CEO Ralph Pfremmer reflects on three decades of Active Living while looking ahead
For me, the middle of January always marks the halfway point of St. Louis’ winter doldrums. I was reminded of this one recent morning, waking up to zero-degree weather, feeling the sting of windchill on my face. As I travel the streets downtown, I am warmed by the fact that I still see bicyclists braving their way to work despite the cold! They are not waiting for the spring thaw to commit to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Inside our offices, with heaters plugged in, we are off to a great start to 2018 and you can feel the energy among the team members. This year is unique! This year is so much more significant than years past. This year marks Trailnet’s 30th anniversary and there is so much to look forward to. Whether consciously or not, we all start the new year thinking about healthy resolutions. Trailnet has resolved to make the healthy choice the easy choice. We want to make it safe and comfortable to walk and bike to the places you want to go. We think the best way to celebrate 30 years of making walking and biking better in St. Louis is to make significant improvements in community connectivity now, in 2018, while setting the stage for 30 years from now!
We embark on our 30th year with the tremendous momentum that your support is giving us. Take a look at Our Impact featured in the January/February newsletter, and if you haven’t yet, join us and count yourself among the people who are taking to the streets for healthy, active living. Join the fun.
Looking back, it’s really quite remarkable what Trailnet has achieved: so many people supporting our organization and so many diverse partners ready and willing to collaborate for change. Having started as a group of recreational bicycle enthusiasts, Trailnet has grown and evolved into—among other things—a very significant regional planning and advocacy organization. It goes without saying that Trailnet now exists as an important civic organization centered on improving the way we live in St. Louis, leveraging our past while staying committed to the platform of walking, bicycling and active living for all St. Louisans.
Trailnet’s staff and board of directors invite you to attend the kickoff of our 30th anniversary at our special event on Friday, February 9. Trailnet supporters, Cindy and John Lynch, will be our hosts at their unique venue, Break Room Concerts at Show Me Cables in Chesterfield. Seating is limited, so hurry to get your spot. Please join us as we kick off the new year and officially put an end to the winter doldrums!
So let’s look forward to having a fantastic year together. Get involved by participating in our events. Come to Beans, Bikes, and Brews on Saturday, March 10, when we announce all of our Bicycle Fun Club and Community Rides. Consider coming to one of our Peloton events. However you choose to participate, we promise you the opportunity to share your voice. We want to hear your Trailnet story. We’d like to know about how things have changed for you since Trailnet started and what your desires are for a region filled with so much promise as you enjoy a commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle.
The forecast for walking and biking is good, the weather is about to change. What better reason to challenge ourselves to renew our commitment to healthy, active living? It’s my hope that we all strengthen our commitment to ourselves and to the work that Trailnet is doing. Let’s join arm-in-arm as we propel St. Louis forward!
Wendy Campbell and her kids have been riding bicycles for a long time. As a resident of north city, Wendy would drop her then two-year old daughter at daycare and commute to her job, where she parked the bike in her office. “It was a really nice purple bike with a baby seat on the back. I would ride everywhere and the baby loved it. People looked at me like I was a parade float,” she recalls.
There are lots of things that Wendy loves about riding a bike: the benefits of getting exercise, the ability to directly experience her surroundings, and the chance to easily engage with people that she encounters. In 2010, Wendy and her family moved to the Dutchtown neighborhood, where she enjoys riding to “take in the beautiful architecture, the jewels, the little pocket parks, and seeing people I know in the neighborhood,” she says.
Having visited other cities with well-developed biking infrastructure, Wendy feels that Trailnet’s vision to connect St. Louis is greatly needed and long overdue. She looks forward to a network of “safe, protected bikeways that will get us anywhere we need to go and give people a chance to get out of their cars, saving money on gas and enjoying lots of health benefits.”
