Pennsylvania’s first nationally designated bicycle route – U.S. Bicycle Route 50 – was officially approved in May by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and makes Pennsylvania the 25th state to join the developing U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). The 163-mile route mostly follows off-road trails, including the popular Great Allegheny Passage, Montour Trail, and the Panhandle Trail. Cyclists can now ride 538 miles on U.S. Bicycle Route 50 from Washington, DC, to the Indiana/Illinois border. Once completed, the route will connect all the way to San Francisco.
“We are very proud to have, along with our partners, developed more than 160 miles of trails and roadway for U.S. Bicycle Route 50,” said Leslie S. Richards, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary. “We expect the designation of U.S. Bicycle Route 50 to result in significant transportation, health, and economic benefits to the region.”
The USBRS is a developing national network of officially recognized, numbered, and signed bicycle routes. The new USBR 50 designation brings the total mileage of the system up to 11,726. More than 40 states are working on designating and implementing official U.S. Bicycle Routes.
“The U.S. Bicycle Route System is an important link in America’s interconnected multimodal transportation network” said Bud Wright, executive director of AASHTO. “From highways, transit, pedestrian trails, bridges, waterways, and bicycle routes – state departments of transportation are committed to giving travelers and tourists as many options as possible, to get where they want to go, how they want to get there.”
Adventure Cycling Association, a nonprofit that provides national coordination for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, partners with AASHTO to ensure states have the resources and expertise needed for successful route designation. Executive director Jim Sayer said, “It is really exciting to have half the states in America plus Washington, DC with designated U.S. Bicycle Routes. We think that USBR 50 is going to be very attractive to cyclists around the world, with the route’s combination of trails and low traffic volume roads.”
Pennsylvania’s portion of U.S. Bicycle Route 50 connects Maryland to West Virginia through a variety of natural and agricultural landscapes, historical sites, thriving small towns, and recreational hot spots. Cyclists can visit restored rail stations; Ohiopyle State Park, which has some of the best white water rafting on the East Coast; Point State Park in Pittsburgh; and the nearby Fort Pitt Museum. Additionally, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited route parallels U.S. Bicycle Route 50 between DC and Pittsburgh and offers the opportunity for cyclists to carry their bikes on or off the train at any station. This multimodal option allows for more flexibility to plan bicycle trips without a car.
More information about U.S. Bicycle Route 50 will be available on the PennDOT website at www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Rid
Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today announced that AASHTO has approved 919 miles of new U.S. Bicycle Routes: route 10 in Idaho and routes 70 and 79 in Utah. The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) now encompasses 8,992 miles of routes in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a developing national network of numbered and signed bicycle routes that connect people, communities, and the nation. Similar to emerging international and regional networks, such as Europe’s EuroVelo network and Quebec’s La Route Verte, the U.S. Bicycle Route System provides important recreational and transportation options for the active traveler. Currently, more than forty states are working to develop route corridors into official U.S. Bicycle Routes to be approved by AASHTO at their spring and fall meetings.
U.S. Bicycle Route 10 in Idaho (137 miles with Alternates)
U.S. Bicycle Route 10 includes a 66-mile section that travels through northern Idaho to Montana. Along the way, the route parallels historic water paths in the Panhandle region and follows railroad beds established more than a century ago. There are many scenic vistas and points of interest along the corridor as well as alternate routes and side trips aligning with or giving access to the growing trail system in Bonner County.
The area is rich in trading, mining, timber, fishing, and tourism history. Many seasonal events occur throughout the area during the touring season ranging from farmers’ markets to cycling events at Schweitzer Mountain Resort to The Festival at Sandpoint, Sandpoint’s music festival. Area businesses welcome touring cyclists and encourage travelers to enjoy the many features of Bonner County.
More information and a link to the map can be found on the ITD website.
U.S. Bicycle Route 70 and 79 in Utah (782 miles)
U.S. Bicycle Routes 70 and 79 combine to create a transverse route across southern Utah that connects the Nevada and Colorado borders. The U.S. Bicycle Route 79 portion of this route travels 130 miles in a southeasterly direction through the high elevation desert of the Basin and Range Province, providing travelers with a unique scenic experience and unmatched solitude. The route follows paved, two-lane highways through a landscape dominated by sagebrush, piñon pine, and expansive views, and connects to Route 70 in Cedar City, where cyclists can access food, water, and bicycle shops.
The Route 70 portion of this route travels 450 miles through the unique red rock landscape of southern Utah, passing through sinuous canyon country, through high elevation pine forests in the Dixie National Forest, and crossing the Colorado River near Lake Powell. Route 70 also travels past Bryce Canyon National Parkand Capitol Reef National Park, two of the crown jewels of Utah’s iconic “Big Five” parks. The red rock hoodoos at Bryce and the sprawling vistas at Capitol Reef are truly once in a lifetime sights that all travelers should have on their must-see list. This route follows paved, two-lane, county, state, and U.S. roads, which pass through small, rural towns that provide cyclists with the opportunity to re-supply with food and water.
USBRS 70 and 79 offer cyclists the opportunity to experience Utah’s stunning red rock landscape and make these routes a truly unique part of the U.S. Bicycle Route network.
U.S. Bicycle Route 45 realignment in Minnesota (26 miles added)
Originally designated in 2013, The Minnesota Department of Transportation has realigned U.S. Bicycle Route 45 to incorporate changes in coordination with the installation of guide signs along the entire route.
The route, also known as the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), is now twenty-six miles longer and includes improvements such as: roadway realignments due to construction, improved shoulders on nearby roads, new bridges, opportunities to bring cyclists closer to the Mississippi River, and newly-built off-road paths and trails, which appeal to a broader bicycling audience. The route includes 7 percent more off-road facilities, and incorporates long continuous sections of three state trails and numerous miles of regional and local paths.
The MRT/USBR 45 connects existing shouldered highways, low-use roads, and off-road paths for bicyclists to closely follow the Mississippi River from the headwaters at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border. The route begins where the Mississippi is just a small stream surrounded by towering white pines. It winds through forests and farm fields, passes through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the National Park Service’s Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, and through charming, historic river towns. It offers challenging climbs in the limestone bluffs of southeastern Minnesota, rewarded with long scenic views of the river valley. The route is sometimes on two sides of the river, offering a linear long distance bikeway along with opportunities for short loop rides if crossing from one side to another.
Two ribbon-cutting events and a bike ride will be held this summer to commemorate the project completion. The events will be Aug. 27 in Itasca State Park andAug. 31 in St. Paul. They coincide with the inaugural eight-day, 470-mile “Headwaters to Hills” tour from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2.
The Largest Bike Route Network in the World
The U.S. Bicycle Route System will eventually be the largest bicycle route network in the world, encompassing more than 50,000 miles of routes. Adventure Cycling Association has provided dedicated staff support to the project since 2005, including research support, meeting coordination, and technical guidance for states implementing routes. Adventure Cycling recently completed a makeover of the web pages devoted to the U.S. Bicycle Route System with improved layout and easy to find implementation tools, including route criteria, designation resources, and links to official sign guidance documents and studies. Adventure Cycling also provides an updated list of links to maps and other resources for cyclists wishing to ride an established U.S. Bicycle Route on its Maps & Route Resources page.
AASHTO’s support for the project is crucial to earning the support of federal and state agencies. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A powerful voice in the transportation sector, AASHTO’s primary goal is to foster the development of an integrated national transportation system.
Support for the U.S. Bicycle Route System comes from Adventure Cycling members, donors, foundations, and a group of business sponsors that participate in the annual Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. fundraiser each May.Tweet Print