Talk:United States/Bicycle Networks

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USBR 25 in Ohio

As far as I can tell, USBR 25 in Ohio hasn't been given any attention by ODOT. However, the regional planning commissions and local governments in southwest Ohio have assumed for years that it'll use the Little Miami Scenic Trail and/or Great Miami River Recreation Trail, both of which conveniently fall within ACA's route 25 corridor in that part of the state. [1] – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 06:30, 24 April 2014 (UTC)


Minh, my intent here was to express UGRR primarily and UGR in the specific expected, intended badge rendering sense of how OpenCycleMap renders. Call it "tagging for the wiki page," if you must. It works sometimes to get a call and response, as I seem to have done here. And spill into Discussion, so here it is.

Worded that way ("often abbreviated UGRR or UGR") it does walk up to an ambiguity or underspecification of how I meant all that. I meant "UGRR often, and UGR as an OCM 3 character (turquoise, if I am being specific about color) badge/shield." In this project, the one we frequently see using that particular renderer. Writing into a wiki is a way of uttering consensus. If some chalk line remains dusty, let's clear it up.

So, UGRR almost every single place I've seen it abbreviated, we agree. UGR as an internal placeholder reality consensus along-the-way mention as to what we do and shall see in OCM as a shield (as Andy told me OCM shield alphanumerics max at three chars). Briefly, it's asserting partly that UGRR is effectively truncated to UGR in OCM renderings AND it's asserting partly some projection of the three characters U, G and R as meaning a particular something in the rcn=* namespace. Yes, they mean "The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route" and I think the tags are in good shape, as I continue to listen. It looks like the wiki says UGRR and UGR (once), then with your changes, uses UGRR as the only abbreviation after that. I'm perfectly OK with that, as "we have all four characters to use" (in wiki-world) rather than the restricted-to-three-characters namespace of rcn. That's all that was. stevea @ 05:30, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Hi Steve, even though OCM is the preeminent OSM-based cycle renderer, we should still prefer to tag real-world usage over the limitations of a particular renderer. Andy may have good reasons for limiting OCM's badges to three characters, but there certainly are renderers that can handle four. Moreover, there are plenty of bicycle routes that have longer abbreviations, such as the Great Miami River Recreational Trail (GMRRT). (That particular trail has a number, which I've tagged instead, but imagine the state of things before that trail became part of a regional route network.) So anyways, that's why I made that edit. :^) – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 22:58, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Quasi-national details

We might consider Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGR) as a next "national in scope" route candidate to be tagged quasi-national, as at least one state (Ohio) leans towards promoting its UGR segment to USBR 25. Presently, UGR is denoted as several statewide network=rcn routes. As USBR 25 emerges from a UGR segment becoming an approved USBR, should we promote remaining UGR network=rcn segments (>2000 miles) into a named quasi-national network=ncn route super-relation, and include newly-numbered USBR 25 as a member of that new UGR super-relation, similar to how USBR 45 and 45A in Minnesota overlap the identical Minnesota segment of the MRT super-relation? (As Minnesota wishes to brand both MRT and 45 at the same time, these two "separate but identical" routes are an accommodation, they are actually duplicate relations containing identical members). No, this is not a correct approach: UGR is private (not quasi-private, like MRT), so by convention (private routes like ACA's are purposefully "suppressed" in the network hierarchy to no higher than regional) UGR should not be promoted to quasi-national. Please see the USBRS Discussion page.

However, should other states where MRT (but not private UGR) members gain AASHTO approval for their states' segments (if they do), those MRT (but not UGR) state relations can be newly numbered and "trade places" from named to numbered in the named, quasi-national route. This is a method by which a named quasi-national route can be replaced by a numbered USBR route, one state at a time. Curiously, as USBR 7 is one of the earliest USBRs to achieve full completion (in all three states of Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut), it did not "replace" WNEG, as WNEG also exists as a "separate but identical" (to USBR 7) super-relation. This precedes another super-relation potentially including as members both WNEG and Route Verte segments in Canada, when it then makes sense to tag this new route as international (network=icn), diverging from the USBR 7 super-relation which will remain wholly within the US as a distinctly national route.

So, named regional routes which may become quasi-national devoid of segments containing USBR numbered routes don't get tagged network=ncn unless and until one state in the named route "goes first" by gaining a USBR. Then, only as and if other states follow, the route converts (state at a time) from named quasi-national super-relation to numbered national USBR super-relation. This cautious process respects the state-by-state growth of the USBRS and helps prevent the map from "getting ahead of routing."

