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April 2024 Policy Update

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In 2024 alone, Trailnet’s advocacy has resulted in the City of St. Louis making the following policy changes:

  • Resolution 200, Adopting a Vision Zero Policy:
    • Initiates planning for a Vision Zero policy and strategy to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries in the city.
      • Resolution 200 was passed with a recommendation of “do pass” during the Public Infrastructure and Utilities Committee meeting on 4/3.
      • We encourage you to reach out to your elected officials to express your support for a Vision Zero commitment from The City, supported by a strong Vision Zero action plan. Learn more from the Vision Zero Network.
  • Board Bill 105, Establishing the Automated Camera Enforcement Act:
    • Initiates the use of automated enforcement cameras, a research-based strategy that is effective in preventing speeding and running red lights.
      • Mayor Jones approved the bill on 4/17.
  • Board Bill 106: Establishing the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Improvement Fund and authorizing the appropriation of those funds:
    • Allocates a portion of the funding from automated enforcement fines to safety improvements in high crash areas.
      • The bill passed the board 15-0 on 4/15 and awaits the Mayor’s approval.
  • At the City Charter Commission: Initial approval to put the formation of a City Department of Transportation on the November 2024 ballot, which would be a major step towards improving coordination and efficiency in managing the City’s transportation network.

To receive updates like these directly to your inbox, subscribe here to join Trailnet’s St. Louis Cyclist Advocacy Network (or “STL CAN”) — a group of people who want to stay in the know on the policies, projects and issues that are affecting people on bikes in St. Louis.

Public Art Community Ride

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Description

Embark on a beloved Trailnet Community Ride tour led by Dana Gray, an art consultant. Explore the rich art history of St. Louis as you visit various sites and delve into their stories. Join us for an enlightening journey through the city’s vibrant artistic heritage!

Check back soon for ride starting location, route, and program.

The ride will depart at 10 a.m. Check-in begins at 9 a.m.
Approximate End Time: 12 pm

About Trailnet Community Rides

Trailnet Community Rides are guided, slow-paced, group bike rides that explore the history and culture of the St. Louis Community.

Community Rides generally last around 3 hours. There are no staffed rest stops on these rides, and we cannot guarantee access to restrooms or water. Please plan accordingly.

Community Rides registration is capped at 75 participants. A smaller group allows us to safely manage riders on open city streets, ensures our docents/guides can effectively deliver information, and guarantees that local stops (museums, churches, businesses, etc.…) won’t be overwhelmed when we roll up.

Ride Website

Additional Ride information can be found at http://www.trailnet.org/rides.

Ride Eternal – Cemeteries of Yore

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Description

Get ready for a bone-chilling adventure on October 19th with our Community Ride departing from South Side Cyclery. Led by Amanda Clark from the Missouri Historical Society, we’ll explore the haunted history of former cemeteries in the South City area. Don’t miss this ride—it’s sure to send shivers down your spine!

About Trailnet Community Rides

Trailnet Community Rides, presented by the Missouri Historical Society, are guided, slow-paced, group bike rides that explore the history and culture of the St. Louis Community.

Community Rides generally last around 3 hours. There are no staffed rest stops on these rides, and we cannot guarantee access to restrooms or water. Please plan accordingly.

Community Rides registration is capped at 75 participants. A smaller group allows us to manage riders on open city streets safely; ensures our docents/guides can effectively deliver information; and guarantees that local stops (museums, churches, businesses, etc…) won’t be overwhelmed when we roll up.

Route:  

Check-in: 9 am

Ride Start: 10 am

Place

6969 Gravois Ave
St. Louis, MO US 63116

Ride Website

Additional Ride information can be found at http://www.trailnet.org/rides.

Jewish History Community Ride presented by Jewish Federation of St. Louis

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Description

Back by popular demand! Join us as we highlight Jewish History in St. Louis, MO.  Warren Rosenblum, Professor of History at Webster University, and Amanda Clark from the Missouri Historical Society will lead us on a tour of four key locations, each significant to the St. Louis Jewish community.

The 2023 Jewish History Ride is presented by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

About Trailnet Community Rides

Trailnet Community Rides, presented by the Missouri Historical Society, are guided, slow-paced, group bike rides that explore the history and culture of the St. Louis Community.

Community Rides generally last around 3 hours. There are no staffed rest stops on these rides, and we cannot guarantee access to restrooms or water. Please plan accordingly.