Wendy also predicts that the network “will create a domino effect. The more people see other people on bikes, the more familiar and possible it will seem. People who don’t have cars will be able to put their bikes on buses or MetroLink and get to their destinations. One of the best things about it is that it will put more people out on the streets and that will help to make our streets safer.”
Wendy Campbell knows a lot about what makes communities work, and is involved in her south city neighborhood in many ways. Shortly after moving to the area, she became a Block Captain, providing information and resources to neighbors, and welcoming newcomers to the community. She has worked with her local elementary school, Froebel Literacy Academy, as a crossing guard and den mother of a Cub Scout troup.
As one of Trailnet’s original Walk Bike Ambassadors, Wendy has helped to identify ways that safety can be improved in her area for walkers and bikers, and was a critical neighborhood advocate for a traffic calming demonstration near Marquette Park. She was elected 20th Ward Committeewoman in 2016 and works closely with her alderman, Cara Spencer, to promote the interests of her constituents.
Wendy’s generous and outgoing personality suit her perfectly for these many community roles, and also for her job as a Parking Enforcement Officer. She describes her job as “the perfect job. I get to walk a lot and meet and talk to people all day. Even if I won the lottery I wouldn’t quit my job!” After receiving her first paycheck last winter, Wendy bought toiletries and hand warmers, put them into zip lock bags and gave the bags to homeless people downtown, her first location as a parking officer.
Between her family, her many roles in the Dutchtown community, and her job, Wendy doesn’t have much time to stand still. She acknowledges that “new stuff excites me. You might have uncertainties and anxiety at first, but that’s followed by the rush of mastering a new thing.” She adds that “I don’t feel useful unless I’m doing something. That’s what makes me come alive.”
Wendy Campbell hopes that her enthusiasm and her willingness to work for her neighborhood will spread to her kids and to others in the community. That enthusiasm is one of the qualities that drew her to her fiancé, Byron Brown, who also serves as a Block Captain in the Dutchtown neighborhood. The couple shares an appreciation for their rich and diverse neighborhood and the belief that “if we agree to look out for each other, it makes this ride on planet earth a little better for everyone.”
Ann Crowe took up bicycling while living in Washington, D.C., where an extensive network of cycling paths made commuting by bike a convenient way to incorporate exercise into her daily routine. Ann moved to St. Louis to be closer to family and to pursue work in engineering. After deciding to make a career change, Ann began volunteering at Trailnet rides and fundraising events while completing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Her volunteer activities allow her to “meet many new people and see different parts of the city and surrounding areas,” she says.
Ann’s volunteer experience introduced her to a “warm and welcoming community,” and she believes that a “shared love of biking provides common ground” for people that participate in Trailnet events. Ann’s husband Vance now joins her on many of the weekend rides, which she credits with giving him “the same confidence and passion for cycling and health” that is so important to her.
As a physical therapist, Ann understands the critical importance of regular exercise for maintaining health and recovering from injury. She notes the abundance of research supporting the positive impact of exercise on mood and overall health, and sees evidence of these effects at Trailnet events. “It only takes a morning at a Trailnet ride to see this come to life in the laughter, support and friendships created through group exercise,” she says.
Even with many years of experience as a bike commuter and recreational cyclist, Ann is aware that for many people concerns about safety may mean that they don’t bike or walk if no specific infrastructure exists. She is committed to building a community where more people have access to the benefits of active transportation. “Having a network of safe and connected bikeways and sidewalks will make biking and walking easier and available to more people,” she says. She also predicts that “as more people use the bikeways and sidewalks, they will feel personally invested in supporting the growth of this network.”
In addition to volunteering time to Trailnet, Ann and Vance are Trailnet Peloton members, providing financial support for the protected bikeway vision. They strongly believe in “dedicating personal efforts and resources to build infrastructure that empowers communities.”
