Author Topic: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin  (Read 14399 times)

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Offline GSullivan

U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« on: April 22, 2009, 08:21:28 pm »
GREAT NEWS! I am posting (in part) the email discussions coming from Michigan and Wisconsin.

Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 3:15 PM
Subject: US Bike Route 20

Rich (of League of Michigan Bicyclists),

Josh DeBruyn and Nancy Krupiarz suggested I include you in this.
Below is a message I sent today to Nancy and to Catrine of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.  Let me know what you think.  I apologize for not thinking of LMB in the first place.  (See attached map as well)

Scott Anderson

Catrine and Nancy,

I have just had an e-mail correspondence with Josh DeBruyn, Michigan DOT's nonmotorized coordinator, on the subject of the US Bike Route Corridors identified by AASHTO as going into or through Michigan. 

I would like to propose that the two organizations - BFW and MTGA - jointly develop (at a planning level) the US Bike Route 20 corridor. As a high level overview, this route, looking from east to west, starts somewhere in the eastern lower peninsula of Michigan, certainly far to the north of Detroit.  I propose Marine City because there is a bicycle-accommodating international border crossing there.  It then traverses the lower peninsula of Michigan, going through the Saginaw-Midland area then west to Ludington, using the ferry to cross Lake Michigan to Manitowoc.  It then continues going west-northwest  through Wisconsin, ending at the intersection of USBR 10 somewhere in NW WI.

I think there are three steps to this preliminary phase.  First, propose a draft route for USBR 20.  Second, enter into conversations with the state DOT and county/local road agencies and, where trails are used for segments of the route, trail owners/managers, to make sure the route is acceptable to all players.  (At this stage I would fully accept the route to be modified somewhat.)  Third, present the final version to WisDOT and MDOT and ask them to jointly apply for route designation.  Once that's done, assuming AASHTO accepts the route, the next job would be to map and sign the route, which will cost some money; but that is a good way down the road, so I'd prefer not to worry about the endgame yet.

So if you both agree with this idea, let me know, and I would be very pleased to work with DOT people and county/local people, ACA and our two organizations to come up with the first draft.  That will take a couple months, then we can figure out how to address step two.

Incidentally there are three USBR corridors which involve both of our states, those corridors designated as USBR 10, 20 and 30.  I chose USBR 20 for a first cut because I live near the east end of it and can very easily propose a good routing for the first (easternmost) 55 miles of the route with no effort at all; I've traveled it repeatedly myself :)

Let me know what you think!  A conference call might be a good way to start.

Scott Anderson
Ginny Sullivan

Offline GSullivan

Re: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 08:31:34 pm »
And more correspondence between Michigan Trails, an Adventure Cycling/USBR volunteer (Kerry Irons) who also lives in Michigan and Rich from LMB

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott C. Anderson
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:30 AM
To: KerryIrons; 'Nancy Krupiarz'; 'Rich Moeller'
Cc: 'Josh DeBruyn'; 'Virginia Sullivan'
Subject: RE: US Bike Route 20


Thanks for the input.  I think there are four big advantages to using those ACA routes: (1) they have already been surveyed and mapped; (2) bicyclists are already using these routes (which should help us get buy-in from local planning and road folks); (3) it will be helpful to have the support of ACA as we move forward; (4) the routes are about as direct as you could get to, in order to link the two ferry crossings involved.

The ability to use rural roads as parts of USBRs, without bothering about shoulders, will be critical.  In Michigan, if you want to go any distance on a bike and there doesn't happen to be a rail-trail handy, you almost always end up making routes out of county roads.

Nancy, how far is ACA Lake Erie from the Pere Marquette?  That trail is splendid, and has a lot of advantages for a long-distance bicylists (such as restrooms at regular intervals, a place to get your bicycle worked on, etc.) If it's reasonably close, and if ACA is amenable to amending the Lake Erie route to take advantage of it, then I think everyone will be on the same page.

By the way our friends in WI have not yet chimed in at all.  Any idea how we can nudge that along?


