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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Spycams and bicycle trails

I share with you two stories that were published today in the Belleville News-Democrat that may be of interest to St. Louis-area cyclists:

Spy camera network will be put on island: The city of Madison, Ill., plans to install a $40,000 network of 22 spy cameras on 6,000-acre Chouteau Island to record who goes there and what they do.

Chouteau Island is a sliver of land between the Mississippi River and the Chain of Rocks Canal. Cyclists and pedestrians can access the island via the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which links Illinois with north St. Louis. While Interstate 270 goes through the island, the only way motorists can access the island is by crossing a two-lane bridge that takes Chain of Rocks Road across the canal.

Madison Mayor John Hamm told the News-Democrat he hopes the cameras will catch and discourage people who have been dumping old refrigerators, stoves and other trash on the island.

"It's totally crazy. I can't believe what I see out there," Hamm told the paper. "We even had a dead body out there a couple of months ago."

The new cameras will record pictures of vehicles and their license plate numbers on the island's road and the Chain of Rocks Canal Bridge. The story does not make it clear whether cameras will be installed on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge itself or the Missouri parking lot for the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which is closed because of a rash of car vandalism and theft in the lot.

As for the lot, Trailnet -- which operates the old Chain of Rocks Bridge for the city of Madison -- is planning a meeting later this month with other bridge stakeholders to discuss what to do about security on the Missouri lot, Trailnet spokeswoman Kathi Weilbacher told the News-Democrat.

Seibert Road is undergoing a facelift: Commuters who use Seibert Road in Shiloh to get to Scott Air Force Base will have to be patient for the next few years while the narrow country road undergoes a complete facelift. Cyclists frequently use Seibert Road to access other roads as part of their cycling routes.

The entire project includes widening the road, adding storm sewers, curbs and gutters, the News-Democrat reported.

A 10-foot-wide, multi-use bike trail will be built along the reconstructed Seibert Road as part of the Shiloh-Scott Trail. Eventually, the trail will hook up with other bike trail systems in the metro-east and enable cyclists, joggers and walkers to travel from Troy to Scott Air Force Base.

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