U.S. Bicycle Route 66
|Length||358 mi (576 km)|
|Existed||May 22, 2018 – present|
US-69 Alt. near Baxter Springs, KS
|East end||Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, MO|
U.S. Bicycle Route 66 (USBR 66) is a United States Bicycle Route that follows the former U.S. Route 66 (US 66) across the United States. The first section of the route, spanning 358 miles (576 km) from between Baxter Springs, Kansas, and St. Louis, Missouri, was designated as USBR 66 in 2018. The rest of the route remains proposed but un-designated.
USBR 66 runs along or parallel to former segments of US 66 for most of its route and also incorporates part of Bicycle Route 66, an Adventure Cycling Route Network corridor. At full length, the route is planned to run 2,493 miles (4,012 km) from Los Angeles to Chicago.
The route begins at the Oklahoma state line south along US 69 Alternate south of Baxter Springs. It proceeds north along US 69 Alternate through downtown Baxter Springs before diverting to Willow Avenue to follow the old alignment of US 66. It turns east onto K-66 at Riverton and crosses the Spring River. In Galena, USBR 66 leaves K-66 and continues northeasterly on Front Street into Missouri.
USBR 66 follows Highway 66 to Joplin, Missouri. It terminates at the Chain of Rocks Bridge, a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses the Mississippi River into Illinois and carried automobiles as part of US 66.
US 66 was created in 1926 as part of the U.S. Highway System and came to be known as the "Mother Road", appearing in various pieces of popular media. It was replaced by segments of the Interstate Highway System and decommissioned in 1985. Since then, the highway has been a popular tourist route and used by cities along its route for promotional campaigns.
The US 66 corridor had long been popular with long-distance cyclists, including tourists from outside the United States. State and local governments along the route had developed preserved sections of the old highway, along with nearby roads, into multi-use bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian paths and trails, but the corridor lacked a national designation. Beginning in 2003, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) along with the Adventure Cycling Association developed a U.S. Bicycle Route network plan that was later approved by the former in 2008. The initial plan outlined a general corridor for U.S. Bicycle Route 66 between Los Angeles and Chicago. Earlier versions of the plan had omitted USBR 66, instead splitting it between other routes, or had an extended version that terminated in Wisconsin.
Cycling advocates and local tourism boards began campaigning for the official designation of USBR 66 in 2013, focusing first on Kansas and Oklahoma. The Adventure Cycling Association later published a bicycle route for the entire US 66 corridor in 2015 and began promoting a U.S. Bicycle Route designation for the corridor. In early 2018, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Missouri Federation Bike and Pedestrian Association began petitioning local governments and businesses for their support of the USBR 66 application. Officials in Kansas also submitted their own application. The designation was approved by AASHTO on May 22, 2018.
The Kansas–Missouri section of USBR 66 was dedicated by transportation officials from both states on June 17, 2018, at Schifferdecker Park in Joplin, Missouri, and was commemorated with a six-day bicycle tour of the route.
- Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (May 22, 2018). "2018 Spring Meeting Report to the Council on Highways and Streets" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
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- Adventure Cycling Association (November 2009). The United States Bicycle Route System (PDF) (Map). Adventure Cycling Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "Development of the Corridor Plan for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, Phase 2: Develop Recommended Corridor" (PDF). Adventure Cycling Association. January 2008. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 9, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
- Charboneau, Michael (July 16, 2018). "Get Your Kicks Biking Route 66". CityLab. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Bryan Stefanoni, Andra (April 1, 2013). "Cycling Advocates Seeking Route 66 Map Designation". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Johnson, Abby (January 5, 2018). "Bicycling on Route 66? Organizations Hope for Approval as U.S. Bicycle Route". The Daily Guide. Waynesville, Missouri. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Havranek, Andrew (February 19, 2018). "Route 66 Could Become a Designated Bike Route". Springfield, MO: KYTV-TV. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Barker, Kimberly (February 15, 2018). "Missouri, Kansas Work to Secure Mother Road as a National Bicycle Route". Joplin Globe. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Barker, Kimberly (June 17, 2018). "Weekend Cycling Events Brings Riders Together". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved August 19, 2018.