Community Rides registration is capped at 75 participants. A smaller group allows us to manage riders on open city streets safely; ensures our docents/guides can effectively deliver information; and guarantees that local stops (museums, churches, businesses, etc…) won’t be overwhelmed when we roll up.

Route:  

Check-in: 9 am

Ride Start: 10 am

Place

225 S Skinker Blvd
St. Louis, MO US 63105

Ride Website

Additional Ride information can be found at http://www.trailnet.org/rides.

Giro Della Montagna

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The Giro Della Montagna (“Tour of The Hill” in Italiano) is our showcase of the City of St. Louis. Giro bursts onto the scene with vibrant energy, swapping the serene forest green for the fiery allure of red brick. Its winding paths weave through the heart of iconic neighborhoods like St. Louis Hills, Carondelet, and the Central West End, offering a thrilling adventure for cyclists. This urban journey adds a dash of metropolitan flair to our roster, providing the ideal counterpart to our rustic escapades. Embark on the Giro and experience the pulse of the city like never before.

After the ride, stick around on The Hill to watch some exciting bike racing during The Gateway Cup brought to you by Big Shark Bicycle Company. 

 

Schedule

6:30 am – Registration & check-in opens
7 am – 8 am – Open start window (details below)
10:30 am – Gateway Cup racing begins! (Giro Della Montagna Event Page)

Start Location: Eastern corner of Botanical and Marconi, 2400 Block of Marconi Avenue

Open Start

Riders can start anytime between 7 and 8 a.m. but must leave before 8:00 a.m. The purpose of the 8:00 a.m. cutoff time is to help us manage SAG and Rest Stop support by knowing how many riders are out on the course. If we allow riders to start later than 8:00 a.m., we must keep rest stops open much later in the day, which strains our amazing volunteers who have given their time to keep you hydrated and fed. We appreciate your cooperation.

 

New for 2024!

We have partnered with our friends from the World Affairs Council STL to incorporate a community bike ride during the Giro Della Montagna!

Have you ever wondered how international community members have shaped the development of St. Louis into the vibrant city we know today? Join Trailnet and the World Affairs STL for a group bike tour of St. Louis neighborhoods and cultural history to learn more. This ride within a ride will feature presentations at several distinct locations, each with unique and noteworthy historical significance.

Route and content information will be emailed on or before 6/5/24.

 

Place

2401 Marconi Ave
Saint Louis, MO US 63110

Ride Website

Additional Ride information can be found at http://www.trailnet.org/rides.

“Drive the Change” Kickoff Event

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and it’s a perfect opportunity for you to be a part of a changing culture around driving safety.
Trailnet is inviting you to “Drive the Change” by pledging to put your phone down and buckle up every time you drive.
Stop by our kick-off event outside Pedego St. Louis (located on Grants Trail!) on Saturday, April 6 any time from 10 am to noon. Learn more about the campaign, sign the pledge, enjoy a treat and pick up a car magnet and yard sign to show your support.
You know that distracted driving is dangerous. Now, it’s also illegal thanks to the new Missouri Hands Free Law. By committing to driving distraction-free, you’re not just following the law — you’re actively contributing to a safer, more caring community.

Letter: City infrastructure plans must look beyond just pavement

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Originally published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Recently, Aldermanic President Megan Green, on St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking, spoke on the need to address traffic safety during the upcoming aldermanic session. Trailnet, the regional nonprofit dedicated to safe streets for all, has several recommendations for Aldermen to consider.

First, the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds in Ordinance 71650 must include community engagement and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The city cannot pave and stripe its way to safety for all; protective infrastructure changes must be made.

The aforementioned can be done by enacting new Complete Streets legislation. The City’s current Complete Streets guidelines were recently scored 30 out of 100 by Smart Growth America. A more rigorous complete streets policy, strictly adhered to by city officials, would increase safety for people walking, biking and driving.

Trailnet supports Board Bill#105 on automated enforcement and Board Bill#106 concerning surveillance and the establishment of a Neighborhood Traffic Safety Fund. We are, however, concerned with Board Bill #185 regarding surveillance. We recommend the establishment of a committee, made up of an equal number of residents and city officials, to create policies and monitor the implementation of all the bills.

Finally, keeping the public more informed on infrastructure changes and traffic safety is essential for a safer environment. Providing accessible updates on City infrastructure spending—perhaps on the City website—would promote transparency and allow the public to better understand how projects are progressing.

