Imagine a world where your best option is biking and walking. Where you don’t need to figure out a route, because the streets and signs are easy to navigate for all roads. Where you know that no matter how many wrong turns you take, every single street has been thoughtfully designed to accommodate you, regardless of mode and skill. These are the changes that will make bicycling a part of the whole transportation system.
We can get to that future by setting goals, achieving them, and building on the success for more solutions. In the short-term, I want to set up conditions to preserve and enhance our existing network of amazing neighborhoods, beautiful parks and architecture, and strong cultural institutions. I want to serve our current residents, keep them here, and attract new, young talent. And I want to do it all by using bicycling, walking, and transit to make St. Louis a livable, desirable place. St. Louis has the potential to become the Copenhagen of the US- by that, I mean it can be a region where we don’t have to rely on special maps and signs to navigate on bike. It can be a place where people move throughout the region by their mode of choice.
The region has a growing bike network, and the number of people on bikes has increased. We have organizations throughout the region. We have races that attract national attention. The visibility of biking as a hobby, and for transportation has increased. But, biking, and livability, are growing in a haphazard way. We need better coordination and a unified vision, with specific goals and deadlines for realizing them. Today I want to propose a bold vision for the region. One that will guide our individual efforts into something greater. One that will put St. Louis back on the national map, give our residents a strong reason to stay, and attract new attention.
As Susan discussed, GRG has completed the Gateway Bike Plan. This provides a backbone for bike infrastructure and connectivity. In partnership w/ GRG, Trailnet offers education and plan implementation activities such as bike counts, bike education, and professional development.
I want to be clear- achieving this vision WILL be a challenge. It will not be easy, but it is possible. Coordinating infrastructure across boundaries, daring to envision our roads in new ways, and training our engineers, planners, officials, and road crews for new designs and techniques will take effort. But there is precedent in the US. In the midwest. It can be done. One of the biggest challenges is overcoming the perception that only those who cycle today are the people we are planning & designing for. Great cities plan and design for virtually EVERYONE to cycle, and understand that when cities design for cyclists, everyone benefits. An inflating tire breathes air into all modes!
This vision will take money for infrastructure. But in terms of transportation spending, bike infrastructure is dirt cheap. In Portland, the city engineers are proud that their entire bicycle network cost about as much as a mile of freeway. Minneapolis has spent ? And the money was well spent- bicycle infrastructure creates roughly twice as many jobs per dollar spent than traditional road projects. Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure has lower long-term maintenance costs as the vehicles tend to be a little lighter.
I have my personal reasons for bicycling- I love the exercise, the intimate view of my surroundings, and the money it saves me. But setting a vision is larger than that- it’s about how bicycling can benefit the region as a whole.
For our younger generation, convenience and quality of life is defined by digital connectivity and access, rather than ownership of cars. A significant % would rather give up their car than their smart phone – or never buy a car to begin w/. Vehicles mile traveled is decling across the nation (even adjusted for fuel prices), and when we track where young people are moving- it is to livable cities, where land use, transit, and biking infrastructure make car ownership optional. The immediate availability of information and social contact through digital connections has changed what immediacy means. Walking to the garage, starting up a car, driving across town, and cruising for a parking spot is interminably long for people who don’t remember dial-up modems. They want to walk out their front door and find coffee shops, parks, and their friends. In order to retain the next generation, and attract more people, we must build the infrastructure they prefer.
When people walk and bike for their transportation, they choose local stores, within their own communities. Foot and bike traffic opens up the market to street front commercial activities, as people move by at a slower pace, with more flexibility and opportunity to stop and browse. While people on bicycles spend less money on each trip, they tend to make more trips to stores, resulting in more expenditures. Said one initially reluctant, but convinced business owner, “The closer the wallet to my cash register, the better!”
Transportation takes up a huge portion of the average household budget. The AAA estimates it is almost $9,000 per year. Switching to biking, walking, and transit can relieve stress on a household’s budget. It can open up disposable income to be used at local restaurants and shops. City officials have a limited toolbox when it comes to lowering housing and healthcare expenses and creating new jobs. Building opportunities for biking, walking, and transit CAN be a huge benefit to struggling residents.
Residential and commercial thrives on streets with slow traffic speeds, wide sidewalks, and pleasant walking environments. Six-lane roads with high speeds are great at moving people through an area. But if we want them to stay in the area, spend their money, invest their time, we need streets that feel like places. The region has numerous examples, where traffic calmed streets create inviting, prosperous neighborhoods. Every wide, fast road near a park or through a city center is a lost opportunity to capture the value of the amenities we already have. Ideally, roads should create value along the entire corridors. Ie, they can pay for themselves.
