Rails-with-Trails safer than just Rails - new research and reports

In Missouri there are several interesting opportunities for Rails with Trails projects--trails built adjoining active rail lines. The Katy Trail from Clinton to Nevada and beyond could be built as a rails-with-trails project.  And a portion of the Katy Trail through Sedalia, which currently is diverted onto city streets, would be both safer and more direct if it could be relocated next to an adjoining Union Pacific line.

The objection to these facilities is naturally that they will increase the danger of accidents on the rail line--won't they?

According to research on rails with trails in the U.S., the answer is a resounding no. In fact, trails along the rail lines may actually improve safety:

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New MO Hwy 36 Bicycle Route under development - St Joseph to Hannibal

Northern Missouri has some amazing potential for bicycle touring. Think about miles of low-traffic roads, beautiful rural vistas, welcoming small towns, and some interesting history.

But until now, the region has had few--you could even say no--bicycle touring routes identified, mapped, signed, or commonly used.

The Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance wants to change that, and has worked with cyclist and author Dave Fiedler to develop a bicycle touring route that parallels Highway 36 between St. Joseph and Chillicothe:

Cyclists keen to develop a bike route along the "Way of American Genius" in conjunction with the Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance pedaled a planned bike route across the state to verify its suitability for two-wheeled travel.

The group pedaled the route the last week of September. Maps of the route are now available for download at the Missouri Highway 36 Heritage Alliance website.

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City of Washington - Katy Trail connection becoming a reality

One of MoBikeFed's top priorities in our Vision for Bicycling & Walking in Missouri has been to encourage the state to bridge major barriers--like the Missouri River--for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Nowhere is that more important than in the Katy Trail communities--many of which were historically separated from the Katy Trail by the Missouri River.

After decades of work, all of the major communities along the Katy Trail are connected to the trail in one way or another--except for Washington, MO.

And now the City of Washington, in cooperation with the Regional Planning Commission and encouraged by MoDOT, is about to take the first step to connect the city to the trail.

The Hwy 47 Bridge at Washington--High traffic, narrow lanes, no shoulder

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Missouri model for bike/ped success: Making Raytown a bicycle and pedestrian friendly city

The keynote presentation in this month's Missouri Safe Routes to School Coalition Teleconference was John Benson of the City of Raytown talking about "Making Raytown a bicycle and pedestrian friendly city."

Raytown started with almost no bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure. Sidewalks were sporadic and incomplete. Cattle trails marked the edges of major roads where no sidewalks existed.

The presentation is a model for other city across Missouri.  It shows a number of ideas and techniques any city can use to turn the city around and help it become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly over time. Below are the notes from John's presentation.

Making Raytown a bicycle and pedestrian friendly city

John Benson, Interim Community Development Director, City of Raytown

Recent developments in Raytown for bicycling and walking:

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Missouri Congressmen vote to defund bicycling and walking

Yesterday Missouri Congressmen Sam Graves (Northwest Missouri) and Billy Long (Southwest Missouri) voted to eliminate federal funding for bicycilng and walking. They both supported a plan that targets bike/ped programs for elimination and reverses decades of progress that have resulted in Missouri getting more trails, more bike lanes, safer bridges, and more sidewalks in communities all over the state.

The US House of Representatives is working on a new federal transportation bill wlith all of these terrible setbacks. Both Congressmen sit on the House Transportation Committee that has a key role in shaping the future of our communities.  Despite many letters and phone calls from constituents, Graves and Long both voted against a bi-partisan effort to restore bike/ped funding. However, Congressman Russ Carnahan also sits on that committee and was one of the "yes" votes to save bicycling and walking. Please be sure to thank him!

Some elements of the horrible federal transportation bill include:

Safe Route to School would be "repealed" -  a popular and successful program that has helped communities around the state make it safer and easier for kids to walk and bike school by building sidewalks, improving crosswalks, and supporting educational programs.

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MoBikeFed is Hiring in the Kansas City Region


The Missouri Foundation for Bicycling and Walking is seeking three to five individuals to teach a bicycle safety-training program to elementary school students in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.  These part-time, limited term (approximately 18 months) employees report directly to the Missouri Foundation for Bicycling and Walking (MFBW) BLAST Program Coordinator.  These positions interact with all members of the MFBW staff and will require some contact with KC area school faculty and staff.  Here are some more details: 

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Visualization of U.S. bicycle statistics

Kory Northrup recently won a competition with this informative presentation of bicycle-related statistics:

View the presentation in full size here.

Some interesting stats from the presentation.  For states:

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Action Alert: U.S. Senators again try to eliminate main source of bike/ped funding in U.S.

Today the Alliance for Biking and Walking sent the Action Alert below.

Please take a moment to contact our Missouri Senators in support of Transportation Enhancements--currently the main source of funding for bicycling and walking infrastructure in the U.S.

We are in an unusual situation in Missouri, where Senator Roy Blunt has voiced support for continuing the Transportation Enhancements program and Senator Claire McCaskill has voiced strong opposition to it.

Both senators need to hear from you--Senator Blunt, to shore up his support, and Senator McCaskill so that she will change her mind.

It only takes a couple of minutes, and if our senators do not hear a tidal wave of citizen response whenever our key bicycle and pedestrian programs are attacked, those programs will be eliminated sooner or later.

From Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking and Walking:

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Missouri bike/ped news roundup: Training, trails, sidewalks, paint, compromise, funding, and harassment

Roundup of recent bicycle, pedestrian, and trail news from around Missouri:


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Concern builds about possible opposition to bicycle & pedestrian funding in the federal transportation budget

Yesterday we reported that the U.S. House is preparing the to introduce large cuts to the proposed federal budget and an attempt could be made to dramatically cut or even eliminate funding for bicycle and pedestrian transportation in the federal budget.

Why the concern?

The short answer is that some members of Congress have declared that cutting these programs is among their priorities--and after the recent elections, some of those members are now in key leadership positions.

Proposals by Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader
Eric Cantor, now House Majority Leader, has been particularly vocal in demanding cuts in bicycle and pedestrian related programs. A budget proposal posted at includes these paragraphs:

Terminate Safe Routes to Schools Program (Saves $915 Million over five years)
The Federal “Safe Routes to Schools Program,” started in 2005, finances infrastructure and non- infrastructure projects to assist children who walk or bike to school. This program fulfills what has traditionally been viewed as a local responsibility.
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