Trailnet stands ready to assist.

Sincerely,

Cindy Mense, Trailnet CEO

2023 Trailnet Wrapped

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2023 was an outstanding year to be a “Trailnut”! (a nickname our team happily adopted following a cake decorating snafu at this year’s Ride the Rivers)

Together with our members, donors, sponsors, partners and neighbors, we celebrated some of the most significant wins EVER for people walking, biking and using transit in the St. Louis region.

We made a lot of progress, and we’re excited to move into the new year with a lot of momentum. Here’s some of what we accomplished:

2023 Stats

  • 2,919 riders ages 4 to 85 came from 21 states to join us at 11 bike rides
  • 195 people learned new bike skills and explored the greenways through our bike education programs funded by Great Rivers Greenway
  • We analyzed 736 crashes throughout St. Louis City and St. Louis County to produce our 2022 Crash Report
  • Our advocacy team attended 111 community meetings, reviewed 15 bills, and testified at 6 hearings.
  • Our planning team engaged 220+ people at two traffic calming demonstrations
  • Along with BWorks, we surveyed Aldermanic candidates, received 9 responses, and published their positions on mobility issues
  • 8.41 miles of bike infrastructure is funded for construction in the City of St. Louis, much of it inspired by Connecting St. Louis and Trailnet’s other advocacy efforts
  • 350 crashes, $8.3 million in economic damages and one fatality were prevented by Missouri’s new Hands-Free driving law
  • 1,773 of you have donated or joined as members so far this year!
  • 142 people volunteered their time with Trailnet

Behind The Numbers:

$40 Million for Safer Streets

Years of conversations at community meetings, public testimonies and outspoken advocacy in pursuit of safer streets culminated in the signing of the St. Louis Safer Streets Bill (Board Bill 120) on March 1, 2023. Trailnet CEO Cindy Mense stood by the mayor’s side and gave remarks on behalf of all of Trailnet’s neighbors and supporters who stand to benefit from this unprecedented investment!

Trailnet will continue to engage with the City to make sure that this money is put to use efficiently, effectively and in the interests of all road users.

Distracted Driving Banned

For years, Trailnet and our statewide partners have recognized distracted driving as one of our most pressing problems. Along with other members of the Hands-Free Missouri Coalition, we have advocated tirelessly to get Missouri legislators on board with a hands-free driving law.

In July 2023, the Siddens Bening Hands-Free Law was passed, making Missouri the 49th state to ban texting while driving.

In honor of the memory of Randall Siddens and countless other victims of distracted driving in Missouri, we are proud our state has finally taken this step forward.

St. Louis’ First Calm Street

A decade in the making, the Louisiana Calm Street Project finished Phase 1 of construction in Spring 2023.

This 1.1-mile corridor is a pilot project for the City’s Calm Streets initiative. The construction of phase 1 was the result of years of hard work and collaboration across the City. We look forward to seeing how this project will progress—eventually connecting two of our City’s largest parks and paving the way for future infrastructure improvements across our streets network.

Pop-Up Traffic Calming Demos

It can be hard to imagine what new infrastructure could look and feel like to walk, bike or drive through. That’s where traffic calming pop up demonstrations come in. We use temporary materials like brightly colored cones, tires and flowers to demonstrate a cross walk, bump outs, fewer driving lanes or a bike lane.

We hosted two of these this year: one for MODOT on Route D in St. Louis City and another on Park(ing) Day on Compton Avenue.

New Community Trail for South County Students

A team of Spire volunteers constructed an all new walking and biking path on the property of Bayless Elementary School this summer! The project was the result of a collaboration between Trailnet, Spire and Bayless Schools, funded by Spire Serves and carried out by volunteers through Spire’s Day for Good program. The trail is an asset to the school’s bike education programs.

7th grader Sudais Abdirahman reminded us of the importance of getting outside and being active, saying, “It… gets my mind clear because the breeze gets in my hair and it’s… relaxing,”

Trailnet’s First Soiree

In our 35th year we tried something new.. and it was a rousing success!

Trailnet’s inaugural Paving the Way Soiree was a new take on our annual fundraising event—a night for us to celebrate with our friends and supports, to recognize the partners who make our wins possible and to raise a little money.