The average cost of a space in a parking lot costs $15,000. Surface lots are a few thousand dollars. A u-rack is $99, provides parking for two bikes, and can be installed for under $300. When we look at the most cost effective way to move people through our cities, and to our businesses, we must consider the long term costs of parking and road maintenance. Biking and walking saves the city money in the long run, and it can reduce the costs of new development, if we allow developers to build bike parking, and depend on people using active transportation.
If obesity rates continue at same rate, 61.9% of Missourians will be obese by 2030. This does not count overweight Missourians. Overweight employee: over 3500/yr more; a smoker: 1200/yr more
The bridge in the photo increased total number of trips by 20% without adding any car lanes- just expanding the multi-use path along the bridge. The recent Grand Bridge rebuilding cost $22 million. Eugene, OR just built a bridge over a freeway for $3.5 million for pedestrians and bikes.
St. Louis has three distinct advantages: Underutilized right-of-way, existing traffic closures, and being late to the game. These are traditionally seen as disadvantages, but for us, this is what gives St. Louis such strong potential. We have roughly a 1% modeshare now. We can triple that AT LEAST in 10 years by setting specific goals to leverage these assets.
Gaining the right of way to widen sidewalks and build buffered bike lanes is one of the biggest challenges US cities have faced. In the St. Louis region, we have a road network designed for a much larger population. Low population and falling car travel has left us with a valuable resource- the opportunity to easily put in state of the art biking and walking infrastructure. On major streets throughout the region, we can use road diets to create world-class infrastructure, while barely changing travel time for people in cars. Our right-of-way can be a major asset in making our region livable.
Portland’s neighborhood greenway network is built off of traffic calmed streets, with limited access for people in cars. Each street closure there was seen as a victory for livability. Opening up our closure to people on bicycles would be a huge step towards creating a network of quiet, low-speed bicycle routes. These closures are seen as a liability, but they can also be the backbone of livable streets for our city.
Knowledge of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure has increased dramatically in the last decade as early adopters have struggled to find the right designs for an American context. Now we know what works- people want wide, buffered bike lanes. People respond well when we pay attention to the details- traffic signal timing, bicycle parking, and advanced stop bars for bicycles. The first experiments in bike infrastructure appealed to the 1% that are experienced and are comfortable around car traffic and constant vigilance. We have the opportunity to get it right the first time and build for everyone by building a strong network, with separation from fast traffic. The most important lesson is that we CAN and SHOULD set a bold vision for the region. Building a strong bicycle network has massive effects on modeshare- it is possible to double or triple your bicycle modeshare through the right infrastructure. Since we do not have a lot of infrastructure on the ground already, we can skip over the bad and only focus on the good like India did with technology. They were behind way behind America’s telecom growth, but were able to surpass us by skipping cable/dsl completely putting fiber optics in . We have the same opportunity with protected bike lanes….do not have to pull out old facilities. (RS)
The region has a few more assets that I want to touch on. We have invested in ourselves, and bicycling and walking is a way to leverage those investments. Bicycling expands the effective reach of each Metrolink station, without requiring additional, costly parking spaces. Transit allows people to leave their cars at home for a longer commute trip, a trip with multiple children, or a large load of groceries. It connects our towns and neighborhoods, provides back up for people in bad weather, and is a vital service for people who do not have cars.
Not just the city of St. louis, but towns around the region have historic downtowns, with handsome architecture, connected street grids, and the potential to return to mixed-use development. We have outstanding parks to serve our neighborhoods. This kind of open space is almost impossible to create in built up cities, but our region invested in parks from the very beginning. We have the bones of neighborhoods that work for biking and walking trips, we just need to get the streets that work for biking and walking.
We have already seen that this works. Walkable, bike-friendly neighborhoods throughout the region have revitalized. South Grand, the Central West End, the Loop, Downtown Maplewood, The Grove, Old North… All of these neighborhoods are attracting new growth and better serving their residents. These areas have shown that people in St. Louis want to live, work, and play in places where they can walk, bike, or take transit. We can learn from this demonstration of the success of bike/walk infrastructure, and expand that success to the region.
Cities across the nation have set goals, and followed through on them. These goals push officials, staff members, and citizens to go for higher standards. They guide the various actions that government, non-profit, and profit sectors can make. In order to push our region we need to set specific goals and hold ourselves accountable.
