Author Topic: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor  (Read 11169 times)

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Offline Paul V

Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« on: June 15, 2009, 11:03:34 am »
Following is a draft procedure for establishing a United States Bicycle Route (USBR) within a corridor as proposed by AASHTO. 

For more information on the USBR program, please see:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem.cfm

This procedure was written with USBR 35 in mind.  It was written in a way that it could be used by other corridors as well.

Your comments are requested. 


United States Bicycle Route Establishment Procedure

1. Definitions

a. AASHTO - American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

b. Approved Route - A Route approved by AASHTO as a USBR.

c. Corridor - An area proposed by AASHTO for a potential USBR route.

d. Corridor Committee - A committee of Destination municipalities formed by invitation to consider establishing a USBR.

e. Destination - A municipality through which the Route must pass.

f. Destination Criteria - Destinations are municipalities in the USBR corridor which have as a minimum: lodging, restaurants and grocery stores.  Historic cities and villages have priority in selection of Destinations.  Destinations shall be selected so as to form a route which is roughly parallel to the corridor.

g. DOT - A state department of transportation.

h. Draft Route Amendment - A change to the turn by turn description of the Route.

i. Metropolitan Planning Commission - a regional governmental planning organization which coordinates transportation planning over a number of municipalities and road commissions.

j. Notice of Intent - A letter stating that the Corridor Committee has been formed and that it intends to establish a USBR.

k. Route - A turn by turn description of a bicycle path which connects Destinations, from the starting point to ending point of the state corridor.

l. Municipality - A city, village or township.

m. Road Organizations - An entity which has the authority to design, construct and maintain roadway or trailway, typically a city, road commission or DOT.

n. Proposed Route - A Route which has received assent by all Road Organizations, either by approval or by nonaction.

o. Route Application - An application for a USBR prepared on a form provided by AASHTO.

p. Route Criteria - Route Criteria as outlined in the May 11, 2009 memo from the Task Force on US Bicycle Routes:
Specific Route Criteria: Considerations when Choosing Roads and Trails
Primary Considerations – Specific Routes should meet as many of the following as practicable:
1. When applicable, meet the planning, design, and operational criteria in the AASHTO Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities.
2. Offer services and amenities such as restaurants, accommodations, camping, bicycle shops, and convenience/grocery stores at appropriate intervals.
3. Go into the centers of metropolitan areas, using low-traffic and/or off-road bikeways when possible. Bypass routes could be considered to accommodate users who don't wish to enter the city or who are seeking a less urban experience.
4. Include spurs to target destinations (universities or other educational institutions, recreational areas, or other attractions) and to multimodal nodes such as airports and rail, bus, and transit stations.
5. Follow natural corridors and provide terrain suitable for cycling, avoiding extremely hilly and limited visibility winding roads when feasible.
6. Consider appropriate combinations of low daily traffic, low truck traffic, wide paved shoulders, lane striping, adequate sight distance, and traffic speed in order to be bicycle friendly.
7. In urban areas, be suitable for utility cycling (commuting, access to shopping, schools and universities, recreation centers, etc.). Consideration should be given to bicycle routes that can be used as evacuation routes for emergency situations.
8. Include major existing and planned bike routes, including both on-road facilities and off-road shared use paths and trails that are suitable for road bikes.
Secondary Consideration
9. May include short stretches of high quality unpaved roads if needed to connect highly desirable paved road sections. (These roads should maintain the standard of road bike suitability).

q. Route Hearing - A publicized posting of a route on an internet site with notification to other entities.  A Route Hearing may include public meetings.

r. State Bicycle/Trail Organization - A statewide recognized non profit organization whose purpose is to promote bicycling and/or bicycle trails.  (In Michigan, this would include both the League of Michigan Bicyclists and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance).

s. USBR - United States Bicycle Route as promulgated by AASHTO.

2. Procedure

a. Forming a Corridor Committee

1. The governing body of a municipality located in a Corridor may invite other municipalities to form a Corridor Committee.  A Corridor Committee may be formed for a state or may be formed with members from more than one state.

2. A Letter of Invitation shall provide background information on the United States Bicycle Route Corridor and request that the municipality approve a resolution joining the Corridor Committee and appointing a representative to the Committee.

3. A Corridor Committee shall be formed by the adoption of resolutions joining the committee of not less than 7 and not more than 11 municipalities. 

4. A Corridor Committee may meet and vote in person, by conference call, by internet forum or other means of communication.  The Corridor Committee shall adopt by-laws which include election of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary.  A record of meetings shall be made as minutes, which shall be publicly available.

b. Notice of Intent

1. A Corridor Committee shall send a Notice of Intent to AASHTO, the State DOT, Metropolitan Planning Commissions in the Corridor area and the State Bicycle/Trail Organizations. In areas where a corridor crosses a state boundary, a Corridor Committee shall send a Notice of Intent to the DOT of adjacent states or provinces, and to the Road Organization and Metropolitan Planning Organization of the areas impacted by the corridor.  A Corridor Committee may send a Notice of Intent to other stakeholding groups, such as local bicycle groups.

c. Selection of Destinations

1. A Corridor Committee shall propose Destinations along the Corridor, through which a Route shall be established.  A Corridor Committee shall consider Destination Criteria.  A Corridor Committee may create a mission statement for the Route to assist in the selection of Destinations.  A Corridor Committee shall by majority vote establish Destinations for the Corridor. 

d. Notifying Interested Organizations

1. A Corridor Committee shall identify affected Road Organizations which are responsible for design, construction and maintenance of streets and roads in the areas through which a route may connect Destinations.  A Corridor Committee shall request recommendations for bicycle routes which connect Destinations in the area of the Road Organization's responsibility.  In areas where a corridor crosses a state boundary, a Corridor Committee shall contact the Road Organizations of adjacent states or provinces and request a recommendation for a connection point at the state border. A Corridor Committee shall transmit Route Criteria to the Road Organization.

