Archive for the “Uncategorized” Category

Parklets and Placemaking with AARP

The corner of Laclede Avenue and South Vandeventer Avenue will see exciting improvements in pedestrian safety and social engagement–part of a multi-faceted approach planning we like to call placemaking.

Trailnet was awarded funding from AARP this year to establish a parklet kit to be initially placed at the intersection. The parklet kit will also be used in Trailnet’s Traffic Calming Lending Library

Trailnet has met with business owners on the corner of Laclede and Vandeventer to discuss material specifics and recommendations for the parklet’s implementation. Trailnet CEO Cindy Mense presented for the West Pine-Laclede Neighborhood Association and the Southeast Special Business District of the West Pine-Laclede Neighborhood Association. Mense discussed the benefits of parklets and shared conceptual designs of how the parklet space would be utilized.

Along with implementing a parklet, Trailnet has advocated for continental striping on all four crosswalks and a Leading Pedestrian Interval for all four traffic signals, both would enhance bike/pedestrian safety at this intersection.

The Right Time #STLMade | Across STL


-Photo by Michael Thomas

“All of our products are designed and manufactured locally but they have a global impact. Our timing systems serve as the heartbeat for some of the most exciting and ambitious pursuits in tech, aerospace and computing. We’re proud to employ exceptional talent from right here in the region to make these pursuits possible. It’s a badge of honor, and we’re excited to continue to grow this core team right here in the Midwest.” John Clark, Masterclock CEO

St. Louisans are accomplishing milestones in every corner of our region, including people like St. Charles-based John Clark who is keeping the world in sync, quite literally. Clark is the second-generation CEO of Masterclock, which provides synchronized clocks and timing systems for some of the world’s most recognizable firms, events and organizations including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center rocket launches. “Our niche is time itself,” says Clark.

Masterclock’s team of 20 engineers, assemblers and consultants serve customers in 104 countries, including major players like Microsoft, IBM, and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), but the company stays close to its local roots by supplying products to many local TV and radio stations, the St. Louis Science Center, Busch Stadium, St. Louis Lambert International Airport and more. Today, Masterclock accrues over $3.6 million in annual sales.

Among the many incentives to keep his business local, Clark ticks off another reason he encourages growing businesses to take root here: “Central location. Logistics can be 30 percent cheaper than in New York or California. Regulatory hurdles are relatively low, and the community of makers is incredibly supportive,” he shares.

STLMade is a movement working to shine a light on the people, innovations, and ideas that are driving growth and change in our region so that residents and non-residents alike can better see the renaissance for themselves. Through stories on theSTL.com, the movement aims to highlight the work being done and the progress being made – from building communities that are more inclusive, to creating new industries and economic opportunities, to finding those ideal careers people never thought possible.

Across STL is a collaboration between the Katy Land Trust and Trailnet, telling the stories of the people and places that make the St. Louis community.

This article was first published in Across STL Volume 3, click here to read the entire issue.

Humps, Bumps, and Cushions

Your guide to things that go bump in the street


Unlike St. Louis’s potholes and steel plates that accidentally put strain on your car’s shocks, there are several tools that are intentionally bump-inducing; making neighborhood streets calmer and safer for people in cars, on bikes or on foot.

Friendly Neighborhood Speed Humps

Speed Humps are usually 3-4 inches tall and about 3-6 feet long. These gradual humps in the road help keep traffic to 15-20 mph in neighborhoods, parks and around schools. Speed humps are used with other design elements to create calmer streets. They are gentle if you’re traveling at the target speed but can throw you for a loop if you’re speeding.

Speed Tables

Speed Tables are longer speed humps with a flat top. They work in the same way as a speed hump but for streets with higher speeds, usually 25-45 mph. They can also be paired with a raised mid-block crosswalk to make it safer for people on foot or in wheelchairs to cross the street.

