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Recreational Trails Program and Transportation Enhancement Activities

 
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In this issue:

Program Update - October 20, 2009

Program Information Resources

Access Board Issues Draft Final Guidelines for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas
The US Access Board released for public review a draft of final guidelines under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) for Federal Outdoor Developed Areas on October 19, 2009. See www.access-board.gov/. The draft final guidelines are issued under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) rather than the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines address how to achieve accessibility in outdoor developed areas and take into account challenges and constraints posed by terrain, the degree of development, and other factors. They specify where compliance is required and provide detailed technical criteria for new or altered trails, beach routes, and picnic and camping facilities. The guidelines will apply to sites developed or altered by Federal land management agencies. The guidelines also will apply to non-federal entities that construct or alter facilities on Federal lands on behalf of the Federal government. The guidelines will not apply to Federal-aid projects. However, they constitute best practices for other agencies and for the public to follow to ensure program access. The guidelines are based on the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas Final Report available at www.access-board.gov/outdoor/.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) posted a new Accessibility Resource Library. This page supports an effort to organize and make available all information that relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other accessibility resources that may affect research, planning, design, construction, or operations of any FHWA project. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/accessibility/.

FHWA Surface Transportation and Environment Cooperative Research Program (STEP)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is requesting suggestions for research that should be pursued under the Surface Transportation and Environment Cooperative Research Program (STEP). STEP funds are the sole source available at present to support the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse. See Research below.

FHWA Amends Real Estate Guidance for Transportation Enhancement Projects
On October 2, 2009, FHWA announced updated guidance on real estate elements of the Transportation Enhancement (TE) Activities. The guidance emphasizes the necessity of obtaining an adequate interest in the right-of-way as set out in 23 CFR 1.23(a) for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project(s). The updated guidance recognizes flexibility in protecting the Federal interest in instances when less than fee title or a permanent easement is adequate and appropriate. The guidance is posted on the TE web site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/transportation_enhancements/guidance/1999guidance.cfm#general.

FHWA Announces National Scenic Byways Grants for 2009
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced National Scenic Byways Program grant awards for 2009 on October 9. Communities in 43 States will receive $40.7 million for 160 projects to improve and promote highways designated as scenic byways. See www.bywaysonline.org/news/2009/1925.

FHWA Announces National Scenic Byways Designations for 2009
U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced 42 new designations to the America's Byways® collection on October 16, 2009, including five All-American Roads and 37 National Scenic Byways in 26 States. This increases the number of America's Byways® to 151. See www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa0931.cfm.

FHWA Announces Environmental Excellence Awards for 2009
The Federal Highway Administration announced the Environmental Excellence Awards for 2009 at an awards ceremony at the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation (ICOET) on September 14, 2009.

  • Air quality and global climate change: California Regional Blueprint Program.
  • America's Byways: Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Byway.
  • Context-Sensitive Solutions: Glenville Wetland Mitigation Bank/Fox Point State Park, Delaware. See also the Exemplary Human Environment Initiative award.
  • Cultural and Historic Resources: Minnesota Historic Bridge Management Program of the Minnesota DOT.
  • Ecosystems, Habitat, and Wildlife, co-winners:
    • Innovative Top-down Construction Used on Washington Bypass Project, North Carolina.
    • Oregon DOT Vernal Mitigation and Conservation Bank
  • Environmental Research: Quieter Pavement Research: Development of Technology for Measurement of Tire/Pavement Noise Using the On-Board Sound Intensity Method, Caltrans.
  • Environmental Streamlining: 11th Street Bridge Environmental Impact Statement, Washington D.C. Department of Transportation.
  • Nonmotorized Transportation: Midtown Greenway and Bridge, Minnesota.
  • Roadside Resource Management and Maintenance: Nebraska Department of Roads: Plan for the Roadside Environment.
  • Wetlands, Watersheds, and Water Quality: Caltrans Statewide Stormwater Management Program.
  • Award of Special Recognition: Oregon Solar Highway Initiative.
  • Excellence in Environmental Leadership: Gary Ruggerone, Caltrans District 5.

