Trailnet is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a 29-year history of Promoting Active Living as a way of life that encourages people to integrate physical activity into their daily routines. Trailnet leads in fostering healthy and active communities through innovative programs, planning, and policy that promote walking and bicycling throughout the St. Louis bi-state region.
As part of its work, Trailnet has helped thirty communities throughout the St. Louis region create the framework for developing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure through bicycle and pedestrian master plans. With a focus on transportation infrastructure improvements and encouragement programs that promote walking and biking, these plans produce action-oriented goals and objectives to help reach a community’s unique desired vision.
The Planner leads the development and creation of plans, and for assigned plans will serve as the primary contact for projects involving contracted partners, municipalities, governmental agencies, mayors, city administrators, public works and parks directors. They will manage all planning tasks including developing documents and creating maps. The Planner realizes Trailnet’s mission in planning environmental changes to promote lovable urban places.
The Planner reports to the Special Project Director, and works in collaboration with Trailnet’s Director of Programs to deliver services that integrate public health, urban planning and advocacy.
Work with federal, state, and local governmental agencies to manage, develop, and negotiate bicycle and pedestrian planning projects
Project management including cost estimating, budgets, reports, data collection, and contracts
Lead and assist with field reconnaissance and analysis of data
Support and assist in designing community forums to elicit critical information for bicycle and pedestrian planning projects, identify issues of importance, develop solutions, and prioritize needs
Maintain healthy relationships with community leaders, metropolitan planning organizations, elected officials, and state and federal level administrators to inform and transform communities through healthy design that accommodates all modes of active and motorized travel
Develop and maintain familiarity with current and future activities of key agencies and programs (Local, State and Federal Transportation entities, Safe Routes to School, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Recreational Trails, Street departments, MEPRD, GRG, BSL, etc.)
Initiate and follow through on data collection such as requesting and collecting existing data from municipalities on streets, trails, parks, public facilities, and neighborhoods, etc.
Assist in planning placemaking projects, including conception, execution, and follow-up
Provide technical assistance to Advocacy and other departments as appropriate with regard to the built environment and new vision
Assist in developing recommendations, communications, and collateral concerning bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and related safety claims
With the Director of Special Projects, develop internal standards for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and assure standards are incorporated into all of our efforts
Masters degree preferred in urban planning or a closely related field with two years relevant experience; or a Bachelors degree plus 2-5 years relevant experience. Experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), local governments, bicycle and pedestrian planning, grant writing, and project administration is a must. Must be highly computer literate (MS Word, Excel, Power Point, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign) and at ease with public meetings, presentations, and marketing the program.
Knowledge of Complete Streets, street design standards, and bicycle facility types as tools for creating livable communities that promote active living
Familiarity with NACTO, AASHTO and MUTCD guidelines
Ability to manage multiple projects with multiple partners and differing deadlines
Excellent writing skills
Ability to think strategically, including systems-level thinking, ability to optimize systems and resources, and ability to think ahead to next steps
Ability to work independently and manage self and partners toward goals, while being a genuine “team player”
Ability and interest in presenting case studies and success stories to local, regional, and national level conferences
Ability to connect bicycle and pedestrian planning to larger public health issues, identifying opportunities for complementary programs and policy
Ability to work in a fast-moving environment; ability to work with fast-paced colleagues
Demonstrated ability and/or knowledge of cycling
AICP certification preferred
Compensation and additional information
Salary commensurate with experience. Competitive benefits package and flexible work schedule available. Informal, casual work environment above the Downtown Bicycle Station and close to MetroLink.
Trailnet has created a traffic calming lending library. That means anyone can rent out equipment for creating pop-up traffic calming demonstrations to show the community what it looks like when streets are designed to slow traffic. On October 2, the Benton Park Neighborhood Association hosted one of these demonstrations with our materials.
The demonstration consisted of two mini-roundabouts and curb extensions with a temporary crosswalk. Although the weather was cloudy, local politicians turned out for the event and showed interest in reviewing the neighborhood feedback.
“Trailnet’s traffic calming lending library allowed our neighborhood to turn safety concerns into visible solutions for the future,” said BJ Kraiberg, vice president of the Benton Park Neighborhood Association. “Our pop-up demonstration facilitated a necessary dialogue between neighbors, elected officials, and city employees, which would not have been possible without the thoughtful guidance of Trailnet staff and the Slow Your Street How-To Guide. Turning to Trailnet has proven to be an indispensable first step as we work towards building a safer, more walkable neighborhood and city.”