2. A Corridor Committee shall notify Municipalities which are selected as Destinations and request recommendations for bicycle route between that Municipality and adjacent Destinations, including a route within the Municipality.  A Corridor Committee shall transmit Route Criteria to the Destinations.

3. A Corridor Committee shall contact Metropolitan Planning Commissions in the Corridor area and request recommendations for routes connecting Destinations.  In areas where a corridor crosses a state boundary, a Corridor Committee shall contact the Metropolitan Planning Organization of adjacent states or provinces and request a recommendation for a connection point at the state border.  A Corridor Committee shall transmit Route Criteria to the  Metropolitan Planning Commissions in the Corridor area.

4. A Corridor Committee shall contact State Bicycle/Trail Organizations and request recommendations for routes connecting Destinations.  In areas where a corridor crosses a state boundary, a Corridor Committee shall contact the State Bicycle/Trail Organizations of adjacent states or provinces and request a recommendation for a connection point at the state border.  A Corridor Committee may contact other interested stakeholder groups and request recommendations for routes connecting Destinations.    A Corridor Committee shall transmit Route Criteria to the State Bicycle/Trail Organizations and other stakeholder groups.

5. A Corridor Committee shall provide a list of contacts which it has made to all contacted groups and organizations to encourage cooperation in preparing a Draft Route.

e. Draft Route Process

1. Based on responses from interested organizations, the Corridor Committee shall prepare a Preliminary Draft Route.

2. A Corridor Committee shall set a Draft Route Hearing.  Road Organizations, Destination Municipalities, Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the corridor area, the State Bicycle/Trail Organization and other stakeholder groups shall be invited to participate in the Draft Route Hearing.  The Draft Route Hearing shall be held by publishing a Draft Route on an internet site and providing a means to post comments.  The Corridor Committee is encouraged provide notice through press releases, State Bicycle/Trail Organization websites, newsletters, and other means.  The Draft Route Hearing shall be available for review and comment for no less than 21 days. There may be a public meeting held in one or more locations, with no less than ten days notice prior to the meeting to Destinations, Road Organizations, Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the corridor area, the State Bicycle/Trail Organization and stakeholder groups.  Draft Route public meetings, if held, shall be subject to the Open Meetings Act. 

3. Upon completion of the Draft Route Hearing, the Corridor Committee shall prepare a map and turn by turn route which meets the requirements of AASHTO for application to the USBR program.  The Corridor Committee shall consider the Draft Route and may approve it by majority vote. 

f. Road Organization Review of Draft Route

1. Upon approval of a Draft Route, the Corridor Committee shall transmit the Draft Route to all Road Organizations which have authority over roads or trails included in the Route.  Affected Road Organizations will be requested to amend or approve the Draft Route.  If an Amendment is proposed to the Draft Route, the amendment shall be transmitted to the two Destinations which are connected by that portion of the Draft Route, Road Organizations which have jurisdiction of portion of the Draft Route between the aforenamed Destinations, the Metroplitan Planning Organization, DOT and  the State Bicycle/Trail Organization.  The Corridor Committee may transmit the proposed amendment to stakeholder groups.

2. A Road Organization shall respond within 90 days of transmittal of a Draft Route by either a resolution of approval of the Draft Route, or by submitting a Draft Route Amendment.  A Draft Route Amendment shall show a change in the Draft Route in a similar form as a Draft Route is presented.  If a Road Organization does not respond within 90 days of transmittal of the Draft Route with either a Resolution of Approval or a Draft Route Amendment, then the Draft Route shall be certified as an Approved Route by the Corridor Committee.  A Road Organization may request in writing an extension of an additional 90 days for review of the Route.

g. Road Organization Draft Route Amendment

1. If a Road Organization proposes a Draft Route Amendment, a Draft Route Amendement Hearing shall be held by the Corridor Committee by publishing the amended routes on an internet site and providing a means to post comments.  The Draft Route Amendment Hearing shall be available for review and comment for no less than 21 days. There may be a public meeting held in one or more locations, with no less than ten days notice to Destinations, Road Organizations, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations within the corridor, the State Bicycle/Trail Organization and stakeholder groups prior to the meeting. 

