county area to planned and existing trails and routes in surrounding areas--such as those in Nevada and Springfield.

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New Bike/Ped Crossing of Missouri River underway: Missouri 370 Discovery Bridge at St. Charles/Bridgeton

A new bicycle and pedestrian crossing of the Missouri River--long under discussion and study--is finally underway in St. Charles and St. Louis Counties.  Engineering and design is now moving forward on the project, which is fully funded.

The project is a collaboration between the cities of St. Charles and Bridgeton, MoDOT (which owns/operates the bridge), Great Rivers Greenway, and others.

The Discovery Bridge carries Missouri 370 across the Missouri River between St. Charles and Bridgeton. It is one of six Missouri River Bridges in the greater St. Louis region. As one of the most logical and direct connections between two highly populated counties, bicycle and pedestrian access across the Discovery Bridge has long been under discussion.

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ALERT: Key Mississippi Greenway Trail Connection in St. Louis County needs your support today

UPDATE 16 February 2017: Success!  Great Rivers Greenway and County Councilman Ernie Trakas continued discussions about the trail--spurred on by the many messages and phone calls St Louis County officials received in support of it.

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