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June 27, 2011

Spinning the Old "Road Trip"

With the Clear the Air Challenge in full swing, many Utahans have been cutting down on their gas miles by replacing their traditional car runs with biking. Overall, biking has increased in popularity in the United States. Now standing as the seventh most popular recreational activity, people are realizing the physical, environmental, and economical benefits of biking for recreation and transportation.

This increased popularity has generated an effort to build a cross country biking 'highway'. The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) was actually started in the early 1980's with routes planned from Maine to Florida and Virginia to Oregon, however, the hype of this project was lost soon after and the routes were never finished.

Recently, however, the Association of Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has picked up this project again and approved six new routes in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Alaska. They have also created a map of "prioritized corridors" to be developed as soon as other states get on board. The goal is to have a network of connected routes spanning the U.S. That could give a whole new meaning for the classic American cross country road trip!

In Utah, volunteers from the Utah Bike Coalition are working with the Utah Department of Transportation to develop routes to link with neighboring states. For more information or to volunteer for the project in Utah visit the UDOT Walking and Biking website.

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