Peloton Society Fall Member Spotlight


Peloton Society Fall Member Spotlight

Mary Ann and Hugo setting out for a walk in the neighborhood.

As an architect working in the field of sustainable design, Mary Ann Lazarus thinks a lot about what makes a neighborhood a good place to call home. She has lived in her St. Louis city neighborhood for nearly forty years and feels that it has all of the elements that make for a great place to live:

“It has a lovely neighborhood feel. People can walk, they can bike, they know each other, there are places to meet locally that are community gathering spots. There’s a lot of diversity, and a lot of great architecture.”

For Mary Ann, these features translate into much more than just attractiveness and convenience:

“Health and well-being are very much about community and connectedness and we know that the built environment can either contribute to that or it can detract from it. That’s why Trailnet makes sense to me.”

Mary Ann has been a member of Trailnet for many years, has served on the board and is a Peloton Society member. Her considerable investment of time and resources in the organization illustrate her belief in Trailnet’s capacity to play a major role in creating well-connected communities that foster this sense of health and well-being:

“Trailnet does a great job trying to make St. Louis a place where you can walk and bike and live very comfortably without reliance on a car. This is something that is important for any quality city.”

Like all organizations, Trailnet has evolved over its twenty-eight year history. Mary Ann recalls her initial impressions of the organization:  

“My early memory of Trailnet is that it made biking something that you talked about in St. Louis. In those early years, biking just wasn’t a reality for a lot of people.”

Trailnet’s initial focus on recreational cycling is perhaps best showcased by its role in refurbishing the Chain of Rocks Bridge and helping to make Grant’s Trail a reality. These well-loved and heavily-used amenities took Trailnet from the realm of message to literally concrete contributions. For many residents of the region, the bridge and trail have become signature emblems of Trailnet’s influence, and have helped to make bicycling a mainstream form of recreation,” according to Lazarus.

Mary Ann sees Trailnet’s current focus on creating a system of protected bikeways throughout the region as an important transition for the organization, making biking something that we should have the right to do and do safely.”

As cities across the nation grapple with issues of racial, social and economic equity, Mary Ann views Trailnet as a key player in bringing people together and creating a safer, healthier, connected St. Louis:

“If we are all cooped up in our houses and driving in our cars to our happy little separate lives, we will never solve the serious problems that we are facing. If you just drop your kid off at school in the car and the only kids they ever see are the ones invited over to your house, this just adds to separation and fosters social and income inequities. Having people out on the street seeing each other and knowing each other. Having our children in the playground together, recognizing and respecting differences. This is how you build community. Ultimately that is what Trailnet is all about.”