AASHTO approves eight new U.S. Bicycle Routes in Vermont, Georgia, Indiana, Arizona, Ohio, and Kansas, expanding opportunities for national bicycle travel and tourism.
Missoula, Montana, October 8, 2015 — Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today announced that AASHTO has approved 2,141 miles of new U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBRs) in five new states: USBR 7 in Vermont, USBR 21 in Georgia, USBR 35, 36, and 50 in Indiana, USBR 76 in Kansas, and USBR 90 in Arizona. An alternate route for USBR 50 was also approved in Ohio. The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) now encompasses 11,053 miles of routes in twenty-three states and the District of Columbia.
“State departments of transportation are making significant investments in bicycle facilities in urban and rural communities as more people choose bicycling to commute and to visit some of America’s most beautiful landscapes,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. “The U.S. Bicycle Route System is now connected through five additional states, giving cyclists more than 11,000 miles of routes to explore America while improving their health and well-being. State departments of transportation support all modes of travel, and expanding the USBRS creates healthier communities, promotes bicycle tourism, and encourages economic development.”
The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a developing national network of officially recognized, numbered, and signed bicycle routes that connect people, communities, and the nation. Similar to emerging international and regional networks, such as Europe’s EuroVelo network and Quebec’s La Route Verte, the USBRS provides important recreational and transportation options for the active traveler. Currently, more than forty states are working to develop route corridors into official U.S. Bicycle Routes to be approved by AASHTO at their spring and fall meetings. Eventually, the USBRS will exceed 50,000 miles and be the largest official cycle route network on the planet.
Adventure Cycling executive director Jim Sayer commented, “11,000 miles of routes and almost half of the states in the nation with U.S. Bicycle Routes—these are major milestones that highlight U.S. Bicycle Route System’s momentum. What’s remarkable is that nearly all of the route designations have occurred in the last four years. We look forward to providing continuing coordination and guidance to our state partners to establish official bicycle route connections in every state in the country.”
U.S. Bicycle Route 7 in Vermont (226.7 miles)
U.S. Bicycle Route 7 (USBR 7) in Vermont is the first portion of the Western New England Greenway to be designated as a U.S. Bicycle Route. The Western New England Greenway is a multi-state bicycle route that is being developed and will eventually link New York City and Montreal through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. The Western New England Greenway organization worked with the Vermont Department of Transportation (VDOT) to apply for USBR 7 designation.
“We are very excited to have the first section of US Bicycle Route 7 designated in Vermont,” stated Jon Kaplan, VDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager. “We recognize the importance of bicycle tourism to the state’s economy and will continue to work collaboratively with the Western New England Greenway organization as their project is developed further.”
USBR 7 in Vermont starts at the border with Massachusetts just south of Pownac and ends at the Canadian border just north of Alburg. Supported by two National Heritage Organizations (Upper Housatonic and Champlain Valley), USBR 7 has many scenic vistas, historic sites and markers, covered bridges, and charming villages with excellent services. The route incorporates a mix of local roads, lower traffic state roads, rail trails, and shared use paths. A couple of the highlights are the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail in southern Vermont and the highly acclaimed Island Line rail trail, which includes a causeway in Lake Champlain with incredible vistas of both the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks. The Island Line also features a bike ferry to take cyclists across “the Cut,” a break in the causeway that has high volumes of boat traffic going out of Mallett’s Bay into the lake.
U.S. Bicycle Route 7 largely parallels US Route 7 through the western portion of Vermont and links to Quebec’s La Route Verte at the Canadian border. Vermont contains over half of the total route mileage, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are also currently working to achieve USBR 7 designation.
Maps and turn-by-turns for USBR 7 (Vermont sections are #3–6) are available for download at the Western New England Greenway website.
U.S. Bicycle Route 21 in Georgia (160.8 miles)
U.S. Bicycle Route 21 (USBR 21) is Georgia’s first U.S. Bicycle Route designation and connects Atlanta to Chattanooga on the Tennessee border. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has been coordinating with Tennessee to designate USBR 21, which will eventually connect Atlanta to Cleveland when it’s complete.
Katelyn DiGioia, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for GDOT, remarked, “Georgia is excited to join other states in the development of the USBRS with the designation of USBR 21. This route terminates in Atlanta and connects via the renowned Silver Comet Trail and scenic country roads to Chattanooga.”
