On the Future of the Chouteau Greenway and Protected Bikeways in St. Louis

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In a development described as “gaining momentum“, the long-planned Chouteau Greenway may get something of a start next year. A modest 1/4-mile segment between Boyle Avenue and Sarah Street will serve as a test segment and provide access to the new MetroLink station (image above).

The idea for a Chouteau Greenway and/or Chouteau Lake District in the city emerged as rough thematic images more than 15 years ago. Those images imagined a stream running from a pond at Vandeventer and Chouteau, in part the site of a since-built Quik Trip, east to a Chouteau Lake near Union Station and on to shining towers on the Mississippi riverfront.

The vision has reappeared from time-to-time, and was a focus of the Weiss-Manfredi proposal as part of the City+Arch+River design competition. “Chouteau’s Crossing” was presented as an under-the-Interstate park and connection of trails.

From the McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) Chouteau Lake & Greenway site:

The Chouteau Lake & Greenway Master Plan, led by McCormack Baron Salazar, outlines a series of public infrastructure improvements in the central corridor of the St. Louis region. The improvements will restore a portion of the pre-industrial watershed system and provide a link between the Gateway Arch at the downtown St. Louis riverfront and Forest Park, with connections south to Tower Grove Park and north to Fairgrounds Park. … The Chouteau Lake & Greenway Master Plan is the central corridor component of the St. Louis regional greenways system.

The original vision of the Greenway was quite appealing, in part because it would have offered a protected bicycle and pedestrian route east-west through the city, but more due to its proposed repurposing of industrial and railroad land. The ambition was to trigger $7B in “direct private investment”, “tens of thousands of jobs”, and “8,000–10,000 new or renovated housing units”.

Greenways remain an important endeavor to link our region and provide recreational opportunities, but as recognized by a growing number of cities, on-street protected bikeways are much more effective at providing transportation options and connecting a city.

The reason is simple: on-street bikeways connect directly to places people need and want to go. Greenways typically bypass commercial centers, avoid conflicts with automobile prioritized infrastructure, and find paths of least resistance.

Greenways go past places, sometimes connecting places. On-street bikeways are paths as places, with many destinations along the way. This missed opportunity is clear as one compares the Chouteau Greenway vision running straight down Clayton Avenue, directly connecting the greenway to the east with Forst Park, to the new alignment adjacent to the MetroLink line and twisting through the medical campus.

The greenway idea in many ways grew from the rails-to-trails effort, an initiative that has transformed abandoned rail lines into multi-use recreational paths, including the Katy Trail and Grant’s Trail in the St. Louis area. Extending greenways through urbanized areas via other right-of-ways such as those owned by public utilities, or state departments of transportation was a next logical step.

In the several decades since rails-to-trails, urban greenways, and the vision for Chouteau Greenway came about, on-street bicycle infrastructure has dramatically changed cities. From two-way cycle tracks in Seattle, to the Indy Cultural Trail, to the protected bike lane network in Edmonton, Alberta, the focus has turned to accommodating bikes and pedestrians where they need and want to go.

Seattle bike lane network:

Indy Cultural Trail:

Trailnet on-street bicycle network:

This is the idea of Trailnet’s recently announced effort to lead the effort to create an on-street bicycle network in St. Louis. Images presented at that announcement show something very similar to previously mentioned on-street bicycle infrastructure in other cities.

Not long after, an interesting announcement revealed plans for a “pedestrian and bike corridor” on roughly 1/4-mi of Sarah Street in The Grove. No design or other details were released. The plans highlight today’s challenge of bringing meaningful, impactful transportation options to the city.

Who sets the design standard for Chouteau Greenway, for the on-street bicycle network, for the small spurs others are proposing? While getting greenways and other things in place requires significant planning and coordination, getting functional infrastructure is likely an even greater challenge. It’s an effort the city must lead, and non-profits and advocacy organizations must support and direct.

A Chouteau Greenway largely void of the depicted lakes and bucolic greenery, not to mention the new towers, thousands of jobs and thousands of new housing units, isn’t nearly as appealing. The gleaming Grand Boulevard viaduct, kayakers, and infill still present on the MBS site have not and will not happen.

The idea of a recreation path though the city remains worth pursuing, especially as the region, via Great Rivers Greenway, provides significant funding for such infrastructure. But the big idea is to make cycling and walking a practical means of moving about the city. To do this will require a paradigm shift in cooperation and leadership. Riding a bicycle must be seen as a way to get somewhere instead of a way to get away from somewhere.

Images on McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) Chouteau Lake & Greenway site:

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  • STLEnginerd

    I used to really dig this project and someday i would like to see it happen but i have to say i am less enamored by it than i used to be.

    Firstly what wrong with the Gateway Mall. Its basically a green way that extends almost to Jefferson. Its also inline with Harris Stowe, and SLU which control huge swaths and through which a green way should be easy to integrate. There is also the Midtown trestle which is currently planned as a green way and connects directly to the metrolink ROW noted above. Seems to me there isn’t that much land to acquire to make this happen, where as the UP ROW seems like a huge stretch and even then would be directly adjacent to an active rail line.

    Secondly GRG currently owns the giant parcel next to Busch which is currently a pay lot during cardinals games. This means that the revenues generated can go toward to development of other planned green ways within the city trail network.

    It also means the incentive to build new surface lots to serve Busch is significantly reduced and so in an indirect way it encourages redevelopment of private lots into higher uses.

    It also means i can park at a cardinals game knowing the money i pay to the lot will go toward a public good rather than a for profit enterprise. I like to look at it as a donation to a cause i believe in.

    I am not convinced that the green way would provide the promise connection to downtown south. The Purina and Ameren super blocks aren’t likely to move or even open up and even if the did the gap between downtown and so-do would still exist, even though it would be a little greener i doubt it would move the needle much on people traveling into and out of downtown.

    I am also not convinced the green way would be a true catalyst. If the downtown market was really hot i could see it extending development to the south side OR if a major developer was really pushing it as the one thing they needed to pull the trigger an a MAJOR redevelopment on the south side (like a 10,000+ population boost to downtown), OR if it was the lynch pin to secure a MAJOR corporate move into downtown like (5000+ new jobs). But it seems like whoever is looking at this sees it as a throw it against the wall and see if it sticks kind of project. That’s ridiculous.

    GRG should continue to quietly acquire the parcels they need to put this vision together but they need to wait patiently until the net projected real estate value increases can justify the expense of actually building it. I just don’t think we are there and i think it could be decades before we are there.

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  • Thom

    I really like this! I hope this is definitely realized and does not become nothing more than another idea thrown in the trash. Granted this will not come cheap, but adding this greenspace that not only includes but encourages recreation for people of all ages would be a great benefit for the residents of Saint Louis and would definitely provide appeal for new people to move to the city.

  • Jeff Abernathy

    Sure, I do prioritize road capacity for cars, yes. As most people commute by car. Now, that being said, removing lanes seem unnecessary when we have roads that aren’t being even partially used to their car capacity. I’m just saying some roads (Hampton, McCausland, Kingshighway, Grand, Jefferson) might be left best for dedicated car zones, for everyone’s safety.

    • Adam

      But you keep conveniently ignoring that most people commute by cars because there are insufficient alternatives, or because they choose to live 30 miles from their place of employment (for which city residents should not be expected to sacrifice their quality of life). With protected bike lanes safety is much less of an issue, which is why they should be the norm on all major roads. The real problem, as your earlier post made evident, is that drivers just don’t want to be inconvenienced. It’s selfishness, plain and simple.

      • Jeff Abernathy

        The 30 mile commuters, those are your highway commuters. I don’t think we’re putting bike lanes on highways. I’m talking about real city streets.

