In 2008 the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved a National Corridor Plan for Bicycling Routes that was developed by the Task Force on US Bicycle Routes. Route 66 from Illinois to California is one of the nationally significant corridors in the plan. The Oklahoma Bicycling Society (OBC) partnering with Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) has shared the Oklahoma portion of the proposed bike route to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and communities along Route 66. In the process OBC received 30 letters or resolutions of support from governing bodies, visitor bureaus, and the biking community strongly supporting the designation of Route 66 as a US Bike Route. The support documents have been provided to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. In addition the various entities provided input on the route with adjustments made to meet community requests.
Oklahoma is proud to host the most remaining drivable Route 66 miles, nearly 460 miles. The “father of Route 66”, Cyrus Avery, was a Tulsa citizen and Oklahoma Transportation official. It is fitting that Oklahoma takes the lead among eight states in establishing Oklahoma’s portion of Route 66 as a US Bike Route 66 (USBR 66).
The State of Oklahoma, local communities and businesses, and Oklahoma cyclists are all stakeholders and have interest in the designation of USBR 66. Consider this:
- The designation of US Bike Route 66 will have minimal impact on Oklahoma State’s or local municipalities’ budget. Riders will add to the governments’ coffers through taxes such as lodging and sale taxes.
- Services required for touring cyclists are similar to what other travelers may need: food, shelter, a store for supplies, locatable tourist sites, good maps or signing, or medical facilities.
- US Bike Route 66 can complement an already well-established and promoted Route 66 tourism industry. The cyclist takes the trip at a much slower pace averaging 7 days through Oklahoma rather than 1-2 days by motorcycle or car.
- US Bike Route 66 will be under the jurisdiction of Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the county, or a local jurisdiction.AASHTO specifically declined in establishing road standards for US Bike Routes. Although signing, route improvements, and bicycling facilities would be preferred, they are not required in order for a route to be designated.
The next step is for ODOT to complete the nomination process. As the Oklahoma Department of Transportation controls nearly 85% of the highways on the route, and is the nominating official, their acceptance is essential. Once there is an acceptable route, and it is approved by ODOT, Oklahoma Department of Transportation will then forward a route designation request to AASHTO. AASHTO makes the final approval based on their established criteria and the state’s nomination. OBC will continue to work with the Department of Transportation throughout the nomination process. ACA will publish the Route 66 bike route maps in 2014.
Kevin Mussett, Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition, Route 66 Committee Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie Winslow, Route 66 Committee Member, email@example.com
Bill Elliott, Route 66 Committee Member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Route 66 info: