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Trailnet’s Work With The Ville & Greater Ville Neighborhoods

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Trailnet and 4TheVille teams gathered around the monument at MLK and Sarah in North St. Louis. A stone sign in the foreground reads "Welcome to The VilleNeighborhood"
From our earliest collaborations, to the annual Juneteenth Community Ride, to transportation planning in 2022: What we’re working on in these historic neighborhoods, and why the work matters.

Since 2014, Trailnet has worked with community partners like 4TheVille and Northside Community Housing, Inc. within the Ville and Greater Ville neighborhoods to help plan for safer, slower, and greener residential streets.

Chart of The Ville transportation survey results

Regular Trailnet riders will recognize the name 4TheVillethe community-based tourism and arts organization created by multi-generational Ville residents and volunteers to restore pride in the legacy of The Ville—as our perennial partner on the Juneteenth Community Ride. But our partnership has grown well beyond one ride.

EPA-Funded Traffic Calming

In 2019, Trailnet received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving program. This funding was aimed at (1) making it easier for people in The Ville/Greater Ville to get around and (2) exploring opportunities for green infrastructure to address negative environmental and health impacts in the neighborhoods.

In September of 2021, Trailnet partnered with 4TheVille to host a pop-up park and traffic calming demonstration at MLK Drive and North Sarah Street. The event celebrated the Ville’s heritage, highlighted talented Black artists, and imagined the Ville’s potential.

The 2021 traffic calming pop-up event also allowed us to survey community residents on their current transportation patterns and priority areas for improvement:

Chart of The Ville transportation survey results

The Cultural Boulevard

In 2022, we began consulting on 4TheVille’s Cultural Boulevard Project, which aims to transform a stretch of Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. into a walkable, bikeable hub of culture, history and economic development in North St. Louis.

“One of the things that impacts the residents of this community directly is unsafe streets… So we’re considering how this project can create safer streets in the community,” said 4TheVille Co-Founder Aaron Williams of the Cultural Boulevard Project.

Full Sidewalk Assessment

Also in May 2022, one Trailnet planner began an in-depth sidewalk assessment of The Ville & Greater Ville neighborhoods. Over the course of five months, she surveyed 68 miles of sidewalks! The completed map (right) is littered with colored marks, which represent sections of sidewalk that are inaccessible or in disrepair. This map is the first of its kind—a full sidewalk assessment for a single St. Louis neighborhood.

In early 2023, Trailnet along with our partners will have completed a plan—called the Low-stress, Green, Bicycle-and-Pedestrian Infrastructure (LGBPI) plan—which we’re hoping, along with last year’s community survey results and this year’s sidewalk assessment, will inform the City of St. Louis’ future investments in safer Streets for All.


A man uses a mobility device on a street in The Ville. The nearby sidewalk is impassable.

The Ville & Greater Ville neighborhoods comprise 1.4-square-miles of one of the most historically significant pockets of Black history, art and culture in the entire country. Yet, 100% of the census tracts in this once-thriving community have now been identified by the Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All discretionary program as environmentally, economically, and health disadvantaged.

These are also communities with disproportionately low rates of personal vehicle ownership and high rates of public transit use. Yet, years of disinvestment have left their sidewalks and streets inaccessible and unsafe for people outside of cars.

As Trailnet aims to direct our local advocacy efforts toward the areas of greatest need, we will continue to implore local leaders to invest in neighborhoods like The Ville & Greater Ville, with the hope that someday soon our streets will be safe and accessible for everyone, everywhere.

Board Bill #120: What is it, and why should you care?

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The infrastructure bill that could reshape our most dangerous streets

A bill was recently sent to committee by the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen that could finally address some of the issues plaguing our streets. Here’s what you need to know about BB#120:

  • In 2021, The City of St. Louis received nearly $500 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, to be spent by 2026.
  • In response to a particularly dangerous summer for people who walk, bike and use mobility devices, Mayor Jones pledged to invest at least $40 million of ARPA funding in safer streets.
  • Thus, BB#120 was born. The initial version of the bill, sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Brandon Bosley, allocates $74 million of ARPA funding to invest in infrastructure. 
  • $40 million will go to the Board of Public Service for traffic calming, roadway and ADA improvements on corridors with the highest need.
  • $9.58 million will go to the Streets Department for sidewalk improvements and a mobility and transportation master plan.