        Ok Adam, I’ll be selfish, and explain my situation.

        I live 4 miles as the crow files to work. With no traffic, takes about 12 minute drive, a bad traffic day can take close to 30. Mainly because of renovations done to Grand years ago. Avoiding interstates, I used be able to do that, but Manchester and Kingshighway has messed up most of that. So if I commute during peak times, I sit in traffic. So be it.

        Anyway…why do I not bike commute (regularly)?
        1) I have kids, and they have to go to school. Sure we could do the trailer, and I have some times, but if I have to take two of them in, its just impractical.
        2) Its much easier. There’s big hills between my home and work. Its frankly a lot of work…and yeah, maybe I’m lazy.
        3) Its much faster. Biking takes me about an hour including the clean up time I have. Around 45 minutes the times I’ve done it just biking
        4) Its just more comfortable. I don’t have to ride in the rain, the heat, or the cold.

        For me, more bike lanes wouldn’t make it more likely I would bike commute. There are good routes for me to get there for me, some are bike marked. Some are just nice rides. But the geography of the ride, and the fact that an extra hour spent doing something else besides commuting really does matter to me.

        And while we’re talking about being selfish…I’m pretty sure when the majority of people commuting one way, and the minority is asking for major structural changes for THEIR commuting…that’s being selfish.

        But to be clear, I support bike commuting, in the right place. Consider just placing the bike lanes on places that have excess car capacity, even during rush hour, instead of impacting the majority of commuters. We can still assemble an awesome system.

        BTW, I think segmented lanes are a really good idea. I can’t see how any sane person wants to bike on a road that has average speeds of 30 mph or higher…even with a dedicated lane.

        • Adam

          Jeff, I’m asking for EQUIVALENT consideration for those who choose not to drive. Currently St. Louis’ transportation infrastructure favors drivers by a very very large margin.

          “For me, more bike lanes wouldn’t make it more likely I would bike commute…”

          Good for you. Your reasons for not biking are yours. Others feel differently.

          “And while we’re talking about being selfish…I’m pretty sure when the majority of people commuting one way, and the minority is asking for major structural changes for THEIR commuting…that’s being selfish.”

          Not sure how many times I need to repeat this but here goes again: the majority of people in St. Louis drive because there are no other options, not because they would rather drive than walk, ride a bike, take public transit, etc. Given all the safety and environmental hazards associated with driving I’m pretty confident that those who aren’t wiling to drive 5-10 mph slower on city streets, so that there are options for those who don’t want to own a car or can’t afford to own a car, are the selfish ones.

          It’s nice that you support bike commuting along routes that won’t inconvenience you, but in many cases the most direct route for a cyclist (who may be trying to get to work or drop his kid off at school just like you) is along the same arterial road that you’re using. So, yeah, asking them to take a longer, circuitous route so that you don’t have to slow down a little is selfish, IMO.

          Lots of other cities have implemented protected bike lanes along main thoroughfares and the sky hasn’t fallen. It’ll be fine.

          P.S. “The 30 mile commuters, those are your highway commuters. I don’t think we’re putting bike lanes on highways. I’m talking about real city streets.” No kidding. But distance is a primary factor in choosing to drive, and I was talking about reasons for choosing to drive.

          • Nick

            The fact that the vast majority of people drive is exactly why auto infrastructure should take priority over other forms of transportation. Yes the majority of people in St. Louis drive because there are no other options, but that is not due to a lack of bike lanes. The majority of our population lives in the county, and an ever increasing portion in the next county over (St. Charles). Even with an expanded Metrolink, cars will always and forever be the only commuting option for folks in the county. This is also true for people in the city who work in the county. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, city streets are in pretty rough shape in most places.

            The fact that not many people bike is less an infrastructure problem as it is a density problem…with the exception of maybe CWE there are virtually no self-sustaining neighborhoods (meaning I don’t have to travel far for all of the things I need) where biking as your primary form of transportation works well. On my daily commute alone there are two separated bike lanes (Along Union north of Forest Park and along Chestnut by Union Station) that I almost never see anyone use. Even with an Indy Culture Trail-type bike paths on every single street, we would still see most city residents drive more than bike. Our density/population problem is a function of larger issues such as crime, racism, poor city schools driving parents to the county, and job creation in the city center. A few bike lanes aren’t going to do much to fix these problems.
            I’m not saying we shouldn’t provide biking infrastructure, but making it a priority over other forms of transportation (including other biking plans like GRG’s trails) are just a waste of resources.

          • Adam

            So we should design the city to best accommodate suburban commuters instead of those who actually live in the city? Yeah, we’ve been doing that for 5 to 7 decades now. Look where it’s gotten us. Sorry but you’re not going to convince me with that argument.

          • Nick

            It’s impossible to convince you of anything when you don’t read my comment and throw up a straw man response. I never said we should design the city to accommodate suburbanites. I’m saying the structure of the city (by that I mean how spread out we are) is such that adding bike lanes benefits very few with little to no benefit to the many, who mostly drive, city and county included. The reason most of us drive is because we live miles away from our jobs, and very very few people want to ride a bike an hour+ one way to get to work. Adding bike lanes won’t change that.

          • ben

            Personally, I believe the more painful it is to commute, the greater incentive people have to live closer to their jobs.

          • Nick

            I would agree. Problem is most jobs in the region are in the county, not the city. Another reason why adding bike lanes won’t accomplish much.

          • Adam

            Oh, c’mon:

            “The majority of our population lives in the county, and an ever increasing portion in the next county over (St. Charles). Even with an expanded Metrolink, cars will always and forever be the only commuting option for folks in the county.”
            –You

            I read your comment perhaps more thoroughly than you did. Again, we should not design our city to accommodate those who drive in from outside of the city over those who actually live in and invest in the city.

            “The reason most of us drive is because we live miles away from our jobs, and very very few people want to ride a bike an hour+ one way to get to work. Adding bike lanes won’t change that.”

            That sounds an awful lot like your personal opinion and not a verified fact. Minneapolis is roughly the same size as the city of St. Louis and it’s density is not that much higher. It also has far worse weather than St. Louis. Yet…

            “The City of Minneapolis helps those who live and work in the city use bicycles as a safe, healthy and low-cost way to travel. Minneapolis is ranked as one of the best biking city in the country by Bike Score, it is #3 biking city by Bicycling Magazine (2014), and the #2 bicycling commuting city by the U.S. Census Bureau (2014). As of 2015, Minneapolis has 129 miles of on-street bikeways and 97 miles of off-street bikeways. The city has also been awarded with the
            Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclists.”

            http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles/

            The city of Denver is currently still less dense than St. Louis and covers a little less than 3 times the land area, yet they’re investing millions into their bike plan (they have a bike plan!) with the following goals:

            “A biking and walking network where every household is within a quarter mile (5-minute walk or 2-minute bicycle ride) of a high ease of use facility.”

            “Achieve a 15% bicycling and walking commute mode share by 2020.”

            https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/bicycling-in-denver/planning.html

            Huh, wonder if there’s any connection between the recent growth of these two cities and their progressive attitudes concerning quality of life and transportation…

            Anyway, sorry, but I’m still not buying your too-low-density/too-spread-out proposition.

          • Nick

            My point is we should build our infrastructure to accommodate the greatest number of people. Given the structure of the city, it will be autos for the foreseeable future, county and city residents alike. It benefits the city to spend the majority of its resources accommodating the majority of its citizens.

            To say that I’m making up that most people don’t want to bike to their jobs, well, sure I made that up. Similarly, you’re making up the counter-position. Show me a survey that says otherwise, and I’ll concede your point.