In addition, the following projects were recognized with honorable mention:

  • Transit Rider Incentive Program (TRIP) Program: South I-25 Urban Corridor Transportation Management Association, Denver, Colorado.
  • Portland's (Oregon) Walk There! Program promoting walking as healthy transportation. See also the Exemplary Human Environment Initiative award.

Information about the Environmental Excellence Awards is at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/environmental_excellence_awards/. The 2009 information will be posted "soon".

US Department of Transportation Livability Webinar
On September 24th, 2009, the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) website hosted an online forum between high-level USDOT officials and the CSS community. The online forum was a national dialog on the new interagency partnership. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has said livability means "being able to take your kids to school, go to work, see a doctor, drop by the grocery or post office, go out to dinner and a movie, and play with your kids at the park, all without having to get into your car." See www.contextsensitivesolutions.org/content/topics/livability/.

National Recreation Trails: Applications for Designation Due November 1, 2009
National Recreation Trails (NRT) may be designated by the Secretary of Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to recognize exemplary trails of local and regional significance. Through designation, these trails are recognized as part of America's national system of trails. Applications for designation in 2010 are due November 1, 2009. See application information at www.americantrails.org/nationalrecreationtrails/ApplyNRT.html. The newest NRT is the Walkway Over the Hudson.


Program Financial Resources

FY 2010 Initial Apportionments

FHWA issued Notice N 4510.713, Apportionment of Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Funds Under a 31-Day Extension of Surface Transportation Programs Pursuant to Public Law 111-68. These are initial FY 2010 apportionments. Further apportionments are subject to further legislation.

FY 2009 Rescissions
FHWA issued Notice N 4510.712, Implementation of the Rescission of Unobligated Balances of Contract Authority on September 30, 2009. The response will be posted after final processing. Previously, FHWA issued Notice N 4510.711 (replacing Notice N 4510.710), Rescission of Unobligated Balances of Contract Authority on September 30, 2009, to notify the States that $8,708,000,000 of unobligated Federal-aid highway funds apportioned to States would be rescinded on September 30, 2009.

FHWA issued Notice N 4510.707 on April 13, 2009, to notify the States that $3.150 billion of unobligated Federal-aid highway funds apportioned to States were rescinded. FHWA posted the responses to these rescissions through a link from the Notice (scroll to the bottom of the Rescission Notice webpage). Specific rescissions by subprogram and by fiscal year are posted at www.fhwa.dot.gov/rescissions/pl111_8/index.htm.

Transportation Authorization
Surface Transportation Authorization discussions are continuing. SAFETEA-LU expired on September 30, 2009. Extension #1 extends through October 31, 2009. One or more extension(s) is (are) expected. See Surface Transportation (Re)Authorization: Resources and Comments for Trails and Transportation Enhancements.

Funding Opportunities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Procurement and Grants Office has published a funding opportunity announcement entitled, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Communities Putting Prevention to Work. Approximately $373 million will be available in fiscal year 2009 to fund thirty to forty awards. The purpose of this grant opportunity is to create healthier communities through sustainable, proven, population-based approaches such as broad-based policy, systems, organizational and environmental changes in communities and schools.

Federal Share, Match, and Donations
As a reminder, here is guidance on Federal Share, Match, and Donations.


Research, Reports, and Technical Assistance

Surface Transportation and Environment Cooperative Research Program (STEP)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Surface Transportation and Environment Cooperative Research Program (STEP) is an FHWA-administered source of funding for research related to Planning, Environment, and Realty. The STEP FY 2008 Accomplishment Fact Sheet on the STEP web site at www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/resources/archives/factsheet.cfm. Topics include air quality, ecosystems, historic preservation, bicycle and pedestrian, noise, outdoor advertising, transportation planning, travel modeling, etc.

