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Topics - GSullivan

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1
Corridor 20 Implementation / An Update from Scott
« on: January 07, 2010, 08:24:09 am »
  :o
Hi all,

I have had some very productive conversations with Jay Reithel and Dave Geiger from the MDOT Bay Region office regarding the route through that region. The Bay Region probably accounts for half the overall length of the route.

As a result of that I am going to do a proposed modification, but there are a few details to work out, and since this involves Kerry's neck of the woods I have sent him some information first to look over.  The overall effect, just as a foretaste, is that the route is slightly less meandering (8.3 miles shorter overall), and incorporates a new segment of the Southern Links Trailway (a rail trail) which was not on the route before.  There are many more details, which you'll see later this week.  (I have also got in touch with the chairman of the Southern Links Trail Management organization, which is one of those Michigan joint-venture municipal thingies.)

Also: I have ordered a sample USBR 20 sign, so we will have that available when we meet with MDOT or county road people or trail management groups or whoever.  This was funded by a grant (can I call it that, Ginny?) from ACA, which we appreciate.  I should have that in a couple weeks, hopefully in time for my first meeting with the St. Clair County Road Commission.

Meanwhile, in Sanilac County, which the route barely brushes across, I was able to get the Road Commission Manager to approve the route in a single phone call.  If only it were always that easy :)

Cheers,
Scott

2
This email came to me after the article came out in Adventure Cyclist. I forwarded it on to Josh Lehman at Mass DOT for comment.

Ms. Sullivan:

I read with interest the article by Dan d’Ambrosio on “A Bicycle Route Network for America” in the current [September-November 2009] issue of Adventure Cyclist.  However, I was disappointed that I did not see any clear indication of an East-West route through Massachusetts.  I would like to make a suggestion for such a route based on my recent experience.

Having done much long distance bicycle touring (which I define as at least 50 miles from the departure, and one overnight) in Europe, I regret the lack of comparable opportunities in the United States.

On May 13 of this year I set off on my bicycle from my home in Cleveland, Ohio, for Cambridge, Massachusetts and my 50th Reunion at MIT (800 miles).  I was joined by a contemporary who rode with me as far as Albany, New York, before heading south for his 50th reunion at Columbia in New York City.  A second contemporary, who is 50 years out of Harvard, joined us in Buffalo, and after Albany continued with me on to Cambridge.

Planning for the trip from Cleveland to Buffalo [Lackawana] and on to Albany and the Massachusetts border was straight forward since there are published routes.  There were no recommended trans state route for Massachusetts, and at this point, I almost gave up on the trip, but I eventually came up with a satisfactory route.

From Cleveland to Buffalo [Lackawana] we used the ACA Northern Tier route, and was thankful for the fact that I could download the GPS coordinates into my computer, and then into my Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx.

From Buffalo to Albany we basically followed the Trails & Parks New York Canalway Trail.   Where the trail was crushed limestone, we used low traffic parallel roads except for a few stretches where no suitable parallel road was available.  We found Canalway preferable to the designated and signed NY State Bike Route 5, which is on busier roads.

Between Albany and the Massachusetts border, we followed Bike Route 5 which joins US 20 at Schodack Center.  While the highways utilized by Bike Route 5 for the most part have wide paved shoulders in good condition, there were about 10 miles on this Section of US 20 where the shoulder was awful or non-existent making for a terrifying ride.

Planning the route through Massachusetts was an intimidating challenge because of the Berkshire Mountains, and almost caused me to give up on the trip.  The Rubel maps show bicycle friendly roads, but do not give any recommended long distance cross state through routes.  Besides, the map for Central Massachusetts is not available, but I was able to borrow a copy and scan the desired sections.  A friend who had ridden transcontinental a few years ago, finishing in Massachusetts, came to my rescue.  I followed his route to Worcester and from Worcester we followed the East Coast Greenways route to Cambridge.

The eventual route selected through Massachusetts proved to be quite satisfactory for experienced touring cyclists.  We continued on US 20 to Pittsfield.

Out of Pittsfield, we took SR 9 to Dalton, SR 8 to Hindsdale, and SR 143 to Williamsburg, and had planned to take SR 9 to Florence/Northampton.  However, out of Williamsburg, we actually took South Street, Audubon Road, Mulberry Street and Florence Street which route was undoubtedly more enjoyable than SR 9.  A rail-trail is in progress between Williamsburg and Florence and should be available in the not too distance future.  In Florence we stayed with trail activist Craig de la Penna who may be known to you.

Out of Florence, we took the rail-trail into Northampton and across the river.  Then, since some misguided soul decided to have the rail-trail from this point paved with glass chips, we walked our bikes to the point where we could connect with Bay Road (crossing SR 9 during the morning rush hour was a harrowing experience).  We followed Bay Road to the point where it connected with SR 9 above Belchertown, and then continued on SR 9 into Worcester.  Traffic in Worcester was less than desirable, but then that’s life in the city.

Out of Worcester, we followed the East Coast Greenways route to Cambridge.  This routing is undoubtedly known to you.

 
Oliver E. S.

3
In the current AARP bulletin, there's an interesting interview with US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.  He talks about delaying the federal transportation bill, saying that an 18-month extension will likely bring a better economy that is more likely to finance Jim Oberstar's pro-alternatives House bill.

