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Messages - GSullivan

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16
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.

17
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


18
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!

19
Corridor Plan Updates & Routing Within Corridors / Re: Southern IL Route
« on: September 30, 2009, 01:49:01 pm »
Please join us for a US Bicycle Route System Regional Meeting on October 28 in Kalamazoo, MI. If you can't attend, we can send you conference call information.

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. Illinois trail administrators are invited to this session and we are trying to get the word out to other agencies and organizations.

Please pass this invitation 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!

20
Corridor 66 Implementation / Re: Route 66 in IL and beyond!
« on: September 30, 2009, 01:47:32 pm »
For all interested in this discussion, please join us for a US Bicycle Route System Regional Meeting on October 28 in Kalamazoo, MI. If you can't attend, we can send you conference call information.

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. Illinois trail administrators are invited to this session and we are trying to get the word out to other agencies and organizations.

Please pass this invitation 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!

21
My understanding from the perspective of people in "bike friendly" countries (ie. Netherlands) and cities (ie. Amsterdam) is that you are always on the watch for cyclists - it becomes second nature just as we cyclists are always on the watch for cars and trucks (or donkeys  ;) as the case may be!). When you build large populations of users, the incidents go down because humans adjust to the existing environmental factors. Makes sense. Now to convince our policy makers and the  general population. 

22
Research and Resources / St. Louis Environmental Sustainability Roadmap
« on: September 30, 2009, 01:16:57 pm »
St Louis is moving toward a sustainable future. Read the report,
"Environmental Sustainability Roadmap" available at this link:
http://tinyurl.com/sustainabilityroadmap





24
Research and Resources / House Approves 3-Month Authorization Extension
« on: September 24, 2009, 01:30:10 pm »
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


25
Be A Volunteer and Build Alliances / Re: Illinois overview
« on: September 24, 2009, 01:27:13 pm »
Thanks for the post. That is very good news and I will reach out to Rich a LIB and NE IL Greenways and Trails to see how we can support them. I have been in contact with the Bike/Ped and offered our services (mapping, meeting coordination, etc.)

26
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

27
Corridor 66 Implementation / Re: Route 66 in IL and beyond!
« on: September 01, 2009, 06:54:13 pm »
Great news!

28
Hi Larry,
I will direct the folks in California to read your post. thanks for the suggestion.

29
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.

30
Greetings,
I read through your post and agree, the concept of building more lanes to reduce traffic congestion isn't working and our current community planning model doesn't work either. I think the shift to a higher quality of life will prevail. For instance, Rep. Oberstar and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood both feel quality of life is very important - let's just hope they can come to agreement on what that means. For Rep. Oberstar (D-MN) and DeFazion (D-OR) they realize that transportation plays a key role in quality of life issues (like driving 100 miles per day to a job means sitting in the car when you could be spending time with family). The House bill that is on the table at the moment creates an "Office of Livability" within the Secy of Transportation's office. Mmmm.

I wanted to give you hope. There are thousands of people working for a variety of organizations and agencies that think as you do and are actively working to make things better. I appreciate your post as it emphasizes how much we need everyone to change course and rethink transportation.

Keep riding that trail!

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