U.S. Bicycle Route System > Corridor 66 Implementation

Route 66 in IL and beyond!

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LpAngelRob:
Wow, took a look at the trail segments. This is very well done!

I guess my question would be... what's the next step towards "official" USBR designation, when a solid route is already defined?

-Rob
Carol Stream, IL

bobclay99:
The League of IL Bicylists with others did a great job detailing the route.  See http://www.bikelib.org/route66/index.htm for the route information.  The next step is still rather uncertain at this stage.  See the discussion at the thread "Process to approve a route for a Corridor"  in the Corridor Plan Updates & Routing Within Corridors.  The State Department of Transportation has final authority to submit a proposed route.  The discussion about the process is the best way to convince the DOT that there is public support for the route and no political problems will result from them approving it.  Some suggest forming a Route Committee from communities along the route.  In this area (Central Illinois) there is strong support as Route 66 is already generating tourism spending.  Pontiac, IL even has a Route 66 musuem that draws European visitors.

bobclay99:
I saw some more good news today.  I was driving on Old Route 66 from Bloomington to Pontiac as I like drive by the bike paths and think of the entire Route 66 having a Bike Route.  There is construction happening in CHENOA for a New Bike Trail!!!  :)    There was an announcement from September 2007 there was a federal grant awarded for it back then.  I had wondered what had happened regarding that grant, but now there is actual construction.   It is supposed to be about 3 miles long.  I would not be surprised if it was completed before winter.  This means we will now have Bike Paths in the following McLean County communities that are part of the Route 66 Bike Trail:  Bloomington,  Normal, Towanda, Lexington & Chenoa.

bobclay99:
Following editorial appeared in today’s (Tuesday Aug 18) Bloomington Normal’ Pantagraph Newspaper.  It can be seen on Pantagraph.com

It is nice support for the route and mentioned the Rt 66 Bike Ride later this month.

Bob Clay

 

Smart to plan for bike path tied to Mother Road

By The Pantagraph Editorial Board | Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:00 am | No Comments Posted

A day after the Normal City Council approved a bicycle-pedestrian master plan for the town, the McLean County Board approved an engineering contract for a section of a proposed Route 66 bikeway.

The two actions were not related - but they share a similar commitment to encouraging people to travel by bicycle. Ten years ago this September, an intergovernmental agreement was reached to share costs and planning for a Route 66 bikeway from Chenoa to McLean.

There are already short segments, some using pavement from abandoned portions of Route 66, in Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.

In voting to approve the engineering contract, McLean County Board member Bette Rackauskas said that despite the tough economic times - and because of them - it is worthwhile to provide free entertainment for residents.

But this 3.75-mile segment would be part of a project that goes well beyond entertainment or recreation for local residents. The segment from west Bloomington to Shirley would be part of a proposed 370-mile Route 66 Bikeway that would stretch through Illinois from Chicago to St. Louis.

It closely follows the route of the "Mother Road" that was replaced by Interstate 55 for highway travelers but never replaced in the hearts of many.

There already is a route map developed through a joint effort of the League of Illinois Bicyclists, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and others. It includes turn-by-turn directions for a 122-mile ride from Dwight to Lincoln that also lists attractions, such as Pontiac's Route 66 Museum and Funks Grove Maple Sirup.

Long-distance bike trails are big tourist draws in Wisconsin, Missouri and elsewhere. Illinois lags behind these states in making use of this asset. Combining the popularity of bike trails with the international attraction of old Route 66 gives this project a two-pronged hook.

This might not be the right time to spend a lot of money on such a project, but planning should continue so it's ready to go when money is available.

Normal's bicycle-pedestrian master plan notes the "tremendous potential for the Town to realize the extensive recreational and economic benefits of bicycling" by being part of the Route 66 Bikeway.

Even without the bikeway completed, the route is attracting users. The League of Illinois Bicyclists is once again coordinating a trail ride along the route. Taking place Aug. 29 to Sept. 3, its purpose is to publicize and promote development of the trail.

Don't take this area's links to the Route 66 for granted. Appreciate the potential it offers for recreation and tourism. On the Web More details about the trail ride and maps of the route are available at League of Illinois Bicyclists' Web site: www.bikelib.org/route66/index.htm.

 

 

GSullivan:
Great news!

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