Trailnet’s Policy Principles
During the first meeting of 2021, Trailnet’s board of directors approved seven principles to guide the organization’s advocacy and policy work. These policy principles were developed based on Trailnet’s Mission and Values, as well as the past policy work of the organization.
The purpose of the principles are to: 1) frame and communicate the organization’s motivating beliefs on legislation and regulations, as well as 2) lay out criteria to ensure consistent advocacy within the scope of our mission.
Trailnet’s guiding principles and priorities for city, county and state policy are to:
- Improve safety for people using core transportation: biking, walking, and public transit
- Prioritize financially sustainable funding that supports core transportation
- Advance racially-equitable transportation practices and increase equitable access to core transportation
- Reduce transportation’s negative contribution to personal health outcomes, local environmental impacts and global climate change
- Increase public and neighborhood-level engagement in transportation projects and policy decisions
- Support fair enforcement of traffic laws that protect vulnerable road users
- Support affordable, sustainable, and maintainable transportation-focused housing and economic development
NOTE: We use the term “walking” to encompass anyone who is primarily using the sidewalk to get around. By this, we mean people: on foot, in manual wheelchairs, in powerchairs, and using other mobility aids.
Principles and Explanations
Improve safety for people using core transportation: biking, walking, and public transit
Biking, walking, and public transit are at the heart of our history, mission, and vision as an organization. Advocating for and promoting safety of these core transportation modes are a key to a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future of the St. Louis community. When we say “walking” we also mean people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
Prioritize financially sustainable funding that supports core transportation
We support an overall increase in funding toward core transportation infrastructure but that funding needs to be geared towards realistic long-term considerations of maintenance and predicted use. Core transportation is already significantly underfunded compared to car-focused projects and we do not support overall increases in transportation funding that perpetuates this status quo.
Advance racially-equitable transportation practices and increase equitable access to core transportation
We are committed to advancing racial equity and are focused on improving the mobility of Black, indigenous, and other people of color. Racially-equitable transportation practices must be present in all levels and phases.
We believe that core transportation infrastructure should be fairly designed and built to address the needs of underserved communities; whether that is based on race, disability, gender, income level, or other factors. Transportation policies should counteract existing inequities and prioritize justice.
Reduce transportation’s negative contributions to personal health outcomes, local environmental impacts and global climate change
Car-centered transportation contributes to less-healthy lifestyles, reduces local air quality, and is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Shifting to a low-carbon transportation system built around walking, biking, and public transit fights climate change, improves the local environment, and supports healthy, active lifestyles.
Increase public and neighborhood-level engagement in transportation projects and policy decisions
We believe that communities, neighborhoods, and the people who inhabit them possess the knowledge, experience, and capacity for decision making. As residents they are the experts on their communities, and they stand to benefit or lose the most from project decisions. We believe decision makers should listen to and elevate the voices of individuals in these communities, and we do not support projects that bypass community input.
Support fair enforcement of traffic laws that protect vulnerable road users
We support the review of traffic laws related to safety for people walking and biking. Fair enforcement should reduce traffic law infractions and specifically address behaviors that put vulnerable road users including but not limited to the disabled, elderly, children, people walking, and people biking at risk of injury or death.
Support affordable, equitable, sustainable, and maintainable transportation- focused housing and economic development
Transportation policy does not exist in a vacuum. In order to support mobility and enable a shift to core-transportation we support economic development and housing policies that promote the density, equity, and sustainability that makes core transportation most effective. We believe projects should account for maintenance cost and avoid disruption to existing communities.