This year’s event also featured the presentation of our first ever batch of Members, Advocates and Partners (MAP) Awards. We can’t wait to build on this event and celebrate more deserving community leaders in the years to come!

Miles of Smiles at Trailnet Rides

Trailnet’s rides are a big part of how we carry out our mission. Rides provide a safe place for people to have fun on their bikes, meet other active people, explore their community, and make a statement with their presence that our streets are for PEOPLE! 

The best part of our rides are the smiles! You can’t help but smile when you’re riding your bike. It’s just fun!

The Louisiana Avenue Calm Street Project

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A decade in the making, this North-South corridor in South St. Louis is undergoing transformations that could change the way St. Louis streets are designed and improved in the interests of vulnerable road users.


2013 – 2014: Project Background

In 2013, Trailnet and our partners in the City of St. Louis received an EPA grant to educate and engage the St. Louis Community about traffic calming.

Traffic Calming – Traffic calming consists of physical design and other measures put in place on existing roads to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. 1

From 2013 – 2014, Trailnet helped to educate more than 1,200 residents in Dutchtown, Forest Park Southeast, and North City through mapping, community meetings and neighborhood outreach.

The communities we worked with became excited about increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety by transforming neighborhood streets into what were then referred to as neighborhood greenways and bicycle boulevards, now known locally as Calm Streets.

Calm Streets – A Calm Street is a residential street transformed to reduce speeding and provide safety for everyone traveling there. Using traffic calming features such as speed humps and curb extensions, Calm Streets create an environment where people drive the speed limit and therefore preserve the safety of people walking and biking. They also incorporate green infrastructure to mitigate stormwater issues and address environmental concerns like the urban heat island effect.

2015: A Formative Trip to Portland

In 2015, Trailnet secured a second round of EPA grant funding, which was used to fly a group of project partners, city officials and residents to Portland, Oregon, where they took inspiration from the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Neighborhood Greenways Program.

Full of ideas and bolstered by concrete evidence of the plausibility and effectiveness of neighborhood-, and city-wide traffic calming projects, the team returned to St. Louis to choose a location for a pilot project.

At the time, Trailnet was working with Froebel Elementary School in the Dutchtown Neighborhood on creating safe routes to school for their students. Through that project, Trailnet had already established residents’ desires for safer streets in their neighborhoods and begun to build political willingness to act in the Dutchtown Community—which has the highest concentration of school-aged children in the City of St. Louis.

With that groundwork already done in the Dutchtown community, Louisiana Avenue was chosen as the pilot site for the City of St. Louis’ Calm Streets Concept. The rationale: Louisiana was an ideal North-South connection, parallel to the City’s highest crash corridor (Grand Blvd.) and adjacent to many parks, schools, small businesses and residential streets. Thus began the process of planning, designing and constructing what would become the Louisiana Avenue Calm Street.

2016 – 2023: Pop-ups, Planning and Construction

In November 2016, Trailnet hosted a traffic calming demonstration (check out the video and flyer!) on Louisiana Avenue next to Marquette Park to demonstrate what a Calm Street could look like on the corridor. During the demonstration, people driving slowed down by over 10 miles per hour. Ten miles per hour is the difference between someone struck by a car having a 5% chance of dying (with the concept installed) or having a 45% chance of dying (prior street layout).

Residents who witnessed the demonstration expressed their overwhelming support for the project, saying “we definitely need something to slow traffic” and “if you have to put a speed hump every six feet, I’m all for it!”

In 2017, the City of St. Louis submitted an application for federal funding, and the Louisiana Avenue Calm Street Project was chosen as the number one funding priority that year by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

Over the next five years, the City of St. Louis, its project partners and contractors jumped many hurdles on the way to creating a more streamlined process for building future Calm Streets in the City. The plan went for design in 2018, with construction beginning in 2021.

In spring 2023, construction was finished on Phase 1 of the Louisiana Calm Street Project. The first phase features 1.1-miles of assorted traffic calming measures (speed humps, mini traffic circles, high visibility crosswalks, bump-outs, rain gardens, etc.), from Gravois to Meramec.


Looking Ahead:

Phase 2 will extend the current Louisiana Avenue Calm Street South to Carondelet Park. Phase 2 is currently in design.

A third and final phase will extend North to Tower Grove Park and complete the North-South connection between two of our City’s largest and most-visited parks.

