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2020 Community Bike Ride Weeks 3&4

Ok Community Bike Ride Fans. It’s time to tell you about the trails for week three and four.

Week 3

Levee Trail

CBR Levee Trail

Description: Take your Bubble “off-road” by checking out the Levee Trail in North Lawrence. This trail runs along the Kansas River providing views of the water, wooded areas and agriculture. Although technically unpaved, the crushed gravel surface is well maintained and can support narrow road bike tires as well as larger ones. Although this is a longer route it is very level, giving youth an opportunity to up their mileage without added stressors of hills or other traffic. Bring plenty of water and watch out for the wind as the trail has little shade or wind protection. Bonus: The route outlined follows the Levee East from North 2nd street, but you can also ride to the West!

Directions: Head out the south side of the parking lot towards the river. There is a crosswalk you can use to get up to the levee. Turn left and head east away from the damn. Turn back when you get to the yellow gate (or when you start to get tired)

Parking: There is free public parking available at the corner of Locust and North 2nd street if you want to ride the whole route. Or you can park at the 8th and Oak boat ramp and ride from there if you want to shorten the total distance.

Amenities: There is a fix it stand at the corner of 2nd and Locust. A port-a-john is placed at the 8th and Oak parking lot year round.

Mileage: 9.5 Miles for the whole out and back.

Elevation: 20 Feet

Activity: Across Locust from the parking lot is the Historic Union Pacific Depot, which until recently served as the Lawrence Visitors Center. Explore the French themed garden and enjoy sculptures by Jim Brothers and Shellie Bender before or after your ride. Look for the High water markings on the Depot to see where there has been flooding in the past, and you might even get to see a train go by.

Week 4

Baker Wetlands

Description: Take your bubble on one of the newest sections of the Lawrence Loop! Running adjacent to the Baker Wetlands on the south side of Lawrence, this section of the Loop provides beautiful views of the wetlands. The few hills are steep but short. Keep an eye out for lilies blooming towards the east end and the many redwing blackbirds that call the wetlands home!

Directions: Follow the sidewalk east from the parking lot up to Michigan Street. At Michigan turn right staying on the sidewalk and turn right again jest before the overpass. Turn back when the wall ends for the mileage listed.

Parking: To ride the full distance listed you can park at the Baker Wetlands Interpretive Center off of Michigan Street. If you would like to ride a slightly shorter route you can park at Broken Arrow Park off of Louisiana Street and use the underpass to access the trail.

Amenities The Baker Wetlands Interpretive Center is currently closed due to COVID but will hopefully re-open in 2021. Broken Arrow Park has restrooms that operate from April 15th through October.  

Mileage: 3.5 Miles

Elevation: 85 feet

Prairie Park Trails

Description: Prairie Park Nature Center opened in 1999 and in addition to the building that houses various animals from around Kansas there is a trail and lake. This trail is shared with many walkers and joggers so it’s a good fit for young riders who aren’t going too fast. After going through the nature park you can ride past Prairie Park Elementary and through the neighborhood!

Directions: From the entrance to the trail turn right and follow the trail around the lake and up to the school. Ride to Kensington Road and take a left. Turn left again on 27th street, and once more on Harper (there are sidewalks the entire route).

Parking: The trailhead parking lot is at 28th and Harper. Or you can park at the Prairie Park Nature Center and ride south on Harper to get to the trail head. The distance of the loop remains the same.

Amenities: Prairie Park Nature Center is currently closed but there are activities for children outside of the center including a butterfly garden.

Mileage: 1.75 Miles

Elevation: 98 Feet

Thank you for checking out our 2020 Bike With Your Bubble Rides.

Please remember to stay distanced from other trail users and always bring a mask in case you need it.

We hope to see your smiling faces again in person in July of 2021.

2020 Community Bike Ride Information

One of Lawrence Central Rotary’s largest and most exciting projects is our annual Community Bike Ride. Every year for the past decade we have gathered at the Rotary Arboretum promoting safe cycling and healthy lifestyles.

We cherish the opportunity to give out free helmets, safety gear, and go on fun bike rides in the area. Unfortunately this year we do not feel it is safe or responsible to hold a large group gathering due to the dangers presented by COVID-19.

However, we do still feel that staying active and enjoying the outdoors is important for health and wellness. This year instead of joining us for a large event we suggest you go out with your “bubble”. Those people you live with or have chosen to maintain close contact with through this unique time.

To help you get out and enjoy the riding Lawrence has to offer we have put together some suggested routes for you to try on your own. Each week we will publish one or two new routes that you can try at any time.

Please remember to stay distanced from other trail users and always bring a mask in case you need it.

We hope to see your smiling faces again in person in July of 2021, but until then, please enjoy the Community Bike Ride 2020 Bike With Your Bubble Edition!

Week 1

The Classic CBR

Description: Just because the Community Bike Ride has to look different this year doesn’t mean the routes have to. We’re kicking off our Bike With Your Bubble ride series with the Classic CBR! This route will be familiar to those of you who’ve ridden with us in the past. Starting from the Rotary Arboretum this route follows the Lawrence Loop around the western edge of the city. There is a good mix of uphill and downhill sections and a few road crossings. We recommend this route for families with kids who feel comfortable on two wheels and are ready for a bit of a challenge. (if there are puddles on the trail, it is highly recommended that you walk through them as they can get very slick.)

Directions: Follow the trail west away from the Arboretum, after a few miles follow the hill up to the right instead of crossing the Dam Road. At the top of the hill cross Clinton Parkway and head east until the trail continues again to the left. After that follow the trail all the way until it dead ends and turn back the same way.

Parking: Parking is available at the Rotary Arboretum. If that lot is full you can also park at the Youth Sports Complex.

