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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We Will Now Commence Building Highways for Bikes

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Bike routes across America!
  • Bike routes across America!
Exciting news confirming that, indeed, biking is for red-blooded Real Americans!

Obama's Republican Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced last week that the government will restart a 1980s plan to build major bike routes across the whole country. Check out the whole route map here.

As GOOD notes, the first two stretches of the U.S. Bicycle Route System were supposed to run from Maine to Florida and from Virginia to Oregon. But only a couple tiny chunks of the plan ever got built before it was put on the shelf to gather dust in the eighties.

The first routes on the list for construction are in Alaska, Michigan, Maine, and New Hampshire, and have been in planning stages for years. In Oregon, the bike route 95 is slated to run down the coast. Cycle Oregon's route coordinator is volunteering with Oregon DOT to do route development and community outreach for coastal bike route.

Wait—people are volunteering to work on a highway project? Seeing the amount of money that goes into paying engineers, planners, and construction workers on car-highway projects, that seems crazy. But the initial public dollars involved in the grand plan to build the 500,000 miles of routes across the country is laughably (like, laugh/cry/laugh) small. The feds are giving bike travel group Adventure Cycling $5,000 to bolster the $31,000 in private donations they collected to kickstart the route planning.

Baby steps, here, people. Baby steps.

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