2. Upon completion of the Draft Route Amendment Hearing, the Corridor Committee shall request that the Road Organization resubmit the Draft Route Amendment to the Corridor Committee, with or without any changes which the Road Organization desires to make.  The Corridor Committee shall accept the decision of the Road Organization on the Draft Route.  If there is a disagreement between two Road Authorities regarding a connection point on the boundary between jurisdictions, the Corridor Committee shall attempt to mediate and facilitate an agreement on the route.  If there is no agreement after six months of mediation, the Corridor Committee shall then select a route which best meets the requirements of the Route Criteria.

h. DOT Review

1. Upon completion of all Draft Route Amendment Hearings, the Corridor Committee shall publish the Proposed Route on an internet site.  The Corridor Committee shall complete an application to AASHTO for establishment of the Route in the USBR system.  The Corridor Committee shall transmit the completed application to DOT for DOT review. 

i. Application Submittal to AASHTO

1. The DOT shall review the Proposed Route.  Upon DOT acceptance of the Route Application, DOT shall sumbit the application to AASHTO.  If any changes are desired, whether to the application or to the Route, the DOT shall transmit those desired changes to the Corridor Committee.  The Corridor Committee shall consider those changes and may amend the application, except that any change to a portion of the Route must also be approved by the Road Organization with authority over that portion of the Route, following the procedure outlined in the Road Organization Amendment of Draft Route. 

j. Disbandment of the Corridor Committee

1. Upon AASHTO approval of the Route, the Corridor Committee shall disband.

k. Amendment of Route after AASHTO Approval

1. Any person or organization which desires to amend an Existing Route approved by AASHTO shall request that the Road Organization with jurisdiction over that portion of the Route  publish and  consider the amendment using the Draft Route Amendment procedure, except that the Road Organization with jurisdiction shall take on the responsibilities of the Corridor Committee for the amendment process.

l. Amendment of Destinations

1. Any person or organization which desires to change Destinations on the Route shall request that the Corridor Committee reform with representatives from the original member Municipalities to consider removal or addition of a Destination to the Route.


Offline KerryIrons

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2009, 07:02:39 pm »
This is a highly detailed work process, and probably would work well for some states.  However, it may not be applicable in all cases for many reasons, and we need to let each state develop a process that works for them.  Readers of this forum should not assume that the process laid out here is somehow "official" or required.

Paul, where did this come from?  It sounds like a procedure developed by a DOT?  It appears to be oriented toward the activities within a state, but initial applications for a USBR will need to involve multiple states to establish specific routing.  Certainly there will be times when a lot of route work will need to take place within a state. 

I understand the desire to have a critical mass of organizations involved ("not less than 7 and not more than 11 municipalities") and the need to keep such a group to a manageable size, but in remote western state locations, 7 municipalities might cover 100s of miles, while in dense population areas, 11 communities might cover less than 25 miles.

So, this is not to call the process outlined as wrong, but rather to point out the need for flexibility.  As a template for groups working on route implementation, it has a lot to offer, but it should not be viewed as "the way."

Offline RCMoeur

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2009, 11:31:27 pm »
Thanks for posting this - and it could be a good start toward a template for a process - but I'll have to agree with Kerry. It seems to be too detailed, and somewhat prescriptive. I could easily see agencies objecting to such a process (the situation is usually complicated enough without making it more complicated).

If I get time, I'll see if I can come up with some constructive suggestions.

--
Richard C. Moeur
Chair, AASHTO Task Force on US Bicycle Routes

Offline GSullivan

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2009, 04:09:58 pm »
Thanks Paul for pulling this all together. It really does have some important pieces spelled out in it. Let's keep talking about how we might simplify it so that it creates a working template that states can use (and then they can add relevant pieces vs. removing process that doesn't apply). It would be great to have other forum members take a stab at different versions.
Ginny Sullivan

Offline cdavey

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2009, 12:40:11 am »
OK. I'll rise to the occasion and bite. I immediately see two problems with this procedure draft:
(1) It looks like it was written by a Good German -- all things are forbidden except for what is allowed.
(2) Only a career bureaucrat who has long since become accustomed to working in bureaucracy could write this piece of micro-management and think that it actually could work practically in the real world.

Here's the first difficulty I see, and this comes from looking at just the first sentence of the draft. Only a municpality may organize a committee. I live in a small city of 15,000 people. Include the surrounding suburban area (which would add three additional municpalities) and the population totals 50,000. The city is the terminus for a rail-trail conversion, although the last segment into town is just coming to the construction phase. Like many cities large or small it has suffered a decline and is seeking ways to revitalize its downtown. They have finally come to understand the economic potential of bike routes/rail-trail conversion, etc., and are supportive of the trail and what it can do for the city. There is even consideration being given to laying out a series of bike routes through the city to connect destination points -- schools, the library, the YMCA, historical points of interest. These is even discussion of extending the route westard out of town toward a local state park 15 miles away.

However, the nuts and bolts work of this is not being done by the city. If you asked the city employees to take this on, it wouldn't happen. They would feel put upon, wouldn't have the time, etc. And that night even be true given the fact that the city can't afford a lot of full time employees and those they have probably are actually already swamped with bureaucratic busywork. It would never get done, especially when you would expect them to get into all the notifications, meetings, reviews, etc, that this procedure calls for. The procedure seems to assume the municpality has a bicycle co-ordinator to deal with it all. Please show me a city of 15,000 who can afford to hire a bike co-ordinator or be fortunate enough to luck into having someone do this as a volunteer, will you? I won't hold my breath while you go look. And if a small city has this problem, how does the guy who wrote this think a VILLAGE is going to have the resources to do something like this? Puh-leeese.

All of the development I mentioned two paragraphs ago is is being done by the local trail council and private individuals volunteering their time. I know. I'm one of those private individuals. The completion of the trail into town has run into an unexpected brownfield problem. Three people -- myself, one other biking nut, and the trail council president -- are working on an alternative trailhead location. It too may have a brownfield problem, but if it does, we think we can figure out a way to solve it and end up with a super trailhead location in the city. We three are also the ones who are looking at how to lay out the routes through the city, and also the extension to the local state park.