-----Original Message-----
From: KerryIrons
Sent: Apr 9, 2009 9:18 AM
To: 'Nancy Krupiarz' 'Rich Moeller'
"'Scott C. Anderson'"
Cc: 'Josh DeBruyn' 'Virginia Sullivan'
Subject: RE: US Bike Route 20


I wanted to chime in as a volunteer for both the Adventure Cycling Association and the AASHTO task force.

First, you should know that Adventure Cycling has a portion of the North Lakes route that goes through Wisconsin and uses the Manitowoc-Ludington ferry, connecting with the North Lakes route coming down from Traverse City, and then connecting to the Lake Erie Connector route.  You can see these routes on the ACA web site:  If you have specific questions about particular roads on a given route, I can supply you with the intimate turn-by-turn details.

Second, we are getting close to wrapping up the first phase of the AASHTO work. There are still some internal issues to sort out, primarily how to change the current requirement that all routes conform to the AASHTO Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities.  The Guide basically is aimed at urban/suburban bike lanes and separated paths, and the kind of two lane rural roads used by many bike routes won't be in compliance (the requirement for 4 foot shoulders being a prime example).  Hopefully this will get addressed in the next few months and at that point, AASHTO should be ready to accept applications for route implementation.

ACA wants to work closely with DOTs and advocacy organizations in route implementation and if it works for them, provide existing ACA routes.  The route corridors you see on the national map are subject to change by the states  and certainly ACA is interested in suggestions for improvements in routing.  When USBRS routes are implemented along existing ACA routes, we would generally want those two routes to be one in the same and would expect to obtain this goal through a combination of modifying ACA routes and the suggested routing from the DOTs and advocacy groups.

I hope this provides some insight to the possible implementation of USBR 20 in Michigan.  Call me if you have questions.

Kerry Irons

-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Krupiarz
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:24 PM
To: Rich Moeller; Scott C. Anderson
Cc: Josh DeBruyn; KerryIrons
Subject: RE: US Bike Route 20

Hi All,

I believe that MTGA also has several mapped cross-state routes which could employ some of our multi-use trails in the numbered routes, if not as segments of the main route, then as alternatives for those who wish to enjoy a more leisurely scenic pace on their trip.  I think we would be remiss if we did not include these as part of the mix.

Attached is our consolidated framework of Michigander routes which we have employed over 18 years.


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 3:35 PM
To: Scott C. Anderson
Cc: Josh DeBruyn; Nancy Krupiarz; KerryIrons
Subject: Re: US Bike Route 20


I believe that we already have mapped routes for the "new" US Bike Route 20 through Michigan.

Attached is a PDF of the mapped routes currently available in Michigan through LMB.

The Lake Erie Connector available through ACA will take you from the bridges up to the Bay City area. LMB's Mid State Route (attached) will take you from Bay City across to just north of Montague. At that point you can connect via the Shoreline West Route to either the Ludington ferries or the Muskegon ferries.

You are welcome to use these maps as you wish.

Rich Moeller
Executive Director
League of Michigan Bicyclists
"Promoting bicycling and the safety of bicyclists on the roadways in Michigan since 1981."
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 08:33:44 pm by GSullivan »
Ginny Sullivan

Offline GSullivan

Re: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 08:36:23 pm »
And Finally!

Date 4/14/09

We have discussed the USBR 20 corridor with two nonmotorized advocacy organizations in Michigan and one in Wisconsin, and with MDOT (which has spoken to WisDOT).

The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is probably going to propose the exact route within Michigan, and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin is going to do the same, then we will each work with the counties and cities/villages along the route to get local buy-in and support.  Once that's done - and we anticipate that will take a while - then we will ask MDOT and WisDOT to jointly apply for designation.

Does that sound like a reasonable plan?

In Michigan the route will 95% follow the ACA routes, with a few local tweaks.  In Wisconsin I don't think there is an ACA route from Manitowoc to the Eau Claire area, so they will have to do more work than we did :)

Scott Anderson

Date 4/22/09
Hi Ginny!

We have developed an outreach campaign by which we will be soliciting input and support from MDOT and the County trail/parks people and road people for the Michigan segment. Also, the management of the MI-WI car ferry between Ludington and Manitowoc supports the plan and would be pleased to formally be designated as a part of the route.