USBR 21 begins in downtown Atlanta at the Five Points MARTA Train Station, which accesses the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, providing an easy connection to the route for international cyclists. The route leaves Atlanta on iconic Peachtree Street, then connects to the Silver Comet Trail, a scenic rail-trail that extends to Alabama. USBR 21 heads north from the Silver Comet Trail in the city of Cedartown, whose historic downtown is worth a visit. Two-lane country roads bring bicyclists through northwest Georgia to Chickamauga, then to the Tennessee border and Chattanooga, a bike-friendly city with many urban attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Two spur routes—USBR 321 and USBR 521—connect cyclists to other destinations in northwest Georgia and connect back to the main route. USBR 321 takes cyclists through the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. USBR 521 connects to Mountain Coves Farm, which provides scenic views of nearby Lookout and Pigeon Mountains and rolling green hills of the valley.
U.S. Bicycle Route 35, 36 and 50 in Indiana (610 miles)
AASHTO approved U.S. Bicycle Route (USBR) 35, 36, and 50 in Indiana for a total of 610 miles in the state. The designations were achieved through collaboration between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), the Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, Bicycle Indiana, and Adventure Cycling Association.
"The designation of these routes puts Indiana at the crossroads of a budding network of national bicycle touring routes,” said Nancy Tibbett, executive director of Bicycle Indiana. “This is a good thing for Indiana, since studies show that bicycle tourism is growing rapidly, and that bicycle tourists spend more and stay longer than other travelers."
U.S. Bicycle Route 35 (380.9 miles)
USBR 35 is a 360-mile north-south route that runs from Michigan, at LaPorte County, Indiana, to Louisville, KY at Jeffersonville, Indiana. The route has been completed through Michigan and cyclists can now ride 865 miles from southern Indiana to Sault Ste. Marie on the Canadian border.
USBR 35 follows county roads, city streets, state highways, and a variety of off-road trails. The route traverses through diverse topographies and ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, fields, and agricultural land. An urban highlight along the route is Indianapolis, where cyclists can explore cultural and historical attractions and bicycle facilities including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. The route map and cue sheet can be found on the Hoosier Rails to Trails website.
U.S. Bicycle Route 36 (58.7 miles)
USBR 36 runs 59 miles between the state lines of Illinois and Michigan, and 35 miles of the route (about 60 percent) is located on off-road trails. Starting on the western end, USBR 36 begins in the southern tip of Chicago as it crosses into Hammond. Although located in a heavily urbanized area, the route soon diverts onto the recently completed loop trail around Wolf Lake, which takes riders on a 1,000-foot boardwalk bridge over the waters and through naturalized areas hosting a myriad of wildlife. South of Wolf Lake the route connects with the Erie-Lackawanna Trail, the longest facility in northwest Indiana, and eventually west along the Oak-Savannah and Prairie-Duneland trails.
These off-road trails eventually lead riders to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a sprawling natural area of world-class beaches, hiking trails, campgrounds, and stunning scenic “dune-scapes” which draw millions of annual visitors to enjoy their unparalleled beauty. The Dunes Highway, or US 12, takes cyclists through Michigan City and eventually crosses the Michigan state line into Harbor Country, with a number of quaint lakefront communities located nearby.
Mitch Barloga, Transportation Planning Manager of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission stated, “Northwest Indiana has traditionally represented a major hub of all transportation systems, and we are proud to introduce USBR 36 into the mix. This route will help introduce a number of bicycle riders to the unique beauty evident throughout our region. We are very excited to be part of it!”
U.S. Bicycle Route 50 (171 miles)
USBR 50 is a 160-mile east-west route that connects from the Illinois border, near Terre Haute, to Richmond on the Ohio border. The Ride Across Indiana bicycle ride follows this route, which passes through rolling hills and agricultural land and many bike friendly communities in central Indiana. USBR 50 intersects USBR 35 in Indianapolis, the largest city and capital of Indiana, where cyclists can explore the city’s seven cultural districts and historic sites, as well as its growing bicycle infrastructure.
U.S. Bicycle Route 76 in Kansas (487 miles)
U.S. Bicycle Route 76 (USBR 76) in Kansas mostly follows Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica Trail through rolling pastures, hills, and towns of all sizes. Kansas is the fifth state to designate USBR 76, and there are now 2,013 miles of the route completed between Virginia and Kansas.
USBR 76 begins near Girard and leaves the state just past Tribune as it makes its way toward Colorado. The route passes along many scenic and educational locations such as the Flint Hills, the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center, and the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) worked with state bicycle advocacy organization, KanBikeWalk, to do outreach to the many local jurisdictions that the route passes through and to put together the application for designation.
