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Pace Car Program Launched in Dutchtown

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Thanks to generous funding from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust, there are now Pace Cars cruising the neighborhood around Froebel Literacy Academy in Dutchtown. Pace Cars serve as models of safe driving behavior and increase driver awareness of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles.

Students in Froebel’s Leadership Development Program composed a Pace Car Pledge that includes items such as:

  • I pledge to stop for people who are crossing the street.
  • I pledge to not use my phone to talk or text while driving.
  • I pledge to wear my seatbelt and to make sure that all of my passengers are buckled before driving.

Students also worked to recruit Froebel staff, family, and community members to sign the pledge. Pace Car volunteers receive a magnetic “Neighborhood Pace Car” logo to display on their car.

The program was officially launched on December 8 with a visit from Officer Patrick Clancy of the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. Officer Clancy answered questions posed by Froebel students and staff, and suggested ways in which the Police Dept. can help to reinforce the Pace Car Program.

Over twenty drivers have volunteered to sign the Pace Car Pledge and our goal is to increase that number to forty in the next few weeks. Because many Froebel students walk to and from school everyday, our hope is that Pace Cars will help to improve safety for the children and for the community as a whole. If you are a resident of Dutchtown, or frequently drive in the neighborhood, sign the pledge! Contact Ginny McDonald at ginny@trailnet.org for information.

Trailnet Works with MODOT and other Organizations to Address Distracted Driving

Trailnet Works with MODOT and other Organizations to Address Distracted Driving 

According to AT&T, 7 in 10 drivers engage in the risky behavior of cell phone use while driving. The National Safety Council reports that driver cell phone use leads to 1.6 million crashes in the US each year. Missouri crash data indicates phone use by drivers contributed to 2,237 crashes in in 2015, which produced 11 fatalities, 79 serious injuries, and 940 minor injuries.

A cell phone conversation distracts the human brain enough to increase crash risk by a factor of four.

Trailnet has actively lobbied on this issue in Jefferson City for several years because people who walk and bike are especially vulnerable to being hurt or killed by cell phone-distracted drivers. We’ve urged Missouri state legislators to at least ban texting for all drivers, since Missouri is one of only four states without a texting ban on drivers over 21. Such efforts to date have been unsuccessful.

In the last quarter of 2016 MODOT organized a distracted driving workgroup that included Trailnet, cell phone service providers, state highway patrol officers, AAA, health care providers, insurance industry and trucking representatives. All had previously testified in favor of distracted driving legislation.

The workgroup agreed that addressing texting only was not a complete distracted driving measure. The safest approach – banning the use of cell phones while driving (period) – would be a non-starter in Jefferson City, and with many in the public. The next best approach, it was agreed, would be one that fourteen states have adopted: require drivers to use a “hands-free” device to use their cell phones while driving. MODOT led the drafting and revision process over several months of meetings, and

Representative Nate Walker (R-Kirksville) has now pre-filed the workgroup’s final draft as House Bill 312 for consideration in the 2017 legislative session. You can read it here

Give it a read and tell us what you think! Contact: janet@trailnet.org

Bike Count Infographic

Our data is reported to the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project that sets guidelines for performing bicycle and pedestrian counts and surveys. This allows for a uniform method of accounting for walkers and cyclists across the country.

A lack of documentation of cyclists and pedestrians makes it difficult to measure the positive benefits of investments in these modes of transportation. By collecting data annually, Trailnet can help drive local bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure funding, programming, and educational efforts

Our Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts are sponsored in part by Great Rivers Greenways


2017 Wish List

To help reduce program expenses, Trailnet needs the donation of supplies, services and equipment that are regularly used over the course of the year and during our special events.

With your donation of any item on this list, you actively become a part of our mission to lead in fostering healthy, active, and vibrant communities where walking, bicycling and public transit are a way of life.

Should you have any of these items that are new (or almost new) and would like to donate them to our organization, please contact Carol Schmidt at carol@trailnet.org.

All contributions are tax deductible.