FY 2010 STEP Comments Due December 3, 2009: FHWA is requesting suggestions for research that should be pursued within each STEP emphasis area. STEP Stakeholder input is required to identify the research topics that should receive priority consideration. FHWA is seeking input from its partners on the FY 2010 STEP Research Program. STEP will fund research, field demonstrations, technology transfer, conferences, and workshops, as well as portions of various pooled fund research efforts. Grants and cooperative agreements are possible with a 50 percent match. Research contracts will not require a match. The feedback section of the website is at http://knowledge.fhwa.dot.gov/cops/step.nsf - (link inactive 5/12). To submit research projects, click on the appropriate topic and complete the form. The deadline is December 3, 2009.

Considerations for the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
TE Managers and Trail Advocates: STEP funds are the sole Federal funding available at this time for the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC). If NTEC's service is important to you, then please provide your comments. Please post comments under Overall STEP Comments.

  • Please write out National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse at first use in your comment because the FHWA STEP reviewers may not recognize what NTEC means.
  • There is no funding guarantee for NTEC in the 2010 STEP plan. What would you recommend?
  • How do you use NTEC? What services does NTEC provide? How does NTEC benefit you?
  • Have grantees in your State benefited from NTEC? Do they know about the opportunity to comment on the STEP process? Please let them know about this STEP comment period.

Considerations for trail-related research
There is no funding for trail-related research in the current STEP plan, although some ideas have been submitted under "Bicycle and Pedestrian Research". What would you recommend? Are there trail research needs that are likely to benefit transportation? The STEP funds are intended to primarily benefit transportation rather than recreation.

Note: FHWA's Recreational Trails Program (RTP) administrative funds are used for cooperative agreements to support trail training, trail conference support, and purchase orders to develop trail-related publications, including cooperation with the USDA Forest Service Technology and Development Program. The RTP Administrative funds are separate from the STEP funds, and are not part of the STEP process.

Considerations for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
In 2009, the Bicycle/Pedestrian & Health Emphasis Area had the most comments of any Emphasis Area. There was an accompanying boost in funding from prior fiscal years. Decisions on how to divide up the research funds depend in part on stakeholder input.

Please Submit Comments by December 3, 2009
Please submit your own comments on research needs and feel free to disseminate this request to other stakeholders who work on walking, bicycling, and health issues.

Key STEP web links:

  • Comments: Direct link to submit topics and ideas: http://knowledge.fhwa.dot.gov/cops/step.nsf/home/ - (link inactive 5/12). Note: Comments should be concise descriptions of research topics. Do not submit long treatises or proposals.
  • About STEP: www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/.

The comment period is open until December 3, 2009. Comments are tracked continuously, so please feel free to submit comments now. You may submit multiple comments on multiple topics.

Reports

Transportation Research Board: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) National Cooperative Highway Research Program completed a report Stormwater Treatment with Vegetated Buffers, see http://144.171.11.40/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2378. The research demonstrated that vegetated buffers, filter strips, and grass swales have sufficient, reliable pollutant removal capabilities for use as primary stormwater treatment for rural roadside applications. These kinds of treatments may be eligible for Transportation Enhancement funds under TE Category #11.

National Association of Recreation Resource Planners: Great Outdoors America
The National Association of Recreation Resource Planners (NARRP) released a report, Support for the Great Outdoors America. See www.narrp.org. Key recommendations of the report are:

  • Establish Inter-Departmental National Leadership
  • Reposition the Land and Water Conservation Fund Program
  • Reframe the Role and Relevancy of Statewide Comprehensive Planning

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), released two reports of interest to pedestrians and bicyclists:

Incidence of Pedestrian & Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric Vehicles
This study examines the incidence rates of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes that involved hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and to compare the results to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles under similar circumstances. NCSA Technical Report (DOT-HS-811-204)

Examination of Driver Distraction as Recorded in NHTSA Databases
Distraction from the primary task of driving could present a serious and potentially deadly danger. In 2008, 5,870 people lost their lives and an estimated 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the crash report. Research Note (DOT-HS-811-216)

Technical Assistance

American Trails Accessible Trail Photos and Articles
American Trails hosts a "Cool Trail Solutions" website area. American Trails posted information on accessible boardwalks (www.AmericanTrails.org/photoGalleries/cool/15-Boardwalk-ADA-Accessible-Trail-Bridge.html) and accessible trail surfacing considerations and examples (www.AmericanTrails.org/photoGalleries/cool/3-ADA-Accessible-Trail-Surface.html). American Trails is seeking additional photos and articles related to accessibility.

