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  • Thu January 07 2010
  • Posted Jan 7, 2010
After the recent successes in getting the U.S. Bicycle Route System Application & instructions drafted, and the AAHSTO Purpose and Policy Statement revised, we at Adventure Cycling sat back and asked, "What next?" The answer became obvious when I was contacted by Florida DOT special projects facilitator, MaryAnne Koos about implementing routes through Florida. I immediately contacted Georgia's newly hired bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, Byron Rushing, and set the first of many regional meetings between these two states. Next week, Jim Sayer will be participating in one of these meetings in person. (Next week Jim will also be holding a series of regional gatherings in Florida to highlight Adventure Cycling projects and U.S. Bicycle Route developments. These events are free and open to the public, so invite your cycling friends!) Over the past several months, Florida and Georgia have discussed processes, prioritized corridors, defined potential roads within the corridors, and identified trail connections; all things that will help lay the ground work for other states gearing up for implementation. Through the work of Tony Barrett of the East Coast Greenway Alliance, Maine has made similar progress. These states are hot on the list of potential early implementers (along with New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, and a few others you'll be learning about soon). "So who else in on the hot list?" That's the question other state bicycle and pedestrian coordinators will ask in order to know with which neighboring state to start collaborating. Adventure Cycling sent a short survey to state department of transportation (DOT) bicycle and pedestrian coordinators late last summer. The questions asked how interested state DOTs are in implementing U.S. bicycle routes, what existing systems and processes for long distance bicycle routes they already have in place, what working relationships they currently have with other agencies and non-profits, and what barriers they perceive. We received 35 surveys back and below is a quick summary of what states are hot, and what states are not; we're thrilled that 32 of the 35 states are interested in some level of implementation. 9 high interest (+2 active states that weren't able to answer the survey): Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, plus Florida and New Hampshire 12 medium interest: Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota (will be contracting for route development in 2010), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia 11 need to address other priorities first: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan (though this state is now actively engaged in defining 2 U.S. Bike Routes), New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming 3 states indicated little or no interest in implementation: Connecticut, Montana, South Carolina A variety of barriers were listed, but most the most common was staffing and funding. (I invite you to read the full 5 page report, "Implementation Readiness: Survey of State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators".) The barriers listed were of course no surprise to us -- state budgets have been hit hard and furloughs take affect on capacity. That's why Adventure Cycling continues to take an coordinating role, matching willing partners like Michigan Trails and Greenways, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, California Bicycle Coalition, Cascade Bicycle Club and others to work with their state DOT on implementation. We sent the survey report to the bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in December, and are already receiving updates (welcome Ohio bike/ped. coordinator, Heather Bowden!) which lead us to believe we'll need to reassess state interest in the next few months. Momentum is shifting as states and partners begin to talk about roles and possibilities. The mood is catching and I believe we'll see the hot list grow.

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