Trailnet hopes, as this bill makes its way through the legislative process, the city considers adding a few details:

  • A provision for drivers education, which currently isn’t required in the state of Missouri,
  • A provision for a media campaign to encourage responsible driving,
  • A provision for equitably implemented enforcement, such as automated enforcement, which would reduce traffic violence and dangerous driving behaviors without adding to current racially biased enforcement strategies,
  • A line item that explicitly names the city’s commitment to Vision Zero, and the creation of a position to oversee and follow-through on said commitment to a Vision Zero plan.

This amount of money, if used correctly, could be seriously transformative—the first draft of the bill proposes over 4x the average yearly annual budget that goes toward street maintenance in the city.

This is a massive step in the right direction. Trailnet is proud of the part we have played in advocating for these changes. Now we look forward to helping the City make these improvements as quickly and effectively as possible, so that sometime in the near future, our Streets can truly be for All.

Read more about Board Bill #120.

City residents: talk to your alderperson about what you think is missing from this bill.

Trailnet Board Recommends Strategic Use of Funding

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St. Louis, MO – The Board of Directors of Trailnet support the following statement:

The Trailnet Board commends Mayor Tishaura Jones for proposing that the City commit $40 million to a comprehensive, city-wide street plan. We recommend the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Aldermen pass this much-needed legislation with the provision that a portion of those funds be spent on a Vision Zero Action Plan and a media campaign to encourage responsible driving.

We also call on other organizations and individuals to get behind both initiatives and send letters and emails to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Board of Aldermen. Together, we may make our streets safer for all.


Trailnet CEO: St. Louis Mayor Proposes Additional Funding for Safe Streets

Trailnet is excited that Mayor Tishaura O. Jones will propose that the Board of Aldermen approve the investment of an additional $40 million in ARPA funding for Safe Streets. This is a bold move by the Jones Administration to begin to address one of the most critical issues our City faces—the epidemic of traffic violence.

Mayor's Chief of Staff Jared Boyd speaks at a City of St. Louis Traffic Safety Meeting on Monday 10/3

In her press release, Mayor Jones acknowledged that ward-by-ward street planning is not working: “Piecemeal solutions to a crisis that touches our entire city sets us up to fail time and time again,” said Mayor Jones.

Chief of Staff Jared Boyd also announced at a traffic safety town hall meeting Monday that there would be immediate work on “crash corridors” where vehicle crashes and fatalities are the highest.

While these are positive steps, Trailnet acknowledges that implementation may be the hardest part. There must be rigorous and sustained public input into road changes. How will this system take into consideration the drastically underfunded and underserved areas of our city? Will new street designs prioritize people who walk, bike and use transit? Will automated enforcement be incorporated into the new street system? Will all of this be enough to help us achieve our vision of zero traffic fatalities in the City in the near future?

Trailnet stands ready to assist the City moving forward with community engagement, planning and other critical support areas. It is our hope that the additional funding outlined in Mayor Jones’s announcement will help create safer Streets For All.

— Cindy Mense, Trailnet CEO

Trailnet Optimistic About Citywide Street Study

City of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones told reporters in an interview session on Thursday, September 22, 2022 that the City intends to explore more comprehensive planning and budgeting in pursuit of Safe Streets for All in St. Louis.

Trailnet is excited about this announcement and encouraged that the Jones administration is looking to address the epidemic of traffic violence in our region. Read more in the press release below:

Safe Streets For All Press Release

In response to the continued epidemic of traffic violence in our region, Trailnet is partnering with the Community Mobility Committee (CMC) to lead a series of discussions on street safety. The goal of these discussions will be to provide recommendations to the administration and the community on ways to make our city streets safer for all.

Full press release below:

Join our team: Membership Coordinator

Trailnet is seeking a qualified candidate to join our team as the Membership Coordinator. The Membership Coordinator will lead by example promoting membership, providing excellent customer service, and stewarding members into longtime donors. 

The ideal candidate will have a philanthropic mindset, enthusiastically seeking opportunities to connect people to our mission. They should find joy in meeting and working with people from diverse backgrounds with a shared vision of a safer region for walking, biking and using public transit. 

