St. Louis region needs better connectivity and a unified narrative - Trailnet & Katy Land Trust launch new initiative |

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Back in 1870, when the city and county split, no one could have predicted the challenges that would result from having a patchwork of competing interests and a fragmented narrative. Yet when a bicyclist or hiker passes from one jurisdiction to another, they often don’t even know it! The land is what matters the most — its shapes and textures, the nature and hardscape that animate it. Cities lose their limits.

Criss-crossing the St. Louis region on foot or bicycle is an experience unlike any car ride. We have so many colorful, storied places to visit, some tucked out of sight from the major roads but all within easy reach. The Katy Trail, a 287-mile ride through the Missouri countryside, is just minutes from the suburbs.

Trailnet and the Katy Land Trust recently embarked on a project to provide a fresh perspective throughout the region. In this collaboration, the two organizations have put forth a new publication and website, Across STL. The intent is to remind all of us of the need to work toward a strong common goal — a unified message where trails and bike paths are vital to a vibrant and connected community. . . .

Trailnet has a related mission to better connect our urban neighborhoods by adding a network of protected bike paths. This focus on active transportation and connectivity with on-street protected bike lanes and improved sidewalks in the urban core is already a standard street design in many of our peer cities. St. Louis has made progress, but we also have some catching up to do.

Protected bike lanes have been proven to help cities our size attract and retain talent, bridge racial divides, create vital access to jobs and services, improve health, and deliver economic dividends. Millennials want this type of connectivity, as do urban core supporters. The St. Louis region needs to unite behind this goal. We can learn from what our peer cities are accomplishing.

MoBikeFed comment: The "Across STL" initiative to better link city and county with bicycling, walking, and trails, is a partnership of Trailnet and the Katy Land Trust. They have launched the Across STL magazine recently--find out more here:

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