The River Ring - Good morning, I am excited to be here and have the opportunity to talk about Great Rivers Greenway District, our purpose is to make St. Louis a better to place to live. It is always difficult to explain the concept of a greenway, I want to share a story about one of our interns who was doing trail counts last summer. We have been doing trail counts since 2007, each year we hire an aspiring young college student usually in public policy or urban planning to sit on specific greenways and count people and how they are using a trail. Michael had been on the River Des Peres Greenway for two days when he was confronted by the police because a resident was watching him watch them. It scared him so much he came to back to the office and we created a special trail count sign to attach to his chair- proof for us that the residents along the greenway were taking ownership, in fact since we started counting in 2007 more than an estimated 1,000,000 people have been using the greenways – exercising, commuting, exploring nature, walking with friends, riding bikes with their families – we know that Great Rivers Greenway has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people in this region. Today we are going to take a quick journey around the River Ring and you will why the greenways matter to the people in our community.
There are 45 planned greenways, to date we are working in 17 greenways with about 70 active projects Over the last 11 years over $100 million dollars has been provided to the region through the Districts share of 1/10 of a cent sales tax, as stewards of the public trust the District has ensured that 91 cents out of every dollar was invested in greenways and land acquisition for parks that thousands of people are benefitting from each day.
Clearly, parks and greenways matter to you, for many of you - who remember - Civic Progress played a key role in the development of the District with your help the voters of St. Louis County, St. Charles County, St. Louis City and Madison and St. Clair Counties in Illinois –approved the passage of Prop C in 2000 - thank you for your contribution and assistance., In part, Because of your involvement people are enjoying the greenways every day, the on-going vision for the St. Louis region includes 600 miles of interconnected greenways, parks and trails – Our purpose to make the St. Louis region a better place to live not only for today but a building legacy for our children and their children that will have historic significance
Every greenway reflects the people and communities it passes through, using art, architecture, landscape and interpretive signs citizens learn the story of each community, develop relationships with regular users and enjoy access to the outdoors The power of a greenway is in its connectivity – the more access the greater the use – Grants Trail Bridge is a great example where the opening of the bridge connecting Kirkwood and Oakland increased use by more than 200,000 people in the first year – this response demonstrates how greenways have a powerful impact on our quality life Currently 103 miles of greenway trails that connect 40 communities throughout the region provide free exercise, traffic free riding, walking and rolling opportunities,
Providing greenway trails connected to open space and rivers that are safe and accessible these paths connect people to thousands of natural quiet acres to explore and restore a sense of wonder and peace
Great Rivers Greenway also looks for partners in communicating health benefits of greenways – a great example is our partnership with BJC and Metro in health messaging on bus shelters on the BJC Campus in the Central West End.
Job Creation is another important benefit; a recent University of Massachusetts study showed that for every $1 million invested in trail development, 11 jobs were created – applied to the $100 million invested by Great Rivers Greenway this would mean over 1000 jobs created in our region
With almost 3 million annual visitors the Arch compares closely with the Statue of Liberty which had 3.8 million visitors in 2011. It sits quietly at the front door to our region, yet serving everyone as the symbol of the gateway to the westThe partnership with CityArchRiver2015 provides an important collaborative effort to redevelop the front door to our region…for Great Rivers Greenway the connection from the Arch Grounds north to the Confluence Clickrepresents the first opportunity for a critical transformation of unsafe, neglected spaces along one of the greatest rivers in the world - providing secure opportunities for development of businesses, retail, housing and industry. Like many other cities such as Pittsburgh, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Boston before us, we have an opportunity to create an exciting and significant riverfront that we are as proud of as we are the Gateway Arch. The time to act is now..
Imagine a revitalized riverfront that would take you from the Biddle Street Trailhead north CLICK CLICKto the Confluence Greenway leading to many other destinations, A quick trip up the river takes you the McKinley Bridge Bike way, and the adjoining Trestle
purchased in 2006, this great structure will be St. Louis’ version of New York City’s High Line – helping to identify St. Louis as a world class sustainable environment, the Trestle will embrace our rich heritage, creative energy and active life on a working river.
Another ten bike miles north and you will reach the Chain of Rocks Bridge, our second connection to Illinois where you can ride back to the McKinley - a 22 mile continuous off road loop. Ultimately, our final goal a connection to the Confluence itself, the District working with DNR, the Corps and many other agencies has committed to the long term preservation of this world class waterway.
As part of CityArchRiver2015, the District has committed clickalmost $15 million of its own funds to redevelop the riverfront with public space, a bikeway and to elevate Leneor K Sullivan out of the flood plain from Chouteau Ave to Biddle Street– the total estimated cost for this portion of the project is $25 – 30 million. We have been working hard to try and garner federal dollars through grant opportunities and hope that in 2012 we will be able to successfully obtain all the funds necessary to complete the project. Click The connections at Chouteau and Biddle ensure the continuity of the River Ring – south and west to the Mississippi and Chouteau Greenways and north to the Confluence Greenway
These Preliminary sketches from MVVA demonstrate the possibilities for future improvements
in particular we are interested in a partnership with the City and private developers to create accessible and safe park opportunities north of Eads of bridge, we are working on a second phase vision plan that could redevelop the north riverfront area into a vibrant area for living, working and playing. Even some simple changes could make a significant difference.
Great Rivers Greenway District
Great Rivers Greenway District The River Ring Making St. Louis a Better Place Live
Great Rivers Greenway DistrictOur purpose: To Make St. Louis A Better Place To Live
A Tradition of Stewardship$104 million invested in greenways and trails1500 acres preserved230 community programs funded104 miles of off road trails140 partners40 communities connected1 million annual users91 cents returned on every dollar
• Provide a prioritized system of routes that are contiguous and connected to on and off road facilities.• Improve safety for all modes of transportation through careful design and implementation fo bicycle facilities as well as educational and enforcement programs.• Increase the commitment of public officials to support/initiate public policy for bicycling at all levels of government.
• Expand the public’s view that bicycles are a viable/acceptable mode of transportation.• Increase the number of people using bicycles for transportation.• Consistent application of bicycle facilities guidelines and standards.