New U.S. bicycle routes established in four states and the District of Columbia
MISSOULA, MONTANA, June 17, 2014 — Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today announced that AASHTO's Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering has approved more than 800 miles of new routes: U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Massachusetts, U.S. Bicycle Route 10 in Washington State, U.S. Bicycle Route 50 in Ohio, U.S. Bicycle Routes 36 and 37 in Illinois, and U.S. Bicycle Route 50 in the District of Columbia. The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) now encompasses 6,790 miles of routes across the nation.
“AASHTO is dedicated to providing travelers with access to safe and reliable transportation systems no matter how many wheels their vehicle uses,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. “We’re pleased to see that four states and the District of Columbia are this year, helping to grow the nation’s bike route system by more than eight hundred miles, giving citizens more travel and recreation options.”
The U.S. Bicycle Route System is rapidly developing into what will be the largest official bicycle route network in the world. Currently, more than 40 states are working to plan, implement, and promote new U.S. routes, and 15 states plus the District of Columbia have officially established routes. Here are the latest additions to this growing and diversifying bike network:
U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Massachusetts (20 miles)
The Massachusetts segment of U.S. Bicycle Route 1 (USBR1) includes some of the most scenic, urban and natural scenery in Massachusetts, traversing riverfront paths and rail-trails in eastern Massachusetts, and connecting to major cities and recreational attractions. USBR 1 in Massachusetts currently comprises the Paul Dudley White Bicycle Path along the Charles River through Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, and Newton, along with the Northern Strand Community Trail to the north of Boston. Many historical and scenic landmarks along the path offer bicyclists an opportunity to learn and explore.
“U.S. Bicycle Route 1 in Massachusetts is steeped in history, culture, and beauty, as one would expect from this Commonwealth that has played such a key role in the American story,” noted Ned Codd, assistant secretary for GreenDOT at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). “This designation is a great way to put Massachusetts’ path network on the national map, and connect our healthy transportation network with those of other states.”
U.S. Bicycle Route 10 in Washington State (407 miles)
Washington Bikes in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have completed the state’s first cross-state route nomination, U.S. Bicycle Route 10 (USBR 10). The 407-mile route follows the northern, cross-state highway corridor, State Route 20, from Newport, Washington, at the Idaho border, to Anacortes, Washington’s international ferry terminal.
“It’s proven that bicycling tourism can bring additional revenues to business in towns along designated routes,” said Washington State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “Based on the National Outdoor Industry Association estimates, as much as $650 million is spent annually on bike travel in Washington State.”
USBR 10 may be the most mountainous and scenic interstate bicycle route in the state. Cycling tourists will be inspired and challenged by the scenic alpine climb over Rainy and Washington Passes in North Cascade National Park. USBR 10 also summits Loup Loup Pass near Twisp, scales the Okanogan Highlands at Wauconda and crests the Kettle Range at the 5,575 foot Sherman Pass, which is the highest paved mountain pass in the state. It follows the Skagit, Methow and Okanogan rivers, crosses the Columbia at Kettle Falls, and follows the beautiful Pend Oreille River from Ione to Newport.
U.S. bicycle route designations will help accomplish Washington State’s vision of creating a grid of interstate bicycle routes passing through and linking cities and regions with the rest of the nation. USBR 10 will eventually connect all states along Adventure Cycling’s Northern Tier route, linking Washington State to Maine.
Washington Bikes Executive Director Barb Chamberlain added, “Washington Bikes works to promote bike travel all over the Evergreen State, and USBR 10 is a major accomplishment in putting us on the map for bike touring. We look forward to coordinating the rest of the routes across the nation's #1 bicycle-friendly state and working with towns that want to invite more bike travelers."
Plans are underway to start the nomination process for other significant route corridors in the state.
U.S. Bicycle Route 50 in Ohio (313.3 miles)
Ohio’s newly approved U.S. Bicycle Route 50 (USBR 50) begins at the Indiana border on Paint Road in Preble County Ohio, traversing 313 miles and leaving Ohio at the Market Street Bridge in Steubenville to Brooke County, West Virginia. Thirty-nine jurisdictions around Ohio collaborated on the development of USBR 50, and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) worked with Metropolitan Planning Organizations across Ohio to coordinate the efforts. Ohio’s segment of USBR 50 is the state’s first U.S. bicycle route designation. USBR 50 will eventually connect Washington DC to San Francisco.
Julie Walcoff, ODOT bicycle pedestrian and Safe Routes to School program manager, noted the local, state, and national collaboration of many partners to designate the route. “The designation of Ohio’s first U.S. bicycle route was truly a collaboration. The Department of Transportation, planning organizations, advocacy organizations, and volunteers all worked together to assure our new route would provide scenery, amenities, and comfort as riders take the opportunity to tour our beautiful state.”
