As St. Louisans participated in National Bike to Work Day recently, a local group reflected on its efforts to make the region more bike-friendly.
Great Rivers Greenway has released a report, grading St. Louis’ progress on a region-wide bike plan. The Gateway Bike Plan would build bike routes connecting parks, universities and major public areas throughout St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. Other initiatives under the plan would implement policies and training programs to support bikers.
The group promotes any effort to improve living in St. Louis and, as such, spearheaded the creation of the Gateway Bike Plan in 2011. Today, the group is moving past the planning phase and into its implementation.
Todd Antoine, director for planning at Great Rivers Greenway, said the city is right on track. The group uses the report card as a way to assess how well they’re coordinating with other city departments. So far, Antoine said, there’s been a lot of positive feedback and excitement around making St. Louis more bike-friendly.
“As more and more communities are looking internally to develop on-street bicycle facilities, we’re also seeing more projects where we’re adding 40 new miles of bicycle routes through North St. Louis and South St. Louis,” he said. “I mean, there’s a lot of activity that’s been going on.”
Antoine added that there’s been a greater demand for bike-friendly cities nationally, and St. Louis is no exception. There’s been a 300 percent increase in bike commuters in St. Louis since 1990, according to a survey data report by The League of American Bicyclists.
“They want to have those options, so that they feel like they can maybe take the bike to a MetroLink station and take that to work or be able to bike up to the local library or to the shop,” Antione said. “I think it’s really about providing safe options to let people feel like they can commute and really to make it a more interconnected St. Louis region.”
More bikeways will be built during this year’s construction season. As more bike route projects wrap up in the next couple years, Antoine said Great Rivers Greenway will work with local jurisdictions to establish biking ordinances and other policies.