"Look, we built the interstate system. That's done. Now we're trying other things so you don't have to get in a car every time you want to go somewhere."  The interview is at:

http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourworld/gettingaround/articles/living_in_a_post_car_world.1.html


4
Two up-coming meetings:
1) US Bicycle Route System Regional Meeting on October 28 in Kalamazoo, MI. This is a post-conference workshop in conjunction with the Mid America Trails and Greenways Conference (Oct25-27). You can find registration for the session on the conference brochure http://www.michigantrails.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/matag_web_brochure3.pdf

The morning session will be called "Connecting Mid America with Trails and Greenways" and will go from 9-12 noon. A highlight for this morning session will be a presentation by the Michigan Assistant Attorney General, Ron Emery and Bike/Ped Coordinator, Josh DeBruyn on debunking the myths associated with on-road bicycle route designations (addressing liability concerns that agencies and trail managers might have). This is going to be an incredibly informative!

The afternoon session, 1pm - 3pm, will focus on USBRS route/trail development in the mid American states. Mid America trail administrators are invited to this session and we are trying to get the word out to other agencies and organizations.

2) In addition, I will be in Salem, Oregon on Oct 20. I will be holding a public meeting at the First United Methodist Church from 7:00pm-9:00. For more information and driving directions go to our meetings and gatherings page www.adventurecycling.org/partiesandgatherings/ During my week in Oregon, I will be meeting with Ohio Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Ohio Scenic Bikeways Committee.

Please pass these invitations along to anyone you think should be there. Information will be posted at www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs or contact me for a pdf flyer or postcard invitation to pass along. You can reach me at gsullivan - at - adventurecycling.org

Thanks!

5
Research and Resources / St. Louis Environmental Sustainability Roadmap
« on: September 30, 2009, 10:16:57 am »
St Louis is moving toward a sustainable future. Read the report,
"Environmental Sustainability Roadmap" available at this link:
http://tinyurl.com/sustainabilityroadmap





7
Research and Resources / House Approves 3-Month Authorization Extension
« on: September 24, 2009, 10:30:10 am »
According to the AASHTO Journal, The House of Representatives voted 335-85 this evening to approve a bill that would extend federal highway and transit programs until the end of this year. Federal law authorizing spending on federal-aid highways, transit projects, and highway safety programs is set to expire Sept. 30.

House Democratic leaders brought the measure, HR 3617, sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-MN, to the floor late this afternoon using an expedited procedure known as suspension of the rules. This process allowed the bill to bypass a committee markup and also precludes amendments to the bill.

The legislation does not address a looming $8.7 billion rescission of existing contract authority (enacted in the 2005 transportation law known as SAFETEA-LU and amended by a 2007 energy law), which will be executed next week by the Federal Highway Administration if not repealed.

Read AASHTO's full story here http://www.aashtojournal.org/Pages/Default.aspx


8
From our friends at the Alliance for Biking and Walking, I recently learned the following:

America Bikes has recently been informed by the Department of Transportation that large bicycle and pedestrian projects are eligible and that organizations are encouraged to submit such projects for the TIGER discretionary grants in the stimulus package.

The TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) is a discretionary grant program in the stimulus that makes $1.5 billion dollars available to local governments and MPOs “to make grants for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has assured America Bikes that large and/or network-based bicycle projects, such as 2010 communities, are strong applicants and are encouraged to apply.
At a quick glance, the grant may not seem a good fit, but three of the five primary criteria for selection are livability, sustainability and safety –categories that bike/ped projects excel at – and the DOT has restated their ability to waive the $20 million minimum for a project that meets those criteria.
 
Applications are due September 15th.

We encourage Alliance groups to talk with their state or local governments about appropriate bike/ped projects for the TIGER Grant as soon as possible and to send any questions to TIGERGrants@dot.gov

Some additional resources that may help you:

 FAQs: http://www.dot.gov/recovery/ost/faqs.htm

Notice of Funding Availability: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-14262.pdf


9
Tell us your thoughts on funding the next Transportation Bill As State DOTs across the country are struggling to make payrolls, stimulus projects are beginning to roll out and the Highway Trust Fund is belly-up - what are the opportunities for transportation? Tell us your thoughts here!

11
Chairman Oberstar and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have introduced the Surface Transportation Bill of 2009. Read it at http://transportation.house.gov/

Read Bike Portland's blog http://bikeportland.org/2009/06/18/oberstars-500b-t-bill-would-establish-livability-office-us-bike-route-system/

And the media take on it http://www.examiner.com/x-2429-DC-Bicycle-Transportation-Examiner~y2009m6d21-Oberstar-reveals-transportation-blueprint



13
Research and Resources / Penn support biking and walking trails
« on: June 03, 2009, 04:44:31 pm »
Some good news from Pennsylvania!

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09148/973432-100.stm

14
Hey - here's Ray LaHoods blog post for May 20 honoring Bike Safety Month. Check out what he has to say.

http://fastlane.dot.gov/2009/05/bicycling-is-only-healthy-when-you-ride-safely.html

15
Corridor 35 Implementation / USBR 35 in Michigan
« on: May 20, 2009, 09:37:38 am »
Ginny;
 
The City of South Haven is working together with neighboring communities to create a bike trail connection between South Haven and Saugatuck, Michigan.  This would be a route along the lakeshore through a very attractive tourist destination.
 
Are there any larger bike routes that we can coordinate with, connect with or otherwise use as a reference in grant writing?
 
Also, I noted that US Bike Route 35 stops at the northernmost tip of the lower peninsula of Michigan.  It seems like it should continue to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, which is a border crossing to Canada.  I'm not sure who the person is to make this comment to.  Can you direct me to whoever is putting the plan together and would be the appropriate contact for this comment?
 
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Paul VandenBosch
Project Manager
City of South Haven

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