Tripling our modeshare in three years is NOT an audacious goal. Cleveland essentially tripled theirs from 2000 to 2010. During the same period, we more than doubled ours. We know HOW to dramatically increase bike modeshare in just a few years. New York doubled in 5 years. We need to set goals, establish benchmarks, and follow through on achieving them.
Goal setting doesn’t end here. As a region we must plan for the future by deciding what we want to see, how we will get there, and what the intermediate benchmarks are. This example from Copenhagen shows how much more we could be striving for- and how much more we could be recording. Before we set goals on trips under 5 miles, or percentage of women riding bikes, we need accurate, reliable ways of capturing the data.
The region of St. Louis is ready for this vision We have the right-of-way, we have the traffic calmed streets, and we have the lessons learned from cities all over the nation. St. Louis can become an excellent, livable city for all modes of transportation within 10 years. What we need is the political will to change how our various levels of government treat biking, walking, and livability. Achieving this vision means daring to build to higher standards than the minimum. We will have to review our building codes to ensure that our streetscapes are pleasant and well-lit. We will have to change our zoning codes to allow mixed-use development. I want to ask everyone here how they can be a part of this bold vision for St. Louis. Whether you work in government, the business sector, or a non-profit, how can you help push this region to a walkable, bikeable future? Can you write a letter to the editor? Can you change your Level of Service standards to allow for bike-friendly signal timing? At Trailnet, I am pushing for this vision everyday, but it’s meaningless without the help of the entire community. The people here today care about making St. Louis a livable, vibrant place. Please consider joining us in our vision of a region where the street network serves all people, whether they are on foot, on bike, on transit, or in a car.
Transcript of "Setting a bold vision for biking in St. Louis "
Setting a bold vision for biking in St. LouisAnn Mack, CEO, Trailnet
A bold future forSt. Louis• All modes and all ages are welcome on ALL streets• Separate bicycle maps are redundant• Transit, bicycling, and walking are the most pleasant and efficient ways of traveling
Biking in St. Louistomorrow• People on foot, on bike, and in cars animate the streets• Choosing to bike, walk, or take transit is as common and convenient as driving
Biking in St. Louistoday• 13.8 miles of bicycle lanes• 22.0 miles shared-use paths• 74.2 miles of signed routes
Gateway Bike Plan• On-street and off-street infrastructure• Education: BikeSmart classes and St. Louis’ first LCI training• First region-wide Bike/Walk counts completed in September 2012
Achieving thevision• Political will and cooperation• The will and vision to change business as usual
• Portland’s 300 mile bicycle network: $60 millionFigure 13. Cumulative regional capitol expenditures in transportation 1995-2010 Cost • One mile of freeway: $60 million
Showing ourdecision makersthat bicyclingmatters• Retaining and attracting residents• Local trips means local profits• Saving money for low-income residents• Raising the value of neighborhoods• Lowering the barriers to development• Decreased health care costs• Infrastructure and maintenance that fits the budget
Retaining andattracting the nextgeneration• 43.4% of our residents are under 30• 64% of Millennials are now choosing where they want to live before finding a job• 77% plan to live in urban areas
• People arriving by bike spend onLocal trips mean average $14.63/ month MORE at local bars, convenience stores, and local profits • restaurants Biking and walking encourage shorter, local trips
Low costtransportationoptions forresidents• Transportation is the second largest household expense in the US• The cost of car ownership is approximately $8,946 per year• Cities have more tools to change transportation than housing or healthcare costs
Raising the valueof neighborhoods• Bicycle boulevards have increased property values• Traffic calming and road diets can increase property values and encourage retail uses• Wide sidewalks let cafes expand their sales, while making the neighborhood more pleasant
Removing thebarriers todevelopment• Reduced need for car parking lowers development costs• High parking requirements raise rents for residents and businesses• U-rack: $300 for equipment and installation, holds 2 bikes• One car parking space: $2,500 to over $40,000