Speed Cushions

Speed Cushions are versions of speed humps and tables that have cut outs allowing vehicles with wider-axles: ambulances, buses and fire trucks to drive over them unaffected. They still have a traffic calming effect on personal vehicles and are best suited for busy streets around hospitals or fire houses.

Speed Bumps

Speed Bumps are the bitey-est of the family. They are short, narrow and jarring no matter how slow you drive over them. They are most common in parking lots and on driveways where speeds need to be kept 2-15 mph.

Yes, these are intentionally inconvenient.

We want everyone to think more about protecting lives, and less about a few seconds of delay. A person’s life should always override speed.

In 2016, Trailnet successfully advocated for the City of St. Louis Traffic Calming Policy allowing neighborhoods within the City to build speed humps and other traffic calming tools on neighborhood to reduce speeding and improve safety.

For more information on traffic calming and infrastructure improvements that can make St. Louis a safer, better connected and more equitable place read our Safe Streets Glossary.

Fair Trade, Fair City #STLMade | Across STL


-Photo by David Treadway

“Between Zee Bee Market’s mission to promote fair trade and Trailnet’s efforts to improve biking and walking, our work is linked by the common drive to value people, promote sustainability and support communities. I’m happy to work with STL Made and Trailnet to help connect people to the great work happening in our region.” – Julio Zegarra-Ballon, owner of Zee Bee Market

As we increase our diversity in many growing industries, we’re also welcoming immigrants. St. Louis has been one of the top two fastest growing cities for immigrants in two of the past three years. One such immigrant is Julio Zegarra-Ballon. After meeting and marrying his American wife in his home country of Peru, he moved with her to the United States and took a job in retail — something he thought would be temporary. But it wasn’t long before Zegarra-Ballon found his spark, and thanks to his work with St. Louis-based nonprofit Partners for Just Trade, an organization dedicated to ethically connecting producers in poorer countries with consumers in the United States, he became passionate about fair trade goods as well.

Soon, Zegarra-Ballon planned out how a fair trade supply chain might look in his own future business, and today, he has two locations of Zee Bee Market, a fair trade store that sources products from about 33 different countries.

“I recognized almost immediately that if a customer is given the choice to either buy something that is mass produced in a conventional supply chain, or the same item that has been handcrafted lovingly by a human being in an impoverished country, you can make a difference,” Zegarra-Ballon says. “Your purchase power actually makes a difference in the world.”

Within the walls of his Zee Bee Market stores, you’ll find colorful dresses that were crafted in India, measuring spoons sporting quirky black cats that were made in Vietnam, messenger bags constructed from discarded cement sacks, coat hooks fashioned from bike chains and colorful scarves, among many other handmade items. But when Zegarra-Ballon looks at the items in his shops, he doesn’t simply see things to sell — he sees an opportunity for all. Because the creators behind these items are now able to pay for education and health care, they also achieve some peace of mind and dignity.

STLMade is a movement working to shine a light on the people, innovations, and ideas that are driving growth and change in our region so that residents and non-residents alike can better see the renaissance for themselves. Through stories on theSTL.com, the movement aims to highlight the work being done and the progress being made – from building communities that are more inclusive, to creating new industries and economic opportunities, to finding those ideal careers people never thought possible.

Across STL is a collaboration between the Katy Land Trust and Trailnet, telling the stories of the people and places that help shape the St. Louis community.

This article was first published in Across STL Volume 3, click here to read the entire issue.

Advocacy for Traffic Victims Starts with Language

Trailnet CEO, Cindy Mense’s letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board, published July 26, 2019

Missouri’s 1st Congressional District was just listed as the 47th most deadly district for people on foot in traffic crashes by Smart Growth America. Between 2008 and 2017, 188 people were killed while walking by people driving cars in the district.

This ranking follows the death of Timothy Thornton, who was killed while riding his bike by a person driving a truck last month in Wildwood. In two stories published by the Post-Dispatch, reporters called his death an accident. (June 25, June 26)

This contrasts the death of 11-year-old Trent Davis who was killed by a person driving a car while waiting on a bus in March. In his case, the Post-Dispatch reported his death without calling it an accident.