The route follows a combination of roadway segments and fourteen different trails, including Wolfe Creek, Mad River Bikeway, Great Miami River, Little Miami Scenic, Ohio to Erie, Prairie Grass, Roberts Pass, Camp Chase, Scioto, Olentangy, Alum Creek, Westerville Bike and Walk Route, Creekside and the T.J. Evans Panhandle Recreational Trails. These trails provide off-road opportunities to explore Ohio’s natural and agricultural heritage, including woods, creeks, pastures, farmlands, and wildlife, while connecting Ohio’s vibrant urban areas such as Dayton, Columbus, Newark and Steubenville. Approximately 45% of the route is on trails.
U.S. Bicycle Route 36 and 37 in Illinois (72.6 miles)
U.S. Bicycle Routes 36 and 37 follow the Lake Michigan coastline from the Indiana border to the Wisconsin border. The route takes cyclists through the heart of Chicago, Highland Park, Lake Forest, and Lake County on some of the best bicycle trails and roads along Lake Michigan. Trails for Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Chicago Department of Transportation, and various other local partners coordinated to put together the route, obtain local agreements, and submit the application in only a few months’ time. For many states the process can take one year or more.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said, “AASHTO’s designation of U.S. Bike Route 36 and 37 in Northeastern Illinois is a national endorsement of the state’s multimodal efforts and an important step toward the implementation of the state’s first-ever Illinois Bike Transportation Plan.”
In Chicago, cyclists can experience many exciting urban attractions including the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Botanic Gardens, the Shedd Aquarium, Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Chicago South Shore Cultural Center, University of Chicago and Hyde Park, Museum of Science & Industry, the beautiful Chicago Park District beaches and parks, and various museums, shops, and waterfront restaurants along Lake Michigan. Highland Park offers a historical experience with the Fort Sheridan historic district and preserve, and Market Square in Lake Forest provides unique architecture and central community plaza for enjoying food, music and art events. In Lake County, cyclists can take a break and enjoy the scenery and swimming opportunities at the Illinois Beach State Park.
Paula Trigg, Lake County director of transportation, sees the local benefits of connecting to the USBRS: “We are very excited that the Robert McClory Bike Path has been designated on the U.S Bike Route System as USBR 37 and very supportive of the plan to connect to other existing and planned U.S. Bike Routes to create the Lake Michigan Loop Trail. The beauty of the Great Lakes region is well worth exploring on two wheels!”
U.S. Bicycle Route 50 in DC (3.6 miles)
A 3.6-mile extension of U.S. Bicycle Route 50 (USBR 50) will expand the route designation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) towpath from Maryland into the District of Columbia, at the doorstep of the historic Georgetown neighborhood. Features along the trail in Washington, DC, include boat rentals, the historic Abner Cloud House, and access to the amenities of Georgetown. Thousands of hikers and bikers already enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of the C&O Canal every day.
“The District of Columbia welcomes millions of tourists every year, including many that arrive by bicycle,” said James Sebastian, bicycle program manager for the District Department of Transportation. “The C&O Canal towpath has played a huge role in promoting bicycle tourism in our region for many years. We feel privileged that USBR 50 will be extended into DC, as a result of a close collaboration with our partners in the National Park Service and the Maryland Department of Transportation.”
The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a developing national network of bicycle routes, which will serve as visible and well-planned trunk lines for connecting city, regional, and statewide cycling routes, offering transportation and tourism opportunities across the country. Adventure Cycling Association has provided dedicated staff support to the project since 2005, including research support, meeting coordination, and technical guidance for states implementing routes.
AASHTO's support for the project is crucial to earning the support of federal and state agencies and provides a major boost to bicycling and route development for non-motorized transportation. Securing approval for numbered designation from AASHTO is a required step for all U.S. Bicycle Routes.
Support for the U.S. Bicycle Route System comes from Adventure Cycling members, donors, and a group of business sponsors that participate in its annual Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. fundraiser each May. The U.S. Bicycle Route System is supported in part by grants from the Tawani Foundation, Lazar Foundation, the SRAM Cycling Fund, and Climate Ride.
When complete, the U.S. Bicycle Route System will be the largest official bike route network on the planet, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes. Learn more at www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs.
Jim Sayer, Executive Director
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Adventure Cycling Association inspires and empowers people to travel by bicycle. It is the premier bicycle-travel organization in North America with more than 46,700 members. Adventure Cycling produces cycling routes and maps for North America, organizes more than 80 tours annually, and publishes the best bicycle-travel information anywhere, including Adventure Cyclist magazine. With 41,420 meticulously mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike-travel adventures. Contact the office at (800) 755-BIKE (2453), firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.adventurecycling.org.
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