Revealed: Des Peres Invasion Plans

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nextSTL has uncovered top secret invasion plans for the city of Des Peres, MO. While some scoffed at a Des Peres resident recently quoted as saying, “We don’t want to be invaded. We’re not in favor of making ourselves a target for the outside community,” the fear expressed appears to be justified. A source has provided nextSTL with a map of the invasion plan showing forces amassing on the Des Peres municipal border.

Sources tell nextSTL that the invading forces have authority to move on Des Peres, but await newly built asphalt bicycle baths, painted “sharrows”, repaired sidewalks, and wayfinding signage before mounting their assault.

According to the map exclusively obtained by this site, it appears Des Peres may see an onslaught from multiple directions. To the southeast is shown a brigade of “new money mobsters”, seven units of “ne’er-do-wells” to the southwest, a small contingent of “bandits” to the northwest, “white collar criminals” to the north, and “people” to the east.

While the invasion appears well planned, speaking with a burglar well-known to St. Louis City, Clayton and Maplewood police forces, nextSTL was told that until and unless MetroLink reaches Des Peres, residents are unlikely to be burgled. “Does the train go there? Then I don’t go there,” the thief told nextSTL.

Plans appear to be at an advanced stage, yet an invasion could be thwarted if plans for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure fail to move forward. “I see no way to proceed if there aren’t navigational aids, if sidewalks are bumpy, or bike lane markings faded,” confessed a ne’er-do-well reached on the front lines via SnapChat.

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But seriously, opposition to sidewalks and bike paths based on not wanting to bring a criminal element, “unwanted strangers”, and “people” to one’s community is silly. Concern about a project that would change one’s community is not. The whole $2.7M, 15-year plan began when 30 percent of Des Peres residents responded to a city survey rating walking and biking paths as a high priority for the community.

The first community presentation by project planner Trailnet, a non-profit that advocates for and plans bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the St. Louis area, brought out the opposition. A second presentation was reportedly met with 100 residents more or less evenly split on the project.

A TV news report by Fox2Now covering the event described the planning as “fancy bike and walking paths” “along busy roads” and “so called “greenways” through neighborhoods”. People should be vigilant about plans for their community. Dropping a pedestrian and bike bridge over I-270 from a low-density residential neighborhood to a suburban shopping mall is smart, and saves $8.5M.

If I were to guess, Des Peres will support more and better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. While opposition to something like this can be loud and swift, I’m guessing most Des Peres residents favor the project, or are rather indifferent. Of course, if done well, there will be an invasion, of the next generation of families to buy homes and build community.

It’s an important endeavor to introduce real access and recreational amenities to a community, especially one lacking basic infrastructure for anything other than cars. But bike lanes and greenways in Des Peres aren’t as efficient as building connections in urban environments where existing streets and paths create a functional network. Residents of Des Peres should be able to choose to live without sidewalks. If they do, the money planned for this project would be better spent in an urban area and not trying to fix a development pattern inherently hostile to people walking and biking.

Des Peres, MO - bicycle plan by Trailnet

Des Peres, MO - pedestrian plan by Trailnet

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  • KOBie

    I would love to see this investment for sidewalks and biking paths being sent to the other side of 270 and into the city – and used to attract folks who used to live in the city but moved to Des Peres because now they have kiddos. I think St Louis Public School System would be a better use of this cash and if was brought up to par to the county schools, then folks wouldn’t need to move to Des Peres to begin with! Cause from the sound of it, that is the only reason one would want to live there anyway…doesn’t sound very community orientated, safe for kids to move about if they have to be driven around everywhere, or full of fun and exciting things to do or see…unlike the city!

  • Jessica A

    Driving through Des Peres on my way to work this morning, I saw several kids biking along Dougherty Ferry, right by I-270. All I could think was, “This is a really dangerous and unsafe situation. These kids are probably on their way to burglarize my house!” (It’s also possible they could have been on their way to elementary school at St. Gerard Majella, but probably they were criminals.)

  • Peter Haynes

    I, for one, applaud Des Peres’ tenacity. You have to be vigilant about these things. I lost focus for a minute and the next thing I knew there was a Jimmy Johns, a Verizon, AND a Starbucks–all in my neighborhood. Need to keep all that shit out in the county where it belongs.

  • AlexWithAK

    “Residents of Des Peres should be able to choose to live without sidewalks. If they do, the money planned for this project would be better spent in an urban area and not trying to fix a development pattern inherently hostile to people walking and biking.”