Amenities: A unisex restroom is available at the Arboretum year-round. There is a Fix-It Stand in the parking lot.  

Mileage: 12 Miles

Elevation: 576 feet

Arboretum Loop

Description: Does anyone in your Bubble still use training wheels? Not sure how far they’re ready to ride? The Rotary Arboretum gives you the opportunity to ride a mile loop while never being too far from the parking lot if you have to call it a day early.  The Arboretum, is a project supported by all three Rotary Clubs in Lawrence and includes three-shade/rest structures as well as two ponds with fish and frequented by Canadian geese.

Directions: Instead of joining the Lawrence Loop to the south of the parking lot go north and head either right or left when you reach the sidewalk. You can follow this loop around both fishing ponds, there is also a small detour that takes you into some tall grass before bringing you back out to the ponds.

Parking: Parking is available at the Rotary Arboretum. If that lot is full you can also park at the Youth Sports Complex.

Amenities: A unisex restrooms is available at the Arboretum year-round. There is a Fix-It Stand in the parking lot. 

Mileage: .9 miles

Elevation: 9 feet

More Rides and descriptions coming soon!

Lawrence Kansas Ranks Third in Safety in 2020 PlacesForBikes City Ratings

People for BikesPeopleForBikes has released its third annual ratings of the best cities for bicycling in the United States: the 2020 PlacesForBikes City Ratings. Lawrence has been recognized as a top-performing city in the 2020 Ratings, ranking 3rd in the individual "safety" scoring category.
The PeopleForBikes City Ratings program is a data-driven analysis that evaluates more than 550 cities and towns and shows city leaders how they can invest to make bicycling better for all residents and visitors. City Ratings are scored across five key indicators: 

  1. Ridership (how many people are riding bikes)
  2. Safety (how safe is it to ride bikes)
  3. Network (how easy is it for people to bike where they want to go)
  4. Reach (how well the network serves all parts of the community)
  5. Acceleration (how fast the community is working to improve biking).

Lawrence had a safety score of 3.9, which was the third-best score in the category nationwide. The full ratings are available at:

"This recognition shows that we should take pride in the work we are doing to improve bicycling in Lawrence and to calm our streets for all users," said Jessica Mortinger, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Lawrence.

Data for the ratings come from existing sources (including the U.S. Census American Community Survey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System), as well as sources developed by the PeopleForBikes team to capture city-specific data based on mapping, city planning information and survey responses from community members. This year, individuals submitted a record-breaking 68,000 surveys. From these sources, 184 calculations are performed per city to determine the five category scores, as well as a city or town’s overall score. Read more about the methodology here.

“Now in its third year, the City Ratings create a complete picture of bicycling in cities based on measurable factors,” says Rebecca Davies, bicycle networks data manager for PeopleForBikes. “Top scorers are cities of all types and geographies who have succeeded in different ways, including cities that have made strong historical investments in active transportation as well as cities pursuing ambitious plans to rapidly implement high-quality bicycle networks on their streets.”
City Ratings is a key component of the PlacesForBikes program, which provides measurement tools, guidance, peer networking, and storytelling to help U.S. cities quickly plan, build and promote great places to ride of all kinds. PlacesForBikes is supported by a generous grant from Trek Bicycle Corporation, as well as contributions from other bike businesses, foundations, and individuals.

Volunteer Request: Bike & Pedestrian Count on the Lawrence Loop

Looking for volunteers!

As a result of the COVID pandemic, Lawrence residents are out along the Lawrence Loop in unprecedented numbers. Our friends at FLAT (Friends of Lawrence Area Trails) are interested in getting a better idea of how much use of the Loop has increased, so FLAT is conducting a formal count of trail activity in early June! 
They will be conducting 2-hour counts on Wednesday, June 3, and Saturday, June 6. If you've ever participated in the City of Lawrence/MPO bike/ped count, we're using that same method, and the tentative plan is to integrate these results into the MPO 2020 counts.

They need volunteers to make this happen! Please follow the link below to sign up for a slot. Detailed instructions will be provided after you've signed up.

Walking / running / biking on the Lawrence Loop is a great way for everyone to get out and enjoy nature.  This project will help to show just how many Lawrencians take advantage of the community resource. 


City of Lawrence awarded $1.47M in KDOT grants for Lawrence Loop, Safe Routes to School projects

Amazing news – the City of Lawrence was awarded two grants totaling $1,470,000 from the Kansas Department of Transportation as part of its Transportation Alternatives Program for Fiscal Year 2021.
Lawrence received a federal award of $1,070,000 for the Lawrence Loop project and an award of $400,000 for phase 2 of the Safe Routes to Schools project. Both projects are overseen by the City's Municipal Services & Operations Department. The Transportation Alternatives grants require a 20% local cash match. 
“We are extremely excited to learn that we were awarded the grants for these two projects,” said City Engineer David Cronin. “Safe Routes to School and the Lawrence Loop are two high-priority community projects for improving multi-modal transportation. These grants will help us move forward with both.”
The Lawrence Loop grant will be used to help extend the existing Peterson Road shared-use path to Michigan Street, just a few blocks from the Burcham Park Trail. The Safe Routes to Schools grant will be used to complete phase 2 of the project, targeting routes to three different elementary schools.
“Kansans value safety in all modes of transportation, which is why it is an important element of the new FORWARD transportation program,” said KDOT Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz. “I’m pleased that these projects focus on improving safety for pedestrians and children walking to school.”
KDOT received 32 applications from eligible project sponsors and awarded a total of $8.6 million for 18 projects for Fiscal Year 2021. Lawrence is the only city that was awarded two separate grants.

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