The goals of the Louisiana Avenue Calm Street Project are many:

  1. To reduce speeds and increase safety for all road users,
  2. To foster a sense of safety in the neighborhoods, schools and parks adjacent to the corridor,
  3. To provide an alternative North-South connection in South City parallel to one of our most dangerous streets,
  4. To encourage healthy, active living,
  5. To test various, modern best practices for transportation engineering and traffic calming,
  6. To develop a streamlined process for calming a network of streets across the City of St. Louis…

The finished vision for Louisiana is a safe > 3-mile corridor that connects thousands of people to the places that they live, work and play.

Phase 1 is completed, but this project still needs public support to be fully realized!

If you live in the neighborhoods that have been or will be touched by the Louisiana Avenue Calm Street, express your support to the City for safer streets. If you have feedback based on your experience of the corridor, reach out to your alderperson.

This pilot project will ultimately be a success if it paves the way for effective improvements to our built environment that save and better the lives of our neighbors! As one project partner from the City said at a recent presentation: “Maybe every street should be a Calm Street.”

More Resources:

  1. For example, vertical deflections (speed humps, speed tables, and raised intersections), horizontal shifts, and roadway narrowing are intended to reduce speed and enhance the street environment for non-motorists. Closures that obstruct traffic movements in one or more directions, such as median barriers, are intended to reduce cut-through traffic. Traffic calming measures can be implemented at an intersection, street, neighborhood, or area-wide level,” according to the US Dept. of Transportation. ↩︎

Two Lifetime Advocates Making St. Louis Better for People Who Bike, Walk and Roll

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Q&A with Bill and Carla Sauerwein, owners of Pedego St. Louis

Conducted by Trailnet Marketing & Communications Coordinator Justin Seaton

Justin: Hi Bill! I understand you and Carla have long histories as bike/walk advocates. Tell me about how you got involved in this world.

Bill: Both Carla and I have been cyclists all of our lives.  Carla is a pediatric RN and for years ran the St. Louis SAFE KIDS Coalition.  She led education and advocacy to prevent childhood injury, including supplying and promoting bike helmets and car seats.   I served as Mayor of the City of Oakland form 1997 – 2001 and with the idea of providing safe streets and walkways for residents, constructed almost all of the sidewalks you see in the city of Oakland and redesigned many of the streets.  As Mayor, our city-wide capitol improvements plan was nominated for a state-wide landscape architect design award.

J: How did you first become involved with Trailnet? Tell me about your partnership with us over the years.

B: I suppose my first connection to Trailnet came when I attempted to acquire a small strip of abandoned railroad property within the City of Oakland in order to construct a park.  In that process, I met Ted Curtis, then the Director of Trailnet, who introduced me to Trailnet and its mission.  Trailnet ended up completing the northern leg of the Grant’s Trail with the property and the City constructed a park around the trail.  Our store is adjacent to the park.  Thereafter, Carla and I became supporters of Trailnet, participating in Trailnet rides and learning about the many projects undertaken by Trailnet.

More recently, as we met the dedicated staff of Trailnet—Cindy, Corrine, Kevin and others—and witnessed firsthand their hard work and dedication, we knew that Trailnet was an important organization to support.  We share its mission…. and over the years we have helped raise funds so that they can continue to make streets and trails safer and available to all.

J: When/How did you open Pedego St. Louis, and how has your business connected you to the St. Louis cycling community?

B: We opened Pedego St. Louis in June, 2019 by rehabilitating an old, run-down building adjacent to Grant’s Trail in Oakland.  From our location, we meet and talk to cyclists and trail users every day.  We have greatly expanded the cycling community by putting people back on bikes that had for one reason or another gotten away from cycling.  We have gently introduced the St Louis cycling community to electric bikes which are now widely used for commuting,  leisure riding, trail riding and for the all around enjoyment of bicycling.

J: Speak briefly about the E-Bike that you are contributing to Trailnet’s upcoming raffle (winner to be announced at the 2023 Paving the Way Soiree)

B: The bike we have donated to Trailnet this year is a Pedego Avenue.  Since this model was introduced a year ago, it has become the number one selling Pedego Electric bike.  The Avenue utilizes a “hybrid style” frame that is familiar to everyone  and is a great bike for riding and commuting on streets and paved trails.  It is quality-designed, lightweight and balanced. Like all Pedego Electric Bikes, it comes with a 5 year warranty that includes the electrical components.  Everyone loves this bike.