There may still be snow on the ground, but spring is just around the corner. (We swear!) Getting a jump on cycling season, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently released its proposed U.S. Bike Route accomplishments for 2014.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap for our area this year, pending approval at AASHTO’s spring meeting in a few weeks:
State transportation agencies, bike and trail advocacy groups, volunteers, and Adventure Cycling staff are working in partnership to finalize and map routes, obtain road jurisdiction agreements, put together turn-by-turn descriptions, and get support from departments of transportation.
Illinois, USBR 3
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is shooting for a spring designation of USBR 37, but depending on jurisdictions and their various timelines, they may need to wait until the fall. With the assistance of Trails for Illinois, IDOT is working on a route that mostly follows trails and incorporates roads within the Chicago bicycle route network. The route goes from the Indiana border to the Wisconsin border, mostly along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Kenosha County, Wisconsin, is interested in designating USBR 37 further along the proposed route to meet USBR 30, making an important connection between two near-term U.S. Bike Routes.
In addition, the AASHTO is continuing with its National Corridor Plan, which identifies 50-mile-wide corridors both prioritized (numbered) and un-prioritized (faint brown lines), where a route might exist or be developed as a U.S. Bicycle Route.
Here’s a status report of where the plan sits for 2014:
Illinois, USBR 66
Phase I: Planning
The Route 66 Trail Executive Council is made up of representatives from the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Bicycle and Pedestrian office of the DOT, League of Illinois Bicyclists, and the Route 66 Scenic Byway. The Council will work with Adventure Cycling to designate this combination of trail and road routes as a U.S. Bicycle Route. See the Route 66 Trail Concept Plan for more details. Other interim routes that are within USBRS corridors include: Mississippi River Trail and Grand Illinois Trail.
For more information or to volunteer, contact the League of Illinois Bicyclists at lib@bikeLIB.org.
Missouri, USBR 66
Phase I: Planning
The state bicycle and pedestrian office is coordinating efforts with local cyclists, Adventure Cycling Association, and the DOT Districts to designate and sign USBR 66 across Missouri, and planning efforts are in the beginning phases. Since Route 66 had so many alignments through the years, choosing a route may take quite a bit of coordination with planners and administrators from the various communities along the historic Route 66 corridor. There have been several tours that have mapped routes along the Mother Road that will need to be reviewed and field-checked for bike friendliness before a series of public meetings can be held to help define the final routing.
You can also find regional bicycle route information on the DOT’s website. For more information or to volunteer to help with the planning efforts in your community, please contact Ron Effland, Non-motorized Transportation Engineer for MoDOT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missouri, USBR 76
Phase III: Promotion
On May 3, 2013, AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering approved Missouri’s first U.S. Bike Route. The 348.5-mile USBR 76 mostly follows the Trans America Bicycle Trail that Adventure Cycling first mapped in 1976. The new green USBR signs will be installed along the route in the summer of 2013. USBR 76 will also be included on the DOT’s 100th Anniversary state road map.