 

Louisiana Avenue Calm Streets Demonstration

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Louisiana Avenue is a busy residential street that runs along several south city parks and connects to a variety of local businesses and neighborhood schools. It is also a pilot site for the City of St. Louis’ Calm Streets Concept, an initiative funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to create a network of Calm Streets in the city. Calm Streets are residential streets where the use of traffic calming features, such as curb extensions and speed humps, are used to reduce vehicle speeds and make the street safer for people walking, biking and driving.

calmstreetscrosswalkroundaboutThe block of Louisiana between Osage and Gasconade Streets was the site of a Calm Streets pop-up demonstration on Thursday, November 17. Staff members from the St. Louis City Street Department and Trailnet staff and volunteers installed temporary crosswalks, a roundabout, and other items designed to slow traffic speeds. The traffic calming features remained in place throughout the day while driving behaviors were observed and feedback was collected from community members.

calmstreetscommunityMany respondents were enthusiastic about the traffic calming measures and how they would contribute to safety for everyone using the street. One resident acknowledged that we “definitely need something to slow traffic.”  Two community members were supportive because “there are lots of kids on this street.” One resident stated that “if you have to put a speed hump every six feet, I’m all for it!”

We look forward to continuing our work with the community, with elected officials and with other project partners to realize the vision of a network of calmer safer residential streets. To read more about Trailnet’s Calm Streets Project, click here.

 

 

 

Swim Bike Run Supports Trailnet

Buy a Helmet and Support Trailnet!
Swim Bike Run supports Trailnet and our vision for St. Louis. Mention Trailnet when purchasing a MIPS enabled Scott helmet, and they will donate $10 from each sale to us. These aren’t just any helmet! MIPS is the very latest in safety technology and they come in a variety of cool styles, designs and colors. Check them out.
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Update on Trailnet’s Vision

Update on Trailnet’s Vision

Since launching the new vision of a network of protected bikeways and walkways in early November, Trailnet has received positive feedback from various individuals with encouragement, questions, and requests for interviews. To learn more about the project check out these resources from the Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Public Radio, NextSTL, and Jean Ponzi’s Growing Green on KTRS.

Trailnet is moving forward with the first phase of the Master Planning Process for the new vision by determining the process for public input and feedback. To ensure our vision reflects the needs of St. Louis, Trailnet will be reaching out to key stakeholders in the next year. Trailnet will create a vision for everyone by gathering community input in many ways and working with residents, institutions, and local governments to answer difficult questions. This process will help our region make the important decision of determining routes, funding, and governance to make our vision a reality.

Starting in 2017, Trailnet staff and volunteers will be attending public meetings, distributing surveys, forming committees, conducting stakeholder interviews, and more in order to reach everyone in St. Louis to develop our vision into a master plan for connecting St. Louis.

Stay tuned for invitations on how to get involved and ensure your voice is heard.

Our new bold vision to connect St. Louis

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trailnet-trail-renderings-2 Trailnet is always working to move St. Louis forward as a place where everyone can travel easily by foot or by bicycle. That’s why we’re thrilled to take our work to the next level with our new bold vision: connecting St. Louis with a network of protected bikeways and walkways on our streets. This project will transform our wonderful city, connecting neighborhoods, cultural districts, and business centers via east-west and north-south routes.  

Connecting St. Louis with on-street protected bikeways and walkways will impact the region by bolstering economic development and increasing wellness and health advocacy, all while elevating equity and access. This has worked for Indianapolis and we know it can work for St. Louis. 

The return on investment for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the model guiding Trailnet through this endeavor, has been astounding. From 2008 to 2014, property assessments within 500 feet of the trail increased 148%, adding $1 billion to the tax rolls. Indianapolis’ strategy of using on-street right-of-way was completed in just seven years.

We are excited to move ahead as we perfect our preliminary routes, meet with project partners, and seek community engagement, input, and support. Please stay tuned as we advance this plan.

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“We believe high quality walking and bicycling networks on our streets will attract and retain talent, strengthen our economy, and connect people to the places they love,” said Ralph Pfremmer, executive director of Trailnet. “Our new vision will solidify St. Louis as one of the best cities for walking and biking and will have a positive impact on everyone in St. Louis.”

To learn more about the project check out these resources from the Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Public Radio, NextSTL, and Jean Ponzi’s Growing Green on KTRS.