Reporting Relationship:

The Membership Coordinator reports to the Development Director and works in collaboration with fundraising, marketing, planning, finance, rides, and program staff. 

About the Organization:

Trailnet is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization with a 33-year history of making walking and biking a way of life in the St. Louis region. We believe everyone should have access to safe, comfortable walking and biking connections where we live, work, and play in our communities. Trailnet works within the St. Louis region and across the state to respond to the demand for improved walking and biking networks that attract and retain talent, strengthen our economy, and connect people to the places they love. We are leading the way by developing policy and on-the-ground solutions to help people of all ages and abilities reach community and cultural destinations by walking, biking, or taking transit.

Our team includes community planners, advocates, educators, bicyclists, transit users, and staunch supporters of local business. We advocate for spaces that are designed to encourage people to walk, bike, and take public transit. We believe that creating communities begins with understanding and appreciating the unique differences of all who live and work there. We embrace diversity and want to move our region forward with safe, equitable ways to get around that improve everyone’s quality of life.

Overview of the Position

Membership and Solicitation Programs:

  • Serves as the first point of contact for members and prospective members, and makes excellent customer service a priority
  • Executes routine and special initiative programs to acquire, retain and upgrade members to achieve financial and administrative goals 
  • Works closely with the Director of Development to coordinate at least two annual membership drives and two online appeals including overseeing large scale-mail piece design, coordinating with a mail house, list exchanges, etc.
  • Implements membership renewal process with timely donor reminder letters and outreach to lapsed donors 
  • Produces direct mail, personalized correspondence and online giving documents
  • Produces accurate and complete membership rosters in adaptive and intuitive formats
  • Monitors, analyzes and proactively reports on membership results using trends in member type, average giving, member total, total giving, and suggests corrective strategies
  • Maintains supplies and stationery for all membership correspondence and fulfillment
  • Supports annual member t-shirt ordering

Gift Processing and Tracking:

  • Provides excellent donor stewardship by quickly and accurately receiving, tracking, and acknowledging all gifts
  • Adheres to and updates gift processing policies and procedures
  • Creates and maintains transparent and easy-to-navigate paper and electronic files
  • Works with the Development Director to create insightful and accurate reports to the CEO, Development Committee and Board

Donor Database and List Management:

  • Maintains the donor database to ensure its highest possible function
  • Routinely updates donor records with information from a variety of sources
  • Provides timely, high-quality data output for a variety of requests and purposes
  • Updates data entry and management procedures
  • Works with Rides Director and ride registration program to ensure ride registration supports membership recruitment and provides an excellent experience for members
  • Assemble targeted mail and email lists and share with partners as needed

Development and Fund-Raising Activities:

  • Supports Development Director for annual Gala and donor recognition events
  • Serves as a resource for volunteer recruiting and registration; collects and tracks volunteer hours in the donor database
  • Provides energetic, donor-focused support at fundraising and member events
  • Determines Trailnet’s involvement at community and corporate wellness fairs, and coordinates staffing for those events, working the events as needed
  • Strategically promotes Trailnet’s brand and membership in all aspects of work
  • Co-chairs annual volunteer and member recognition events with Rides Director

Finance and Administration:

  • Serve as back-up to Office Manager for phones and bank deposits
  • Works closely with the Finance Manager to ensure an accurate interface between Development and Finance

Job Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required, relevant field (Marketing, Communications, Business, Administrative Studies, Human Resources, Fundraising/Philanthropy, or other Social Sciences) preferred
  • One year of experience working in an office setting, preferably in a non-profit organization in fundraising or communications
  • Experience and knowledge of donor database systems preferred (Trailnet uses DonorPerfect and will provide training specific to its use)
  • Computer literate with the ability to effectively use technology (Google workplace, Microsoft Office, printer-copier, postage meter)
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills
  • Self-motivated—able to work alone, and as a member of a team
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced environment with a strong sense of prioritization
  • Strong customer service orientation with the desire to interact with a diverse community of staff, partners, participants, and volunteers
  • Able to work weekends and some evenings throughout the year supporting Trailnet events and outreach: 10-12 outdoor events in the bistate region, including distance bike rides and community rides throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Physical Responsibilities:

  • Transport up to 25 lbs. of tabling or outreach materials to events
  • Work at a computer
  • Staff tables at outreach events
  • Make phone calls

Work Environment

As of January 2022, the majority of our staff is in a remote-work environment, with limited time in the office. All employees are required to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

Compensation

Full-time, Exempt

Salary range is $33,000- $40,000.

