Posts Tagged “traffic calming”

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. ↩︎

2023 Park(ing) Day

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Park(ing) Day is a global, public, participatory project where people across the world temporarily repurpose curbside parking spaces and convert them into public parks and social spaces to advocate for safer, greener, and more equitable streets for people.

To celebrate Park(ing) Day 2023 in St. Louis, Trailnet will be hosting a pop-up parklet + bike lane demonstration along Compton Ave from Shenandoah to Longfellow.

Come visit Trailnet’s Park(ing) Day pop-up + bike lane demonstration at 2292 Compton Ave. on Friday, September 15!

Tactical Urbanism Webinar

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Trailnet and the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association will be hosting a webinar on tactical urbanism on Thursday, March 2nd at 10am. The webinar will provide information about cross-sector collaboration and how it can have an impact on the built environment. Trailnet will also be sharing their success from the Plan4Health project. Learn more at Planners4Health. Register here.

CDC Recognizes Our Traffic Calming Demonstrations

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Trailnet’s Traffic Calming Demonstrations Now Part of National CDC Online Library




Traffic calming demonstrations produce promising data

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In fall of 2015, the Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association collaborated with Trailnet, the HEAL Partnership, the City of St. Louis, and community residents to host four pop-up traffic calming demonstrations within the City of St. Louis. The demonstrations showcased proven methods of slowing traffic and increasing safety with traffic calming designs. The Missouri Chapter of the American Planning Association, Trailnet and the HEAL Partnership used these demonstrations to educate community members, elected officials, and city staff on how we can work together to create safer and more pleasant streets.

IMG_8279Like most U.S. cities, the St. Louis designed its streets to prioritize people driving, making our city less pleasant and less safe for people on foot. In the U.S., 12 percent of fatal traffic crashes involve people walking; however, in St. Louis that figure is 36 percent. Last year, 19 pedestrians were killed in the City of St. Louis. In fact, more pedestrians were killed in 2015 than in 2013 and 2014 combined. These sobering statistics earned St. Louis a designation as a Focus City by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, joining 16 other U.S. cities in which pedestrian and bicycle deaths are higher than the national average.

These crashes are a consequence of streets designed to accommodate streetcars and high levels of traffic. For example, some residential streets in St. Louis are as wide as 65 feet, which is wide enough for five highway lanes. This encourages excessive speeding and puts people that walk in danger. Moreover, high-traffic, high-speed roads create impassable boundaries that effectively turn neighborhoods into “islands” for people walking. For households that do not have any cars, high stress roads limit access to important amenities, such as parks and schools. Pedestrian safety is a growing concern in St. Louis, and traffic calming can help solve this problem by slowing down vehicles and prioritizing safe and pleasant streets over moving traffic.

At the pop-up traffic calming demonstrations in the neighborhoods of Dutchtown, Carondelet, JeffVanderLou and the Ville, colorful tires, cones and plants were used to narrow traffic lanes, add roundabouts, create medians, extend sidewalks, and highlight crosswalks. In each neighborhood, speed guns were used to collect speed data; trained volunteers observed and tallied vehicular stops as “completely  stopped,” “rolling stop, or “no stop” and Trailnet surveyed residents of the neighborhood on their perceptions of the street’s safety and accessibility. Data was collected during the demonstrations as well as on non-demonstration days to help understand how traffic calming impacted the neighborhoods.


With traffic calming measures in place, cars drove slower, came to more complete stops, and were less likely to roll through stop signs. Residents expressed that their local streets felt safer and more pleasant. During the traffic calming demonstrations, residents said it was easier to cross the street since it was more likely cars would obey stop signs and follow the speed limit. In most neighborhoods, the survey results indicated the traffic calming demonstrations improved residents’ perceptions of the street’s safety, and most residents expressed that the demonstrations made their street feel more pleasant.

Trailnet looked at average differences in response taken during demonstrations as well as without a demonstration in place. In most neighborhoods, the survey analysis showed the demonstrations results were positive in regards of safety. 

The only exception was in the Dutchtown neighborhood (Gasconade Street between Compton Avenue and Minnesota Avenue). While some of the survey results in Dutchtown were negative, the survey analysis suggests that these differences might have been random occurrences. These results can be partly explained by the fact that some residents were hesitant with certain aspects of the Dutchtown demonstration. For example, some residents felt they weren’t well enough informed about the traffic calming demonstrations and were upset to have parking spaces were removed from the street. also, some residents were hesitant about one of the proposed traffic calming designs; the chicane, which causes drivers to swerve slightly.  Residents feared the design would turn Gasconade Street into a one-way street. In reality, this feature maintains a two-way street with enough space to have two cars pass each other.


Overall, in all four neighborhoods, average vehicle speed fell nearly 7 mph with the traffic calming demonstrations in place. When pedestrian crashes do occur, slower vehicle speeds result in fewer pedestrian deaths.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 11.26.27 PMThe Ville demonstration (St. Louis Avenue between Sarah Street and Whittier Street)  was especially successful with the average vehicle speed falling nearly 13 mph and the number of complete stops during the demonstration increasing from 34 percent to 65 percent. The demonstration site was served by four bus stops, so the increased stops helped people to get to their buses safely throughout the day.

Because of the success of these events, Trailnet is making the resources from these demonstrations available for free to any organization or St. Louis neighborhood wanting to create a similar demonstration in their community. For information on accessing these materials, contact Grace Kyung at grace@trailnet.org or 314-436-1324 ext. 110.

To see the full results from these demonstrations see the infographic below.

Traffic Calming Infographic Version 5

Traffic Calming Infographic