We recently recieved this letter from Idaho Pedestrian & Bicycle Alliance. It contains great news about funding for the Transportation Alternatives. Read it here:
Dear Members, Supporters and Friends,
Idahoans for Bike and Pedestrian Funding
Under the New National Transportation Bill
Under the new national transportation bill, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has the ability to eliminate the popular and successful Safe Routes to School program and shift away over half of the money in the Transportation Alternatives fund. Our concern is that Transportation Alternatives and Safe Routes to School funds that support sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes and biking and walking education in Idaho Communities will be cut in order to fund only motorized transport. We understand that ITD plans to do just that! Idaho Pedestrian & Bicycle Alliance and its partners support a balanced approach to transportation funding – vehicles, transit, walking and bicycling - in order to better serve all Idahoans.
Partners throughout Idaho are urging the Idaho Transportation Board to:
1. Fully fund Transportation Alternatives programs to improve your community’s
safety, mobility and economics, and
2. Retain the Safe Routes to School program at or above its current $1M/year level.
How? We need to obtain a majority of favorable votes on the Idaho Transportation Board. This seven member Board will meet February, March & April. We believe the vote will almost surely occur in April. The board is appointed by the Governor, and includes one person from each of the six ITD districts statewide plus a chair. We need stakeholders statewide to ask their board member, and the whole Idaho Transportation Board to vote to keep the programs we care about.
How can you help? Contact your Idaho Transportation Board member by email, letter or phone and ask for the three items listed above. Also helpful: let your legislators and the governor know you care about these programs. Speak up and ask others to do the same so bicycling and walking stay in Idaho's transportation mix.
Things are moving quickly, so please act now! With your help we will make Idaho a state of safe and attractive communities where everyone safely bikes and walks.
Who is your Idaho Transportation Board member? Check here for the name and contact information.
Does your organization want to be part of this coalition? Contact Cynthia (see the back again) and work with us!
Check out this video about fat bike riding in Teton Valley and the surrounding areas.
GTNP wants to limit traffic on Moose-Wilson Road
Grand Teton National Park is considering making the Moose Wilson Road one-way, which would not only create more traffic, but would be incredibly unsafe for cyclists. Friends Of Pathways is encouraging folks to write letters to the editor: here are their talking points and information on how to write to the newspapers.
1. HOW TO SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
a. Jackson Hole News & Guide
b. JH Weekly
c. Casper Star Tribune
2. IDEAS FOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
a. Cutting Access to a National Park: Flies in the face of the stated
mission of the NPS to preserve our "natural and cultural resources
and values ... For the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and
MISSION OF NPS: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the
natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for
the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural
and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this
country and the world. To achieve this mission, the National Park Service
adheres to the following guiding principles:
Excellent Service: Providing the best possible service to park visitors and
Productive Partnerships: Collaborating with federal, state, tribal, and
local governments, private organizations, and businesses to work toward
common goals. (among other principles, but these are the first two listed
b. Huge Safety Issue: A one-way Moose Wilson road is a huge safety
risk for motorists, recreationalists and animals.
i. Force bicyclists and other recreationalists to face head
ii.Will send additional cars onto an already busy Highway 89 and
Spring Gulch Road
iii. Some studies suggest one-way roads cause people to
c. Bad for the Environment: Closing the Moose Wilson road to
southbound traffic will cause people to have to drive an extra 30 miles
to get back to Teton Village.
i.Huge waste of gas
ii.Hurts Teton County's carbon footprint when we are working
on being energy efficient
d. Counter to Community's Vision for a Complete Pathway system:
County and Town officials, as well as local partners such as Friends of
Pathways, have worked with the community for years with the shared
goal of creating a complete pathway system that can take people from
Town, into the park, Teton Village and back into town. GTNP decision
totally goes against this.
e. Hurts Tourism / Bike Tourism: GTNP/Teton County received a
prestigious designation from the Secretary of the Interior last year
(America' Great Outdoors initiative recognition) in recognition of the
area's pathways. Teton County and the surrounding area is earning a
reputation as a premier biking destination – and making the Moose
Wilson road will serve as a disincentive for bikers to come to Jackson.
f. Hurts Teton Village: A one-way Moose-Wilson road will have a
negative impact on the visitor experience to Teton Village (forcing
them to drive an extra 30 miles to get back to their hotels) and could
ultimately lead to a decline in visitors, and the tax revenue they bring,
particularly during the summer months.
i. Teton Village is a premier destination both in Teton County
and the state
Ever wanted to see Yellowstone in the winter, but snowmobiling or riding in a snow coach just isn't your thing? Wouldn't it be great to see Yellowstone on your fatbike?
Fatbikes are not currently allowed on groomed Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Park roads in the winter. Yet the National Park Service already grooms these roads for snow coach and snowmobile use, so it doesn't require additional resources to prepare trails for fatbikes.
Yellowstone National Park has been trying to finalize its Winter Use Plan for what seems like forever. The upside to their inability to adopt a final plan is that we, the non-motorized user group, gets one more shot at voicing our desire to have increased access to the parks in the Winter.
Please click the link below and send in a short comment letter. Scott has written an excellent letter you may use as a template.
Click here to comment by October 9th.
Scott's comment letter:
To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing to express my desire to see Fat Bicycles, bicycles specifically designed for travel on groomed Winter roads, allowed in Yellowstone National Park during the Winter months. Currently, there is a significant lack of Non-Motorized alternatives by which to visit the park in the Winter. "Fat Bikes" are one of the fastest growing segments of the bicycle industry with sales doubling every year - far outpacing any forecasts (approximately 5000 units sold nationally in 2011). Although these numbers are still a drop in the bucket compared to Winter motorized sales, the rate of growth is to be noticed.
Fat Bikes are growing in popularity for a number of reasons: 1. They are safe and stable so people of all ages feel comfortable on them 2. They are simple and easy to ride with a very small learning curve 3. They are affordable compared to other Winter transportation alternatives. 4. They are fun!
I strongly feel that our National Parks should be encouraging more non-motorized use - why wouldn't you? If the numbers are not there yet to justify the addition of a new user group does that mean that the mode of transportation should be totally ignored? Why wouldn't the park take the lead and encourage more non-motorized use to drive the user numbers?
In the past, issues of safety have been brought up in regards to Fat Bikes. This is completely unfounded. Fat Bikes are every bit as stable as cross county skis and take up less room on the roads. With 60 million cyclists in the United States, there is also a greater percentage of visitors to the Park who know how to ride a bike compared to using cross country skis.
To be clear, this is no longer a new user group. Land Managers around the Country have embraced Fat Bikes, developed standards of etiquette, and have successfully managed Fat Bikes along side Snowmobiles. It is time for Yellowstone National Park to take this issue seriously and open up the Park to Fat Bicycles in the Winter.
I also would like to submit support for expanded cross country skiing opportunities and the development of a yurt system to be used by non-motorized users.
Thank you for your consideration of my comments.