We have been looking at the route from ACA, and have done some minor tweaking.  The only major change at this stage (which is still, of course, a draft) is that we want to modify the route from North Branch to Bay City so as to incorporate the community of Frankenmuth, which is a tourist destination with many useful facilities for bicyclists (eateries, places to spend the night, very nice parks and green spaces).  So if we do incorporate that modification, that removes Fairport and Quinacassee from the route, and adds Frankenmuth.  The route length with the change is 0.3 miles shorter than without.

Also, we're busy down here, the Ontario Trail folks are meeting next week and we have asked them to consider how best to develop a connection between the eastern terminus of USBR 20 and the nearest connection to the Trans Canada Trail (which is only 10 miles away).  In my County, which is the easternmost along the route, we have added the route to our County Trails and Routes Action Plan, which is how we document existing and proposed nonmotorized facilities.

Scott Anderson
Ginny Sullivan

Offline scottcanderson

Re: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 11:51:30 pm »
Thanks Ginny for posting the first few things on this thread.  I'm registered now so can contribute directly.

One important thing for us is to allow people to get in on the ground floor.  The Michigan leg of USBR 20 goes through twelve (probably) counties, two big cities, and lots of smaller cities, villages and settlements.  Although we certainly have a route in mind, there is some politicking to do (much), and some communities will be offended or troubled if they think we have already drafted something without their input and are simply seeking their approval for a fait accompli.

The "outreach campaign" mentioned earlier is that we are going to communicate in writing (letter, the old way with an envelope and a stamp) with people in all the counties, MDOT, trail management groups and so forth, and ask for their participation in one of two ways.  (1) They can help us work from a blank map by suggesting which facilities would be optimal in their area, or (2) We can draft a proposal for bicycling through their city/village/county, and they can make suggestions from there.

It's important to understand that the hardest part of this process will be to get buy-in at the local level.  The rest of this is, in a way, easy.  So whatever we can do to remove obstacles to buy-in is very critical.  The choice I labeled as (1) above sounds a little disingenuous; of course we have routes through the state that we can drop on a map at any time.  But people need to be able to contribute, and local folks might be aware of things we don't know, so I think this has a good chance to work.

If we find this works well, we'll share all the details with everyone.  If it doesn't work well, we may ask for help :)


Offline scottcanderson

Re: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2009, 05:45:48 pm »
(Copy of e-mail to Ginny for anyone who wants to see it)


Organizationally we are set up to do 20 first and could then work on 30.  From the WI/MI viewpoint on our end it would be sufficient to get us started if WI can extend 30/66 up to Manitowoc so we have something to connect to.


Offline scottcanderson

Re: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2009, 11:40:18 pm »
Update for everyone from more recent discussions with Tom from Wis DOT and Josh from MDOT plus the folks at MTGA:

Tom said it is "low hanging fruit" for him to get folks to work on USBR 30 in WI, though he may be able to get a route figured out along USBR 20 in the eastern segment from perhaps Green Bay to Manitowoc.  From our point of view USBR 20 is easier than 30 because it avoids all the complexity of Detroit and the 'burbs, and for other reasons.

It may be possible for us to work out a decent route from USBR 20 to Muskegon (planned western MI terminus of USBR 30) using a segment of USBR 35, so that would give us the following routing through MI-WI:

USBR 30 cross-state in WI, crossing Lake Michigan at the Milwaukee-Muskegon ferry, then north along USBR 35 in MI to USBR 20, then east to the Ontario border and on to the Trans Canada Trail.  Also, from USBR 20 at Ludington, crossing Lake Michigan at the Ludington-Manitowoc ferry, then west to Green Bay.

Eventually of course all of it will be developed, but this is a decent first cut IMO.

Offline scottcanderson

Re: U.S. Bike Route 20 in Michigan and Wisconsin
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2009, 02:00:37 pm »
An update: since the last post, now quite a while ago, we have sent the draft route information to several communities along the route, and recently to MDOT and County Road Commission managers/engineers along the corridor.

We have received two formal resolutions of support: one from the City of Clare, and one from the City of Marine City.  In addition, the City of Frankenmuth proposed a route modification in Frankenmuth and between Frankenmuth and Vassar, and we have updated our documents to reflect that.