    To an extent I agree. But your line about not trying to fix an area hostile to walking and biking is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you want to improve those things, you have to start somewhere.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I agree. If the residents there want to fix it, then it’s fantastic that Trailnet is a resource that can help plan and execute ideas. I’m just saying that if people don’t want these things, that’s their decision as well.

  • Steve Kluth

    I recommend timing the invasion to happen simultaneously with the release of the latest iPhone. They’ll be too busy fending off the hordes of Apple fanboys at the mall to notice.

  • Larry Guinn

    Poking fun at irrational fears is always a joy.
    Imagine moving to a quiet, lush area to enjoy nature, then resisting efforts to take advantage of those things by walking and biking.
    It’s selfish.

  • Nate Briggs

    Seriously hilarious – at least the first part. Based on the cultural assumption that “undesirables”—people of low social status—are on bicycles, or on foot. In fact, the criminal class has no problem getting into residential neighborhoods. Crooks own cars…like everyone else. And they’re usually driving pretty fast (since they’re getting away).

  • Andrew Filla

    Many of us in Des Peres want to embrace sidewalks and greenways. You don’t hear the supporters as much because we are either working or chasing kids….

    That being said…we do need to stay vigilant to ensure no one from Glendale or Warson Woods makes it on to our streets!

    • Jessica A

      Please contact your aldermen and let them know your views. The less paranoid people of Des Peres need to make sure our views are represented..

      • Andrew Filla

        I will. I have already contacted City Hall and the mayor and alderman have record of a letter I wrote.

  • Kiki Fogg

    As long as the invaders spare Zydeco Blues, then I for one welcome our new overlords.

    (Disclaimer: I don’t actually live in Des Peres.)

  • RyleyinSTL

    I thought the whole point of living in Des Peres was no sidewalks/greenways? Drive or bust! It was literally developed that way ON PURPOSE. Why would you choose to live in Des Peres if sidewalks/bike trails/Greenways were of any importance to you? People move to Des Peres for this very reason. No wonder current residents don’t what this….because they never wanted this, ever.

    On the flip side, as an avid cyclist, this will only make me more likely to explore it instead of just rolling by on Ladue Rd. So yes, if you build it, we will come…and look suspicious about your cul-de-sacs.

    • Jessica A

      People do not move to Des Peres to avoid sidewalks and greenways. People’s decisions about where to live are constrained and influenced by many factors–logistical, family, employment, financial, etc. Absent those kinds of factors, nobody who really cared about living in a walkable, bike-friendly urban area would live anywhere in St. Louis, right? They’d just move to cities that value those things more.

      • RyleyinSTL

        Anywhere in the STL metro could possibly offer a family the “logistical, family, employment and financial” situation they are looking for. But only Des Peres (and it’s contemporaries) can offer you a 100% automobile first, sidewalk-less wonderland void of greenways and bike paths. Guess what? That’s okay! That’s why Des Peres is there. Folks in Des Peres aren’t living in poverty, they can live wherever they like. They chose Des Peres. Presumably they like it’s unique features.

        You don’t need to move to Portland to find walkable, bike-friendly urban areas. They actually exist here, in the city. Been that way from the get go.

        • Jessica A

          This is such a weird way of looking at things. I don’t know anyone in Des Peres who lives here *because* it isn’t walkable. It’s a negative or neutral thing that is outweighed by other factors that favor Des Peres in their decision process.

          • RyleyinSTL

            The people fighting the improvements live in Des Peres because it isn’t walkable.

            The logic is…the poors walk and all the poors are criminals.

      • jhoff1257

        Metro St. Louis has plenty of bike friendly urban areas. It’s called the city. Even many inner-ring suburbs here are taking the same steps. Granted all of those places tend to be a little more progressive and don’t have as many of the fear mongering conservative types that like to stop this kind of investment.

        • Jessica A

          Obviously St. Louis has areas that are more bike-friendly and walkable and urban than others. I’ve lived in them, and if I felt my circumstances made that overall the best choice for my family I still would. But I’ve also lived in other cities that are actually, totally bike-friendly and walkable and urban, and there’s no comparison. I don’t assume that anyone who lives in St. Louis does so *because* of its distinctive (relative to other cities) characteristics of car-dependence, sprawl, and lack of good public transportation, and I’d like it if people didn’t assume that anyone who lives in Des Peres or similar suburbs does so *because* of its distinctive (relative to other municipalities) characteristics of car-dependence, sprawl, and lack of good public transportation.

