What do Calm Streets look like?
With funding from the Norman J. Stupp Foundation, Trailnet partnered with the Dutchtown South Community Corporation for the Dutchtown Better Block on Saturday, September 20. Beautiful blue skies and sunshine welcomed residents of all ages to join a variety of vendors on historic Virginia Avenue.
Up and down the avenue, closed to traffic, residents witnessed a transformation of their neighborhood. The atmosphere was a-buzz with the chatter of residents. Laughing and smiling, residents enjoyed the festive activities, delicious food, and being part of the positive change in their community. With the help of volunteers, Trailnet created a pop-up Calm Street with mock curb extensions, painted crosswalks, and “Sheryl’s” – a female version of sharrows. Eco Constructors donated 240 feet of erosion control material to create the curb extensions.
Tabling on a curb extension that represented what could be a rain garden, Trailnet’s Jennifer Allen discussed our Calm Streets project with residents. Calm Streets are residential streets transformed to reduce speeding and provide safety for everyone traveling there. Presenting a map of the region, Jennifer encouraged residents to map their dream Calm Street – marking their routes and destinations. We were able to connect with residents of all ages and backgrounds in this vibrant community.
As you may have heard, Trailnet was one of 12 organizations awarded an Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement by the Environmental Protection Agency. This award will allow us to continue our Calm Streets St. Louis project and work with Dutchtown, one of three opportunity areas on which the project is focused.
Grabbing a paintbrush and a cup of bright green, blue, yellow, or red paint, residents pitched in to help local artist Cbabi Bayoc with an intersection painting at Virginia Avenue and Liberty Street. Another artistic element at the event was a colorful mural at Itaska and Virginia painted by Screwed Arts Collective. Attendees enjoyed the Photo booth Kiosk in front of the mural and resident Andrea Fortson expressed her thanks “The mural is beautiful and it definitely brightens our neighborhood.” For those seeking a creative outlet, the t-shirt design for Dutchtown and graffiti wall with doodles and words of inspiration were of interest. Many attendees also checked out Urban Matter, a unique shop on Virginia Avenue that sells new, old, and handmade items.
Mouth-watering smells enticed residents to check out local vendors Five Ace BBQ, Gooseberries, Mi Hungry Food truck, St. Louis Kettle Corn, Pie Craft, Original Crusoes Drink Bar, and AAA Thai and European. Pop-up shops, like the Little Red Reading House, were a huge hit. The shop included a book box where attendees could rent a book and give a book back.
The Chess Pocket Park offered up some fun competition between residents of all ages. Children were thrilled to show off their animal, hat, or sword balloons. A few residents added another touch of color planting flower beds all along Virginia Avenue.
As dusk approached, residents turned the lawn into a dance floor, grooving to the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. Continuing the good vibes, poets took to the stage for spoken word. Children crowded close with their balloons to sit at the poets’ feet. The sun set and attendees unfolded their blankets and brought out their lawn chairs for a family-friendly movie and a pleasant end to a wonderful community event.
Trailnet has always known that Dutchtown is special. Its residents and elected officials have always had a deep love for their neighborhood and have been devoted to its constant improvement. It was wonderful to be part of an event that was such a powerful representation of true community.
The grant will allow Trailnet to work through critical next steps with the City of St. Louis and other partners to make Calm Streets a reality in St. Louis! Look out for community meetings in October and visit the project page to find out more. Read the press release.
Despite the stormy weather, 37 people came out to learn about gender equity, biking, and walking. Atomic Cowboy created a warm and inviting space for us, with snacks and beer abound to offer reprieve from the chilly rain.
Trailnet’s TravelGreen Coordinator Molly Pearson opened the evening by discussing findings by the League of American Bicyclists’ Women Bike initiative, focusing on the Five Cs – Comfort, Convenience, Consumer Products, Confidence, and Community.
Urban designer Courtney Cushard discussed her expanding women’s group The Monthly Cycle. Faye Paige Edwards of GirlTrek addressed access to physical activity among women of color. Lastly, educator Leah Patriarco examined how street harassment affects if/how/when women choose to bike, walk, or take public transit.
Check out the slides below! Want to know more, or be put in touch with one of the presenters? Email Molly Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly Pearson, Arch Women: A Pedal-Powered Movement
Courtney Cushard – The Monthly Cycle
Faye Paige Edwards – GirlTrek/SheCycles
Leah Patriarco – Street Harassment and biking, walking, and transit
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a FUN women’s cycling event, check out The Diva Cup, hosted by The Monthly Cycle. Get your ticket now!
The streets are our largest public space. People riding bicycles and driving cars should be held accountable for following the rules of the road and ensuring that the streets are for everyone.
Summary of Missouri Bicycle Laws:
For a more comprehensive list of Missouri Bicycle Laws click here.
June has been an eventful month for women on bikes!
On the 18th, Trailnet was pleased to present a highly successful Arch Women: Bicycle DIY Night! Eighteen women from all walks of life came out, rolled up their sleeves, and showed their bikes who’s boss. Local non-profit Perennial not only hosted the event, but also led us through bike-themed craft projects, including bike safety flags made out of felt and wire hangers, and carrying pouches to stash our essentials between destinations made from old sweaters and belts. On the other side of the room, lady mechanics from the Trek Bicycle Stores of St. Louis walked us through how to change a flat tire and how to keep our bikes squeaky clean.
