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Monday, January 28, 2008

Productive day at the Swap Meet

We made it into the 50s here in the St. Louis area on Sunday, but I didn't get a chance to get on my bike.

My first stop of the day was the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation Swap Meet. My primary purpose there was to deliver Tour de Stooges brochures, but it turned out more productive than that.

I've written frequently about the League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Missouri Bicycle Federation, but I had never met their respective executive directors, Ed Barsotti and Brent Hugh, until Sunday. Both groups had a successful 2007 as far as getting bicycle-friendly legislation passed, and they're hoping to build upon those successes this year.

A common theme was "Complete Streets" legislation, which requires state highway departments to consider bicycle and pedestrians ways when designing road projects. Illinois lawmakers passed "Complete Streets" legislation last year, despite an amendatory veto by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and Ed will be working to make sure state officials follow through. Meanwhile, Brent said the MoBikeFed will be working to get Missouri lawmakers to approve "Complete Streets" legislation.

But for the most part, our conversations were off-the-record, get-acquainted talks.

Meanwhile, Steve Sleet of St. Louis-based Trailnet said the group still is developing bicycle routes to serve as an alternate to Clayton Road and other popular streets that have seen a big increase of traffic because of the shutdown of Interstate 64/Highway 40 in St. Louis County. Trailnet is seeking permission from the various communities before "Share the Road" signs are installed.

It appeared the St. Louis BikeFed had a nice turnout at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Ill., and many people had bikes on their car. No doubt, many of them took advantage of the warm temperatures to ride on the nearby Madison County Transit Schoolhouse Trail, which passes near the convention center.

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