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Sunday, November 29, 2009

In support of Route 66 trail

I have had the honor of working with John Fritsche and others in organizing the Tour de Coal ride in the Benld-Gillespie, Ill., area the past four years. John, a native of Gillespie, and others are trying to build interest in bicycling in Macoupin County, which is located between St. Louis and Springfield.

He recently wrote a letter to the editor to several Macoupin County papers, and he asked me to share it with you:
Letter to the Editor
Historic Route 66
Recreational Trail
Macoupin and Montgomery Counties
Recently, the League of Illinois Bicyclists had a promotional Route 66 Bike Ride from the Chain of Rocks Bridge, through Edwardsville, Staunton, Carlinville, Springfield and on to Chicago. The purpose was to promote a safe route from St. Louis to Chicago along the Historic Route 66 Corridor.

For a number of years now, various individuals, organizations and groups have discussed an Historic Route 66 Trail from Staunton, through Mount Olive to Litchfield utilizing the northbound lane of Old Route 66, which has been abandoned and unused for many years.

Our government officials and medical professionals are all encouraging people to exercise more and this section of pavement could be the place for many citizens to start on a path to better health. Moreover, trails encourage business development that could certainly benefit this region of Illinois.

The roadway belongs to the State of Illinois is still in place, so there is no right of way cost. All that must to be done is to remove some guardrail and dirt, repair any defects in the pavement and mark the alignment. This type of work can be done by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The Trail, which would be almost 17 miles long, would benefit the region, each community along the way, as well as new businesses moving into this area.  When this trail segment becomes a reality, a rider could safely travel from Litchfield, Ill,m to the St.Louis Arch by utilizing the Madison County and St Louis trail systems from Staunton south.

Right now this valuable section of what was once the "Mother Road" is abandoned and lying idle, providing no benefit to its owner, the citizens of the State of Illinois.

If you would like to have this section of abandoned history developed into a trail for all of us, talk to your family, friends and neighbors.  Let them know how you feel and encourage them to call or write their elected officials for their support.
Please, no more excuses!  Let’s get it done this time!

John Fritsche
Glen Carbon, IL
I fully agree with John on this one. Let's get it done!

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Roger 1 comments links to this post 11:40 PM

Sounds like this could be a job for a new nonprofit -- Roads to Trails Conservancy.
Actually, this isn't without precedent. There's a stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that's been turned into a bike path -- http://www.thirdwave-websites.com/bike/PA-turnpike-bike-trail.cfm .
Good luck in your efforts!
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