The following email correspondence came through last week. As you can see I think this would be a fantastic route (and addition to the corridor plan)!
My name is Kevin Schilt. I am a member of the Village of West Salem Board of Trustees
in West Salem, Illinois. We are located in Edwards County in Southeastern Illinois.
I am currently working with the District 7 Office of the Illinois Department of Transportation in Effingham (IDOT) to establish a Bike Route on Illinois 161 and also on Ext.161. This route would stretch from New Baden, llinois in the Metro East St. Louis area and finally reach the eastern part of Illinois in the St. Francisville, Illinois (Allendale, Illinois). If we was to name this route I believe G & W Route (Gateway to Wabash) would be a possibility since this would go from the St. Louis area (Gateway
arch) to the Wabash River area. Anyway it's to early to name it.
This road would be favorable because the majority of the traffic travels Interstate 64 in the Western portion of this area. The eastern part is rural in nature and there is hardly any traffic from Centralia to the east. There is a state park located on this corridor along with some other local attractions.
I have accessed the ACA "A Bicycle Travel Friendly Town" in hopes we can use this as a model for this Route. I want to ask this question, Is starting a Route like this in vain or a waste of time?? One reason to consider a route is that we have seen an upswing in bicyclists in the past couple of years.
----Here is my response:
I reviewed the route you are proposing with the IL DOT and I think it sounds fantastic.
I work on a project called the U.S. Bicycle Route System (www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs
) and I would like to add this route as a corridor to our Corridor Plan map with continuation of the route from Mt. Carmel on 64 to Louisville . I am attaching one of our older version of the Corridor Plan map (you can find the most recent version on our website – right tool bar under pdfs - but it doesn’t list the names of the cities so it is much more difficult to identify locations). Notice that we don’t had a corridor identified linking St. Louis to Louisville . This could be a really great U.S. Bicycle Route and if you are already working on it in IL, it will really help.
With your permission, I would like to contact both the DOT bike/ped coordinators from IN and IL and get them in on this proposed route and see if they would be interested in designating it as a U.S. bicycle route in the future.
To answer your question regarding whether your work is a waste of time…absolutely not! You’re work will help both cyclists and motor vehicles. And it will bring low-impact tourism to the small communities along the route. If we can make it a US bike route, it will help hundreds of traveling cyclists find their way between two important cities. Nice work!
Have you been working with any of the advocacy or biking groups from the state or your area? If so, please let me know.
-----Stay tuned for more on this topic!