Warmer spring-like weather is giving Springfield citizens and others throughout the region the chance to resume outdoor activities, including cycling.
Springfield has 140 miles of bicycle paths, greenway trails and on-street bike lanes, according to Ozark Greenways.
“We have a master plan that we’ve been following that lays out a bunch of trails throughout the city and throughout the county,” says Dennis MacMann, park planner for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.
Bicycling serves as a form of transportation from one point to another as well as a brisk form of physical activity. But for David Hutchison with Springbike Bicycle Club, it is much more.
“On a bicycle, you’re going at a speed that you have contact with the world around you. You can hear the birds. You can see people. You have a lot more intimate contact with your neighborhood,” he said.
Hutchison said this makes a huge difference in how one feels about their community. When traveling in a car, a person is separated from the outside world.
One drawback of some bicycle paths is they don’t always take people where they want to go, limited the trials to recreation only. However, trails have been gradually extending towards the center of the city, Hutchison says.
One of those trails, called the LINK, offers routes along streets with low traffic volume and slow speed through Springfield’s core. Seven miles of the LINK are signed and marked beginning at Doling Park and stretching south, taking riders through downtown and all the way to Battlefield Road.
“That’s where it exists right now, and plans are to extend it south to connect to Ward Branch Trail, but those connections have not been made yet.”
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board uses federal grants and local sales tax revenue to build new trails, MacMann said. Other funding for these projects is raised independently.
“Ozark Greenways does quite a bit of their own fundraising and getting donations to help build trails as well.”
Ozark Greenways is a non-profit organization that works to maintain and develop it’s the greenway trail system and to promote Springfield’s on-street bike network.
For detailed maps of current bike routes along with updates of future projects readers can access Ozark Greenways’ website, found here. Read more about Springfield Bicycle Club, including its upcoming cycling events, here.