Ann and Vance also feel that positive change will come to St. Louis only if individuals take the initiative. “Whatever challenges we face, the best way to identify problems and solutions is to get personally involved, seeing the community by biking on the roads and paths, meeting our neighbors, visiting and supporting local businesses. Trailnet gives us the opportunity to come together as individuals and make our city healthier and more interesting, with access and opportunity for everyone to enjoy a more active lifestyle.”
An important expansion to Cliff Cave Park in south St. Louis County, years under development and with broad public support, is being stopped by one new St. Louis County Council member.
Trakas claims that emails on the subject are running 50-50 for and against the trail–and we need to change that in a BIG way if we want to save this important trail. We need 10-to-1 in support–or better. Your help is vital.
Please take 2 minutes today to call & email Councilman Ernie Trakas “I support the Cliff Cave Park Trail – Please don’t slow or stop it.”
For several years, Great Rivers Greenway and St. Louis County Parks have been working on the Cliff Cave Park Trail, a key connector in the Mississippi Greenway.
The planned trail is beautiful and will connect people who walk and bicycle over several difficult obstacles to an amazing overlook and miles of riverfront trail.
Construction is set to start in March. But a new St. Louis County Council member is threatened to stop the trail altogether. He claims that messages are running 50/50 for/against the trail and we need to change that in a BIG way today.
Be polite and persuasive when you contact your elected officials–this is by far the most effective approach.
Use a brief, clear subject line such as “I strongly support the Cliff Cave Park Trail”
Clearly state that you strongly support the trail and strongly oppose his effort to slow or stop it. You support it and support moving forward with it quickly. Unfortunately in this case, delay is equivalent to opposition. Trakas is trying spin his opposition as “just slowing down to take time to consider the options” but the problem is, the trail is been under study and consideration for many years with all sorts of public meetings involving thousands of people and public comments. With money already spent and preliminary construction underway, Trakas knows that delay will kill the project–which is what a very few, very persistent neighbors want.
A short message is as effective or more effective than a long one.
Include your connection to the County (live, work, visit, vacation, etc) , especially if you live work, or visit St. Louis County District 6, Ernie Trakas’s district in SE St. Louis County.
Include a sentence or two, or a quick story, showing why trails, bicycling, and walking are important to you personally, to your community, and/or to St. Louis County.
Your message is about Cliff Cave Park specifically, but is also a valuable opportunity to raise the profile and importance of trails, bicycling, and walking with the St. Louis County Council.
County Council members need to know that the County has many strong supporters of the bicycle, pedestrian, and trail system in the County.
We are working closely with our local partners, members, and affected agencies on this effort, including Trailnet, the regional St. Louis area advocacy group that works the create positive change in the St. Louis bi-state region by encouraging healthy, active living and that founded the region’s trail system in the 1990s. Look for more information coming soon from both us and our local and regional partners on this important issue.
Contact Information for St. Louis County Council
If you live in the County, contact your own County Council representative and also cc: Mr. Trakas, who is the key decision-maker on this issue.
If you don’t live in the County or have a connection to a particular Council District, you might email Mr. Trakas and cc: Steven Stenger, St. Louis County Executive.
Phone calls are very helpful. And email message is also helpful, and both phone and email followup is best of all. A posted letter or fax is also very effective, simply because constuents more rarely take the time to send a ‘real’ letter and that makes each one more impactful.
You might cc: Carmen Wilkerson on any email message you send to Councilman Trakas. We understand that Councilman Trakas’s voice mail has been full; again you might call and speak with (or leave a message with) his assistant instead.
Thank you! It really does make a big difference when you take the time to contact your elected representatives.
Special Project Director for Trailnet’s Protected Bikeways and Sidewalks Master Plan
Trailnet is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a 29-year history of fostering healthy, active and vibrant communities where walking, bicycling and the use of public transit are a way of life.
The Special Project Director will lead the master planning process for Trailnet’s vision for a protected bikeway and sidewalk network. The project director will position Trailnet as a trusted regional leader and convener that is committed to an authentic community engagement process that reflects Trailnet’s core values. This 18-month project is high impact and high visibility and will serve as a catalyst spurring momentum for regional change.