Eligible for full-time benefits including Medical and Dental Insurance

Competitive benefits package, salary commensurate with experience, flexible hours, casual work environment, office located in downtown St. Louis, a short walk from MetroLink. A company car is available for some business-related local and regional travel. Free membership to the Downtown Bike Station. 

Commitment to Equity and Equal Opportunity

Trailnet is committed to supporting diversity and equal opportunity in its services, administration, and employment, as well as research and activities. We strive to foster a working environment that values contributions from team members including those based on race, color, creed, gender, religion, culture, sexual orientation, sexual identity, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or veteran status. We work with a wide range of external partners and stakeholders, and we seek candidates that are committed to their own cultural competency. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community are encouraged to apply.

Application Information

Applicants should send a cover letter and resume to hr@trailnet.org. Applicants are encouraged to apply by February 27, 2022.  The position will remain open until filled.

Corinne Austin: Our new Development Director

Trailnet is so excited to welcome Corinne back to the Trailnet team as our new Development Director! Corinne looks forward to getting to know Trailnet members, volunteers, supporters, sponsors, and all of the incredible people who make up the Trailnet community.

She hopes to connect people who share our values and vision with opportunities to make our region safer for biking, walking and public transit. She brings 6 years of fundraising and relationship-building experience to the team, previously serving at the Humane Society of Missouri, Trailnet, and Pedal the Cause. Many members may recognize her from her time as Trailnet’s Membership Manager a few years ago.

Q & A with Corinne…

1) Talk about all your experience in non-profit development and career achievements you want to share…

I started my career at the Humane Society of Missouri, where I worked in the Development Department, where I experienced the joy of giving and the impact of philanthropy. I decided to continue to pursue a career in nonprofit fund development. In 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to join the Trailnet staff as Membership Manager, where I got to meet Trailnet members and connect them with opportunities to support advocacy, education and community planning programs. For the last few years, I served as the Development Manager at Pedal the Cause where I recruited, trained and partnered with team captains and participants to raise critical funds for cancer research through an annual community cycling challenge. As a cancer survivor, I am proud to still be a part of the #PedalFamily.


I’m passionate about giving back to the nonprofit sector and the profession of fundraising. Last year, I was honored as the Association of Fundraising Professionals St. Louis Chapter’s 2021 National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Emerging Fundraiser. A few weeks ago, I earned a credential as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). I’ve had the opportunity to speak about engaging millennials in philanthropy at several professional conferences, including the 2018 AFP St. Louis Conference and 2019 AFP ICON International Conference.


2) What drew you to Trailnet?

I went to college in Boston, where I relied entirely on biking, walking, and public transit to get around. I loved getting to spend more time outside, staying active, and exploring the city. I felt like I got to know the city so much more intimately than I could have from behind a car window.  One day while I was still in college, I stopped by the Trailnet office with my dad when he picked up his packet for Ride the Rivers, and I was drawn to the energy of the staff. I remember saying to my dad “It would be so cool to work there someday!” I got to fulfill that dream in 2018 as the Membership Manager, and now I get to continue it in a new way as Director of Development. 


I share Trailnet’s vision of a more connected, equitable, healthy and sustainable community. That is the kind of place I want to work, live and play. I’m so honored to join our members, sponsors, donors, volunteers, board and staff in making that dream a reality, one day at a time. 


3) What is your educational background?

Well, since I’m from St. Louis I guess I should tell you where I went to high school — Cor Jesu Academy. I went on to graduate with a BS in political science from Northeastern University in 2015. I continue to seek continuing education in my field of nonprofit management and fundraising. 


4) What do you do for fun?

My husband and I have a menagerie of senior pets — our dog Rex, three cats (Kevin, Matilda and Elsa), and a tank of fish. I love staying active by biking, hiking, rowing, and lifting heavy stuff. 


5) Anything else you want to share with our audience!

I can’t wait to get to know more of the Trailnet community, reconnect with our members, and spend more time on my bike! 

Trailnet’s 33rd Birthday!

Today, November 29 Trailnet turns 33! That means 33 years of dedicated work in the community.