          Most of us are making the best decisions we can given our situations, and would like those situations to get better. Insulting hyperbole like that in the original comment I responded to (“No wonder current residents don’t want this….because they never wanted this, ever”) don’t help anything.

  • monopolytophat

    Manchester, ne’er-do-well HQ. Who knew?

  • Thomas R Shrout Jr

    Let me tell you, proponents of change don’t like to be ridiculed in laborious public meetings and don’t show up. Future public input with social media has yet to be fully realized but probably more representative and the wave of the future.

  • Presbyterian

    When I first moved to St. Louis, Des Peres was blighted.

    That’s all I’m saying.

  • Jessica A

    It is obviously great fun to mock the ridiculous comments made by some Des Peres residents about this, and I happily participate in that. But I’ve been disappointed that SO much of the focus of the coverage has been on that, rather than on the (actual) pros and cons and costs and benefits of the plan, and on what the ordinary residents and lawmakers think of it.

    I live in Des Peres, and I walk all the time. That’s probably a minority position among Des Peres adults, given how easy it is to drive here. But Des Peres is full of kids too! As a parent, I would like nothing better than for my kids to be able to safely walk or bike to places on their own instead of having me drive them everywhere. Des Peres may not be full of exciting destinations, but my house would be within easy walking or biking distance of places like school, the park, my kids’ grandma’s and friends’ houses, the mall, and the grocery store–provided that we had the sidewalks, crosswalks, and trails to make it safe.
    I find it difficult to believe that the average Des Peres resident doesn’t feel similarly. But we have less time to go to city planning meetings, and we don’t say hilariously quotable things if we do.

    • Andrew Filla

      I’m a Des Peres resident, and my wife and most of our neighbors feel the same as you.

  • thisguyovaeee

    Who are all these people in Des Peres that think outsiders are dying to overrun their city? It’s Des Peres, arguably the least interesting STL suburb.

    I lived in west country for most of my life, I swear I’ve thought about Des Peres less than 6 times, and all of those times were about how Wherenberg Theaters should bring back their old theme song.

    Des Peres, no one wants to come to you unless they absolutely have to. If you live there, why not enjoy a nice sidewalk?

    • shad schoenke

      Arghhh!–I LOVE the old Wehrenberg theme song!! Bring it back!!!!

      …oh wait, were we talking about Des Peres?

    • jhoff1257

      This. I no longer live in Metro St. Louis but I spent 18 years growing up in Chesterfield, a boring suburb in it’s own right. I could probably count the number of times I visited Des Peres on one hand…and all those times were for movies at that shitty theater off 270 and Manchester.

  • Terry

    While I can see not wanting a bike lane on a 2-slab wide subdivision street because they’re pretty narrow. I lost all sympathy for their situation when they started talking about ” outsiders” because if you live on a publicly maintained street you need to STFU about “outsiders”. If you don’t want strangers walking/biking by your house you need to live in a gated community or a high-rise with a doorman.

  • Andrew Wind

    I think we’re missing the point here. Des Peres sucks, and neither bike lanes nor sidewalks will make it any more urbane. It’s the cradle of upper middle class urban sprawl in St. Louis and I’m happy to leave it that way. Eventually residents who value legitimate community will move to more worthwhile communities who will benefit from their contributions. Everybody wins.

    • Marr62

      Good point. I’m not sure if the white collar criminals noted in the map above were a reference to Edward Jones senior management.

  • rgbose

    Breaking: Outsiders have occupied the mall!

  • guest

    I kinda think the whole pitting cyclists and drivers against each other is tired. We get it, both break the law…how about trying to promote educating both parties on their responsibilities so we can all get along on the road?

    So sick of the tired “us vs. them” arguments. STL at its finest.

  • Jason

    This is very childish and a waste of time
    Why is our way the better way? Why force something on someone that doesn’t want it. If someone feels strong enough about that plan that they show up and oppose and those who want it don’t show up. Than that’s their fault.

    • Michael B

      Though I’m not the author, I think the answer to your questions is that our city is not a bunch of disconnected little islands, no matter how hard we have tried at that. Just because a few people do not want something does not mean it will not be better for the rest of our city. It’s about attracting people to live in and around St. Louis, and good infrastructure is a great way to do that. Sometimes jesting is a good way to get that across: see The Colbert Report or Last Week Tonight for examples of humor with a message. Will it change anybody’s mind? Probably not, as the people who complained at that meeting most likely don’t read nextSTL. But someone else who hasn’t put a lot of thought into biking and pedestrian infrustructure might find it a good read, and might learn something.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I actually made just that point in the item (after having some fun).