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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Random thoughts from Belleville

Roger, where have you been? You've probably noticed I haven't been posting very often since the end of the Tour of Missouri. The primary reason for that is because I'm teaching a course in publication design at my alma mater, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in addition to my night job as design editor of the Belleville News-Democrat. It's the first time I've ever taught a course at any level, and preparing for two class sessions a week is taking most of my spare time.

The full-time professors say the first time teaching the course is the hardest and that it gets easier the more you teach it. I hope I get the chance to see whether that's true. I did find out early in the semester that it takes more material to fill an hour and 15 minutes than I thought it did.

I did find it cute when one of the students actually called me Professor Kramer, even though I'm a humble adjunct instructor. I don't even have a master's degree! Fortunately, the folks at SIUE decided my experience in the field counted for something, and I am appreciative for the opportunity to expand my horizons.

Bicycle maps available for all 102 Illinois counties: I wasn't aware of this until this week, but thanks to the folks at the ChampaignCountyBikes mailing list, I now know that the Illinois Department of Transportation has them available here: http://www.dot.state.il.us/bikemap/state3.html

These are county-by-county versions of the regional bicycle road suitability maps available through IDOT and Illinois bicycle shops. Here are direct links to PDF maps for some metro-east counties:
Tour de Belleville raises money for signals: Drivers will soon get a warning that bikes might cross their paths on East Main and B streets in Belleville, the Belleville News-Democrat reported.

The proceeds from this summer's Tour de Belleville bicycle ride are being used to install two signals by the MetroLink Bike Trail in a section near Douglas School, ride chairman Phil Elmore said. When bikes on the trail approach East Main and B streets, they will trigger sensors that cause yellow warning lights to flash and alert motorists that bicycles are approaching.

Bicyclists must still stop at the intersections.

Work on the signals began Tuesday. The two signals cost $30,000, Elmore said.

While the signals at East Main and B streets will be helpful, my hope is that something can be done about the trail's intersection with North Green Mount Road along the MetroLink tracks. To me, it's the most dangerous intersection on the trail because of the volume and speed of traffic on Green Mount.

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