From the early days rehabbing the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge and developing Grant’s Trail, to our work advocating for better biking, walking and public transit safety across the St. Louis region: We appreciate all our friends, members and partners who have supported our mission along the way!

33 years of your support helps us:

  • Bring awareness and advocacy for safer streets for all. We’re preparing for another year of committed advocacy, fighting distracted driving and connecting our St. Louis community.
  • Create a network of low-stress connections for people to get around the region by foot or or by bike. More than 6 miles of protected bike lanes are on track for construction in the coming years. Our work to champion this vital progress is thanks to support from people like you!
  • Advocate for policy changes to limit distracted driving in Missouri and improve safety for people walking and biking.
  • Host bike rodeos where kids and adults practice safe bike skills. We also get adults moving by hosting education sessions to build confidence commuting by bike and riding in all conditions.

Celebrate and support Trailnet

To celebrate Trailnet’s 33 years, our $55 friend-level membership will be $33 all day today! Support us by becoming a member to improve biking, walking and public transit in the St. Louis region.
Become a friend-level member or gift a membership to a friend by:
1) Clicking here or the button below
2) Selecting the option “Join/Renew with a One-Time Gift”
3) Typing in $33 on the “Other” line

We want to hear from you!

Share with us any of your favorite Trailnet photos, stories and memories by emailing communications@trailnet.org or connecting with us on our social media!

Thank you for so much for 33 years!

Our Trailnet Champion: Our 2021 Summer Intern! Meet Hannah!

Trailnet is honored to offer enriching internships every year that allow people to gain experience building a better, more connected St. Louis. Trailnet interns come from dynamic backgrounds and are immediately plugged in to our exciting work. This month, we’re highlighting Hannah Hirsch, one of our talented 2021 summer interns.

Read on to learn about how Hannah is dedicated to working towards a more sustainable planet with active transportation options for all.

Hannah Hirsch

1) What you did this summer (outside of Trailnet)?

Outside of my work at Trailnet, I enjoyed my first summer in St. Louis where I was able to get to know the city without the stress of academics. I met a bunch of new, great people with whom I explored different local shops, neighborhoods, and events. To name a few examples, I spent a lot of time in Forest Park where I got to witness cool areas I had never seen before and enjoy nature in an urban environment. I love thrifting and I explored new shops where I enjoyed both browsing and the occasional purchase. I also attended live music shows in Tower Grove Park and frequented the farmers market.  

2) What you’re studying in school?  

I am pursuing a double major in Environmental Studies and Economics at WashU. I hope to use my knowledge in the future to play a role in developing climate solutions that challenge current norms and transition ourselves to a more circular economy.

3) What drew you to intern at Trailnet? 

My interest in the environment both personally and academically drew me to intern at Trailnet as I desired to dig deeper into the organization’s efforts to connect neighborhoods and make streets safer for biking and walking, which are important carbon-neutral alternatives to most popular forms of transportation. My initial interest grew into an understanding of street connectivity as a goal not only to better the climate, but as a must for equity and a more cohesive city.

4) What about your time at Trailnet was valuable to your career?

Having an opportunity to work hands-on with a grant writing project is a unique experience that I was provided at Trailnet, which I cannot say I would have been offered elsewhere. I felt valued as a team member during meetings and working one-on-one with staff despite my role as an intern, challenging me to think more critically, quickly, and creatively. Taking ownership of a project and its timeline from beginning to end will prove to be critical experience in any career I ultimately pursue.

5) What has been the most fun Trailnet project to work on or learn about?  

Apart from my grant writing project, I enjoyed accompanying Sam to tabling events and getting to know different St. Louis neighborhoods. In addition to immersing myself in local community events, it was interesting to take speed data at the same intersection over time and see for myself how infrastructure changes have the power to calm traffic and create safer streets.

6) What do you do like to do for fun?

In my free time I enjoy reading, listening to music, exploring and spending time with friends, and other relaxing activities. It has been harder to make time for these as the school year has started, but I’ve been doing my best to keep in the loop with local events. Recently I’ve seen live music at Blueberry Hill, visited the farmers’ market on the Delmar Loop, and explored the Hill, to name a few..

Thank you so much Hannah for you time and work at Trailnet! You are so wonderful, and we all wish you a wonderful school year!