Grant to Mobile United will create a strategic plan for the implementation of the Crepe Myrtle Trail (CMT) in Mobile
Mobile, Ala. – Mobile United is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a two-year planning and assistance grant through the National Park Service’s Rails, Trail and Conservation Assistance Program. The grant will jump start planning and implementation of the Crepe Myrtle Trail.
Awarded through the National Park Service’s Rails, Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program, the grant will provide staff assistance to engage stakeholders, plan the trails routes, create funding plans, and identify groups, individuals, business, local government officials, and nonprofits that will spearhead the project.
“The momentum and support behind the creation of a permanent Crepe Myrtle Trail is higher than it has ever been,” said Mobile United Executive Director Katherine Pitman.
“More than a dozen organizations and 150 people participated in the inaugural Crepe Myrtle Trail Ride in June of this year and we’re thrilled to be able to continue our work on this great project for Mobile. Mobile United is grateful for the assistance from the RTCA program to undertake this critical first step in engaging all stakeholders in this planning process,” Pitman said.
What started as an idea in the 1990’s, the Crepe Myrtle Trail arose as a solution to the lack of waterfront access in a waterfront City that aims to stretch a minimum of 14 miles worth of dedicated paths and shared lanes. The route begins at Three Mile Creek, runs through Downtown Mobile, hugs Mobile River, traverses the Peninsula of Mobile neighborhood and the beautiful shores of Mobile Bay and ends at the Dog River, while connecting at least seven existing parks, and other natural areas that have access and recreational opportunities. The trail will be a multi-use path that will be used by pedestrians and cyclists, tourists and locals, young and old, and people from all socio-economic backgrounds.
The grant carries no financial award, but provides two years of project planning assistance. The goals of this phase of the project are to develop a Strategic Plan for the official creation of the CMT, to confirm or identify the most reasonable trail route and/or alternatives, and to create a conceptual design of the portions of the trail that pose the biggest challenges. The trail length will ultimately be decided by the community and other stakeholders, as the process of planning continues. Currently, the proposed route of the trail is approximately 14 miles. Opportunities exist for loop trails and extensions that will be useful for exercise outings, races, or other activities such as geo-caching, bird watching and sightseeing that could increase the size the trail complex to 25 or 30 miles.
Mobile United’s mission is to develop, support and encourage a comprehensive network of trained and engaged leadership that is inclusive and adaptable to community needs, taking action on programs and projects that lead to a better quality of life for our citizens.
For more information or additional inquiries, please contact Katherine Pitman for additional inquiries 251.432.1638 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about Mobile United can be found online at: www.mobileunited.org or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mobileunited1.
ALDOT will host two public hearings for the Mobile River Bridge project. Officials will be on site to answer questions about the proposed bridge and Bayway widening and solicit comments and concerns from the public. It is very important for as many proponents of a bicycle path to go to these meetings and make their voices heard.
You must sign in to speak (2 min) and all comments must be on ALDOT’s comment form. There will be a court reporter as well.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 – 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Alabama Cruise Terminal
201 S. Water Street Mobile, AL 36602
Monday, September 29, 2014 – 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Five Rivers Delta Resource Center
30945 Five Rivers Blvd,
Spanish Fort, AL 36527
For your opinion to count, it must be made in person or via an official comment form (These will be available on http://www.mobileriverbridge.com after the first meeting)
Please use the following PDF as a resource as you sign up to speak.
bridge handout (PDF)
You can review the full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on ALDOT’s project website: http://www.mobileriverbridge.com/documents.html
What are we requesting?: The BPAC petition simply expresses a desire and need for area residents to have a means to cross the Mobile River and requests that ALDOT & the Federal Highway Administration CONSIDER / STUDY including those facilities. The feasibility of such a project in terms of COST or SAFETY would have to be studied by those entities and if deemed infeasible then hopefully alternatives or mitigation would be considered. Dozens of bicycle and pedestrian paths exist on federal highway & interstate bridges (see list below) – safety standards are already developed and this is not a novel concept.
Why should we request it?: The federal government is building the bridge in Mobile to make it easier for people to get through Mobile quickly. The bridge will have some negative effects in Mobile. The bike/ped path is an amenity that they are required by federal law to provide us. If the federal government is going to build this massive structure in Mobile that will last for hundreds of years and be used by our descendants then we need to make sure it is done right and not miss this opportunity.
What benefits will it have?: The path has the potential to provide us the health and economic benefits outlined in the petition, as have happened with the similar Cooper River Bridge in Charleston where 66% of residents say they got more exercise because of the path. Additionally – biking infrastructure has been named the most sought after amenity for educated young people – which our economy needs – when deciding where to move.
