February 26, 2014
It’s hard to believe with negative temps and snow on the ground, but spring is just around the corner and so is AASHTO’s spring meeting where new U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBR) will receive designation approval. We’re gearing up for the application deadline on April 14, and we’re excited to see so many states working to designate U.S. Bicycle Routes this year. State transportation agencies, bike and trail advocacy groups, volunteers, and Adventure Cycling staff are working in partnership to finalize and map routes, obtain road jurisdiction agreements, put together turn-by-turn descriptions, and get support from departments of transportation. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the anticipated U.S. Bicycle Route designations for 2014:
Washington DC has already submitted their application for spring designation of USBR 50 which is routed on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and managed by the National Park Service. Maryland designated USBR 50 along their portion of the C&O Canal last October.
Ohio Department of Transportation is currently working on designating USBR 50 and is contacting the few remaining road jurisdictions to obtain their support for the proposed route. They hope to have everything in place for spring designation.
Pennsylvania has identified a route for USBR 50 that follows the Great Allegheny Passage and connects to the Montour and Panhandle Trails with some on-road interum sections. The plan is to reach out to local jurisdictions to gain the needed approval for this route. Pennsylvania is anticipating spring designation.
West Virginia plans to submit an application with Ohio and Pennsylvania for designation of USBR 50. The route would follow the Panhandle Trail for six miles through the panhandle of West Virginia and cross into Ohio through Weirton.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (InDOT) is coordinating with other states on USBR 50 and details necessary for designation. Adventure Cycling is working with cycling advocates to provide route rationale for USBR 35, and InDOT will work with Kentucky on the connecting point between the two states which entails crossing over the Ohio River. USBR 36 is also in the works thanks to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. InDOT plans to put up information about these U.S. Bicycle Routes on their website and start outreach to local jurisdictions. They are anticipating fall designation.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is shooting for a spring designation of USBR 37, but depending on jurisdictions and their various timelines, they may need to wait until the fall. With the assistance of Trails for Illinois, IDOT is working on a route that mostly follows trails and incorporates roads within the Chicago bicycle route network. The route goes from the Indiana border to the Wisconsin border, mostly along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Kenosha County, Wisconsin, is interested in designating USBR 37 further along the proposed route to meet USBR 30, making an important connection between two near-term U.S. Bike Routes.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is working with the Bike Federation of Wisconsin to complete their application for designation of USBR 30. The Bike Federation is conducting outreach to a section of the route that follows roads, intersects communities, and connects the trails that make up 80% of the route. The DOT is shooting for a spring designation but progress depends upon the outreach process.
Washington is working towards designation of USBR 10 (aka Adventure Cycling's Northern Tier Bicycle Route) along the northern part of the state. Washington Bikes, a bicycle advocacy group, is doing the on-the-ground work to get support from communities along the route and is working in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to finish the application for spring designation.
Idaho has expressed interest in designating USBR 10 and is looking into possible routes through the northern part of the state. They may submit a joint application with Washington State this spring or fall.
Arizona is not anticipating designation of any routes this year, however they are making significant progress to get things moving that direction. The Arizona Department of Transportation will be hiring a contractor to conduct the designation and promotion process for all four of the proposed U.S. Bicycle Routes through Arizona, and hope to have applications ready within 12 months after awarding the contract.
Photo by Gerhard Illig Kommunikation on Flickr | National Corridor Plan Map courtesy of Adventure Cycling
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.