Together this report and these individual deaths highlight the serious problem of people in cars killing people walking and biking in our region.

Language matters. When media outlets call preventable traffic deaths accidents it makes these deaths seem random and unavoidable. Road conditions, road design and on-road behavior come together to cause these deaths.

We need to stop calling these tragedies accidents.

We encourage everyone, especially reporters, to use accurate, people-first language when talking about traffic safety, and particularly traffic deaths: A person driving a truck, hit and killed a person riding a bike.

The Post-Dispatch and other local media should follow the Associated Press’s standards, “avoid accident, which can be read as exonerating the person responsible.”

Already the Missouri Highway Patrol has replaced “accident” with “crash” in their official reporting.

Crashes have causes and they are preventable. Accurately calling crashes what they are is the first step to start preventing them.

A Look at the Featured Pieces – Women in the Arts Community Ride

Our Women in the Arts Community Ride was one of the most educational events we’ve had all year. For those who want to jog their memory from this awesome ride–or if you’re just curious–here is a recap of the pieces we visited with some interesting accompanying facts. Don’t miss the next ride in this series, the Literary Tour Community Ride.


1. The Reflecting Pool by Maya Lin, at Ellen S. Clark Plaza, BJC Medical Campus, unveiled June 2010

Maya Lin is an American architect and sculptor best known for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Recognized as an artist, designer and environmentalist, she interprets the natural world through science, history, politics, and culture, creating a body of work that encompasses large-scale environmental installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural projects and memorials. Maya designed the focal point of this plaza, a water feature nearly 80 feet in diameter with a raised platform that provides visitors a vantage point to view the landscape. Fed by a large reservoir, the year-round pool is an “infinity pool” with a disappearing edge. The platform includes fiber-optic lighting made to look like twinkling stars at night.

2. Link Auditorium, commissioned by The Wednesday Club, Theodore Link architect, 4504 Westminister Place

The Link Auditorium was designed in 1908 for The Wednesday Club, a women’s education and social club. The building represents architect Theodore Link’s first foray into modernism.

The Wednesday Club, formally organized in 1890, was an important force for civic improvement in St. Louis. It was the first women’s organization in St. Louis to construct its own home. In 1900, the ladies formed a Wednesday Club Building Company, issuing 4,000 shares at $10 per share for raising $40,000. Theodore Link, who designed Union Station, was engaged as architect. The Wednesday Club remained in the building until it moved to new quarters in St. Louis County in the 1970s.

Today, the Link Auditorium is owned by the Learning Center and promotes an appreciation for various forms of human expression, critical thinking, alternative viewpoints, and a deeper respect for intellectual pursuits.

3.Pulitzer Arts Foundation building, commissioned by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Tadao Ando architect

Walls of concrete and glass form the serene Pulitzer Arts Foundation, commissioned by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, art patron and granddaughter-in-law to the famous Joseph Pulitzer. Designed by Tadao Ando, the museum opened in 2001 and features artworks from this prestigious family’s private collection–considered one of the world’s finest collections of modern art. In 2014 the museum underwent renovations, overseen by Ando, to create two new public galleries which fit seamlessly with the existing building.



4. “Emmy” by Michael Atkinson, 3331 Locust

Michael Atkinson is an American artist born in Texas in 1946. A contemporary watercolorist and figurative bronze sculptor, he is known for his Western and Southwestern landscapes and often nude figures in athletic poses. His sculptures are first done in clay and then cast into bronze. A number of his works are featured on Saint Louis University’s campus.




5. “Bird” by Laura Ford, at Citygarden, completed 2007

Laura Ford was born in Cardiff, Wales in 1961. Ford creates playful and disturbing hybrid creatures. Part human and part animal, they are developed through observation of her children and recollection of her feelings growing up. As a child, she was introduced to the world of sideshows and fairgrounds which had an early and lasting influence on her view of the world. Ford’s sculptures are both intensely crafted and playful and she employs a wide range of media.