OSM contains a few bicycle routes published by Adventure Cycling Association (ACA), a national (US focused) non-governmental membership organization promoting long-distance bicycle travel. ACA routes in OSM (correctly tagged cycle_network=US:ACA) are now largely tagged "regional" (network=rcn) as they span entire states and frequently cross state lines, so for some routes it may seem to be more correct to characterize scope as quasi-national and promote to network=ncn. But, as ACA route data are private (copyrighted by ACA, not government-published), these actually should not be entered into OSM at all, though a few have been. Unfortunately, these often represent older route data, since improved by ACA, resulting in OSM containing obsolete data. The Discussion page offers a forum to discuss whether these remain network=rcn, or if OSM gets permission to enter them, whether we promote to network=ncn as quasi-national routes, or promote to network=icn when routes cross an international border. A broader topic is whether OSM keeps ACA routes at all, as doing so violates ODBL. Updating ACA routes in OSM (as frequently as ACA updates them) costs significant ongoing editing effort. The quest is on to better clarify this: might ACA accept OSM volunteer editing efforts, provided they meet certain standards? OSM-US and ACA could discuss this topic further, but for now, "only about 2.6" (out of two dozen) ACA routes are entered into OSM. So while it isn't overwhelming, this does get discussed between ACA and OSM, with a consensus that things are presently OK: if ACA routes remain as private (proprietary) routes, OSM minimizes them in the network hierarchy (to regional) to avoid confusion with established national namespaces (the USBRS and what OSM calls quasi-national, quasi-private routes).

Another route may seemingly resonate with "quasi-national bicycle" semantics in OSM: American Discovery Trail (ADT). Described as "the first coast to coast, non-motorized trail," ADT is open to hikers and to an only slightly lesser degree, bicyclists and equestrians. As ADT's "sponsor" ADTS now publishes them, route data seem incompatible with OSM's ODBL: ADTS' "Data Books" cost money and the order page says "not to be posted on the Internet in any form." However, if an OSM volunteer were to ride or hike ADT segments and upload a GPX track, those data may be compatible with OSM's ODBL. Investigation continues while respecting ADTS's request to not upload their published data to "the Internet in any form." (ADT is in OSM in Iowa and parts of Ohio and West Virginia). ADTS proposed legislation (the National Discovery Trails Act, or NDTA) to add ADT to the United States Department of Interior's National Park System endeavor, National Trails System (NTS, a network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails created by the National Trails System Act of 1968). If NDTA becomes law, ADT route data become public domain. In 2014 NDTA was introduced in both the US House and Senate. The bill has passed the Senate three times, and on July 13, 2015, bipartisan legislation to make this happen — NDTA or H.R. 2661 — has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska with Rep. Jared Huffman of California as lead co-sponsor. A WikiProject enters and updates long-distance hiking trails: NTS trails and "Other Interstate Trails" (including ADT). Roads and highways suitable for passenger car travel are not eligible for designation as National Recreation Trails in the NTS: while NTS trails are primarily for hiking, some allow additional travel modalities such as bicycles, equestrians, snowmobiles, roller-skates/blades, or all-terrain vehicles. In OSM, the network=* tag is used for Walking Routes, Cycle routes and many other routes, so use separate relations (for hiking, bicycling, equestrians, with appropriate network=* tag) for each segment (nwn, ncn, nhn...) where a particular travel modality is allowed. Note that network=ncn implies pavement for a road bike, not a mountain bike. With ADT, this likely means a relation which skips a network=* tag altogether and tags route=mtb for those segments where mountain biking is permitted (no pavement). Therefore, while ADT may indeed be semantically "national scope" as an off-road/no pavement bicycle route, no characterization for a network=* tag is necessary since this tag is only used with route=bicycle not route=mtb. If entered, ADT will likely be a very long route=mtb, and so not strictly categorized as quasi-national, as it is not a route=bicycle. stevea @ 22:34, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

History of the USBRS, route by route

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) began to be established as a national numbered bicycle network in the 1970s. Circa late 1970s/early 1980s, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) formally inaugurated the USBRS, which originally consisted of two routes:

  • USBR 1 in North Carolina and Virginia and
  • USBR 76 in Virginia.

The System languished between the mid-1980s and 1990s. A "National Corridor Plan" was developed during the 2000s, allowing each of the fifty states of the USA to harmoniously develop USBRs using a cohesive national numbered grid of planned route corridors and a regularized numbering protocol (east-west routes are even-numbered, north-south routes are odd-numbered, spur/belt/alternate routes are preceded by a hundreds-place digit or suffixed with "A"). May 2011 saw the first major expansion of the nascent system. Five new parent routes, two child routes, and one alternate route were created, along with modifications to the existing routes in Virginia and the establishment of USBR 1 in New England. stevea @ 23:03, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 1 now has an additional segment through Maine and New Hampshire,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 1A is a sea-side alternate route for USBR 1 in Maine,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 8 runs from Fairbanks, Alaska, along the Alaska Highway, to the Canadian border,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 20 runs from the Saint Clair River through Michigan to Lake Michigan,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 76 was extended westward through Kentucky and Illinois,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 87 follows the Klondike Highway from the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Skagway to the Canadian border,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 95 follows the Richardson Highway from Delta Junction, Alaska to the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Valdez,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 97 runs from Fairbanks, through Anchorage, to Seward, Alaska,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 108 runs from its parent route in Tok, Alaska to Anchorage and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 208 follows the Haines Highway from the Alaska Marine Highway terminal in Haines to the Canadian border.

In May 2012 Michigan added:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 35 from the Canadian border at Sault Ste. Marie southerly to the Indiana state line near New Buffalo.

The Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is signed similar to the USBRS (see below), though MRT is not strictly part of USBRS. However, in May 2013 Minnesota received AASHTO approval for its MRT segments to become:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 45 from the Iowa state line north of New Albin, Iowa north through Minneapolis to Brainerd, then northeasterly to Jacobson, then westerly to Bemidji and southerly to near Lake George, and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 45A from Brainerd northerly to Cass Lake.

Minnesota uses both MRT and 45 designations, keeping the MRT brand while blending in the newer USBR 45. MRT may continue (as it did in Minnesota) to become USBR 45 in other states, though there are currently no active proposals to do so.

In May 2013 Missouri added:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 76 from Claryville westward through St. Mary, Farmington, Pilot Knob, Centerville, Eminence, Houston, Marshfield, Ash Grove and Golden City to Kansas.

In October 2013 Tennessee and Maryland (respectively) added:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 23 from the Kentucky state line at Kentucky's Mammoth Cave state bicycle route, south via Robertson County, White House, Nashville and Franklin to Ardmore, Alabama and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 50 as the Maryland segments of the Chesapeake & Ohio Bicycle Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

In May 2014 Massachusetts, Washington (state), Illinois (36 & 37), the District of Columbia and Ohio (respectively) added:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 1 from the Museum of Science in Boston westerly along the Paul Dudley White/Charles River Path to Auburndale Park in Newton, then from West Street in Everett northeasterly along the Northern Strand Community Trail/Bike to the Sea to Lincoln Avenue in Saugus,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 10 from the Idaho state line westerly, primarily along Washington State Route 20 to Anacortes, then via ferry to Friday Harbor and Sidney, British Columbia,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 36 south from Buckingham Fountain in Chicago to Eggers Wood to connect eastward to Indiana,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 37 north from Buckingham Fountain in Chicago to the Wisconsin state line at Robert McClory Trail,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 50 along the C&O Canal path to Maryland and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 50 from Indiana near New Westville easterly through Lewisburg, Brookville, Dayton, Xenia, Cedarville, London, Indian Ridge Area, Columbus, northerly to Westerville, then easterly through New Albany, Scott Corners, Newark and Steubenville into West Virginia.

In December 2014 Florida (1 & 90/90A), Massachusetts, Virginia (1 & 76), Michigan and Maryland (respectively) added, updated or realigned:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 1 from Key West to Jacksonville, ending at the Georgia state line,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 1 with two new segments: a northerly one through Salisbury and Newburyport and a southerly one through Topsfield, Wenham, Danvers and Peabody,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 1 provides a safer and more reliable cyclist route through Fort Belvoir, Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria, ending at the 14th Street Bridge in Washington DC,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 10 connects the eastern and central portions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: its eastern terminus with USBR 35 in Saint Ignace travels west to Iron Mountain near Wisconsin,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 11 from the Pennsylvania state line northwest of Hagerstown to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 76 north of Lexington to near Vesuvius,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 90 from the Alabama state line to Florida’s Atlantic Coast in Butler Beach, just south of Saint Augustine and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 90A as an alternate to USBR 90 around Pensacola.

In May 2015 Idaho, Minnesota and Utah (respectively) added or realigned:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 10 from Oldtown at the Washington state line eastward through Sandpoint and Clark Fork to Montana,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 10A as various belts offering alternate routes through Idaho,
  • U.S. Bicycle Routes 45 and 45A with some minor realignments,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 70 from Colorado on US 491 westerly through Monticello and Blanding, crossing the Colorado River and serving Hanksville, Torrey, Escalante, Henrieville, Cannonville, Tropic Junction, Bryce Canyon Junction and Panguitch to Cedar City and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 79 from Cedar City northerly to Minorsville and Milford then westerly and northwesterly to Garrison and Nevada near Baker and US 6.

In September 2015 Vermont, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas and Arizona (respectively) added:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 7 from Canada to Massachusetts via Burlington southward,
  • U.S. Bicycle Routes 21, 321 and 521 from Atlanta to Tennessee and as two spurs,
  • U.S. Bicycle Routes 35, 35A, 36 and 50 from Kentucky via Clarksville to Michigan via Hesston, in Indiana's Hamilton, Marion, Shelby and Clark counties, Illinois via Highland to Michigan via Town of Pines and Illinois via Terre Haute to Ohio via Richmond,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 50A as an alternate route around Alexandria and Westerville,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 76 from Missouri via Pittsburgh to Colorado via Scott City and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 90 from New Mexico through Tucson and Phoenix to California.

In June 2016 Connecticut, Massachusetts, Idaho, Virginia and Georgia (respectively) added or realigned:

  • U.S. Bicycle Route 7 from the junction of East Coast Greenway and Western New England Greenway (Westport) north through Danbury, New Milford, Bulls Bridge, Kent, Cornwall Bridge, West Cornwall, Falls Village and west of Canaan to Massachusetts,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 7 from the Connecticut border northward through Ashley Falls, Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lenox, around Pittsfield to Cheshire, Adams, North Adams, and Williamstown to Vermont,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 10 with minor route realignments around Sandpoint and Ponderay/Kootenai,
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 176 as a belt off of USBR 76 to USBR 1 and
  • U.S. Bicycle Route 621 as a spur off of USBR 21.