The point of this story is this: flexibility is better than prescription in getting something like this done. Instead of a micro-management nightmare like this procedure, why not use good management practices instead? Simply state: Here are the goals we want to reach. Here are some guidelines and things you need to consider in reaching those goals. Then go to people you know or people who surface, make sure they are competent to get the job done well and right, and turn them loose. If you've done your job right as a manager, they'll probably do their job right as a worker.

In addition, because of the political nature of gathering support, working with people, getting funding, etc., for this type of project, there will always be a certain amount of making it up as you go along that cannot be prescribed in advance.

I see this draft starts to address two of the big areas that need to covered:
(1) Design Criteria -- I think the route criteria at (p) in the definitions are complete as guidelines as to what we want in a route
(2) Political/Common Sense Criteria -- all the excruciating detail in (2) through (5) boils down in one shape or form to common sense understanding of who you need to talk with, how do you work wth them to get the project done, and remembering to keep everyone informed who has a need to know as you go along. They can surely be reduced to something more like that. It is the project manager's job to find and/or select those people who have that kind of common sense understanding that allows them to get the job done successfully.


Offline Paul V

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 09:59:24 am »
heheh well, yes, I was born in Germany and work as a City employee (bureaucrat).

This was written specifically for Michigan.  It was written from the perspective of a City which desires to get the process started for tourism economic development reasons.  I wrote this as an attempt to be very precise regarding the roles and authority of the various groups ahead of time. 

As proposed, the road agencies which have the responsibility for design and construction of roadway have final authority over which roads are selected.  In Michigan those agencies are MDOT for state highways, County Road Commissions for roads in rural areas, and Cities for roads within cities. 

However, note that the road agencies do not have the authority to designate the destinations which the route must connect.  This is an important point because it allows the Cities which are members of the committee to designate the destinations which the route must connect.  This should help ensure that the route is suitable for bicyclists who need services such as lodging, restaurants and grocery stores on a regular basis.

The reason that the process was spelled out in detail is that the state department of transporation must apply for the route to AASHTO.  I know that our state MDOT does not have the resources to oversee this work.  This process is an attempt to assure MDOT that we have followed a public process and input from the public has been taken into consideration.  If I were in MDOT's shoes, I would be very cautious of sending in an application if I thought there might be some dispute and controversy about the route. 

 
 


Offline cdavey

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 11:54:02 am »
Paul --

How did I figure that out about you??!!

Agreed that at some point in the process it will and should evolve into something like you describe. At that point more formally organized entities will need to be involved for at least the following reasons:
(1) They are better able to draw on available resources for expert knowledge, funding, etc.
(2) They offer better protection in regard to potential liability issues
(3) For reasons (1) and (2) AASHTO and any DOT would prefer to work with them. They can better assume they are working with knowledgeable, responsible adults instead of idiots (well intentioned thought they may be) who don't know what they're doing.

It is clear to me that you are describing a bifurcated process. Someone does all the planning and work at a more local level where they literally know they lay of the ground, and the state DOT then exercises its ministerial perogative to approve, deny or require alterations to the proposed plan. The whole process you described simply is  designed to justify the final recommendation to DOT so they can justify their approval of it. Nothing wrong with that. And even if I thought there were, I a'inta gonna change it, so it a'inta gonna happen.

My concern is that I would not want to preclude at the beginning stages the grass roots-private indiviudual initiative that I described in the way that it appears to me your draft does. I think it is important to preserve space for such private intiatives to arise particularly in the current economic situation where municipalities are getting squeezed because of cratering tax receipts. I think they will find themselves depending more upon this type of free help in the future. Also, everyone always extols the merits of volunteerism in these kinds of projects. So why would we want to shut them out, especially in light of the two reasons I just gave?

I think it is impotant to remember two points Ginny Sullivan made in her initial reply to your effort:
(1) It contains a lot of good material
(2) There probably is no one size fits all approach to this procedure. Hence her comments about fashioning something that can have things added to or removed from it as fits the situation.

To borrow from chaos theory, what she and I seem to be thinking is that this process is actually a chaotic structure (which I hope doesn't horrify the German sensibility of form and order that you appear to have!!). That is to say, there should be an overall general structure that you can clearly see, but at an interior lower level how individual details within that overall structure work out depend upon the circumstances at the point and place in time where they exist.

Paul and Ginny -- your thoughts please.

Offline Paul V

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009, 09:27:09 am »
I would expect that local bicycle clubs/associations, bicycle trail groups and bicycle enthusiasts would do the lion's share of the work of putting together an initial route map.  Another group that will be heavily involved on USBR 35 in MI are the metropolitan area planning commissions. I don't expect the group of destination cities to do the turn by turn route planning on their own. The cities' role will be to provide meeting rooms, schedule meetings in each area and try to keep the process on track.  By working as a group of cities along a  route which passes through a number of regions, the process can be coordinated over a large area so that over a period of time (a year?) each region can come up with their portion of the route, and a complete route can be established.  Having local governments involved may give the impression of a process which is more open to the public than a process that is run by citizens groups. 

