In my latest "On the Go" video and in a blog last week, I talked about how bicycles are not just for recreation, but also for transportation. Today, as schools across America are letting out for summer vacation and families are making travel plans, I want to remind everyone that you can use your bicycles for both transportation and recreation on our U.S. Bicycle Route System.
And I'm happy to report that, since I blogged about our nation's interstate network of bicycle routes last summer, the Association of American State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has approved the first new routes for the system in more than 30 years.
The new routes include USBR 1 in Maine and New Hampshire, USBR 20 in Michigan, and USBRs 8, 95, 97, and 87 in Alaska. All six routes have been in development for years, and the cycling community is excited to see them approved.
"The day after AASHTO approved the corridor plan, volunteers contacted our office and asked if they could start developing USBR 20 from Marine City to Ludington," said Josh DeBruyn, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
AASHTO topped the new route approvals with a $5,000 technical assistance grant to Adventure Cycling to help states grow the system even more with new route selection. Adventure Cycling is an association that promotes bike travel among its more than 44,000 members. They have been helping coordinate development of the US BIke Route System, and their members contribute much of the volunteer energy needed to develop and maintain the system's routes.
"This marks the sixth year of our partnership with Adventure Cycling," said John Horsley, Executive Director of AASHTO. "We're pleased to provide support to the states as they work to create a U.S. Bicycle Route System."
The $5,000 will be added to the $31,000 Adventure Cycling raised during its National Bike Month campaign in May.
As Ginny Sullivan, coordinator for the USBRS and special projects director for Adventure Cycling, said, "The US Bike Routes system is ramping up as states begin work on implementation and submitting applications to AASHTO for new route approvals. It’s an exciting phase!"
And that is good news for anyone thinking about shifting their summer vacation from four wheels to two.