Happy New Year from Trailnet’s Executive Director
Happy New Year!
While there are so many achievements to reflect upon from 2015, it goes without saying that all of us at Trailnet are busy planning for an even more exciting 2016. It is with renewed focus and commitment that we bring you all of the events, programs, and special attention to the issues that continue to shape the future of the St. Louis region.
Looking back, we first celebrate the accomplishments of our employees. We affectionately call them the “class of 2015” due to their energy and commitment to the legacy of Trailnet. This highly motivated group brought new ideas and a rekindled spirit to Trailnet—one on which we continue to build.
As a result, we were able to implement creative and progressive methods with our public engagement. We introduced newer marketing materials to help better illustrate our mission and purpose: to make walking and biking better in St. Louis. We completed a constituent survey and published the results. We gathered our cohorts and members at our Share the Street Party. We celebrated our heroes and thought leaders at our Active Living Awards and Benefit Concert at the Sheldon.
It was you who joined us and helped shape a better understanding of what Trailnet is and what is important to you, as well as our members, constituents, and supporters.
We build community around active lifestyles
We hosted more than 25 walking and biking “active events” designed to inspire anyone with the urge to get up and get out. This included all of the 14 rides on our Bicycle Fun Club calendar, six cultural rides, a three-day Lucky’s Ride on the Katy Trail, the Ride of Silence for fallen riders, Bike to Work Day, and much, much more.
Through a partnership with Great Rivers Greenway, more than 1,100 students received in-classroom bike safety education. As a direct result, 119 kids started riding without training wheels.
An all-time high of 34 adults earned new bikes from the Ferguson Bike Shop in our Spokes for Folks Class, supported by Beyond Housing. Each student attended five sessions on bike maintenance, safety, traffic skills, and on-the-bike skills, adding up to more than 340 hours of contact time with students who now feel confident using their bikes for transportation.
In partnership with the League of American Bicyclists and Great Rivers Greenway, Trailnet trained 12 new League Certified Instructors. Each instructor was already an experienced rider and committed to three days of intensive training and classroom simulations. These 12 individuals now have the skills and confidence to teach bicycle education classes throughout the region.
These events and all that are scheduled for 2016 are only made possible by the support of sponsors, businesses, volunteers, and our cherished board members and staff. We are all stewards of Trailnet with one thing in common: a goal to make St. Louis better!
We work for better streets
“It’s how we represent and involve our members and our constituency. We help write policy and voice opinion on items important to the mission of Trailnet.”
—Janet Matthews, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Trailnet
In April, we organized a St. Louis delegation of 12 advocates to lobby for distracted driving legislation and transportation funding in Jefferson City. We also advocated for a stronger focus on St. Louis pedestrian safety with an opinion piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and began partnering with resident-led Greater Gravois to ensure high-quality bicycle and pedestrian improvements would be included in MODOT’s Gravois Improvement Project.
In August, we took a study tour of City of St. Louis staff, elected officials, and partners to Portland, Oregon. The trip was part of Trailnet’s Calm Streets St. Louis project and was highly successful in propelling traffic-calming policy and the creation of pilot routes.
In the same month, we advocated for continued use of automated enforcement to reduce crash-causing behaviors like speeding and red light running in a Post-Dispatch letter to the editor. We then we formed the first Trailnet Board Advocacy Committee and developed an advocacy policy.
Next, we challenged action by St. Charles County leadership to limit O’Fallon’s road funds unless the city refrained from consideration of a “road diet” on Main Street. And finally, in November we launched the Walk/Bike Ambassadors program to expand Trailnet’s advocacy reach throughout the region.
We create bicycle and pedestrian plans
Our planning department had an exciting year as well. In the fall of 2015, the Missouri Chapter of American Planning Association, the HEAL Partnership, and Trailnet received a Plan4Health grant from the CDC in partnership with American Planning Association and American Public Health Association to work together to implement pop-up traffic-calming demonstrations. The demonstrations were used as a tool to educate one another on how to create safer streets in the City of St. Louis.
We also started a St. Charles Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and finalized a Des Peres plan. These plans provide a blueprint for the development of pedestrian and bicycle improvements throughout the community, making it safer and easier to reach local destinations, including parks, schools, transit, and commercial areas.
By hiring Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner Grace Kyung, we doubled the planning department’s capacity. Grace has a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, one of the top three planning schools in the nation.
Governance, stewardship, and organizational sustainability in 2016
In 2016, we will strengthen our organization and our leadership in order to take on a bolder vision for the region. While biking and walking and a focus on changing the built environment continues to be our platform, it is with the same purpose that we seek to understand, interpret and promote that which makes St. Louis unique in order to help cultivate, attract and retain talent—this in the spirit of the right type of economic development.
-Ralph Pfremmer, Executive Director, Trailnet