Perhaps a citizen's group (bicycle organization) could initiate the process of establishing a route.  As I wrote the process, it is a City which can start the process.  The reason I wrote it that way is that I intend to try to get the City of South Haven (my employer) to start the USBR 35 process.  But there could be other ways to start the process.

I think it is important to give the destination cities, or at least a group of destination cities the opportunity to define the points that the route will pass through.  I would fear that routes would tend to just go the shortest, easiest path and may bypass cities if there is no way for destination cities to make the route connect city centers.  It also makes sense from a bicycle touring point of view, because the services available in cities (restaurant, lodging, stores) are needed on a regular basis.

I am writing this from the point of view of being in a region where there are small cities separated by rural areas.  This may be different in larger urban and suburban areas.

Offline Paul V

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2009, 10:32:52 am »
Here is an easier to read step by step process description without all the detail:

USBR Process Step by Step

1. A municipality invites other municipalities to form a corridor committee.
2. Municipalities join together to create a corridor committee.
3. A letter of intent to establish a route is sent to the DOT and other groups.
4. The corridor committee identifies and approves a list of destinations, through which the route must pass.
5. The corridor committee notifies stakeholders of the intent to establish a route and invites them to participate.

Stakeholders include: government entities who maintain and construct roads along the route, destination municipalities, metropolitan or regional planning organizations, state bicycle and trail organizations, local bicycle organizations and any other interested stakeholders which can be identified.

6. The corridor committee and other interested parties put together a draft route in a series of workshops. (Note: section 5.e.1 could be improved)
7. The corridor committee sets a public meeting date for review of the proposed route and invites stakeholders and the public to attend.
8. After consideration of public comment, the corridor committee approves a draft route.
9. The corridor committee sends the draft route to road organizations (entities who maintain and construct the roads included in the draft plan).
10. Road organizations may approve the draft route or may recommend amendment of the route to the corridor committee.
11. The corridor committee holds a public hearing on the amendment and sends a recommendation on the draft route amendment to the road organization.
12. The road organization then considers the comments and recommendations, and if it so desires, makes appropriate changes to the draft route and approves that portion of the route on roads controlled by that road organization. 
13. The corridor committee accepts the draft route as approved by the road organizations.
14. Upon completion of this process for all parts of the route in a state, the corridor committee publishes the proposed route and transmits the proposed route to the state department of transportation.
15. The DOT reviews the proposed route, and if it approves, shall make application to AASHTO for establishment of the route.
16. If the DOT desires changes to the proposed route, it shall identify the desired amendments and send those amendments to the corridor committee.
17. The corridor committee will consider the DOT amendments and shall transmit the DOT amendments to the road organization which controls the affected portion of the roadway.
18. The corridor committee and road organization shall forward their recommendations to the DOT.
19. The DOT will consider the recommendations and then amend the route as the DOT so determines. (section needs clarification)
20. The DOT shall make application to AASHTO for establishment of the route.
21. Upon AASHTO approval of the route, the corridor committee shall disband.
22. After the route is approved, changes to the route may be considered following the same process, except that the road organization with control of the section of the roadway will take on the responsibilities of the corridor committee.
23. To change the destination cities within the corridor, the corridor commitee shall be re-formed to consider the change.



Offline scottcanderson

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2009, 12:34:32 am »
Good discussion!  A couple comments.  First, the final route selection must be approved by a state DOT, which is the only entity that can apply for designation.  Having spent some time with my own state DOT, and being somewhat familiar with a few others, I can surmise that any state DOT will only apply for designation on a route if it feels there was the proper public input.  To that end, I think Paul is right in thinking that a community-led process will have the most chance of success.

Of course the process is going to be somewhat involved; look at what we're trying to accomplish!  This won't be simple, and there will be plenty of contention along the way.

If we try to keep the forest in view - that is to say, remember that the goal is to provide good long-distance touring routes for bicyclists, and keep in mind their needs - then we are likely to produce good results, even though there will be some wailing and gnashing of teeth along the way.

Scott Anderson
China Township, St. Clair County, MI

Offline Paul V

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2009, 04:01:43 pm »
Letter of Invitation to Join a Corridor Committee


<date>

<firstname> <lastname>
<title>
<organization>
<address>
<city>, <state> <zip>

RE:   Invitation to join in establishing a US Bicycle Route

Dear Mayor <lastname>;

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has proposed a nationwide program to establish numbered bicycle touring routes throughout the United States, comparable to the US Interstate Highway numbering system.  We are very excited about establishing this bicycle touring route, which has the potential to boost our local tourism industry.

Across the United States, corridors have been established, and now there is a need to determine the bicycle routes within those corridors.  In Michigan, US Bicycle Route 35 is proposed to run from Indiana along the Lake Michigan shore to the Mackinac Bridge, and then to Sault Ste. Marie, connecting with bicycle routes in Ontario, as well as connecting to  other bicycle routes within Michigan.   The task at hand is to determine through which cities the route will pass, and which roads will be included in the turn by turn route map.

Your city is invited to join in a Corridor Committee for USBR 35.  The Corridor Committee will set a number of destination cities through which the route will pass, and then at the local level will begin work on a turn by turn route map.  As a committee member, your city's role would be to organize and hold local meetings and to notify stakeholders of the process.  Stakeholders include road commissions, MDOT, metropolitan planning commissions, state bicycle trail groups, local bicycle clubs and local bicycle enthusiasts.  We expect that most of the route will be identified by local bicycle clubs and enthusiasts, who know which roads are most suitable for bicyclists.  The process includes local MDOT officials, county road commissions and city street departments, who have final approval over which streets are selected.