The BPNA said their next steps are to collect survey data, speed data, and stop compliance data on a non-demonstration day, then compare notes with data taken day-of.
For more information on Trailnet’s traffic calming lending library, contact Grace Kyung at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trailnet staff recently traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, where they presented at Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place, an international conference put on by People for Public Spaces. Below is a Q&A about what Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner Grace Kyung, Director of Policy and Strategy Marielle Brown, and with Trailnet Walk Bike Ambassador Deidre Brown experienced abroad.
What was the best idea you saw in Vancouver, B.C.?
Marielle) Grace and I stayed in a neighborhood north of downtown that had installed a lot of street closures in the 1970s to address crime. As crime went down, they had kept the closures for vehicles, but opened the streets for people by creating Calm Streets, where people can walk and bike safely with very low traffic. On some streets, the closures had been turned into small parks with benches and plants where neighbors could gather. This kept the street grid open for people on foot and on bike and encouraged local walking and biking trips. It made me think of how we can turn our street closures into assets for creating more people-friendly neighborhoods.
Grace) During my visit, one of the best ideas that I saw was how well connected the bicycle transportation network was throughout the city. I was impressed that Vancouver, B.C. focused on creating a strong network throughout the whole city to help people reach their destinations by bike. The city took it a step further because they analyze how many of their facilities are designed for people of all ages and abilities. The below image captures how well the city is focused on this initiative.
Photo credit – City of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada
Further, the city’s approach to build protected bicycle lanes also showed the positive benefits to increase the number of women on bikes. From 2010 to 2015, the number of women biking grew to 40% after a protected bike lane was built.
Deidre) What I like most about Vancouver, is how the city makes cyclists and pedestrians a priority. They performed “road diets” throughout the city in order to slow traffic and allow room for protected bike lanes. I love their use of bike traffic signals, which are like the ones we use for cars. These signals work in conjunction with the regular traffic signals and the pedestrian cross walk signals to protect pedestrians and cyclists. It was such a joy to see so many pedestrians and cyclists take advantage of what the city has provided them. Vancouver is a city that truly puts pedestrians and cyclists first, before cars.
Which community and which projects inspired you most?
M) The energy and ambition of Twin Cities Greenways in Minneapolis is amazing. They are a group of advocates and residents working together to create a car-free corridor for biking and walking in north Minneapolis, where there are no abandoned rails to convert to greenways. The project has been resident-driven from the start and right now they are doing demonstrations to test out different concepts. The greenway will not only improve the quality of life for residents, it will also change what we consider possible for street design in the U.S.
The City of Calgary’s year-long demonstration of a network of protected bikeways was very inspiring. The City decided to test out the idea of protected bikeways by creating a basic network of them downtown using paint, bollards, and other temporary changes. The test has been very successful and Calgary will be working on making the protected bikeways permanent. By demonstrating several connected routes at once, Calgary ensured that their protected bikeways would be useful and highly used.
G) The session that inspired me the most during the conference was “Overcoming Barriers to Bicycling in Communities of Color” by Charles Brown and Robert Schneider. One of the most important takeaways for me was that planners and other professions must acknowledge it is okay to not have all the answers, but important to ask the right questions without making assumptions. Also, we should be giving people of color the microphone and paying them for their time to participate rather than asking them to only volunteer.
D) While in Vancouver, I had an opportunity to take a walking tour of Olympic Village, which is where the athletes stayed during the 2010 Winter Olympics. When Olympic Village was designed, it was designed for everyone. There are a mixture of high-end condominiums and affordable housing, which was a requirement when developing the Village.
There were two things that really impressed me with Olympic Village: One was its mixed-use buildings and the other was how accessible it is for people with mobility challenges. A lot of buildings in Olympic Village were designed as mixed-use buildings with stores and other businesses on street level and apartments on higher levels. It is a self-contained community with everything you need within walking distance of where you live, except a school, which they are in the process of planning.
What is your biggest takeaway from the conference?
M) My biggest takeaway was that St. Louis needs robust public engagement in our land use and transportation decisions. When we allow decisions to be made behind closed doors, we can miss out on important considerations and fail to see new, transformative ideas that can improve the places we live and give us more transportation options. When we work together as a community to address problems and test out solutions, it helps build consensus around projects and get people excited for improving their neighborhoods, rather than being leery of any change.
