Bush to Help Open National Parks to Mtn Bikes
The Bush administration plans to make it easier for mountain bikers to gain access to national parks and other public lands before the president — an avid cyclist himself — leaves office. The National Park Service confirmed that it is preparing a rule that will allow decisions about some mountain bike trails to be made by park managers instead of federal regulators in Washington, a process that can take years. A park service spokesman said the rule would be proposed no later than Nov. 15 so it could be final before Bush leaves office. If adopted, the proposal would likely result in more mountain biking opportunities on public lands.
In-Depth Transportation Bill Discussions Begin
AASHTO and Rails to Trails have both published research and proposals about the next Federal Transportation Bill, which is the focus of the 2009 National Bike Summit. Rails to Trails has new research, “Active Transportation for America,” which makes the case and quantifies the national benefits—for the first time—that increased federal funding in bicycling and walking infrastructure would provide tens of billions of dollars in benefits to all Americans. Click here to learn more.
AASHTO’s transportation reauthorization proposal is for $544.5 billion; almost double the amount in the last transportation bill. The AASHTO proposal recommended a number of reforms to the program. Chief among them is to limit the amount of funds that can be earmarked for specific projects to no more than 5 percent of total spending. AASHTO also recommended consolidating the number of funding programs from more than 100 to six key programs. Click here to learn more.
National Bicycle Route Network Approved
The United States is on a path to what could become the largest official bicycle route network in the world, thanks to the approval of a new plan by America’s leading authority on national route designations. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has just approved a National Corridor Plan laying out the framework and guidelines for the development of this system. The plan—under development over the last four years—identifies corridors connecting America’s urban, rural, and suburban areas. The corridors cover well over 50,000 miles, which, if transformed into routes along roads and trails, would create the largest official bicycle route network in any country or on any continent. By comparison, the planned Euro-Vélo network in Europe is projected to be 60,000 kilometers or 36,000 miles. For more information about the U.S. Bicycle Route System project, go to www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs. Web pages include the corridor plan and criteria, a corridor plan map, and information about other national and provincial route networks.
National Trail Classification System:
On October 16, the Forest Service published interim final directives for the national trails classification system in the Federal Register. These interim final directives amend the Forest Service Manual 2350, Trail, River, and Similar Recreation Opportunities, and Forest Service Handbook 2309.18, the Trail Management Handbook, to incorporate revisions to the agency’s national trail classification system, consisting of the Trail Classes and Design Parameters. The interim final directives will be available for public comment for 60 days. Comments must be received by December 15, 2008. Please send comments to Jonathan Stephens, National Program Manager for Trails and Congressionally Designated Areas, US Forest Service, Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources Staff, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Mail Stop 1125, Washington, DC 20250; or by facsimile to (202) 205-1145. Comments also may be submitted by following the instructions at the Federal rulemaking portal.
Employees Want Healthy Options at Work ...
Although employees want to improve their health, many are finding that the demands of work, personal life, and overall stress levels are making it difficult for them to achieve their health improvement goals, according to a new survey of more than 1,500 U.S. workers released by the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of 300 large U.S. companies. In its survey, the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that a vast majority of employees (88 percent) have taken steps to improve their health within the past year or have been regularly doing so for more than a year. However, nearly half of those surveyed (47 percent) say work demands are preventing them from leading a healthier life. The survey reported that one out of four workers said they are more stressed today than they were two years ago. A third of respondents indicated they would take advantage of stress management programs if offered at work. The League's Bicycle Friendly Business program is a great example of these programs.
State & Local News
Two-Wheel Commute Catches on in Palo Alto
Excerpted from the Palo Alto Daily News
Years ago, Gunn High School, in Palo Alto, Calif., started a program encouraging students to bike to campus, handing out treats and prizes to cyclists on randomly selected days. Fed by similar programs in Palo Alto’s middle schools, the concept gradually caught on, and last year the 1,900-student school broke 500 cyclists on a single day for the first time. That record was shattered last month, when program organizers counted 632 bikes on campus on Sept. 11.
Indianapolis Launches Bike Plan
Excerpted from the Indy Star
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has announced the first phase of an Indy Bike Ways plan that aims to create 200 miles of such lanes across Marion County, Ind. The idea is one of several the Republican mayor has announced in recent days to make the city more environmentally friendly. But there’s a long way to go. The city has so far committed less than $700,000 to a plan that would cost $50 million to $60 million over the next 15 years. Nevertheless, Ballard kicked off a project to paint dedicated bike lane stripes on about six miles road. Crews expect to complete the work by December at a cost of nearly $210,000.
Teton County, Wyo. Wins Federal Grant
Friends of Pathways congratulates Teton County on being awarded a $2 million federal grant for the North 89 Pathway. The funding will construct a pathway north of Jackson along U.S. Highway 26/89 and will provide bicycle and pedestrian access along the National Elk Refuge north of the Town up to the Grand Teton National Park southern boundary. The federal grant would not have been successful without the steadfast efforts of U.S. Senator John Barrasso and Senator Mike Enzi. Of significant benefit, the Teton County North 89 Pathway project will connect in the future with the 41-mile Grand Teton Pathways system, which was approved by the National Park Service in 2007. Grand Teton began construction of the first 8-mile phase this year between Moose and Jenny Lake, and the connection south to connect to the North 89 Pathway is planned in future phases. The North 89 Pathway is the critical link between the Teton County and Grand Teton Pathways systems.
St. Paul, Minn Hiring Bike/Ped Coordinator
St. Paul, Minn. is hiring a Bike/Ped Coordinator. This position supervises the Bicycle and Pedestrian Section in the Office of Transit which is responsible for developing and delivering, in conjunction with local units of government and Minnesota Non-motorized Transportation Advisory Committee, coordinated and integrated plans, policies and actions consistent with Statewide Transportation Plan and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidance. This position is also responsible for directing Mn/DOT’s oversight and management of the I-394 third avenue distributor (ABC) parking facilities.
State & Local News
Wear Your LCI Pride!
When the League congregates in Washington for the National Bike Summit in March or in San Jose, Calif. for the SmartCycling Education Conference in June, we want people to know League Cycling Instructors are in town. To encourage you to look your best at these national events, the League will pay the SmartCycling Education Conference fee for one LCI who purchases a beautiful Voler LCI Jacket by March 1. The raffle will be conducted during the National Bike Summit in Washington in March. While we encourage all LCIs to attend the National Bike Summit and visit with your elected representatives, you need not be present to win. Let’s fill the streets of Washington and San Jose with our colors in 2009!