As a Corridor Committee member, your city would be expected to appoint a representative to the Committee.  That person should be able to set up and hold meetings with stakeholders in your city.  There may be a need to coordinate with the next Corridor Committee city to  the north and south of your city.  The Corridor Committee will need to meet with all of its members a number of times, however, we hope to be able to hold most or all of the Corridor Committee meetings on the internet or by conference call.  It is very important that we have participation from cities along the entire route from New Buffalo to Sault Ste. Marie.  This will allow for public input from local people and groups along the entire route. 

In order to become part of the committee to establish US Bicycle Route 35, please respond by appointing a person to serve as committee member from your city.  If you wish, you may use the attached resolution to show support for establishment of USBR 35.

If you feel that a nationally recognized bicycle route through your city would benefit your local economy, I encourage you to participate in the Corridor Committee. 

Sincerely;


Mayor InvitingCity
InvitingCity, Michigan

Offline Paul V

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2009, 04:05:44 pm »
CITY OF       
          COUNTY, MICHIGAN

RESOLUTION NO.          
   
A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING ESTABLISHMENT OF AND
JOINING THE MICHIGAN CORRIDOR COMMITTEE
FOR UNITED STATED BICYCLE ROUTE 35

Minutes of a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of    ,           County, Michigan, held in the City Hall,           Street,          , Michigan           on       , 2009 at 7:30 p.m. local time.

PRESENT:                               

ABSENT:                               

The following preamble and resolution was offered by Member         and supported by Member          .

WHEREAS, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) encourages development of a coordinated system of numbered interstate bicycle routes similar in concept to the interstate highway system; and,

WHEREAS, AASHTO has established the United Stated Bicycle Route (USBR) numbering and marking system to facilitate bicycle touring between the states and has identified a system of corridors within which routes may be designated; and,

WHEREAS, AASHTO has established USBR Corridor 35, stretching from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Natchez, Mississippi; and,

WHEREAS, in Michigan, USBR Corridor 35 runs from the State of Indiana along the coast of Lake Michigan to the Mackinac Bridge, and extends to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to the border crossing to the Province of Ontario, Canada; and,

WHEREAS, it is desired to designate the route of USBR 35 within the Michigan corridor and to connect the route to the Province of Ontario and the State of Indiana; and,

WHEREAS, a nationally recognized bicycle touring route will enhance tourism and economic development along the route; and,

WHEREAS, a bicycle touring route will improve recreational opportunities, encourage bicycling,  exercise and healthy lifestyles for people living along the route and visitors to the area; and,

WHEREAS, a bicycle touring route will promote recreation and travel in a way that is healthy for the environment and is sustainable for the future; and,

WHEREAS, a number of cities along the USBR Corridor 35 desire to establish a committee to designate the bicycle touring route.



THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of        supports and commits to being a member of the United States Business Route 35 Michigan Corridor Committee; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of        appoints         as the City's representative to the USBR Michigan Corridor Committee.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall take effect upon passage by the City Council.

RECORD OF VOTE:

   Yeas:                                  

   Nays:                                  

RESOLUTION DECLARED ADOPTED.

                                       
                                 , Mayor


                                       
                                 , City Clerk

Offline Paul V

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2009, 03:10:00 pm »
August 13, 2009

I have rewritten sections of the procedure to try to make it easier to read.  I have added detail about the meeting process.

Following is a draft procedure for establishing a United States Bicycle Route (USBR) within a corridor as proposed by AASHTO. 

For more information on the USBR program, please see:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/nbrn/usbikewaysystem.cfm

This procedure was written with USBR 35 in mind.  It was written in a way that it could be used by other corridors as well.

Your comments are requested. 


United States Bicycle Route Establishment Procedure

1. Definitions

a. AASHTO - American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

b. Approved Route - A Route approved by AASHTO as a USBR.

c. Corridor - An area proposed by AASHTO for a potential USBR route.

d. Corridor Committee - A committee of Destination municipalities formed by invitation to consider establishing a USBR.

e. Destination - A municipality through which the Route must pass.

f. Destination Criteria - Destinations are municipalities in the USBR corridor which have as a minimum: lodging, restaurants and grocery stores.  Historic cities and villages have priority in selection of Destinations.  Destinations shall be selected so as to form a route which is roughly parallel to the corridor.

g. DOT - A state department of transportation.

h. Draft Route Amendment - A change to the turn by turn description of the Route.

i. Metropolitan Planning Commission - a regional governmental planning organization which coordinates transportation planning over a number of municipalities and road commissions.

j. Notice of Intent - A letter stating that the Corridor Committee has been formed and that it intends to establish a USBR.

k. Route - A turn by turn description of a bicycle path which connects Destinations, from the starting point to ending point of the state corridor.

l. Municipality - A city, village or township.

m. Road Organizations - An entity which has the authority to design, construct and maintain roadway or trailway, typically a city, road commission or DOT.

n. Proposed Route - A Route which has received assent by all Road Organizations, either by approval or by nonaction.

o. Route Application - An application for a USBR prepared on a form provided by AASHTO.