What will it be like?: Engineering has yet to be done but it will likely be a concrete barrier SEPARATED bike-pedestrian path. Again – these exist on numerous interstate bridges and have been proven to be safe. ALDOT has said that it will have a 4% grade – equal or less that the Charleston or Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridges. The assertion that only “world class” bikers will be able to use it is easily refuted by talking to an average area biker – not to mention the fact that most people could easily walk it.
Will it delay the bridge? ALDOT has stated in MPO meeting that including the path at this point will not delay the bridge. In fact, NOT including the path will lead to a potential delay – as bridges built with federal funds are required to include consideration of bike-pedestrian facilities (see statute below). Not including them will likely lead to a lawsuit which will only mean more delays. Plus, its inclusion may help to mitigate some of the other potential concerns that would otherwise delay it.
How will it be funded? Funding for the bridge as a whole is yet to be determined, but the bridge is a federal project and will be funded primarily with federal dollars, with a smaller match by ALDOT. There is dedicated federal bike/ped funding for projects like these that can be utilized. If this path is not built then those dollars will simply go to another city. We will NOT get a tax rebate check, unfortunately. Since we are ranked #49 in the nation in bike infrastructure it will likely go to a city that already has better facilities than we do. Mobile has received relatively very little bicycle-pedestrian infrastructure dollars in the past and is already significantly behind most cities.
The Mobile City Council voted to pass a resolution supporting a bike and pedestrian path for the proposed I-10 bridge over the Mobile River at its July 29 meeting.
The resolution passed 5 to 1 with District 4 council member John Williams voting against it.
Via Al.com live blogging:
11:19 a.m. – Elliot Lauderdale of Fairhope is talking about how he believes the average bicycle riders could handle the new I-10 Bridge and referenced the Biloxi bridge as a tourist destination because of the bike/pedestrian pathway .
11:26 a.m. – Williams said he can’t support the bike path on the bridge, but he does support connecting a bike path from Mississippi to Baldwin County.
11:31 a.m. – Councilwoman Rich said she believes the new Mobile bridge will be as large as the Golden Gate Bridge and that the pedestrian/bike path could add to its attraction.
11:31 a.m. – The council voted 5-1 to approve the resolution for bike/pedestrian facilities on the I-10 bridge. Williams voted “No.”
Our own John Blanton was interviewed on Fox 10 about our push to include a bicycle and pedestrian path on the proposed Mobile River I-10 Bridge.
The bridge’s Environmental Impact Study should be released any day now.
According to AL.com the Environmental Impact Study for the proposed I-10 bridge will be released next week.
A spokesman with the Federal Highway Administration said Monday that the long-awaited environmental impact study into the I-10 bridge project will be completed sometime late this week or early next week.
Once the EIS has been released, the planning process will enter into a public comment phase when it will be imperative for public to express support for a bike and pedestrian path.
Are there any streets in Mobile that could be completely closed and turned into parks? What other out-of-the-box thinking could change the way Mobilians think about cycling?
Smart Growth America has released a report showing pedestrian deaths between 2003 and 2012. According the the report:
If you look at our roadways, it’s clear why we have so many deaths! Mobile’s roads were built with little thought for pedestrian/bicycle traffic. Speed limits are unreasonably high, road lanes are unnecessarily wide which encourages speeding, and there are few crosswalks/sidewalks. The city, county, state, and federal governments are ultimately culpable for these deaths by building unsafe public roadways. How many more people have to die, before our leaders stop only looking at traffic models and suburban expansionism and start building/repairing streets for ALL uses.
Read more the report here:
A new report released today by the League of American Bicyclists using data from the Census Bureau shows encouraging signs for bicycling commuting trends. Massachusetts, Maryland and Tennessee saw their bicycle commuter numbers increase by over 100% since 2005. Alabama had an increase of 20.2% (0.11% of population up from 0.09% in 2005) but is still ranked a dismal 48th in the country.
Many cities that have invested heavily in bicycle infrastructure have had souring numbers of bike commuters. Portland, OR had a 248.6% increase since 2000. Minneapolis, MN: 139.8% increase; Washington DC: 255.6% increase.
Other cities in the southeast have had notable increases in bicycle commuters:
No cities in Alabama were ranked in the top 70.
The City of Mobile has 0.04% of population bike commuting with a total number of bicycle commuters at 27.
Download the full report here: http://bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/ACS_report_final_forweb_2.pdf