Annual Employee Healthcare Costs $1,600.00 $1,400.00Decreased healthcare costs and $1,200.00better quality of $1,000.00life $800.00• The Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study found low fitness was the strongest predictor of death- $600.00 stronger than high blood pressure, obesity, or smoking• The Nurse’s Study found woman $400.00 who increased their daily activity to one hour per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 50% $200.00 $- Regular exercise No exercise
Infrastructure andmaintenance thatfits the budget• Grand Bridge: $22 million• Example bicycle and pedestrian bridge: $3.5 million• Road maintenance: • 5.6 cents per motor vehicle mile • .2 cents per bicycle mile
St. Louis’Advantages• Non-traditional: • Underutilized right-of-way • Traffic closures • Learning from others’ mistakes• Traditional: • Transit • Good bones • Demonstrated success
Sitting on agoldmine of rightof way• Only 25% of our lane miles experience congestion• 56th in the nation for traffic delay• Traffic congestion has dropped steadily over the last decade• Vehicles Mile Traveled are falling
Street closures• Traffic-calmed streets• Accessible by people on foot• Ramps can open up the streets to people on bicycles
We can capitalizeon others’mistakes• Opportunity to learn from others’ hindsight: separated bike lanes reduce crashes by 90%• Avoid wasteful spending on unpopular infrastructure• People of all abilities show a preference for separated bike lanes and low-traffic bicycle routes
Light rail• 10th in the nation for ridership• Bicycle accessible• Key link for a multi-modal system
Good bones• Dense, well-defined neighborhoods• Exceptional architecture• Numerous, historic parks
Early success• Bike/walk friendly neighborhoods are revitalizing in the region• From 2000 to 2010, 6 out of the 7 neighborhoods with light rail access in St. Louis gained residents• Of the neighborhood-level gains in the city, 87% were in “Very Walkable”
Des Moines: 5% bicycle modeshare by 2020Portland: 25% by 2030Denver: 10% modeshare by 2018NYC: Triple bicycle modeshare from 2007 to 2017Seattle: Triple bicycle modeshare from 2007 to 2017Kansas City: Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly City by 2020Long Beach: To become the best bicycling city in AmericaChicago: To become the most bike-friendly big city in the US • Specific and ambitious Goal setting for • Rallying cry for officials, city staff, and activists publicity and support
2000 2010 Bicycle Bicycle Percent Commute Commute change, City Modeshare Modeshare 2000 to 2010 Cleveland, OH 0.2% 0.8% 279.62% Pittsburgh, PA 0.4% 1.6% 269.15% Portland, OR 1.8% 6.0% 237.77% Nashville-Davidson metro, TN 0.1% 0.4% 213.59% Anchorage, AK 0.5% 1.5% 196.49%Changes can have Atlanta, GA 0.3% 0.9% 179.54% Washington, DC 1.2% 3.1% 169.07%large impacts Kansas City, MO St. Louis, MO 0.1% 0.3% 0.3% 0.9% 167.94% 166.13% Wichita, KS 0.2% 0.5% 161.39% Chicago, IL 0.5% 1.3% 158.63%• St. Louis more than doubled Indianapolis, IN 0.2% 0.5% 152.98% our modeshare from 2000 to Virginia Beach, VA 0.3% 0.8% 149.25% Aurora, CO 0.2% 0.4% 134.35% 2010 Denver, CO 1.0% 2.2% 130.93%• New York City more than Oklahoma City, OK 0.1% 0.3% 120.88% Baltimore, MD 0.3% 0.7% 110.86% doubled their modeshare for all Philadelphia, PA 0.9% 1.8% 108.88% trips from 2007 to 2011 Detroit, MI 0.2% 0.3% 108.52% Milwaukee, WI 0.3% 0.7% 107.09% Tampa, FL 0.9% 1.9% 106.90% Corpus Christi, TX 0.2% 0.5% 103.44%
Kansas City:Platinum-levelbicycle friendly by2020• Mayor Funkhouser set goal after Kansas City was declared the worst bicycling city in America• Bronze level city with growing bike network• Bike/ped coordinator at the City• Bicycle routes adopted into Major Streets Plan
Long Beach: To bethe best bicyclingcity in America• Strong support from City Council Members and the Mayor• Innovative infrastructure despite strong car culture• Bicycle Supportive Business Districts• Effective rebranding effort for the city• Bike/ped coordinator on staff; planning and engineering staff also incorporate bicycle transportation work
Chicago: To be themost bicycle-friendly big city inthe US• Mayor Emanuel campaigned as a strong bicycle supporter• Rapid expansion of the on-street network, including cycle tracks• Currently developing a Streets for Cycling 2020 Plan, including benchmarks and goals• Bicycle department with 10 full time staff and six interns
• Specific, phased implementation goals Goal setting for • Requires mechanisms for measuring progress •planning and policy • Evaluation tool for success Holds staff and officials accountable
• How can we make this work for our Realizing • region? What resources do we have in thisthe vision room to transform our region?
Challenge• What are the goals for YOUR municipality?• Track the data necessary to achieve the goals• Use the goal and the process as a way to get an edge