Trailnet Advocacy – Manchester Road Bicycle Facilities
The Missouri Department of Transportation is planning to resurface a section of Manchester Road from Big Bend to Lindbergh Road in 2020. While we applaud their effort to increase the comfort of this road for people walking with new sidewalks and curb ramps, their draft plan does not include any bicycle facilities. This route is part of the adopted Gateway Bike Plan, which calls for a minimum of five-foot bike lanes in this section.
Given that this route is on the Gateway Bike Plan and the extent of the work that is to be performed, Trailnet feels justification needs to be provided to the public as to why MODOT is not recommending any bike accommodations.
From the plan itself: “Any deviation from designing and constructing bicycle facilities on streets identified on the Regional Bicycle Network should be justified with a design exception memorandum, with input from the appropriate bicycle advisory committee, and only if alternative facilities can be provided.”
Not having any accommodation for people biking for transportation is also counter to St. Louis County Complete Streets Ordinance and Adventure Cycling Association’s Bicycle Route 66 which prioritizes this route as a direct connection into Downtown St. Louis.
We know traditional guidance looks at four-lane to three-lane road diets as possibilities when the vehicles per day are 20,000 or fewer and peak hour volumes are 1,000 vehicles or less. We would encourage MODOT to look at the South Grand Traffic Analysis Report (attached below) where a recorded average daily traffic (ADT) of 25,408 was successfully reconfigured to a three-lane section. In fact, South Grand was recently recognized by the American Planning Association for this conversion, “Following a Great Streets Initiative Master Plan, South Grand Boulevard benefited from a road diet and improvements ranging from curb bulb-outs with native landscaping to new lighting. Since the improvements, South Grand has seen several new businesses open and a noticeable uptick in pedestrian activity.”
Trailnet feels every effort to incorporate bicycle facilities into this project should be taken, especially since there is a direct connection from an existing MetroLink stop into the edge of Maplewood’s strong business district—itself a strong existing three-lane section of this road. At a minimum we feel it is imperative that MODOT strongly consider providing a high-quality, low-stress connection for people biking from the Manchester MetroLink Station toward downtown Maplewood. This is a key connection to our region’s public transportation system and downtown Maplewood is a key destination that people would like to be able to walk and bike to more easily.