The Special Project Director will lead the community engagement process building external relationships necessary to assure project success. The project director will collaborate with Trailnet managers and directors to identify and design strategic marketing and communications to support the project and the organization’s development plan. The Special Project Director works under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer and the Director of Programs for support and collaboration.
The Special Project Director collaborates with the Development Officer, Planning Manager and the Education/ Encouragement Program Manager, and supervises interns.
The Special Project Director’s primary responsibilities will consist of managing and leading the creation of the Protected Bikeways and Sidewalks vision, including:
Project management of planning process, including managing consultants, staff, and volunteers
Leading the public engagement process, including facilitating committees as they make recommendations for the master plan
Creating content for the master plan
Analyzing, synthesizing, and prioritizing information, including government documents, planning research, news of emerging best practices, and maps
Critically assessing processes, procedures, and recommendations for equity impact and making appropriate recommendations
Working with the Director of Programs to build budget and revenue targets; assemble appropriate staff teams to implement the protected bikeways/sidewalks master planning process
Working with Trailnet leadership to identify new funding sources, pitch projects to potential funders, and cultivate relationships
Leading and assisting with best practice education through workshops and presentations
Recruiting, selecting, and training interns, volunteers, and community advocates as appropriate
Developing content to market and promote the plan for website and social media
Providing administrative support and other duties as needed
Providing technical assistance on fee for service projects as appropriate
Attending select committee meetings and professional development as warranted
In order to be successful, the Special Project Director will need to exhibit the following attributes:
Process oriented, with the ability to inspire others to buy into the Master Planning Process, and the ability to understand, modify, and build upon the process
Innovative and bold, with the ability to assess when it is appropriate to take risks in advancing Trailnet’s vision and values and the ability to bring new perspectives
Systems oriented, with the ability to think critically and strategically, including long-term initiative development; comfortable with problems
Deep understanding of, and commitment to, equity and inclusion; ability to understand systemic issues and work with the community to address wicked problems
Curious; open to new ideas and continually seeking to improve their practice
Comfortable with conflict and collaboration; able to form diverse partnerships
Ability to embody and articulate Trailnet’s values, including a deep understanding of the Planning Lens guiding the visioning process and commitment to placemaking
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning or equivalent and a minimum of 5 years or more of relevant project management, facilitation and staff supervision experience. A Masters in Urban Planning or Public Policy preferred, but not required. Strong candidates will have experience in urban planning, urban design, community development/organizing, or public policy. AICP and/or CNU-A preferred
Knowledge and familiarity of bicycle and pedestrian facility design, urban design, and equity and planning, and urban planning best practices
Ability to facilitate meetings, organize public events, and work productively with a variety of stakeholders representing different interests
Ability to manage multiple projects with differing deadlines
Ability to work independently and manage self and partners while being a genuine “team player”
Ability to understand and analyze data using descriptive statistics
Ability to work in a fast-moving and at times intense environment
Must be highly computer literate – Google Drive, Microsoft Word, Excel, & PowerPoint required; GIS, InDesign, and Adobe Suite preferred
Must interface with a wide variety of stakeholders from elected officials to community residents
Must be comfortable facilitating meetings, making presentations, and speaking in public settings
Ability to write in a persuasive and clear manner
This 18-month contract position offers a salary with a starting range of $45,000 and adjusted to be commensurate with experience, Compensation includes competitive benefits package. Flexible hours, a casual work environment, and an office located close to public transportation, indoor bicycle locker station, and Enterprise Carshare are additional benefits.
HOW TO APPLY?
Qualified applicants should go to this link or copy and paste (https://goo.gl/forms/COGEuzDHw34hKBA23) in browser and submit CONTACT INFORMATION only by February 15. Please give us your email address only. An assessment will be sent out to all applicants on February 16, giving each applicant an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. The assessment will take approximately two hours and the form will close at midnight on February 26. Please do not send letters and resumes. After reviewing the skills assessment, we will contact the top six candidates by March 1 to request resumes and cover letters. Thank you for your interest in Trailnet- we are excited to learn more about each candidate.