p. Route Criteria - Route Criteria as outlined in the May 11, 2009 memo from the Task Force on US Bicycle Routes:
Specific Route Criteria: Considerations when Choosing Roads and Trails
Primary Considerations – Specific Routes should meet as many of the following as practicable:
(i) When applicable, meet the planning, design, and operational criteria in the AASHTO Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities.
(ii) Offer services and amenities such as restaurants, accommodations, camping, bicycle shops, and convenience/grocery stores at appropriate intervals.
(iii) Go into the centers of metropolitan areas, using low-traffic and/or off-road bikeways when possible. Bypass routes could be considered to accommodate users who don't wish to enter the city or who are seeking a less urban experience.
(iv) Include spurs to target destinations (universities or other educational institutions, recreational areas, or other attractions) and to multimodal nodes such as airports and rail, bus, and transit stations.
(v) Follow natural corridors and provide terrain suitable for cycling, avoiding extremely hilly and limited visibility winding roads when feasible.
(vi) Consider appropriate combinations of low daily traffic, low truck traffic, wide paved shoulders, lane striping, adequate sight distance, and traffic speed in order to be bicycle friendly.
(vii) In urban areas, be suitable for utility cycling (commuting, access to shopping, schools and universities, recreation centers, etc.). Consideration should be given to bicycle routes that can be used as evacuation routes for emergency situations.
(viii) Include major existing and planned bike routes, including both on-road facilities and off-road shared use paths and trails that are suitable for road bikes.
Secondary Consideration
(ix) May include short stretches of high quality unpaved roads if needed to connect highly desirable paved road sections. (These roads should maintain the standard of road bike suitability).

q. Route Hearing - A publicized posting of a route on an internet site with notification to other entities.  A Route Hearing may include public meetings.

r. State Bicycle/Trail Organization - A statewide recognized non profit organization whose purpose is to promote bicycling and/or bicycle trails.  (In Michigan, this would include both the League of Michigan Bicyclists and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance).

s. USBR - United States Bicycle Route as promulgated by AASHTO.

2. Route Approval Procedure

a. Forming a Corridor Committee

(i) The governing body of a municipality located in a Corridor may invite other municipalities to form a Corridor Committee.  A Corridor Committee may be formed for a state or may be formed with members from more than one state.

(ii) A Letter of Invitation shall provide background information on the United States Bicycle Route Corridor and request that the municipality approve a resolution joining the Corridor Committee and appointing a representative to the Committee.

(iii) A Corridor Committee shall be formed by the adoption of resolutions joining the committee of not less than 7 and not more than 11 municipalities. 

(iv) A Corridor Committee may meet and vote in person, by conference call, by internet forum or other means of communication.  The Corridor Committee shall adopt by-laws which include election of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary.  A record of meetings shall be made as minutes, which shall be publicly available.

b. Notice of Intent

A Corridor Committee shall send a Notice of Intent to AASHTO, the State DOT, Metropolitan Planning Commissions in the Corridor area and to State Bicycle/Trail Organizations. In areas where a corridor crosses a state boundary, a Corridor Committee shall send a Notice of Intent to the DOT of adjacent states or provinces, and to the Road Organization and Metropolitan Planning Organization of the areas in the adjacent state impacted by the corridor.  A Corridor Committee may send a Notice of Intent to other stakeholding groups, such as local bicycle groups.

c. Selection of Destinations

A Corridor Committee shall propose Destinations along the Corridor, through which a Route shall be established.  A Corridor Committee shall consider Destination Criteria.  A Corridor Committee may create a mission statement for the Route to assist in the selection of Destinations.  A Corridor Committee shall by majority vote establish Destinations for the Corridor. 

d. Notifying Interested Organizations

(i) The following organizations shall be notified that a draft route is being prepared, and request that a volunteer from the organization attend a Route Planning Meeting:

   (1)   Road Organizations
   (2)   Destination Municipalities
   (3)   Metropolitan Planning Commissions
   (4)   Adjacent State/Province Metropolitan Planning Commissions
   (5)   State Bicycle Trail Organizations
   (6)   Other Stakeholder Groups

(ii)      The Corridor Committee shall transmit Route Criteria to the organizations.

(iii)   The Corridor Committee may work with any of the organizations or volunteers to prepare a preliminary draft route prior to the Route Planning Meeting.

(iv)   A Corridor Committee shall provide a list of contacts which it has made to all contacted groups and organizations to encourage cooperation in preparing a Draft Route.

e. Route Planning Meetings

The Corridor Committee shall divide the route into sections and shall schedule a route planning meeting for each section.  The route planning meetings may be organized and hosted by the Corridor Committee municipalities.  The focus of the route planning meeting shall be to develop a turn by turn route in the section.  The route shall be coordinated with adjacent sections and adjacent state or province, if applicable.  There may be as many route planning meetings as necessary to complete the task.  When complete, the section committee shall transmit the turn by turn route to the Corridor Committee.

f. Draft Route Hearing

(i) Upon receipt of turn by turn routes from all sections within the Corridor, the Corridor Committee shall compile the route and shall set a Draft Route Hearing.  Road Organizations, Destination Municipalities, Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the corridor area, the State Bicycle/Trail Organization and other stakeholder groups shall be invited to participate in the Draft Route Hearing.  The Draft Route Hearing shall be held by publishing a Draft Route on an internet site and providing a means to post comments.  The Corridor Committee is encouraged provide notice through press releases, State Bicycle/Trail Organization websites, newsletters, and other means.  The Draft Route Hearing shall be available for review and comment for no less than 21 days. There may be a public meeting held in one or more locations, with no less than ten days notice prior to the meeting to Destinations, Road Organizations, Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the corridor area, the State Bicycle/Trail Organization and stakeholder groups.  Draft Route public meetings, if held, shall be subject to the Open Meetings Act. 