“Bringing in bicyclists from across the U.S. as well as encouraging Kansas bicyclists to travel on the route would significantly increase tourism throughout the state,” said KDOT Secretary Mike King. “We have so many wonderful places to experience and are pleased to be a part of this national effort.”
U.S. Bicycle Route 90 in Arizona (573 miles)
U.S. Bicycle Route 90 winds through many of Arizona’s historic, cultural, and tourist destinations, such as Bisbee, Tombstone, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, and Saguaro National Park. Bicyclists are able to tour the sprawling cities and small towns of the Grand Canyon State—all diverse attractions that offer something for everyone and can be accessed on two wheels.
“U.S. Bicycle Route 90 directs bicyclists along a combination of comfortable bikeways through a scenic Arizona landscape,” said Michael Sanders, Arizona Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator. “Accessing many diverse tourist destinations, USBR 90 links the two cyclist-friendly metro areas of Tucson and Phoenix.”
Tucson and Phoenix each have extensive bikeway systems. USBR 90 features over twenty miles of off-road paved paths in each metro area, including the Loop in the Tucson area and the Arizona Canal in the Phoenix area with many street crossings that are grade-separated.
USBR 90 passes through the city of Apache Junction, which lies at the footsteps of the Superstition Mountains and the Tonto National Forest and is on the eastern edge of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Apache Junction is at the gateway to the Apache Trail, a 70-mile paved and gravel loop winding through magnificent scenery. Lawrence Kirch, Director of Development Services for the city of Apache Junction, noted how the city supports the USBR 90 designation: “The City Council is so supportive and enthusiastically designated USBR 90 through the city. There was a conscious effort to add bike lanes on Old West Highway and Apache Trail during the repaving project this summer just in time for the route designation.”
The route passes through the Basin and Range Province, characterized by numerous isolated mountain ranges called “Sky Islands”, separated by broad, level valleys. Fortunately for cyclists, the highways here run through the valleys with gentle grades.
U.S. Bicycle Route 50A in Ohio (32.3 miles)
Ohio’s USBR 50 was designated in the spring of 2014, and USBR 50A is a 32-mile alternate route that takes cyclists along backroads and trails. The alternate passes through woods, creeks, pastures, and farmlands, with opportunities to see wildlife. The Ohio Department of Transportation worked with local communities to create USBR 50A, which features the TJ Evans Trail, Hoover Scenic Trail, and Ohio to Erie Trail/Genoa Trail.
Once in Licking County, the route connects with an existing bike path that runs from Johnstown to Newark. The T.J Evans Trail starts at the Johnstown Trailhead and was once part of the Penn Central Railroad. Along the path, there are occasional glimpses of historical markers, a restored one-room schoolhouse, and a bygone mill with huge silos. Most of the bike path is lined with an abundance of foliage that gives the effect of riding through a long, green tunnel in the spring and summer.
“The Village of Johnstown Ohio is proud and excited to be a part of USBR 50,” said Jim Blair, Johnstown Zoning Director and Member of the Johnstown Trailhead Committee. “Those of us who live in Licking County have long known how beautiful our village is—now we will be able to share it with cyclists from all over the world.”
The Largest Bicycle Route Network in the World
The U.S. Bicycle Route System will eventually be the largest bicycle route network in the world, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes.
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. Adventure Cycling’s website provides resources and tools for route implementation, as well as links to maps and other resources for cyclists wishing to ride an established U.S. Bicycle Route.
AASHTO's support for the project is crucial to earning the support of federal and state agencies. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A powerful voice in the transportation sector, AASHTO's primary goal is to foster the development of an integrated national transportation system.
Support for the U.S. Bicycle Route System comes from Adventure Cycling members, donors, foundations, and a group of business sponsors that participate in the annual Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. fundraiser each May.
Learn more at www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs.
Download web-ready photos of cyclists and routes, web-ready USBRS shield images, and a web-ready overview map of the USBRS. For high-res images, or to arrange an interview with Ginny Sullivan, please contact Lisa McKinney.
Learn more about the U.S. Bicycle Route System by watching this video.
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Adventure Cycling Association inspires and empowers people to travel by bicycle. It is the largest cycling membership organization in North America with more than 48,000 members. Adventure Cycling produces cycling routes and maps for North America, organizes more than 100 tours annually, and publishes bicycle travel information including Adventure Cyclist magazine. With 44,662 mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike-travel adventures. Phone: 800-755-BIKE (2453). Web: www.adventurecycling.org.
Online version: http://goo.gl/VQXBj3
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