            Denver is 155 sq miles. St. Louis is 66. No suprise the statistics say we’re more dense. Minneapolis is nearly 50% more dense than St. Louis, I wouldn’t call that “not much higher” (7,485/sq. mile vs. 5,099 in St. Louis). Regardless, comparing density of cities is pretty well meaningless as each city’s urban character is far more complex than can be summed up in simple statistics. For example, the reason Denver and Minneapolis are so bike friendly is because their urban population is far more concentrated in their city centers than St. Louis. If St. Louis’ downtown/midtown area were to fill up, then our bike infrastructure.

            Besides, you’re putting the cart before the horse when it comes to bike infrastructure. Cities don’t grow because people flock there to use their bike lanes. They grow because people find jobs there. For example, Only 2.2% of commuters in Denver bike to work, according to this article whose sole purpose is to push biking infrastructure:

            http://www.westword.com/news/denver-bicylists-pedaling-to-work-in-greater-numbers-city-trying-to-keep-up-5905369

            Population is estimated to have grown 15% in the past five years. Obviously most people aren’t moving there to bike to work.

            And to say you’re not buying my proposition, well, that really breaks my heart.

          • STLrainbow

            Not sure of your points here, so I’ll ask if you feel like pursuing something like Indy’s Cultural Trail would make sense here or not.

          • Adam

            And my point is that we should built infrastructure that makes for a livable city for everyone and not just drivers. If we do that we’ll see fewer people driving and more people riding, walking, and taking transit. We’ve witnessed the results of focusing on cars. It hasn’t worked. It clearly has not benefitted the city to dump the majority of its resources into car infrastructure. That should be glaringly obvious.

            Neither Minneapolis nor Denver are significantly more dense than St. Louis on average, at least not enough to be a deciding factor in whether people bike or not. 2000 ppsm is not going to make or break a bike network. (1.5 is also 50% larger than 1.) And if you look at Denver’s plan they want to connect all parts of the city, not just the most dense neighborhoods. If they can do that over 155 sq. mi.—much of which is less dense than St. Louis city—then we should be able to do it over 66 sq. mi. FF sake, Denver metro is building separated bike paths along their highways between Denver’s satellite cities (Boulder, Broomfield, Louisville, etc.). I didn’t say people are moving to Denver BECAUSE they’re building bike infrastructure, but it’s one of many progressive moves that are creating buzz and causing young people and entrepreneurs (who create more jobs) to WANT to be here and to LOOK for jobs here. I live in Boulder (ridership ~9%). I hear it every day.

            As for the Westword article (which was published in 2012, by the way) it states that ridership increased by 57% over 5 years with downtown ridership closer to 6%. I suspect it’s higher now as they only began to implement their bike plan in 2011.

            “And to say you’re not buying my proposition, well, that really breaks my heart.”

            My apologies. I just get so frustrated with contrarianism for the sake of contrarianism disguised as “being realistic”. God forbid St. Louis do anything different from what hasn’t worked since the 1950s, ’cause that would be so impractical.

          • Nick

            I’d say we’ll just have to agree to disagree. For what it’s worth, I’m not being contrary for the sake of contrarianism. I’m born and raised in St. Louis, live in the city proper, love it here and am hopeful for the city’s future.
            You say you live in Boulder, have you ever even been to St. Louis? StL’s core is absolutely nothing like Denver’s or Minneapolis’. As someone who knows the StL region pretty well, I get frustrated with half-baked ideas mirrored off of dissimilar cities that ignore the fact we have unique problems that require solutions tailored to that specific problem. Indy has population trending upward going on three decades. That city faces issues nothing like St. Louis. Why would we ever think what works there will work here? If the Cultural Trail worked well in, say, Detroit, or Dayton, OH or Evansville, IN, cities with similar problems to ours, I’d be all ears.

          • Adam

            I’ve lived in St. Louis for about 25 of my 39 years of life and will be moving back at the end of January because I, too, love the city and want to see it prosper. But that’s going to require doing something different for a change. I fail to see how bike lanes are a half-baked idea, nor are they some untested new technology. Providing a variety of transportation alternatives—especially in a city where about 25% of the population lives near or below poverty—is a no brainer. The data demonstrates that investing in bike infrastructure increases ridership. And it would cost a fraction of what the region regularly spends on auto infrastructure. But then, St. Louisans love their status quo, and any effort to change it is met with “But our problems are soooooo uniqe. That could never work here.” Guess we’ll never know.

          • STLrainbow

            While Indianapolis is growing, it definitely has many of the same problems as Saint Louis… struggling public schools, high violent crime, high poverty, etc, etc. in wide swaths of the city and not a particularly strong fiscal position, One of the perks of being a large geographic city is it masks the warts.

            And I think you’re underestimating the City’s Central Corridor and parts of South City, which are seeing an influx of people… the belief that a Cultural Trail could work in some exotic place like Indianapolis but not Saint Louis is misplaced, imo. (Also, Detroit is pursuing one of the more ambitious protected bike lane programs in the nation. Some great stuff going on there.)

          • Nick

            I think a separated bike path would see the most use in CWE, certain areas downtown and some parts of South City could work well too. Interesting about Detroit pursuing this, I didn’t know that.

          • STLrainbow

            Detroit has a pretty strong bicycle community and the big influx of jobs and residents in the greater downtown area the past 2-3 years has propelled bike/ped projects.

          • Guest

            Look at Marion County’s Center Township, which is about 75 percent of the 1950 Indy city limits–it’s lost over half of its population, too

          • Adam

            And where are you getting “making it a priority over other forms of transportation”? I’d be happy if biking (or walking, or transit) were given HALF the consideration that driving is given.

    • tbatts666

      so car speed > safety. Gotcha.

      This kind of attitude is part of the reason why motor vehicle crashes is leading cause of death of children 1-20.

      • Alex Ihnen

        I think this argument only wins over a limited number of people – unfortunately. Another argument is that slower/safer is much much better for small businesses, tax receipts, and a sustainable city (which in general means lower taxes).

        • tbatts666

          Thanks Alex. I could improve rhetoric and talking points during my weekend bike advocacy.

          I see lots of adults and kids in SLU/CG Hospital after collisions, so it’s just what I focus on.

        • Ted Yemm

          I think the small business argument is one that is not articulated well enough. I own a small business in a business district that is trying to reinvent itself, and I have often stated that I am not concerned with how many cars pass my business. I am concerned with how many stop at my business. Basically, if there were less car traffic due to people who are not planning on stopping bypassing the route because it is slower, that doesn’t concern me as a business owner. I wonder if you have any numbers to back this argument up? I would be grateful if you could point me toward them.

  • DJS

    So why will the old Greenway idea never happen? Chouteau Park could be built without railroad movement right? GRG still has land banked a lot of the property required for the vision if I’m not mistaken.

    • STLrainbow

      GRG owns a pretty large parking lot southwest of Busch Stadium (just south of the elevated lanes) but I don’t believe they have much, if anything, beyond that. I also believe the plan called for moving the railyard but not the active lines.

  • Jeff Abernathy

    I do wish that dedicated bike lanes like this might be built on side streets, not majors. Streets that do not have a lot of traffic, and would not suffer drivers longer drive times, but would still provide a meaningful and thorough and convienent network of bike ‘roads’.

    • tbatts666

      I think also putting dedicated protected infrastructure on roads hasn’t reliably been shown to increase wait times. Consider most of your waiting is at lights, which won’t change. Consider that getting bikes out of auto lanes improves flow. Consider getting people out of cars and onto bikes means less cars and less congestion.

