The Best of 2016 Advocacy: New Signs, New Routes, New Amtrak Bike Services

February 1, 2017

2016 was a big year for bicycle advocacy all over the country. From new and improved routes and signs to better Amtrak accommodations, bicycle travel is becoming more convenient, accessible, and safer than ever. Here are the top three ways Adventure Cycling worked to improve bike travel conditions last year. 

1) 1,604 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes were signed in four states.

The total number of signed miles across the U.S. is now a whopping 4,115 miles!

  • Utah: USBR 70 and 79 runs 780 miles along Adventure Cycling’s Western Express route, passing by many of Utah’s iconic national parks. The Utah Bike Coalition and Utah Department of Transportation worked to sign the route last fall.

  • Michigan: USBR 35 follows 505 miles along Adventure Cycling’s North Lakes route, and in 2016, the route signing was completed. It had been partially signed on the state-owned road sections, but dedicated USBRS volunteer, Kerry Irons, was able to secure funding for the remaining locally owned portions.
  • Ohio: USBR 50 follows 313 miles along much of Adventure Cycling’s soon to be released Chicago to New York City route. The Ohio Department of Transportation expects to have all of their state and U.S. Bicycle Routes designated and signed within the next two years. Start planning your bike trip to Ohio!
  • Kentucky: USBR 76 runs 483 miles along the TransAmerica Trail. It was originally designated in 1982, and in 2016 the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet worked with state tourism to fund and place signs on the route. This means you can follow USBR 76 signs across Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri.

2) Seven states designated new U.S. Bike Routes or improved existing ones.

Over 500 miles of new routes were designated in 2016! 

  • Connecticut and Massachusetts, USBR 7: Also known as the Western New England Greenway, this 378-mile route connects Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, all the way to the Canadian border.

  • Georgia, USBR 621: This 26-mile route is the third spur off USBR 21, connecting Atlanta, GA to Chattanooga, TN. 
  • Idaho, USBR 10: The Idaho Department of Transportation realigned a short segment through Sandpoint. USBR 10 follows Adventure Cycling’s Northern Tier route. 
  • Virginia, USBR 176: Taking advantage of the Virginia Capital Trail, this spur route off USBR 76 will provide cyclists on the TransAmerica Trail with a stress-free and scenic option.
  • Michigan, USBR 35: This 505-mile route runs along Lake Michigan and was designated in 2012. A realignment this year improved the route and added five more miles.
  • Minnesota, USBR 41: Also called the North Star Bike Route, this 315-mile route follows the Lake Superior shore from Minneapolis to Duluth and beyond to end at Grand Portage State Park at the border of Canada. Several wonderful trails are stitched into USBR 41, 

3) Amtrak implemented new bicycle services, thanks to the Amtrak Bike Task Force. 

The Bike Task Force was created in 2013 with several partner organizations and is co-led by Adventure Cycling and Amtrak officials. 2016 was a momentous year for improving access to trains with bikes. 

  • New carry-on bicycle service: As of May, passengers can take their bike on or off the Vermonter at any station without having to box it — not just stations with baggage service. 
  • No more boxes! In the summer of 2016, Amtrak completed the roll-out of their new trainside-checked bicycle service on all long-distance routes. In other words, no more boxing your bike, but service is restricted to staffed Amtrak stations. 
  • Bike-Train Route Map: Adventure Cycling continues to update the online map that shows Amtrak bike services along the Adventure Cycling Route Network. Share it using this short link: adventurecycling.org/amtrak-map

We’re very proud of all these major accomplishments, but must acknowledge we could never do this work without hundreds of dedicated volunteers, agency staff, and supporting non-profits. In addition, we’d like to offer our sincere thanks to Adventure Cycling members, donors, and sponsors. Without you, this work wouldn’t be possible.

If you'd like to stay informed on progress with the USBRS, sign up for quarterly email updates through our Get More Info page. 

USBR 35 sign photo by Ken McCaughey, USBR 76 sign photo by Mac McCoy, Amtrak photo courtesy of Susan Scarpelli.

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BUILDING THE U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM is posted by Ginny Sullivan and Saara Snow of the Travel Initiatives Department and focuses on news related to the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). The USBRS project is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by a task force under the auspices of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Members of the task force include officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration, and nonprofits like the East Coast Greenway Alliance and Mississippi River Trail, Inc.

Comments

Don de jong

Good news about Amtrak bicycle service.

Question: Any restrictions on tandems?

February 8, 2017, 6:52 PM
Reply
Steve All

Great to see ACA reporting the solid, year-by-year growth in our USBRS. 50,000 miles in the world's largest official public bicycle network, here we come!

March 7, 2017, 2:09 PM
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