The FHWA Office of Planning, Environment and Realty Creates New Office of Human Environment
The FHWA Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty is undergoing a reorganization to create a new Office of Human Environment. The new Office will house a new Livability Team to address livability as an emerging context at DOT. This affects the National Scenic Byways Program, as the Byways, TCSP and Delta Programs Team will also be part of this Office.
FHWA Solicits Proposal for Continued Operation of the America’s Byways Resource Center
Section 1803 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorizes the America's Byways Resource Center (ABRC) to provide technical support and conduct educational activities for the National Scenic Byways Program. The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2010, provided additional funding of $3,000,000 in fiscal year 2010 and $750,000 in fiscal year 2011 for ABRC. Financial assistance to ABRC has been awarded through a cooperative agreement with FHWA. The current agreement will expire on August 31, 2010, and FHWA recently solicited a proposal from ABRC to extend the cooperative agreement until December 31, 2011. The request included a statement of work that was developed by FHWA based on customer and stakeholder input (especially that from the 2009 National Scenic Byways Conference), evaluation of current ABRC efforts, and Federal initiatives such as livability.
The ABRC Advisory Committee recently met in Duluth, to discuss this amendment and provide input regarding proposed activities including those statutory responsibilities of ABRC in providing local officials and organizations associated with National Scenic Byways, All-American Roads, and America's Byways with proactive, technical, and on-site customized assistance, including training, communications (including a public awareness series), publications, conferences, on-site meetings, and other assistance considered appropriate to develop and sustain such byways and roads.
ABRC’s Advisory Committee includes federal partners, byway leaders of nationally designated byways and State/Tribal byway coordinators, and a representative from the tourism industry. The Advisory Committee will provide feedback and guidance to the ABRC on the development and implementation of its work plan in which specific tasks have been identified to address identified needs of nationally designated byways. See a list of Advisory Committee members.
ABRC’s proposal is due to the Federal Highway Administration on July 21, 2010.
On the Web
Maryland Launches New Interactive Map
A new interactive map portraying Maryland’s collection of natural, cultural, heritage and recreational resources was launched recently by the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, in collaboration with the Department of Planning. The map highlights Maryland Scenic Byways, Heritage Areas, Main Streets, Arts and Entertainment Districts, Civil War Trails, agri-tourism businesses, State and national parks, historical and cultural museums, and other visitor-friendly places.
Future phases may include interactive point-to-point drive or biking times, program logos, a save feature with printable pdf files, videos that preview travel experiences, sound clips, trip itinerary planner capability, street view, a walking radius measurement tool, search for nearby attractions within a mileage radius with the ability to highlight, zoom in and list search results, complex-queries that are interest and location based, visitor input/comment capability and analytic software. View the map.
Minnesota Complete Streets Bill Passes BikeMN
On May 15th, Minnesota Governor Pawlenty signed the Omnibus Transportation Bill that included language that creates a statewide Complete Streets policy. The bill had strong bipartisan support in both the Minnesota House and Senate and was supported by the wide variety of Minnesota organizations, including BikeMN, that make up the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition.
On June 10, the city of Minneapolis and Nice Ride Minnesota held a grand opening for the nation’s largest bike share project. FHWA provided $1.75 million in funding for the project. Over 100 bicyclists rode Nice Ride’s bikes down Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Get more information on how Minneapolis is encouraging cycling for both commuters and travelers to the Twin Cities.
Cycling is a low polluting, cost-effective and healthy way to experience the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway and the Great River Road through the Twin Cities. For $5 a day, you can rent a bike anywhere downtown and see why Minneapolis has been ranked as the best biking city in the country by Bicycling Magazine, as well as the #2 bicycling city in the nation by the US Census Bureau. Minneapolis has 43 miles of streets with dedicated bicycle lanes and 84 miles of off-street bicycle paths. Get help with your trip planning.
Peer Exchange along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad All-American Road
While on a visit to Washington, DC, in June, a Yurok delegation took a day to visit with their peers, and representatives from the National Scenic Byways Program, National Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service to learn about efforts along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad All-American Road in nearby Maryland. It was a great learning opportunity for both byway groups and Federal partners, as everyone enthusiastically exchanged information and ideas regarding plans to develop their respective byways, the tribe’s plans to develop a Yurok Scenic Byways Program, and the history and culture of both Harriet Tubman and the Yurok tribe.
Yurok Tribal Councilmember Richard Myers and Transportation Manager Javier Kinney learned about “Harriet Tubman country” through local government and business leaders, and the visit included a trip to the Bucktown store, said to be a key site in Tubman’s life experience. The day concluded with a meeting at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where plans to enhance the Refuge’s ability to tell the Tubman story that may include the development of a National Park, were discussed. “We truly appreciate the outreach as well as coordination for our visit to Maryland and sharing the dynamic work you are involved in regarding the National Scenic Byways Program…we welcome you all to Yurok Country and to keep in touch,” remarked Councilman Myers. Get more information on the Yurok tribe or on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad All-American Road.