Where are they now: Q & A with our former Director of Strategic Initiatives Jennifer Allen

We’re happy to report that Trailnet’s former Director of Strategic Initiatives, Jennifer Allen, is settled in New York and loving it! In late July, we gave Jennifer a fond farewell as she moved east to apply her talent and expertise in Brooklyn. Ioby, a crowd-resourcing platform for citizen-led, neighbor-funded projects is lucky to have Jennifer as their Leader Success Strategist. What a title!

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In her seven years at Trailnet, Jennifer acted as a formative member of our team, pioneering many of the initiatives, programs, and values we are furthering today. She worked persistently for equitable biking and walking access.

Jennifer is responsible for bringing the Calm Streets/Neighborhood Greenways concept to St. Louis and getting buy-in from city officials to reduce speeding and increase safety on residential streets.

In 2013, Jennifer managed and helped produce Trailnet’s guide to creating high-quality, low-stress transportation infrastructure in St. Louis. The guide, “Streets for Everyone,” helped set the vision for calm streets and the greater gravois project.

Among her many accomplishments, Jennifer managed Trailnet’s campaign to expose the pitfalls of the proposed South County Connector—a massive thoroughfare that would have made it difficult for people walking and biking to get around. By planning public events and unpacking a dense environmental impact statement on the project, Jennifer helped bring the dialogue to a broad audience and leveraged support for preventing its construction.

Jennifer also produced and managed several conferences and brought national and regional speakers to St. Louis that helped set a vision for what livability looks like.

Read on for a question and answer update on what Jennifer is up to now!

Trailnet: What does your work entail at ioby? Can you tell us about the impact you’re having?

Jennifer: At ioby I am part of a team of people who are essentially one-on-one coaches for people doing crowdfunding campaigns on our platform. From start to finish, we help our ioby leaders with their fundraising strategy. For example, we dispel myths about crowdfunding at the start. Most people don’t know that the foundation of a successful crowdfunding campaign is the in-person ask.

We often divvy up the ioby leaders we work with according to our expertise so I get to work with projects related to my areas of expertise, this includes projects related to bicycle and pedestrian issues. It’s really great to get to encourage people as they raise funds for their important work. The technical assistance we provide is really what sets us apart from other crowdfunding platforms.

T: How has working at Trailnet affected your career?

J: I’m just over the 10-year mark of my full-time working life, and I was at Trailnet for seven of those years. If I had to name the season of my time working at Trailnet I would probably call it the leadership season. It was a great experience to work up to the director level from an entry-level position. I learned how to lead teams in an environment that had lots of space for my creativity.

T: Can you tell us about NYC’s awesome bike infrastructure and how it’s affecting your life?

J: I have been mostly a pedestrian here in NYC and I imagine it will remain that way. I have always loved taking the train and bus and will probably do so most of the time. However, I am looking forward to biking to work this fall.

The number of streets in the five boroughs is just enormous so providing good access to high quality bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for everyone is a challenge, but it’s great that creating the infrastructure is a priority and there’s been a lot of progress.

Benton Park West utilizes traffic calming lending library

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Trailnet has created a traffic calming lending library. That means anyone can rent out equipment for creating pop-up traffic calming demonstrations to show the community what it looks like when streets are designed to slow traffic. On October 2, the Benton Park Neighborhood Association hosted one of these demonstrations with our materials.
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The demonstration consisted of two mini-roundabouts and curb extensions with a temporary crosswalk. Although the weather was cloudy, local politicians turned out for the event and showed interest in reviewing the neighborhood feedback.
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“Trailnet’s traffic calming lending library allowed our neighborhood to turn safety concerns into visible solutions for the future,” said BJ Kraiberg, vice president of the Benton Park Neighborhood Association. “Our pop-up demonstration facilitated a necessary dialogue between neighbors, elected officials, and city employees, which would not have been possible without the thoughtful guidance of Trailnet staff and the Slow Your Street How-To Guide.  Turning to Trailnet has proven to be an indispensable first step as we work towards building a safer, more walkable neighborhood and city.”
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The BPNA said their next steps are to collect survey data, speed data, and stop compliance data on a non-demonstration day, then compare notes with data taken day-of.
For more information on Trailnet’s traffic calming lending library, contact Grace Kyung at planning@trailnet.org.