6. “Adam & Eve” by Kiki de Saint Phalle, Citygarden

Niki de Sainte Phalle was a French sculptor, painter, and illustrator, best known for her playful sculptures of brightly painted female figures called “nanas” or “babes.” Adam and Eve is a prime example of the New Realist art movement and is painted with decorative patters referencing the biblical story in a playful manner. The work was originally part of the Fontaine Stravinsky, a public fountain with sixteen sculptures by Saint Phalle and her husband Jean Tinguely located next to the Centre Pompidou in Paris.




7. “La Riviere” (The River), by Aristide Maillol, Citygarden

Aristide Maillol was a Catalan sculptor, painter, and printmaker born in 1861. He was influenced by his contemporary Paul Gauguin, as well as artists of the Nabis movement, and joined the group in 1894. La Riviere (The River) is a bronze sculpture completed in 1943. The female nude is Maillol’s predominant subject, devoid of any architectural context. Although most of his sculptures are characterized by stillness, serenity and emotional restraint, La Riviere departs from those ideals. Maillol creates the feeling of instability and movement by placing the figure low to the ground and extending the head and arms beyond the pedestal.

8. “Thomas Hart Benton” by Harriet Goodhue Hosmer, in Lafayette Park

Born in Massachusetts in 1830, Hosmer demonstrated artistic ability early on but her attempts to hone her craft by studying human anatomy were repeated rebuffed by medical classes open only to men. East Cost schools rejected the idea of a woman studying human anatomy or creating art from live nude models. In 1850, at age 20, she traveled to St. Louis and became the first woman to have completed a course of study at the Missouri Medical College, the school that eventually became Washington University School of Medicine. Hosmer said, “I honor every woman who has strength enough to step out of the beaten path.”

Traffic Calming at Miss Tillie’s Corner

Since 2015, Trailnet and the Plan4Health program have been active in ensuring safe and calm streets in the St. Louis region, and specifically in the JeffVanderLou, Ville/Greater Ville, Carondelet, and Dutchtown neighborhoods. 

Recently, Trailnet conducted another traffic calming demonstration, adding onto its nearly 20 pop-up demonstrations completed since late 2015. On July 13, at the annual Miss Tillie’s Block Party and Health Resource Fair, Trailnet staff took to the streets of JeffVanderLou on the corner of Sheridan and Garrison Ave. to show how a simple pop-up can slow traffic and make streets safer for all users.

After hearing cars were rolling through stops signs on the corners of Sheridan and Garrison, Trailnet staff planned for cars entering the Fair to make left and right-hand turns and be separated using two different turning lanes designated by bright colored cones.

After noticing a few cars misinterpret the intersection, community members and Miss Tillie’s Corner staff took tactical urbanism into their own hands, recommending the two separate turning lanes become one. Used now as a shared space, with an added stop sign before entering each side of the intersection. The new design led to slower speeds and enhanced communication between drivers navigating the intersection.

Trailnet also conducted a pop-up parklet for block party-goers to use during the Fair. The parklet consisted of seating, plants, and lots of shading for residents to take a break from the hot summer day. The pop-up parklet was a success and was used by block-party-goers of all ages and mobility preferences. Residents using wheelchairs, bikes, and other mobility devices used the parklet to relax, talk, and enjoy lunch and ice cream provided by local eateries.

All the materials used for the Miss Tillie’s traffic calming and the parklet were provided through Trailnet’s Traffic Calming Lending Library. The Lending Library is available for other individuals and organizations to use for their own traffic calming and parklet demonstrations. A list of the materials in the lending library and a how-to guide to set up your own traffic calming demonstration can be found in the Slow Your Streets guide compiled by Trailnet.

Women in the Arts Community Ride Photos

Art and bikes came together during the Women in the Arts Community Ride this July. More than 60 people came out for the relaxed and informative ride through St. Louis to learn about how women have shaped the city’s art scene. 