      • Jeff Abernathy

        Less lanes does actually reduce throughput of lights. Consider the extra lanes Modot adds just to get through signalized intersections. Even Manchester at Big Bend has this. Less lanes will impact capacity, and at time when capacity is stretched, cause issues. The majority of the day…it won’t matter though clearly. But the majority of commuting will happen when it does matter unfortunately.

        My issue isnt with the lanes themselves, its where we put them. Don’t put them on the ‘big roads’ or the ones that used to be called circulators, if you can (we can’t always..we’ve screwed up enough of the small streets all we have left is the big roads). If there is a close parallel road, that is under capacity consider it there.

        Instead of Forest Park Parkway, how about West Pine? Or instead of Grand, Compton, 39th, or others. Or instead of Lindell, how about Olive. All of these are close, near by roads that would provide very good biking experiences, while preserving the major roads for driving, and perhaps some shared local bike traffic.

  • Jim Schmitz

    I have seen this Chouteau Lake proposal for years, but nobody ever talks about how they can get rid of all those train tracks? The drawings make it look like there will only be one train track line left and no rail yard, is that really possible? Seems like railroads are notorious for not helping in any development, that’s why we have a train line right under the Arch, although that is pretty cool how they worked around that delimma in arch construction…

    • Alex Ihnen

      Supposedly the rail yards can be moved elsewhere or there is existing capacity elsewhere. They’re basically a big train parking lot and not critical to the operation of the rail lines – or so I’m told. The active rail lines would remain.

      • Scott Nauert

        That’s about the funniest thing I’ve read all day! Pick up and move thousands of feet of rail yards critical to the operation of east-west and north-south rail lines and just plop them somewhere else!? Wow.. So how are we going to work the relocation with regards to the positions of the MacArthur and Merchants bridges!??

        • jhoff1257

          The main thru lines would remain. TRRA of St. Louis and Union Pacific have stated several times that the downtown switching yard operation could be moved to other yards in the area, there are much larger yards just south and north of downtown that could handle the extra capacity. The MacArthur and Merchants bridges (Merchants was never even involved in this considering how far north of this location it is…duh!) wouldn’t be affected by this as the lines that serve those bridges wouldn’t be going anywhere. Just look at the maps and photos above. The main lines are clearly where they currently are.

          • Scott Nauert

            Merchants does matter because your traffic has only two routes to get from Illinois to Missouri, as well as these relocated yard terminal locations you are talking about. Both bridges feed rail traffic through downtown, and if UP is forced to re-open Lesperance Yard as a major classification terminal, you will see Grant’s Trail turned back into a railroad from Kirkwood to Lemay an on to Broadway Jct., as westbound traffic heading to Kansas City needing to set out / pick up cars would have no logical way to turn back around and head west through the City. Actually, I think it would be awesome to see the Carondelet Branch as a railroad again, and when plans for Chouteau Pond were discussed years ago, UP sent its engineering team down Grant’s Trail to assess what needed to be done (this was covered in the Kirkwood Webster Times about 15 years ago), and it was not much! You see how much land the current yards occupy, so where in the City will the replacement terminal be located that is consistent with traffic flow into and out of Illinois? Also, from what source are you getting UP’s, Alton & Southern’s, BNSF’s, Amtrak’s, and TRRA’s position on this proposal, because I know for an absolute fact they won’t be agreeable to anything unless it improves the flow of rail traffic through the city.

          • Scott Nauert

            I forgot to mention that the south approach on the MacArthur Bridge that takes you down to Lesperance St. Yard has heavy restrictions on train length and tonnage, so regular size trains would have to west over Merchants, then south down the TRRA High Line under the Arch adding more traffic to the already congested and single track High Line.

    • Scott Nauert

      Jim – The railroads are very concerned about development!! In fact, if you knew elementary-level US history, you would know that the railroads developed the entire United States… Today, they continue to play a critical role in the US economy and international trade, moving goods that are grown, manufactured, and mined, a percentage of which is exported from Missouri. St. Louis plays a key role in the US rail network, and is the 3rd largest rail hub in the USA.

  • Andy Crossett

    I like the protected lanes along real streets. I also like the fully protected rails to trails route like they have in Minneapolis where you can get downtown without conflict with vehicles the entire way from east or west of the city. We really need better connections North/South into downtown in addition to existing unprotected lanes on Broadway.. This plan calls for protected lanes along 14th street for this. I’d like to see this get off the ground sooner rather than later. Also there is brand new protected lane on Chestnut, from 20th to the Arch, which goes one way eastbound. What is the plan west of this point. This is a protected lane with no utilization right now as nothing is connected to it.

  • tbatts666

    “Riding a bicycle must be seen as a way to get somewhere instead of a way to get away from somewhere.” that’s profound Alex.

    More protected bike lanes ftw!

  • Nick

    HAppy to see Chouteau Greenway start up…however I disagree with your sentiment that protected bike lanes on existing streets are preferred for St. Louis. We are a city of neighborhoods, and as you mention, very disjointed neighborhoods. I think more people would prefer a biking “throughway” as venture through various neighborhood barriers such as highways, industrial areas like we have north of Chouteau, and around “stroads” like Kingshighway. I think the city gets more bang for its buck this way. There are very few areas of St. Louis that would easily accommodate the bike lanes similar to what you see in Seattle and Indy.

    • STLrainbow

      Creating a Cultural Trail with protected bike lane on existing streets would be pretty straightforward for the Forest Park to downtown riverfront, imo. Exact route would be t.b.d. but the one identified for Saint Louis Streetcar would seem to make sense (i.e. Olive/Lindell). Getting to MOBOT, etc. on the south side of the viaduct may be a little more difficult but I’m sure could get done.

      • Nick

        Maybe along Lindell you could fit a bike path similar to what you see in the photos above in Seattle and Indy…but I don’t think CWE and downtown are really all that disconnected. The only “barrier” is the lack of density between the Midtown/Downtown West area roughly east of SLU and west of Union Station. The major benefit of the Greenway is to connect neighborhoods separated by highway 40. I think you could fit anything

        • Nick

          Sorry, last sentence meant to say I DON’T think you’ll find separated bike paths along existing streets to connect neighborhoods as well as Chouteau Greenway

        • STLrainbow

          Yeah, a big part of the hopeful benefit of a Cultural Trail along say Lindell/Olive is the expected economic development boon that would help stitch up the wounded Downtown West/Midtown area that has much more potential for additional infill and activity. Coupled with Streetcar would be ideal, but even on its own it holds some good promise.

    • jhoff1257

      The City of St. Louis has an infrastructure built for over 900,000 people. Today’s population is only 315,000 with a daytime population of around 470,000. The City has dozens and dozens of roadways more then wide enough for road diets to fit on street bike lanes and cycle paths.

      Having said that I do agree with you that Chouteau’s Greenway could work for St. Louis. Provided they get the N/S connections into various neighborhoods right. I also think it could eventually jump start some development in the dead zone between Downtown and the South Side which is sorely needed, especially around Busch Stadium where there is a little more room to get creative.

      • Nick

        Maybe I should clarify…there are very few streets where it really makes sense to put in a dedicated bike lane like what you see in Seattle and Indy. Lindell through CWE is a good target. Market St. downtown might be another. Some of the other Trailnet proposals…not so much. Modeling the path along St. Louis Ave after the Indy Cultural Trail? Those two neighborhoods could hardly be further from each other on the economic spectrum. Kudos to Trailnet for trying to do something in a depressed neighborhood, but a fancy bike path isn’t going to do much to change that.