To round out our hands-on activities, Trailnet also brought our demo MetroBus rack so everyone could take a shot at loading their bike onto a bus– all who tried it agreed it’s a snap! Someone even said, “So… That’s it? Really?!”
To top it all off, we enjoyed snacks catered from Lulu’s Local Eatery, as well as beer and wine.
A week later on the 25th, the Ballwin Trek store hosted a Ladies’ Night, featuring women’s clothing, products, apparel, and even held a raffle for a brand new racing kit. Trailnet was there, serving up margaritas fresh from the bike-powered blender.
Mark your calendars now for our September 10th event–Arch Women: A Pedal-Powered Movement. We’ll be discussing bicycling, equity, and the barriers women experience when it comes to active transportation– and what we can do to eliminate them.
Last night was the first of a series of kickoff meetings to discuss Trailnet’s Calm Streets St. Louis project.
We had a great turnout, and received some excellent press.
Read the article on STLtoday.com, or read the excerpt below:
By Valerie Schremp Hahn email@example.com 314-340-8246
ST. LOUIS • Imagine a network of pedestrian and bike-friendly greenways in the city of St. Louis, where people feel safe to go outside, get some exercise, and spend time going places and getting to know their neighbors.
Trailnet, a cycling, walking and trail advocacy group, is starting the conversation about creating a neighborhood greenway system in the city. On Wednesday night, it hosted the first of three neighborhood meetings in St. Louis to garner neighborhood interest and get input on how a network might be built.
In short, neighborhood greenways are residential streets transformed to encourage biking and walking – in a low-stress, family-friendly way. Streets might have dedicated bicycle lanes, bicycle lanes buffered by landscaping, dedicated signage, or speed bumps and lowered speed limits to encourage cars to slow down. The greenways would build upon the growing network of bicycle lanes in the city.
The city of Portland is expanding on a network of neighborhood greenways. By 2015, more than 80 percent of all Portland residents will live within half a mile of one.
“We see this as something that could take St. Louis to the next level,” said Jennifer Allen, project manager and Trailnet staffer. The group wants to create a cultural shift where the average person feels safe about biking in the city, she said.
The project is part of the city’s sustainability plan, which calls for considering the greenways to help people get around the city. The project will first focus on the Ville, Greater Ville, JeffVanderLou, and Carr Square neighborhoods in north city and Forest Park Southeast and Dutchtown.
Lance LeComb, spokesman for the Metropolitan Sewer District, said at the meeting that the district hopes to work with Trailnet if the greenways become a reality. “Rainscaping,” or managing rainwater where it falls, can be built into the greenway system and help improve the sewer system overall, he said.
Carl Filler, from the St. Louis City Department of Health, also spoke and pointed out that greenways would promote physical fitness. People who live in walkable neighborhoods are two times as likely to get enough physical exercise than those who do not, he said.
Linda Carter, 66, a retired nurse from the Kingsway West neighborhood, likes the idea of a neighborhood greenway system. It will help the planet and people’s health, she pointed out, and she might be more likely to walk in a green space closer to her house rather than a park she has to drive to. “I would be more interested in walking if I would feel more safe,” she said.
Curtis Royston III, 45, an advocate who runs the St. Louis Major Taylor Bicycle Club, which encourages bicycling among African-American youth, loves the idea of a greenway system. Bicycling is a non-aggressive activity that gives children something to do and brings communities together, he said. “The cycling community here in St. Louis is one of the most open and peaceful groups I’ve been involved in,” he said. “There’s a lot of good that can come out of this.”
There’s no money set aside to build such a project yet, but Trailnet still needs community input to see if people want it and, if so, get funding and form partnerships with other groups to build it, Allen said.
Trailnet will be hosting two more kickoff meetings about the project. The next one is Saturday, May 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center, 3113 Gasconade Street. The third is Thursday, May 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Joyia Tapas, 4501 Manchester Avenue. For more information, visit trailnet.org.
Please take a moment to read this Advocacy Advance blog post about “Winning Complete Streets in St. Louis County,” and the role Trailnet played. Advocacy Advance is a dynamic partnership of the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the League of American Bicyclists to boost local and state bicycle and pedestrian advocacy efforts.
We are delighted to be recognized for leading the first county in Missouri to pass Complete Streets legislation. Many thanks go to our supporters, for helping to make this “win” possible.
St. Louis is ready for low-stress bicycle and pedestrian connections. Low-stress connections, as seen below, provide safe, comfortable, and convenient walking and biking routes to popular destinations. Many cities in the U.S. are using low-stress connections because they spur economic development and attract high numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians. It’s time for St. Louis to build low-stress connections and enjoy all of the benefits.
This is a digital copy of the full 100-page guide. Click here to download.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for helping us spread the word: We Know A Better Way.
This campaign was made possible by funds from the Federal Highway Administration through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Transportation.