Dana Gray from Revitalize St. Louis guided riders through six stops reviewing the history and impact of art featuring pieces made or curated by women. The relaxed 12-mile route took participants on city streets and through neighborhoods exploring the art and architecture of the city.

Take a look at some of the featured pieces with accompanying information here. 

Our Literary Tour Community Ride is coming up September 28 and will be the last of this year’s Community Rides Series. Don’t miss the last episode of a fun and highly-educational season!

Check out the photos!

Connecting Transportation to Land Use and Housing Policy

When looking at other cities around the United States and abroad, it’s apparent that comprehensive and interconnected walking, biking, and public transportation networks are vital to sustainable and healthy communities. But transportation doesn’t function in a vacuum. For these networks and systems to succeed, people of all backgrounds and incomes must have access.

Alongside Trailnet’s commitment to making walking and biking viable transportation options across age, race, gender, and income level, we are continuing to unpack how transportation infrastructure connects to other sectors. In this article we begin to explore how active transportation systems should exist alongside land use and housing policies. 

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.” -Gustavo Petro, Colombian politician

If we build protected bikeways and greenways between our neighborhoods, it can lead to an increase in demand for housing parallel to that investment, and rightfully so. If built correctly, protected bikeways and greenways are fantastic amenities that prioritize people over cars, offer comfortable places to rest and connect with one another, and offer a healthy commuting alternative. So much so that Trail-oriented Development is now national lingo.

However, in some St. Louis neighborhoods–specifically where vacancy rates are already low–it’s difficult to imagine that the supply of housing could meet the new demand without triggering an increase in rent and housing prices. That’s why modern transportation networks must be implemented alongside housing and land use changes–to avoid displacement. We don’t just need to build transportation networks in a way that creates environmentally sustainable places, we must also build networks that are socially and financially sustainable for current and future residents. 

“History has repeatedly demonstrated that investment without protective equitable policy and process mechanisms leads to gentrification and the subsequent displacement of residents in low-income and communities of color.” (1)

The St. Louis region is becoming increasingly aware that policy and outcomes are linked in ways that make it impossible to address one topic or service in isolation without having unintended and often negative consequences somewhere else. 

We must recognize that in order for St. Louis to be the healthy, active, and vibrant place we envision, we must team up and be prepared to support policies that aren’t always directly connected to pedestrians or cyclists.

When it comes to avoiding displacement as transportation infrastructure increases housing investment in low-income areas of St. Louis, Trailnet is exploring every angle to maintain and increase affordable housing.

One example may include Community Land Trusts. CLTs purchase and retain ownership of land to ensure ongoing use for community purposes. They promote long-term affordability for renters and homeowners by removing the price of land from the home’s cost, reducing the degree to which rising land values inflate the cost of the home.

In the future, you’ll hear more from us on these topics, and we’ll do our best to explain how the different land-use and housing policies that we are helping push forward work to accomplish our transportation goals, and our vision for a healthy, active, and vibrant St. Louis for all.

Click Here to read the full land use policy recommendations from Connecting St. Louis, and learn more about what we believe is necessary to achieve our vision for a healthy, active, and vibrant St. Louis for all.

(1) https://www.buildhealthyplaces.org/whats-new/opportunity-zones-who-benefits/

Trailnet Champion: Cycle St. Louis

This month’s Trailnet Champion is Cycle St. Louis. This group is committed to building an inclusive cycling community in the St. Louis region by creating cycling opportunities for people with disabilities, and where everyone (all ages and abilities) ca n ride together. Read on for a Q&A about how Cycle St. Louis and Trailnet are working together to make bicycling more fun and accessible for everyone.

How have Cycle St. Louis and Trailnet worked together in the past? How did your relationship begin?