(ii) Upon completion of the Draft Route Hearing, the Corridor Committee shall prepare a map and turn by turn route which meets the requirements of AASHTO for application to the USBR program.  The Corridor Committee shall consider the Draft Route and may approve it by majority vote. 

g. Road Organization Review of Draft Route

(i) Upon approval of a Draft Route, the Corridor Committee shall transmit the Draft Route to all Road Organizations which have authority over roads or trails included in the Route.  Affected Road Organizations will be requested to amend or approve the Draft Route.  If an Amendment is proposed to the Draft Route, the Corridor Committee shall transmit the amendment to the two Destinations which are connected by that portion of the Draft Route, Road Organizations which have jurisdiction of portion of the Draft Route between the aforenamed Destinations, the Metroplitan Planning Organization, DOT and  the State Bicycle/Trail Organization.  The Corridor Committee may transmit the proposed amendment to stakeholder groups.

(ii) A Road Organization shall respond within 90 days of transmittal of a Draft Route by either  approval of the Draft Route, or by submitting a Draft Route Amendment.  A Draft Route Amendment shall show a change in the Draft Route in a similar form as a Draft Route is presented.  If a Road Organization does not respond within 90 days of transmittal of the Draft Route with either a Resolution of Approval or a Draft Route Amendment, then the Draft Route may be certified as an Approved Route by the Corridor Committee without Road Organization approval.  A Road Organization may request in writing an extension of an additional 90 days for review of the Route.

h. Road Organization Draft Route Amendment

(i) If a Road Organization proposes a Draft Route Amendment, a Draft Route Amendement Hearing shall be held by the Corridor Committee by publishing the amended routes on an internet site and providing a means to post comments.  The Draft Route Amendment Hearing shall be available for review and comment for no less than 21 days. There may be a public meeting held in one or more locations.  Notice shall be provided, no less than 10 days prior to the hearing, to Destinations, Road Organizations, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations within the corridor, the State Bicycle/Trail Organization and stakeholder groups prior to the meeting. 

(ii) Upon completion of the Draft Route Amendment Hearing, the Corridor Committee shall request that the Road Organization resubmit the Draft Route Amendment to the Corridor Committee, with or without any changes which the Road Organization desires to make.  The Corridor Committee shall accept the decision of the Road Organization on the Draft Route.  If there is a disagreement between two Road Authorities regarding a connection point on the boundary between jurisdictions, the Corridor Committee shall attempt to mediate and facilitate an agreement on the route.  If there is no agreement after six months of mediation, the Corridor Committee shall then select a route which best meets the requirements of the Route Criteria.

i. DOT Review

Upon completion of all Draft Route Amendment Hearings, the Corridor Committee shall publish the Proposed Route on an internet site.  The Corridor Committee shall complete an application to AASHTO for establishment of the Route in the USBR system.  The Corridor Committee shall transmit the completed application to DOT for DOT review. 

j. Application Submittal to AASHTO

The DOT shall review the Proposed Route.  Upon DOT acceptance of the Route Application, DOT shall sumbit the application to AASHTO.  If any changes are desired, whether to the application or to the Route, the DOT shall transmit those desired changes to the Corridor Committee.  The Corridor Committee shall consider those changes and may amend the application, except that any change to a portion of the Route must also be approved by the Road Organization with authority over that portion of the Route, following the procedure outlined in the Road Organization Amendment of Draft Route. 

k. Disbandment of the Corridor Committee

Upon AASHTO approval of the Route, the Corridor Committee shall disband.

l. Amendment of Route after AASHTO Approval

Any person or organization which desires to amend an Existing Route approved by AASHTO shall request that the Road Organization with jurisdiction over that portion of the Route  publish and  consider the amendment using the Draft Route Amendment procedure, except that the Road Organization with jurisdiction shall take on the responsibilities of the Corridor Committee for the amendment process.

m. Amendment of Destinations

Any person or organization which desires to change Destinations on the Route shall request that the Corridor Committee reform with representatives from the original member Municipalities to consider removal or addition of a Destination to the Route.


Offline GSullivan

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2009, 06:45:52 pm »
Wow! I go on vacation for a couple weeks and kapow! look at what you guys have pulled together!

I will have to take some time to look all this over before I throw my hat into the ring. I will also call upon my friend and leader on this - Mr. Richard Moeur - to take a stab.

thanks for all the input folks.
Ginny Sullivan

Offline GSullivan

Re: Process to Approve a Route within a Corridor
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2009, 05:23:28 pm »
Hey Paul -
I am taking the "best of"  your process - that which will be adaptable for other agencies and will be putting this on the Resource page of the USBRS website. Kerry Irons from Michigan and a volunteer to the project, has helped pull this together from your various postings. I wanted to thank you for posting your ideas and appreciate the thoroughness of it. I know others will really benefit from having this outlined.

Thanks again!
Ginny
Ginny Sullivan