        • jhoff1257

          More then “very few” streets in the City could be used for paths like this. One way streets downtown would be good candidates too, especially for N/S connections. Lindell west of where Olive splits off would be a terrible place for this. You’d lose a significant amount of on-street parking and most likely the center turn lane, and that doesn’t even take into account the proposed Olive-Lindell streetcar, should that ever get off the ground. The much wider Forest Park Avenue makes more sense (FPA would also be a better connection to Market, which, as you said, would be a good place for a path like this). The path along St. Louis Avenue would be a very small part of a MUCH larger city wide system. You may want to check out nextSTL’s reporting on Trailnet’s ideas for a “cultural trail” like system. Far more to it then the little rendering you see here.

          Regarding this statement: “Kudos to Trailnet for trying to do something in a depressed neighborhood, but a fancy bike path isn’t going to do much to change that.” Where have you been lately? The $1.7 billion NGA project will be a half block south of St. Louis Avenue, Paul McKee (along with other developers) is planning over 500 units in the same area with St. Louis Avenue as the northern boundary. HUD just awarded MBS and other stakeholders a $30 million grant (that will leverage nearly $75 million in local money) to rebuild Preservation Square and kick start a bunch of other projects in the Near North Side. Seems like St. Louis Avenue and the surrounding area is about to undergo some major changes.

          This whole idea that the North Side is “depressed” so let’s not even bother is stupid. The only way fix the North Side is to make it a livable and attractive place to be. Stuff like this, in addition to the nearly $2 billion in development coming to this exact area, does that.

          • Nick

            My point is roads like Forest Park Ave where you could feasibly add a bike path are far less attractive to bike along than streets like Lindell…fewer residences, less retail, less ped traffic, more cars. What they did in Indy was to build large portions of the bike path in already ped/bike friendly areas…it just made those areas that much more attractive. So to say Trailnet’s plan will mimic the Indy trail is a stretch at best.

            Further, you seem to be the one out of the loop, or at least in need of a map. The NGA site, which is east of Jefferson, would be about ten blocks away at it’s closest point to the Trailnet bike path, which runs along Vandeventer and only crosses St. Louis Ave at one spot. They aren’t even in bordering neighborhoods. Mckee’s project is even further east of the NGA site, if it ever even happens. Preservation Square is further away yet. I never said we shouldn’t invest in the Northside, I want to see it redeveloped as much as anyone. I’m saying Trailnet doesn’t appear to be targeting their investment as optimally as they could be with that bike path location.

          • jhoff1257

            Forest Park Avenue is seeing quite a bit of development. Cortex, the Standard, BJC etc. FPA is also only 3 blocks south of Lindell, it would literally take 4 minutes (even less on a bike) to walk or ride between the two. This would leave Lindell open for a potential streetcar and could coax even more development along FPA, which is needed. Again, FPA also makes far more sense in terms of a connection to Market. Thank you for clarifying the bike path, you specifically said “along St. Louis Avenue” and I ran with it, my mistake. No map needed here though. A path on Vendeventer is actually even better. Considering the development on North Sarah and the recently built homes and apartments on Vandeventer (not to mention that thousands of people still live in the North Side) a cycle path would be a great addition to that area. Not only that but a Vandeventer route would better connect to Fairgrounds Park, in addition to connections to SLU, The Grove, MoBot, and Tower Grove Park. If they continue down Southwest it would provide a connection to the Hill and other points west too. Having said all that I still think St. Louis Avenue would be a great addition to Trailnet’s plans considering the future development coming to the area. Maybe not a cycle path but some buffered bike lanes maybe. I was just up there photographing some of the stunning homes still remaining on St. Louis Avenue and let me tell you, that is one WIDE road with very little traffic.

            McKee’s history not withstanding this particular housing development does have some partners that actually have the wherewithal to get things done. And yes it is east of NGA (I never said otherwise, but ok) one whole block to the east. 3 very small blocks if you count the streets that wrap St. Louis Place Park. Preservation Square is a very short walk down Cass from the NGA site (3 blocks from 22nd) and a very short walk down Hogan from McKee’s proposed housing development.

          • Nick

            Agree to disagree…we both seem to want the same thing, which is a more connected city, just different avenues to get there.

            I live off FPA, and I’m encouraged by the development going on in the central corridor as a whole and CWE in particular. It’s the new hub of the city, and will only become more so over the next several decades. Our best plan in my mind is to utilize our resources to build off this momentum. That’s why the Chouteau Greenway is so encouraging to me…branching out from the hub to and connecting to the surrounding areas, then extending beyond that. Trailnet seems to take the opposite approach, which I just can’t see paying as high a dividends…but maybe I’m wrong.

          • jhoff1257

            It’s all good. Nothing wrong with a spirited discussion. One thing, I never disagreed with you about Chouteau’s Greenway. Like I said in my first comment, provided the City get’s the connections to the north and south right it would be an amazing asset for that area. Improved pedestrian and cycling facilities like Trailnet is pushing can and should coexist with a larger greenway plan like Chouteau.

          • Jeff Abernathy

            For instance, though I think something like this could fit along Olive West of the Lindell split and provide very good access into the CWE. Similarly, Sarah could likely accomodate something like this.

            I would much prefer to have these things built on side streets and not impact traffic of needed connections for cars. Everyone wants to beat on car traffic, but the reality is that the majority of us use cars, on these streets, to get around.

            Removing lanes, or causing congestion, means more unnecessary time commuting for me. More time away from my family. More wasted time in my day. Improvements are good, I love biking, even at time for transportation. But causing 20 minute traffic jams to put in little used (compared to car lanes) bike lanes just isn’t fair to the rest of us.

          • jhoff1257

            The majority of us use cars to get around because that’s the ONLY way to get around. Please show me empirically proven data that shows on street bike facilities result in large “20 minute” traffic jams. The City has reduced vehicle lanes on many major streets for on street bike lanes, some of them even buffered or protected, and I’ve never seen this congestion you speak of. In fact outside of interstates I never see any congestion really anywhere in the city. It’s pretty damn easy to drive around St. Louis. And losing a lane here or there isn’t unfair, a road diet isn’t unfair. What is unfair is forcing everyone into a car that many residents in this part of the region can’t even afford. I’m not really worried about your commute, I’m more concerned for the health of the City and making it so you can fly in and out unimpeded causes serious effects on the quality of life for those that actually choose to live in these areas.

          • Jeff Abernathy

            SB grand between Choteau and 44 during evening rush hour for one. This area has other complications too, but the removal of a parking/bus pullover lane in favor of bike lanes and ‘traffic calming medians’ really do cause regular impacts on traffic. There is a bike lane on Compton too. Diverting bike traffic over there would make both parts more pleasant I would suggest. Sometimes, having efficiently moving thoroughfares for cars, buses, and trucks is a good thing.

            There are others where road diets work. South Grand is a seemingly good one.

            My point is that some streets, especially congested and critical driving/bus routes may not be able to accommodate these re workings, but nearby side streets certainly could.

            People take cars because it’s often the fastest transit. And the most convenient. There is plenty of reason to not overly congest streets. And we should be leery of destroying a well built grid of main driving streets. They are essential to the whole concept of a grid.

          • jhoff1257

            Southbound Grand between Chouteau and 44 has four thru lanes, not including many dedicated turn lanes. Even if they removed the bike lanes you would be hard pressed to get another lane in each direction on that stretch of road. Either you’d have shrink the lane width which would slow people down (not a bad thing) or remove the turn lanes which will only create backups in the left lane. Also Kingshighway has been closed for nearly 2 years leaving Grand as a primary detour. Grand over 44 was only just recently reopened after a months long reconstruction project that routinely reduced lanes on Grand. My guess is that traffic will reduce when Kingshighway reopens.