At one of our Cycle St. Louis meetings in late 2017, the partner organizations discussed the key stakeholders we needed to engage in order to be more effective in creating cycling opportunities for people with disabilities. Trailnet was at the top of the list because they’re key to making cycling a way of life in the St. Louis area and they host an amazing portfolio of community rides. In early 2018 we started a conversation with Trailnet and immediately we both realized our mission of developing solutions for people of all ages and abilities aligned perfectly. After discussion, we did a test ride at the 2018 Bridge Birthday Bash Ride by inviting people with disabilities to participate. It was a huge success and showed both organizations what was possible by partnering together.

What excites Cycle St. Louis about our collaboration as we explore new opportunities in 2019 and 2020?
We’re very excited Trailnet has made all their rides “inclusive” for people with disabilities. That means a short route where cyclists can turn around at any point and head back to the start. For some people with disabilities, a mile or two is a long ride. In addition, Trailnet has very generously made their rides free for Cycle St. Louis participants.

Cycle St. Louis is now part of Trailnet’s Ride Committee and we’re thrilled to be at the table with the cycling community at large because we believe people of all ages and abilities should be riding together, whether it’s commuting on the streets of St. Louis or at a community ride for recreation. Given that 15 to 20 percent of our community has a disability, this inclusion is important.

What are your thoughts on our Connecting St. Louis plan?

We’re very pleased the plan includes “all ages and abilities” and we are committed to working with Trailnet and others to help make that a reality. People with disabilities face some unique challenges to cycling and mobility, and need access to cultural centers, neighborhoods and business districts, so having a voice in planning efforts is vitally important.

Trailnet’s mission includes accommodating people of all ages and abilities. What feedback are you getting from your partners and the people you serve?

Our partners are elated about Trailnet’s inclusive mission and this partnership. The alignment couldn’t be better. Also, Trailnet has an amazing network and influence that can help Cycle St. Louis achieve its vision and mission. We believe that integration is important, that we’re all one community and the needs of all of us need to be considered. We all ride the same road!

What are St. Louis’ biggest barriers to safer walking and biking and how can we work to overcome them?

The current focus of Cycle St. Louis is access to cycles, training, and cycling opportunities for people with disabilities. We fully realize that safety for walkers and cyclists is important for everyone. There are unique access and safety considerations for people with disabilities, such as wider cycling lanes and trails needed for adapted cycles. Addressing these considerations would also enhance safety for the general population. Other infrastructure challenges need to be addressed in planning new projects as the example below highlights.

-During a walk to a park last year with blind and visually impaired children, we encountered a light pole in the middle of a sidewalk, and occasionally no sidewalk at all, among other obstacles.

Why are you and your partners so passionate about transportation related work?

Our partners work with people with disabilities every day and realize they make up a significant part of our community. We believe people with disabilities should have the opportunity to realize the amazing benefits that cycling provides, including a sense of freedom and independence, fitness, opportunities for socialization, and an important mode of transportation, which connects people to services, social opportunities and communities to each other. And, cycling is simply fun – how many of us remember the thrill of our first bike ride and still get a thrill when cycling? Many people with disabilities simply don’t have the opportunities to even get on a cycle.

I’ve been volunteering with the Delta Gamma Center for 12 years, tandem cycling with blind and visually impaired children. I know first-hand how magical it is to share the joy of cycling, especially with people that don’t typically have the opportunity. Recreation and transportation/mobility work needs to be inclusive of this large community. The attitudes of others have the greatest impact on access to sports for people with disabilities. For too many years, “she has no business doing that” was an all too common refrain. We need to embrace inclusion, paving the way for others to do so as well.

In your opinion what makes a city thrive?

There are so many important ingredients that make cities thrive. I’ve traveled all over the world for business and have seen ancient cities (compared to US cities) that have been reengineered for active and public transportation. These cities are thriving economically, are culturally vibrant and the people seem happier and healthier. I believe active and public transportation is the right long-term investment, but we need to be inclusive in our policies and how we execute solutions.

Any other final thoughts or words?

Cycle St. Louis is grateful for our partnership with Trailnet and very excited about what we can accomplish together. We feel we’re just scratching the surface and through awareness building, communications and joint programs, we’ll have a huge impact on the entire community in the near future.