O’Fallon completes 10-mile bike route
By: Michael R. Smith
O’Fallon recently completed its first bike route – a 10-mile route that loops around its southern boundary between I-64 (Hwy. 40/61) and Hwy. N. New lane markings and signs — largely paid for by federal transportation funds — call attention to drivers that cyclists may also use the roads.
Beginning at Technology Drive and Hwy. K road shoulders are marked with double lines, bicycle symbols, and signs that designate the route. From Hwy. K the path goes northwest on Technology to Winghaven Boulevard, north to South Outer 364, east to Hwy. K, then south on K to Technology.
The route also loops through the O’Fallon Sports Park on Hwy. K and around the adjacent Renaud Spirit Center to make up its 10-mile length.
Tom Drabelle, O’Fallon’s communications director, explained that the project’s $354,294 cost was 80 percent covered by federal funds and 20 percent by O’Fallon. Besides painting roadways and installing signs, work also included removing some shoulder “rumble strips” which alert drivers when they are out of the driving lane. The uneven road strips are an obstacle for cyclists.
The lane markings and signs don’t change any existing laws for drivers or cyclists, Drabelle said. They simply call attention that roads may be used by various vehicles.
“Cyclists have a right by state laws to ride on the routes. Our goal is to make these routes as safe as possible for drivers and cyclists,” he said.
Other bike routes will be made as funds are available, Drabelle said. “Our goal is to make O’Fallon completely walkable and bikeable.” Routes scheduled to be created in 2013 include parts of Feise Road and West Terra Lane.
Most of the funding for the initial bike route came in the form of federal grants earmarked for transportation enhancement programs. Those funds may be used for projects other than road or bridge repair and construction.
Eligible uses include beautifying roads, installing pedestrian and bicycle facilities, creating rails-to-trails routes, establishing transportation-related museums, and dozens of other possibilities.
Learn more about the “walkable/bikeable” paths planned for O’Fallon in the Nov. 7 issue of Mid Rivers Newsmagazine.