G) The biggest takeaway from the conference for me was that Trailnet is doing great work, but can continue to improve as leaders in our community. In my role at Trailnet, I focus on creating more livable, vibrant, healthy communities. As a planner, and I would like to expand on this perspective by working with city and community stakeholders to build better cross-sector collaborations. In my role, I need to think about ways I can work to continue to build capacity throughout the city, and find better ways for Trailnet to partner with neighborhoods to form a collective vision.
D) My biggest takeaway was that if we are going to make St. Louis a more livable city, we have to have buy-in from everyone; from the elected officials to the residents. We must involve the people who live, work, play, attend schools; the people who make it a community. It has to be a collaboration. When you include the people of the community, it gives them a sense of ownership, a sense of pride in knowing that they are a part of what is going on in their community and in knowing that their voice matters.
Furthermore, we must change our way of thinking when it comes to planning and designing new communities as well as making changes to existing communities. We must make pedestrians and biyclists a priority over cars.
The data from our 2015 walk and bike counts is in. Thanks to the 76 volunteers who donated 152 hours of their time to count cyclists and pedestrians throughout the St. Louis Metro region in September. Collecting such extensive data can be a real challenge, and it would not have been possible without them. You’ve helped make Trailnet a resource for advising the city and other organizations on transportation-related decisions. We have summited the data to the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, which compiles data for use by planners, governments, and bicycle and pedestrian professionals. We also submit the data to local planning agencies and nonprofits to inform plans for better biking and walking.
Summary of November 18 Planning Advisory Committee Meeting
An unseasonably warm day welcomed Kirkwood residents young and old to the Farmers’ Market in Downtown Kirkwood. The blue skies and pleasant fall breeze made for prime pumpkin patch and harvest market perusing and a perfect day for a Pop-up Plaza on Argonne Drive.
Early Saturday morning Trailnet staff and volunteers, including City Councilwoman Nancy Luetzow and her husband Mark, constructed makeshift infrastructure for the Pop-up Plaza. Using chalk paint, they stenciled traffic-calming apples on the streets in the area surrounding the plaza. Reflective duct tape and chalk paint were used to design crosswalks on Argonne. Kirkwood resident Mary Hanson later expressed her appreciation: “I love this crosswalk. It makes cars really kind of stop and think that there are pedestrians here and it gives you a safe place to cross.” Hay bales on either side of the plaza acted as bulb-outs – narrowing the traffic, slowing speeds, and protecting the pedestrian space.
The Pop-up Plaza served as an inviting atmosphere for residents to learn about and provide feedback on Kirkwood’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. Planning Manager Marielle Brown and Trailnet staff were on site for questions and to further explain the elements of a bikeable, walkable community. Enthusiastic volunteers in reflective vests welcomed residents and joined them in examining large maps of Kirkwood to identify walking and biking routes and areas of concern. Resident Jennifer Pangborn Dolde explained her concerns: “I think the two big things to improve biking and walking in Kirkwood is connectivity and the speeds of vehicles.” Planning Advisory Committee members David Eagleton and Robert Trottman volunteered at the event, sharing their involvement and discussing the Master Plan with attendees. Residents also participated in the Plan Review by selecting infrastructure options they prefer for Kirkwood.
Trailnet has enjoyed working with Kirkwood since January of 2014, leading a series of meetings with the Planning Advisory Committee to develop Kirkwood’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. The lively gathering and chatter among residents at the event revealed the community’s enthusiasm and desire to improve walkability and bikeability in the Kirkwood area. Nathan Leming, a volunteer at the event, recognized the impact stating “The downtown area is the center of the community. If you make the community more bikeable and walkable, you’ll see more people down here. There wouldn’t be as much traffic.”
Kirkwood residents are not only enthusiastic but great supporters of their community. Kirkwood resident, Jennifer Pangborn Dolde, expressed “We love the feel of community you get, just being around it, it’s the aura, it’s the people . . . We have this great downtown that draws people from all over the city.” Showing his support, Mayor of Kirkwood Arthur J. McDonnell visited with event attendees discussing the Master Plan and asking little ones about their Halloween festivities. Event volunteer and Planning Advisory Committee member, James Myers, shared “I’ve lived in Kirkwood for 12 years. It feels like a real town, it’s really close-knit.”
The input and presence of the community made Kirkwood’s Plan Review and Pop-up Plaza a success. Proactive residents showed interest in making our vision a reality in Kirkwood with valuable feedback and a desire to get involved. We hope to finalize the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan in December 2014. For additional information and updates on the Master Plan: https://trailnet.org/work/transportation-planning/communities/kirkwood/