            As far as this: “And we should be leery of destroying a well built grid of main driving streets. They are essential to the whole concept of a grid.” No one here is talking about destroying the grid, no one is talking about closing streets. Bike lanes don’t close or block streets. On the other hand…St. Louis’ grid has been hacked up and destroyed in many places over the years. Schoemehl Pots, what I like to call Slay Balls, planters and cul-de-sac’s have cut off and closed off the city’s grid in the name of “traffic calming” or crime reduction in hundreds of places. All of these blockages, many of which are on these side streets you speak of, push more and more people off these streets and onto the city’s arterial roads like Grand. Instead of having a well functioning grid that evenly distributes traffic the city takes a more suburban approach and pushes everyone to major streets. This is what creates the very minor congestion around St. Louis, not bike lanes.

          • Jeff Abernathy

            Prior to the renovations done to put in the bike lanes, it did have an additional lane, one of the ‘no parking during rush hour lanes’ and it moved at night. The Grand problem I’m talking about started when this project was completed, but has yes been exacerbated by Kingshighway.

            One of the scary parts of this lane is that there remain no bus pull offs, so they use the bike lane, which isn’t quite big enough, so cars (and bikes) skirt by pushing over into the next lane as they pass. Another scary part is that bike lanes suddenly disappear into shared right turn lanes at 44. I’ve seen bikes get dangerously cut off because of this, or even cars skirt around the markings cutting off other cars going into the right turn lane. It’s poor design all around.

            Perhaps the bike lanes this topic details would actually help this, but I think it also might help to examine whether grand is appropriate for a bike lane in general with the volume of cars and busses that move through there, and the speed differential at which they operate.

            You’re right, the grid remains. Badly stated. Removing road capacity is my concern. No, most of the time we don’t need the excess capacity. But then we close roads like Kingshighway, or there’s a big accident we need to route around. Having a reasonable excess in lanes is helpful on some of the larger roads to accommodate these problems. And you know, some engineers agree, as when they closed Kingshighway, you know what they did, removed the bike lane off Vandeventer that had been installed less than a year before.

            Restoring the grid would be good in a lot of places, perhaps at least for bike traffic. These closed areas would be the perfect place for bike traffic I think. For instance what if the bike lane on Grand between Choteau and Magnolia, was diverted over to the under used 39th street which has a much more appropriate speed for a shared road? Its imperfect, I get it, but it would pair the traffic better, with a small bike diversion.

            Look I’m not saying bike lanes aren’t great and very useful. But they have their places, just as faster moving roads do. Doing slow roads, with bike lanes EVERYWHERE is just as bad as the 50+ years of prioritization of the car above all else. Interstates aren’t the only place a car should operate above 20 mph either, just asking for a bit of awareness that the majority of us use cars exclusively, and perhaps we should actually prioritize that traffic appropriately, while still making bike commuting a very real possibility.

          • jhoff1257

            Agree to disagree, I’m sick of arguing this. One of my best friends lives off Grand and Magnolia, in the hundreds of times I’ve used Grand between the Central Corridor down through Arsenal I’ve never felt scared or felt traffic was even that bad. And I’ve been through there at all times of the day, usually around the afternoon rush. And if you don’t think the City to this day doesn’t prioritize car traffic then I don’t know what to tell you. Cars are still given first choice constantly in this town. Nobody said bike lanes should be on every road. Just a well planned and thought out system that connects people to places they need to go so a car will no longer be required. If it slows you down for a few extra minutes a day, then so be it. Did you ever think that maybe if we gave people some alternatives it might make the roads a little less crowded for you?

          • Riggle

            Compton most certainly does not have a bike lane

          • Jeff Abernathy

            You’re right. Between Arsenal and Layfayette it has a terrific share the road signing. Biking Compton, even with the shared lanes, is much more pleasurable than biking Grand.

          • Riggle

            You could also take the bus

          • jhoff1257

            I work in sales and cover a 3 state territory…buses don’t work for me.

          • tbatts666

            Right on.

          • Adam

            What jhoff said. Your comment is surprisingly tactless.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Prioritizing vehicular traffic, widening city streets, building more highways, etc. has not served St. Louis City well over the past half century or more. Until someone can show how making it easier to enter and exit the city – meaning putting even more emphasis and money toward that end than has already been expended – results in positive outcomes, be it economic, social equity, environmental, etc., I will remain sympathetic to individual impacts but unmoved at the policy level.

          • Scott Nauert

            It served the businesses on the Landing VERY WELL, until some genius decided to tear down the Arch parking garage! Now, families wanting to visit the Arch have to put themselves at risk of getting mugged, or worse, as we all have witnessed, as they will have to walk a much greater distance down city streets to get to the Arch.

          • jhoff1257

            I went to the Arch when they reopened the new North Gateway a few weeks ago. Parked on 2nd Street on the Landing maybe 100 steps from the grounds. There are also plans for new garages in Laclede’s Landing just on the opposite side of the Eads Bridge. Now, I’m not petrified of the city (never been the victim of or witnessed a single crime either) so I don’t have a problem walking an extra 2 minutes from the Landing to the Arch Grounds. The hundreds of others I saw down there doing the exact same thing didn’t seem to be scared either.

          • Scott Nauert

            Tell that to all the business owners who have suffered greatly or lost their livelihoods by this ingenius parking idea.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Should we also apologize to all the businesses who have suffered and lost their livelihoods because subsidized highways passed them by, took their land, or made it unattractive or difficult to stop? The Landing has suffered greatly during the Arch grounds project, and it will continue to do so because it’s cut off from the rest of the city and surrounded by big silver bullet projects that kill small retail.

          • jhoff1257

            I’m confused. You’re saying that because the Arch garage is gone the Landing is suffering? There’s a ton of open and free parking in the Landing so wouldn’t having people park there be good for the businesses? For example if the Arch garage was still here, I would have parked there, took my pictures and left. Instead I parked on the Landing and spontaneously stopped into a couple bars and had some lunch and a few drinks. Should I apologize to the Landing business owners for spending money at their establishments?

          • Scott Nauert

            You have made it clear to all of us that 1) you do not own a business that relies on the convenience of parking, and 2) you do not understand how critical it is that a business needs to have ease of road access and ample parking to survive. Lets explore two examples. 1) the Landing businesses: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/laclede-s-landing-struggles-to-survive-roadwork-time-and-the/article_7b43b54e-f092-543b-97ea-be1f5830224c.html .

            Next, lets take a look at a popular bike shop once located on the Loop, but ironically, it had to move to Richmond Heights for better road access and parking:

            http://www.stltoday.com/business/columns/building-blocks/parking-crunch-prompting-big-shark-to-close-loop-bike-shop/article_8339f33a-6e0d-58b7-a7d1-821877f27dff.html

            Now, please, for the sake of business owners and motorists alike, please assure us that you do not participate in any urban planning capacity for the sake of saving a failing city!!!

          • jhoff1257

            Cool it with the personal attacks, Scott. I simply said I was recently on the Landing and had no trouble finding parking or finding my way into the area. Had the Arch garage been there, I wouldn’t have spent any time or money in the Landing. Would have drove in and drove right back out. I sincerely apologize to you for spending my time and money in the Landing. You’ve opened my eyes now, since there is no Arch garage I won’t go there anymore. I’m sure the Landing’s business owners appreciate your help here.

