December 16, 2015 – Bryan Schmid, Bi-State Regional Commission planner, reported that communities in the Bi-State region are making strides to improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. Iowa Trees Forever is working with local leaders in Muscatine to draft the Running Rivers Trail Vision for the city. The vision will include proposed enhancements that may be included in the Riverfront Master Plan Update. The city will be extending the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) to the Louisa County line to the south as early as next year, and will be including signage for the MRT and American Discovery Trail (ADT). Bi-State staff is coordinating efforts with colleagues between the Quad Cities and Cedar Falls/Waterloo to connect gaps in the route of the ADT, which is a national trail running from Delaware to California that crosses the Mississippi River at Davenport. The City of Geneseo, also, is interested in connecting the city to the Hennepin Canal State Trail. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources maintains the Hennepin Canal Trail and is planning on investing over $1 million in maintenance projects along the trail in coming years.
In the urbanized Quad Cities, the Iowa MRT is being extended at both ends. The City of Buffalo will begin construction in 2016 to extend the national trail from the Davenport border to County Road Y-40, nearly to the Muscatine County line. The trail’s eastern terminus was extended in 2015 in Riverdale from Bellingham Street to Fenno Road along U.S. 67. Bettendorf plans to extend the trail from there to its eastern city limit, where cyclists may use paved shoulders to ride to LeClaire. Princeton has also begun to pull funds together to construct a trail through town to connect to the Princeton Wildlife Management Area. Davenport added to its inventory of bicycle lanes in the city, notably on Jersey Ridge Road, and next year will see further Complete Street additions. Eldridge is one step closer to realizing a long-sought-after goal of building a trail south of town to connect to Davenport and Bettendorf trail systems. The city is in discussions with the Canadian Pacific Railway to acquire about one mile of right-of-way along tracks running south adjacent to First Street. Moline has also begun development on its River-to-River Corridor, roughly from SouthPark Mall to downtown and the new I-74 Bridge trail crossing. The development of this corridor is a long-term effort that requires coordination with the Illinois DOT along numerous sections.
Bi-State staff drafted two long range transportation plans (LRTP) in 2015, one for the urban area (MPA) and one for Iowa Region 9, comprised of rural Scott County and all of Muscatine County. The LRTP identified approximately 300 miles of various bicycle improvements in the urban Quad Cities, and 43-184 miles of proposed trails in Region 9. Input for these plans was received from the public, the Bi-State Regional Trail Committee, and the Transportation Technical Committee. To aid in the planning efforts, Bi-State staff runs a trail counter program to collect data on trail use in the Bi-State region. Counters have been loaned out to six cities in the region, with some locations having over 400 days’ worth of data. Most locations count an average of about 100 to 300 users daily throughout the year.