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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Sedalia re-route is horrible

My son and I just completed our goal: riding the entire Katy Trail from Machens to Clinton. What a disappointment it was to arrive in Sedalia only to be re-routed on busy, hot highways that take bikers far away from the ambiance of the Katy. One reason to ride the trail is to pass directly where the old railroad ran years ago. So sad. There is a beautiful visitor center at the old depot in Sedalia but I consciously decided not to purchase anything as a matter of principle. Does Sedalia not respect the history and vision of the Katy Trail? Other than Sedalia it was an incredible trip!
posted Jun 7 2017 10:11PM - Ronald, Chesterfield, MO

Yes, it is unfortunate that the KATY route through Sedalia has been perturbed. See the news article here:


I'm sure there are nuances and tensions in the negotiations both for the right-of-way and the detour. Economic and real estate development vs the benefits of the state park played a role, no doubt.

From looking at the map, the reroute is two miles on Greissen Road. But it also looks like you could Randall Road to Boonville if that had less traffic.

Rather than boycotting the gift shop at the visitor center, it would seem more effective to contact the people who may actually be able to improve the situation: the state park, the city council, the county commissioners, the real estate developers, and the local newspaper. It would be nice if they visitor center had a petition that people could sign to urge the state park and local authorities to improve the route.

In the end I suspect the solution will come down to funding. Either funding to rebuild the trail adjacent to the re-opened railroad spur or funding to make the streets/roads around the property more bike friendly. The real question is how much more of the KATY trail right of way may be vulnerable to such take-backs.

posted Jun 8 2017 8:05AM - Jon, N Texas

Good point Jon. I doubt that a non purchase equates on principle that a trail rider is not satisfied with the route. That would be a hard correlation to make.
posted Jun 8 2017 11:24AM - Anonymous

The covenants in most rail-to-trail conversions are really more like temporary-use agreements. The lines are "rail banked", meaning that they always can be converted back to railroad lines if the demand arises. Freight lines are chronically under capacity, so there is little chance (today) that trails will be converted back. But it will happen in sporadic instances like this one. I agree that the best approach is to create a simple gravel-bed trail along the current line.
posted Jun 8 2017 1:28PM - BikerBoy, Maryville, IL

I have read that some or all of the Rock Island Line spur is rail banked. Is all or portions of the KATY itself rail banked?

According to reports, in the Sedalia case, this was a lease/use agreement with the state and private or local parties. Don't think it was a rail bank "withdrawal".

A local rails-to-trails route on rail-banked right-of-way near me was reclaimed for use as a commuter rail. Glad to see the mass transit expansion. Sad to lose a nice wooded packed limestone path. They built a concrete MUP along side the commuter rail line, however.

posted Jun 8 2017 3:07PM - Jon, N Texas

Tags: Clinton, Sedalia, Machens Modify Tags

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