Sunday, December 23, 2007

She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Bike to Ride

You remember that song from the Blues Brothers movie, right? If you don't, go rent or buy it, for goodness' sake. You can see what Chicago was like before Richard M. Daley started sanitizing it with planters in the medians and wrought iron fences everywhere.

The Katy was a railroad, officially the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. Most bicyclists know that much of the Katy right-of-way between St. Louis and Kansas City has been converted into a bike trail. It's probably the most famous rails-to-trails conversion in the country, and perhaps the most popular bicycle touring route in the Midwest.

Now the Katy Trail needs your help, quickly:
Time is short to urge the state of Missouri to extend the Katy trail so that it can be ridden between St. Louis and Kansas City. Comments are due by 12/27. It currently stops about one hundred miles from KC. A recent settlement with a power company provides money and rights to the vacant railroad bed to be used. It may not happen. Some opposition to the Katy Trail portion of the settlement has surfaced--so if riders would like to see the KC connection to the Katy happen, please spend a couple of minutes voicing support.
If the Katy Trail goes to Kansas City, cyclists can more easily connect with Amtrak, including the Southwest Chief. Plus, trails are a lot more useful when they connect major cities. The Missouri Bicycle Federation has set up a page where you can compose a short e-mail supporting the trail extension.

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