Trailnet was formed in 1988 when a group of cycling advocates was asked by the mayor of St. Louis to promote a bicycle and walking trail along the St. Louis riverfront. Our early years focused on establishing trails to encourage active, healthy lifestyles. These initial facility-oriented bold vision projects included: the restoration of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, the Riverfront Trail, and Grant’s Trail.
Trailnet played a pivotal role in advocacy efforts for taxpayer levies that created the Great Rivers Greenway District in St. Louis City and St. Charles and St. Louis counties, and the Metro East Parks and Recreation District in Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois.
Following Trailnet’s change in focus from capital projects to education, advocacy, and planning, we have worked with more than thirty municipalities to create Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and have been the catalyst behind several region-wide policy initiatives, including both St. Louis City and County Complete Streets Policies, and St. Louis City’s Anti-Harassment Ordinance. Trailnet is the regional leader in providing innovative programs, planning and policy that promotes walking and bicycling. Trailnet’s expanded scope of work has heightened the organization’s community involvement and visibility, enlarged its spheres of influence, and spurred increasing demands for its services, expertise and partnership.
In November of 2016, the Trailnet Board of Directors went back to our roots of bold new vision of a region connected by a network of on-street protected bikeways and walkways.
Trailnet envisions a future where leaders make transportation and land use decisions that expands economic development, promotes health, wellness, and prevention, and advances social equity and access. St. Louis is a place where people can easily walk or bike on pleasant routes to local destinations. Trailnet’s vision is to see the St. Louis area emerge as one of the healthiest, most active, and connected regions in the country.
In 1997, with the encouragement and support of The McKnight Foundation, a group of non-profit organizations led by Trailnet, concerned with the future of the Mississippi River in the bi-state St. Louis area formed a partnership to plan and implement The Confluence Greenway Project. This ambitious revitalization program now encompasses 200 square miles centered on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, from the downtown Gateway Arch to St. Charles, Missouri and Grafton, Illinois. This partnership was completed in 2012.
Laclede Power Center & Riverview Park
Trailnet completed Riverview Park at Laclede Power in August 2009. The park, situated on a hill at the downtown entrance to the Riverfront Trail, provides spectacular views of the Mississippi River and features an outdoor amphitheater, a turtle sculpture by Bob Cassilly, and water features evocative of our great rivers. Trailnet’s role in the rehabilitation of the Laclede Power Building and Riverview Park was completed in 2012.
Eads Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Lanes
Trailnet was instrumental in raising over $750,000 for the installation of historic wrought iron gates during the re-opening of Eads Bridge in 2004.
Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
At 5,353 feet long, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is one of the world’s longest bicycle and pedestrian bridges, spanning the Mississippi River and providing a vital link in the bi-state trail system, connecting the St. Louis Riverfront Trail in Missouri and the Madison County Confluence Trail in Illinois. The bridge, once part of the beloved Route 66, has a rich history and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Trailnet managed the Bridge under a long-term lease from the City of Madison, Illinois and raised over $5 million in capital funds for enhancements and operations. In December 2014, Trailnet transferred the lease on the bridge to the Great Rivers Greenway District.
St. Louis Riverfront Trail
The Riverfront Trail is a 12-mile asphalt multi-use trail that runs along the Mississippi River from Laclede’s Landing north to the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The trail provides an opportunity for users to experience historic and industrial sections of St. Louis as well as natural river scenery. Major attractions along the trail include the Laclede Power Center, “Reflections on a River” floodwall art mural, a native plant nursery, the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Underground Railroad Site (the first nationally designated Underground Railroad Site in the state of Missouri), North Riverfront Park and the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. Trailnet worked with the City of St. Louis to plan and initiate trail construction.