Trailnet is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is our policy to make all personnel decisions without discriminating on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, physical disability, mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, national or ethnic origin, and any other protected status.
How does St. Louis rank in comparison to other metropolitan areas in terms of pedestrian safety? Where is the most dangerous place for pedestrians in the country? Answers to these questions can be found in the most recent Dangerous by Design report, released in January by Smart Growth America.
The report has been produced for several years and identifies metropolitan areas and states that are most dangerous for people walking. The January report uses pedestrian fatality data from 2005-2014 to rank cities and states by
pedestrian deaths per 100,000 in population
a “pedestrian danger index,” calculated as the share of commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths.
Of the 104 metro areas ranked in the report, the two largest cities in Missouri, Kansas City and St. Louis, rank 45th and 52nd respectively. Florida has been the most dangerous state for pedestrians for the past four years, and it now has 8 of the top 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians. In the past decade, over 46,000 people have been killed by motor vehicles while walking. The poor, the elderly, and people of color – those who are less likely to own cars or drive – make up a disproportionate share of the victims.
The report emphasizes that better street design will play a critical role in improving safety for people walking. Arterial roads, such as Manchester or Kingshighway in St. Louis, are particularly dangerous for pedestrians. These roads were designed for fast moving vehicles, often have sections that lack sidewalks, and have limited safe crossing opportunities for people who are walking. Arterial roads consign people traveling on foot to second-class status.
Trailnet has worked tirelessly for passage and implementation of Complete Streets policies in our region. A Complete Street is one that is designed with all users in mind: motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, the elderly, and the disabled. Making streets welcoming and safe for all users promotes active lifestyles, and helps to build communities that are vibrant, economically strong, and appealing to residents and employers.
RFP for strategic planning for Missouri’s regional active transportation organizations
RFP for strategic planning for Missouri’s regional active transportation organizations
Trailnet and our peer organizations in Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia request proposals for strategic planning services to inform future collaboration between the four organizations and to further our shared goals to improve the health and livability of our communities.
RFP Issued: January 20th, 2017 Questions Due: February 3rd, 2017 Proposals Due: February 10th, 2017
Partner organizations include Trailnet in St. Louis, BikeWalkKC in Kansas City, PedNet Coalition in Columbia, and Ozark Greenways in Springfield. This work is supported by the Missouri Convergence Partnership, a funder’s collaborative that includes the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Missouri Foundation for Health.
Thanks to generous funding from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust, there are now Pace Cars cruising the neighborhood around Froebel Literacy Academy in Dutchtown. Pace Cars serve as models of safe driving behavior and increase driver awareness of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles.
Students in Froebel’s Leadership Development Program composed a Pace Car Pledge that includes items such as:
I pledge to stop for people who are crossing the street.
I pledge to not use my phone to talk or text while driving.
I pledge to wear my seatbelt and to make sure that all of my passengers are buckled before driving.
Students also worked to recruit Froebel staff, family, and community members to sign the pledge. Pace Car volunteers receive a magnetic “Neighborhood Pace Car” logo to display on their car.
The program was officially launched on December 8 with a visit from Officer Patrick Clancy of the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. Officer Clancy answered questions posed by Froebel students and staff, and suggested ways in which the Police Dept. can help to reinforce the Pace Car Program.
Over twenty drivers have volunteered to sign the Pace Car Pledge and our goal is to increase that number to forty in the next few weeks. Because many Froebel students walk to and from school everyday, our hope is that Pace Cars will help to improve safety for the children and for the community as a whole. If you are a resident of Dutchtown, or frequently drive in the neighborhood, sign the pledge! Contact Ginny McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.