May 16, 2016
The U.S. Bicycle Route System has reached some major milestones lately. Here are a few of the more recent ones.
Not only has the network grown to include 23 states plus Washington, DC, but we’ve also hit an important benchmark of over 11,000 miles designated. This spring, we expect to see USBR 7 added to the map in Connecticut (a new state!) and Massachusetts, new spurs in Virginia (USBR 176) and Georgia (USBR 621), and a realignment of USBR 10 in Idaho through Sandpoint.
As you can see, the map is filling in and almost 2,000 miles of USBRs are signed (or soon will be) in 10 states. From Washington and Idaho to Maine and Virginia, these states have either signed or are in the process of signing their U.S. Bicycle Routes. That is great news for everyone. Signs help cyclists navigate, improve safety for cyclists, and give the network an identity.
Michigan gets it. Partners in the state completed signing all 309 miles of USBR 20 last summer and are now raising money to complete signing all 505 miles of USBR 35 — 138 miles of which are currently only signed on the state-owned sections. Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will sign all of USBR 10 in the near future.
Minnesota partners celebrated the signing of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), which is also USBR 45, last summer with an inaugural ride called Headwaters to Hills. The route was signed with MRT signs, which will one day be co-branded with USBR 45 signs.
For many years, only one county in Kentucky had signed USBR 76. But now all 482.7 miles are signed across the state, thanks to funding from Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). It’s so new we don’t even have photos of the signs yet!
Yes, this photo is in New Hampshire — did I mention we need more photos of USBRs? Maybe you can imagine a shiny, green USBR 1 sign in conjunction with the iconic East Coast Greenway sign — or if you go to Maine you can see for yourself!
We mentioned in a recent post that the USBRS includes a variety of facilities like multi-use trails, city streets and rural roads, and state highways. We are working hard with our partners to ensure that the routes are chosen with safety, scenery, and connections in mind.
You can ride or start working to implement a U.S. Bicycle Route in your state today, thanks to the centralized resources on Adventure Cycling’s website. Start with the FAQs for cyclists and planners; check out the routes and maps and the interactive map to start planning your trip; or read up on planning and designation to get started on the implementation process. It’s all there, as is Adventure Cycling’s Travel Initiatives staff if you have any questions.
When working with Departments of Transportation (DOT) that are strapped for capacity and funding, hitting the 11,000+ mile mark is a major accomplishment. We could not have gotten this far without thousands of hours of volunteer time from bicycle enthusiasts and advocacy groups, not to mention the DOT staff that continue to be vital to the process. They work collaboratively to find a path forward in partnership with other state and local agencies, Adventure Cycling, and those fantastic volunteers. Luckily, we all know that the U.S. Bicycle Route System is ultimately good for everyone, creating economic benefits, visibility, connections, and healthier communities. In fact, there are at least 10 ways U.S. Bicycle Routes are good for America!
Celebrate these major milestones with us and help us hit the tipping point of 25 states and 12,500 miles in 2016.
Donate to the Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of it. campaign to support the USBRS today and help us reach our goal of 50,000 miles and raising $150,000 by June. You can win cool prizes, like this Salsa Marrakesh, by donating $10 or more.
Graphics by Adventure Cycling | Photo of USBR 20 by Josh DeBruyn | Photo of MRT by Liz Walton | Kentucky photo by Mike Weingarten | ECG photo courtesy of ECGA | Hands up photo by Saara Snow | Salsa Marrakesh photo courtesy of Salsa Cycles