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse Image Library
The National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse (NTEC) Image Library is at www.enhancements.org/library/index.asp. It is a web accessible media archive that features images of Transportation Enhancement projects.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Image Library
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) Pedestrian and Bicycle Image Library is at www.pedbikeimages.org. The Library contains over 1400 images and continues to grow. The PBIC Image Library is a searchable collection of high-quality images relating to walking and bicycling.

Federal Transportation Funds Benefit Recreation
FHWA updated a Federal Transportation Funds Benefit Recreation Presentation. This has general Federal-aid highway program information, but concentrates on the Transportation Enhancement (TE) Activities and Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Several examples were added and links to additional resources.

Bollards, Gates, and Other Barriers
Based on input from several sources, especially members of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (www.apbp.org), FHWA posted recommendations related to bollards, gates, and other barriers.

Trail Publications
FHWA's trail-related publications at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/ include links to many USDA Forest Service publications and resources. The Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads and Campgrounds was reprinted in September 2009.

Tread Lightly! Unveils "Respected Access" Campaign
Tread Lightly!, in partnership with the national recreation organizations, released a series of print public service announcements (PSAs) encouraging responsible behavior on public lands. The PSAs are part of a much larger new education and outreach campaign called "Respected Access is Open Access." See www.treadlightly.org/.


Newsletters, News Magazines, Websites

FHWA Public Roads Magazine

FHWA's Public Roads is the bimonthly magazine of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The September/October 2009 issue has articles on Detecting Pedestrians, Wildlife Crossing Technologies, and Road Safety Audits for Pedestrian Facilities.

FHWA Environmental Quarterly Newsletter
The FHWA Environmental Quarterly newsletter has useful information related to transportation and the environment. The Summer 2009 edition has articles about NEPA Reevaluations (National Environmental Policy Act); using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for ecological planning; the USDOT, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Environmental Protection Agency partnership for sustainable communities, and FHWA’s on-line consultation website for Endangered Species Act consultation.

Disclaimer: The links below reflect the views of these organizations. Providing links to these resources does not represent endorsement by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

America's Byways Bulletin, www.bywaysonline.org/program/bulletin/, has information related to the National Scenic Byways Program, including conferences and training resources. The August edition has articles for grant applicants, sustaining byways, and international travelers.

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse TE Corner
The National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse issued a new newsletter, TE Corner. It has stories about interesting TE projects and broader news concerning the Transportation Enhancements program. See the link from the NTEC website: www.enhancements.org. You can download the newsletter directly from www.enhancements.org/download/TECorner/TECorner_Fall2009.pdf.

National Park Service Conservation and Recreation Newsletter The National Park Service has a monthly Conservation and Recreation Newsletter.

AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence Website
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Center for Environmental Excellence posts many resources related to transportation and the environment. See http://environment.transportation.org.

American Trails publishes the American Trails Magazine and the Trail Tracks newsletter. American Trails Magazine covers trail-related news, legislation, action items, trainings, success stories, events, people making a difference, creative funding ideas, resources, and information on products and services. The Fall 2009 version will feature the Walkway Over the Hudson National Recreation Trail. Trail Tracks is a more typical newsletter with current trail information and "Action Alerts". The Magazine and Trail Tracks archives share the same webpage: www.americantrails.org/trailtracks/.

Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals has an e-newsletter available to members. It provides information on professional development webinars, transportation policy, conferences, member collaboration groups, and more. See www.apbp.org.

League of American Bicyclists: American Bicyclist Update is at www.bikeleague.org/members/e-newsletter_archive.php. The newsletters have many articles of interest to TE managers and trail interests. The September 28 edition has articles about increased bicycle commuting and new bicycle facilities in several large cities.