          • Scott Nauert

            The Landing has suffered tremendously because some genius who has never owned a business decided that eliminating parking and road access would be a masterful idea!!

            http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/laclede-s-landing-struggles-to-survive-roadwork-time-and-the/article_7b43b54e-f092-543b-97ea-be1f5830224c.html

            Then ironically the owner of a BIKE SHOP in the Central West End had to up and move his business because road access and ample parking were being eliminated and it was destroying his livelihood!!

            http://www.stltoday.com/business/columns/building-blocks/parking-crunch-prompting-big-shark-to-close-loop-bike-shop/article_8339f33a-6e0d-58b7-a7d1-821877f27dff.html

          • Scott Nauert

            My answer to your query below keeps getting deleted.. Imagine that! To put it lightly, YES!! The genius idea to close off road access and eliminate parking has devastated businesses on the Landing. Regardless of what worked for you, it IS NOT working in favor of people’s livelihoods and it has to stop:

            http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/laclede-s-landing-struggles-to-survive-roadwork-time-and-the/article_7b43b54e-f092-543b-97ea-be1f5830224c.html

            And then another glaring example, ironically, is a popular bike shop in the Central West End who had to close up shop and move to Richmond Heights because of how limiting road access and parking almost destroyed his livelihood:

            https://www.google.com/amp/www.stltoday.com/business/columns/building-blocks/parking-crunch-prompting-big-shark-to-close-loop-bike-shop/article_8339f33a-6e0d-58b7-a7d1-821877f27dff.amp.html?client=ms-android-sprint-us

          • jhoff1257

            You’ve now left the same condescending comment three times. No one is deleting them. Please stop. And I never said the Landing wasn’t hurting, just that I ended up spending money down there because the garage was gone. But as I said before, you’ve opened my eyes…I’ll avoid the Landing from here on out, just for you. I’m sure those people whose livelihoods you’re so staunching defending appreciate you keeping me away from their businesses. Have a wonderful New Year.

          • Adam

            If we’re being honest, Scott, there’s only one mention of parking being an issue in that first story (the school bus thing). The rest is access issues, which have nothing to do with the garage.

            And the second story has nothing to do with this discussion. The Loop is thriving despite Big Shark moving. Have you ever been to Carytown in Richmond, VA? Very similar to the Loop. Also very little parking. There are at least 3 different bike shops along Cary St. in Carytown. Why does it work there but not in St. Louis? (And I guarantee you there are lots of other examples of bike shops succeeding in dense urban environements). The real problem, I think, is that St. Louisans—due to 7 or so decades of razing the city for cars—have an aversion to walking more than 5 and 1/2 feet.

          • Scott Nauert

            The access issues are due to various roads being rerouted and/or permanently closed. Not good! My argument is supported by countless businesses going out of business or moving because of a lack of access roads and parking, period. Like everybody else, I see photos of a city 60 years ago with bustling streets, a world-class railway station, a world-class streetcar system, and today, most of it is either a crime-ridden slum and where it isn’t, any bright spots of success are either taxpayer or university subsidized, which I feel is pathetic, honestly! People are less inclined to walk because of what they see on the news every single day – violent crime that is happening even in the “good” areas.

          • Adam

            “The access issues are due to various roads being rerouted and/or permanently closed. Not good”

            I agree. But routes are not garages. And instead of trying to change the topic to crime which has nothing to do with parking issues in the Loop, maybe address my point about Carytown?

        • tbatts666

          It’s not a “fancy bike path.” Protected infra is tried a true way to make cities safer for getting around.

          Why does it make “very little sense?”

        • And there in lies the largest opportunity, equity. This is not an elite game of yesteryearSTL. Data suggests otherwise an multiple communities throughout the US where bike paths inspire economic development, better health, wellness and disease prevention, and the much needed attention to social equity by providing better access.

          • Nick

            Hi Ralph, I appreciate the response. Can I ask, why does Trailnet not choose to begin the path in the central corridor and push out to areas such as Vandeventer and St. Louis Ave? Or…if the path is to begin in North St. Louis, why not begin closer to the proposed NGA site? I’m sure there are key details I’m missing as to why Trailnet chose the path it did, but from a layman’s viewpoint it seems like an odd place to start.

          • Hi Nick. First, this is a really good conversation. Thanks Alex for an interesting perspective. We are lucky to have NextSTL as part of our community. Sorry I could not respond on this sooner.

            Trailnet announced at our Gala last month our new primary focus or bold vision–to create a master plan for a network of protected bikeways. We have studied extensively Indy’s Cultural Trail, and have been consulting with the founder, Bryan Payne and our own local leaders in St. Louis for quite some time. We realize two important factors (among several), first, that we are NOT Indianapolis, second, that a plan written for the people without a transparent community engagement process will likely fail. The data that Indianapolis provides us, having already taken a tremendous leap of faith, is profound. We feel that St. Louis needs to write the plan for themselves with the understanding that there is a need for dividends in economic development, health/wellness/prevention and equity/access. All very important areas of focus with tremendous opportunity for growth.

            For now we call it the Connecting St. Louis Master plan. We envision a transformative project that connects neighborhoods, cultural districts, and business centers. Our plan will connect using on-street right-of-ways and in consideration of other plans and projects, including Great Rivers Greenway, Metro and various Community Improvement District(s), development districts including government and higher education.

            Trailnet will continue to inspire, educate and encourage through our programs as we have for over 28 years. But we have decided to leverage our experience in convening and public engagement to give back to the community what we feel is a very important and very necessary collaborative process.

            Connectivity and place-making for walking/bicycling is quickly becoming a mainstream community development standard and we feel St. Louis needs a cohesive plan that everyone can get behind. To clarify, the renderings in the article are depictions of what could be, but not at all final or yet part of our plan. There is much work to be done on that. And we thank HOK for providing those images as part of our announcement last month. I am sorry if I have have created any confusion.

            An update to our efforts…we are busy finishing up the framework; establishing the planning lens, getting materials ready for all committees that will include a Public Input Committee, a Design and Place-making Committee, a Destination and Routes Committee, a Land Use and Affordability Committee, a Funding and Structure Committee and an Overarching Committee to make sure the values specific to our dividends are reflected along the way. This will be a one year process that will reveal the routes based on what is decided during the planning–a robust and transparent community engagement process. This is an exciting project and steeped in progressive and innovative best practices from peer cities and peer organizations who have had success.

            As a teaser, we will reveal the routes ceremoniously at our Gala in November of 2017.

          • johnny1421

            Can’t wait to see the routes. 14th street is easy. Market is another easy one.

          • Nick

            Hi Ralph, I share your enthusiasm for NextSTL…Alex has done an excellent job providing news on all major construction/infrastructure projects throughout the region.

            As a casual follower of Trailnet and GRG projects, I’m sure I won’t tell you anything you don’t already know/haven’t considered…but I have two primary concerns. The first is that while you say your plan works in conjunction with GRG, it seems like the overall vision of the two groups is conflicting. Your group is focused on street-level bike lanes, GRG is focused on separated paths, and while the two could easily compliment one another, there surely must be some level of competition for funds. The second is, in my mind, the best utilization of bike trails in the region is a trail that combines utility for local commuters (getting around by necessity) and utility for weekend riders (getting around for recreation). Trailnet’s plan seems to focus on the former, GRG on the latter. Maybe I’m wrong on this, but it seems recreational bike trails would be a bigger draw to folks in the region as a whole, at the very least bringing people into the city for a day of biking. I don’t think a lot of people would come in from outside the city to ride along, say, Jefferson or Gravois Ave for fun. And that seems to underlie the success of the Indy Trail…it combines both. I guess my question is…do you agree with this assessment or think I’m nowhere close?

            In any case, I think as a city we have two great organizations working on improving biking and look forward to seeing what GRG and Trailnet produce over the coming years.

      • Andy Crossett

        Agree on the North South Connections. Right now its pretty abysmal, from downtown all the way to Clayton and beyond. In the city, with exceptions of Broadway, and Tower Grove Avenue, there really are no good bike pathways into Forest Park or the central corridor. And currently, area between Vandeventer and Grand is major East/West barrier for traveling between CWE and Downtown. Fixing these problems should be a high priority. On the Great Rivers Greenway site, they show 14th Street as the main N/S route connecting into downtown. I’d like to see that vision become reality sooner rather than later.

        • johnny1421

          14th street is easy as that’s a completely underutilized road. It doesn’t need to be 4 lanes anywhere. There is no traffic on it even during rush hour.

    • tbatts666

      Hey I hear what you are saying about barriers between neighborhoods. Many of them in STL.

      By accommodate you mean not take space away from cars?

      That statement assumes speed of cars more important than things like public safety and transportation equity.

      • Nick

        Partially…the Indy Trail is so successful because they laid out the path on an already ped-friendly part of town with lots of retail and various other attractions…people already wanted to go to those areas. The trail just made it that much more attractive. I can think of only a handful of areas like that in StL that aren’t already crammed with narrow car lanes and sidewalks. That’s why I think the separated Chouteau Greenway is so attractive.

        • tbatts666

          I hear you. It’s interesting you say that. Indianapolis is quite a bit more dense than STL.

          Weren’t these nice walking neighborhoods in Indy just as crammed before the Indy cultural trail? I’d be so curious to see before/after pics.

          Euclid in CWE be the only street in STL I feel couldn’t really fit seperated bike infrastructure. Every other street could fit some with a compromise. Or rather not compromising safety for car lanes and car storage.

          • Nick

            Just guessing by looking at the photo, I’d say they took out a lane of traffic one direction along with some parking to make way for the bike trail. But other than Lindell, or somewhere downtown, I don’t know where you’d be able to fit a path that would mimic this in St. Louis…and Trailnet isn’t proposing either one.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Jefferson, Gravois, Market, Broadway, Natural Bridge, 14th Street, MLK, Kingshighway, Grand… there are some challenging spots along all of these, but long swaths that would easily accommodate the equivalent of the Indy trail.

            The Indy Cultural Trail fits in streetscapes ranging from 75-100ft from building face to building face.

            Gravois = ~98ft
            Jefferson = ~115ft
            Market = ~120ft
            Olive = ~96ft
            Natural Bridge = ~97ft
            Chippewa = ~86ft

          • Nick

            To quote your article: “on-street bikeways connect directly to places people need and want to go”. Market and Olive might be good candidates as they are downtown. While I think you can easily incorporate a protected bike lane on the others, Gravois, Jefferson, NB, and Chippewa each have maybe a handful of locations at best that people want to go, within a reasonable distance (I understand they each stretch a good ways). It would be great to have bike lanes on these streets, but from a cost-benefit perspective, I think funds could be better utilized elsewhere.

          • tbatts666

            Gravois/tucker connects downtown with Soulard, South Grand, North Saint Louis and potentially Cherokee.

            I’m not sure dude I travel on these roads a lot to get places on my bike… I think they do connect interesting places!

          • Nick

            Can’t argue with you there, but I’m talking about the number of attractions along the route itself, not connecting various neighborhoods. If connecting neighborhoods is the goal, then the GRG plan serves that purpose just as well.

          • Alex Ihnen

            FWIW, I consider attractions to be anything from a friend’s house, to the post office, to a coffee shop, to a dentist’s office, and so on – the places we go. A greenway (virtually never) connects you to a place to need or want to go for daily life.

          • tbatts666

            Wow! So much potential!!!!

          • Adam

            “I hear you. It’s interesting you say that. Indianapolis is quite a bit more dense than STL.”

            Did you mean to say the opposite? St. Louis is significantly more dense than Indy:

            St. Louis: 5100/sq. mi.
            Indy: 2273/sq. mi.

          • tbatts666

            Shocking!

          • Riggle

            Not shocking if you go to Indy

          • tbatts666

            That is people per square mile?

          • Adam

            yes, ppsm. my guess is that the frontage of your average STL city home (streetcar era of ~30 ft) is much shorter than the frontage of your average Indy home (probably mid-century era).

          • Alex Ihnen

            ^ Those are correct numbers, but misleading. Indy includes all of Marian County – more/less the same as if STL City included the County. This greatly reduces population density. The pre-1920 built out part of Indy is much nearer in density to pre-1920 St. Louis.

          • Riggle

            What are you basing that on? Indy is much less dense than STL, anyway you slice it. Stl County is more dense than indy even without the City of st louis

          • STLrainbow

            That’s incorrect; in fact Indianapolis has a slightly higher population density than STL CIty + STL County combined, as does Marion County.

          • STLrainbow

            A bit more on that… Marion County is 396 sq. mi. and has a population of ~ 940,000 while STL City + STL County is 570 sq. mi. with a population of ~ 1.32M. So both have about 2,300 ppl/sq.mi but Indy unfortunately is growing much more quickly than we are.

          • Adam

            Not sure about the credibility of zipatlas.com (I Googled population density by zip code for Indy and St. Louis) but based on its data St. Louis is comfortably more dense in a comparable area.

          • STLrainbow

            Downtown Indy, where the Cultural Trail is mostly located, has been booming with residential in recent years… I wouldn’t doubt it has caught up with Downtown STL in population density in a comparable area. (fwiw, Downtown Indy says population is expected to grow from 17,500 in 2010 to about 34,000 by 2018, although they count a larger area that would include at least good portions of neighborhoods like Lafayette Square, Carr Square and Midtown here) While it’s impossible to pinpoint how much of that growth is attributable to things like the Cultural Trail, I think it’s helped and a quality amenity like that would certainly boost STL’s greater downtown.

          • Adam

            Yeah, if STL were to build a similar trail/quality protected bike route from the Arch to Forest Park I think it would really help DT West and Midtown. While better than nothing, the plastic poles along Chestnut aren’t really gonna cut it.

          • Guest

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_Township,_Marion_County,_Indiana

            42 sq miles, 337k people in 1950, 142k people in 2010

          • Guest

            in 1950, Indy was 55 sq miles, and had 427k people total. Center Township is a pretty good comparison for the pre-suburbanized city

          • Riggle

            Wow. You are shockingly misinformed about Indy and STL, the truth is the opposite of what you think. And who the hell upvoted such an uninformed comment?

          • Adam

            Calm down. This has already been addressed in a less hostile manner. Maybe they were up-voting the part of the comment (the majority of it) that didn’t say Indy was more dense.

          • tbatts666

            We all come here to Become a little more informed about urban issues in stl, buddy.

        • The Cultural Trail in Indy was laid out to connect cultural districts that were, 10 years ago, a much lessor asset than they are today. They made a “place” out of the excess capacity on the streets that were lined with empty parking lots and defunct buildings. It was these on-street connections that stimulated the development. One billion in increased property tax assessment since 2008. It was due to the trail and connections that they are thriving today. Additionally, St. Louis has an excess capacity on our roads, why not leverage what we already own. I don’t think this is an either/or proposition, rather, one that is complimentary and needing a master plan. The city will get a bang for its buck by using street right of way (that which they already own) to encourage and leverage re-urbanization (earnings tax income) and making multiple modes of travel available for everyone.

  • Guest

    Certainly hope this comes to fruition. Looks like a great idea.

  • ScottF

    Ever since Trailnet’s announcement, I have been wondering if both the Chouteau Greenway and the protected bike network will be built, or if perhaps they will merge into different aspects of the same project.

    • johnny1421

      They need to work together for sure. Only so many funds and no point if fighting for them. Work out a master plan that links together