National Center for Bicycling and Walking: Centerlines is at www.bikewalk.org/newsletter.php. The newsletters have several articles of interest to TE managers and trail interests, especially on planning and policy issues.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center: PBIC Messenger
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center publishes the PBIC Messenger. The Summer 2009 edition had articles on funding for pedestrian safety, an international scan of pedestrian and bicyclist mobility, USDOT Secretary LaHood's livability policy, a case study on a livable streets plan, links to many resources, and links to news about pedestrian and bicycle issues. Sign up for this newsletter at www.pedbikeinfo.org/.


Training Resources and Websites

Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (www.APBP.org) hosts monthly webinars.

October 21: Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD): Bicycle and Pedestrian Signs, Markings, and Experiments

November 18: Building Political Will for Strong Bike/Walk Programs: Effective use of the "Three-Legged Stool" model in Columbia MO.

December 16: Connecting with Public Health Professionals on Bike/Ped Issues (Health Impact Assessments)

Federal Highway Administration Environmental Competency Building Program
The FHWA, in collaboration with a Steering Committee of transportation and environmental stakeholders, has developed the Competency Navigator to assist professionals in identifying the key environmental and technical topic areas associated with the delivery of environmentally sustainable transportation programs. See http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/ecb/index.aspx. Categories include Environmental Practitioner, Planner, Right-of-Way Specialist, Design Engineer, Construction/Maintenance, Legal, Civil Rights, Project Manager, and Senior Level Manager.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has free, public webinars training available. PBIC offers these free, public Webinars every other month to encourage safe walking and bicycling as a viable means of transportation and physical activity. To register for upcoming Webinars and to access archived presentations, see www.walkinginfo.org/webinars.

The Power of 25: Advocacy Strategies for Creating Livable Communities
Thursday, November 12, 2009, 2PM to 3PM ET
Presented by Pete Lagerway, Senior Transportation Planner, Toole Design Group
To register, please visit https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/277980042.

Selection of Crosswalk Markings and Other Treatments at Unsignalized Pedestrian Crossings
Thursday, January 21, 2010 from 2PM to 3PM ET. Presented by Charlie Zegeer, PBIC Director.
Registration for this Webinar will be available following the November Webinar.

Trail Management: Plans, Projects, and People (Federal Interagency Trails Course)
FWS OUT8194, BLM-TC-8300-17
March 29-April 2, 2010, San Rafael (Marin County), California
Public agency trail staff, contractors, and volunteers will learn to achieve sustainable and accessible trails of all kinds, using the best practices of the Trail Management Process. This collaborative process includes planning, design layout, construction, maintenance, monitoring, crew leadership, interpretation, operations, and safety. Field exercises include trail layout, construction and maintenance techniques.
How to apply: Complete the on-line application at http://www.doi.gov/doilearn/.
Course registration deadline: January 19, 2010

Wyoming's Helmet Safety Campaign Videos
The Wyoming State Trails Program developed Helmet Safety Campaign Videos. See http://wyotrails.state.wy.us/. These are useful for on-road motorcycling, off-highway vehicle riding, and mountain bike riding.


Conferences and Calendars

Southeastern Water Trails Forum, October 29-30, 2009, Chattanooga TN. www.southeastwaterforum.org/roundtables/default.asp

2010 IMBA World Summit, May 5-8, 2010, Augusta GA. http://imba.com/summit/2010_World_Summit.html

Bridging Conservation and Recreation: 2010 River Management Society (RMS) and National Association of Recreation Resource Planners (NARRP) Symposium, May 18-20, 2010, Portland OR. See the Symposium Overview and Call for Papers at www.narrp.org/clubportal/ClubStatic.cfm?clubID=1431&pubmenuoptID=28658.

See more events at:

  • Trail-related events: American Trails Calendar.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian events: National Center for Bicycling and Walking Calendar with each CenterLines newsletter
  • Events posted on FHWA's Recreational Trails Program Events
  • Events posted on FHWA's Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty Calendar
Updated: 04/02/2014
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