MO Trails Summit Presentation: How to find funding to build your bicycle/pedestrian project or trail

At the 2011 Missouri Trails Summit in Kirkwood, Missouri, Amy Stringer Hessel of the Missouri Foundation for Health, Cindy Mense of Trailnet, and Brent Hugh of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation gave a panel presentation about finding funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. 

Trail Funding: Moving a Good Idea to Reality
Trail Funding: Moving a Good Idea to Reality
Most participants at the Trails Summit are parks and rec department staff, so one focus of the presentation is funding for trails projects and trails programming.

However, most of the ideas and principles are just as applicable to finding bicycle and pedestrian funding for any project or program, whether for a city, a county, any other government agency, or a nonprofit organization building trails, bicycle facilities, pedestrian facilities, or doing bicycle or pedestrian programming.

Download the presentations in PDF format:

A few highlights

Amy Stringer Hessel:

Since its inception, the Missouri Foundation  for Health's Healthy and Active Communities program has supported 86 projects with a total investment of $20.7 million.

One study found that for every $1 investment in trails there was a $2.94 medical savings due to the physical activity levels of trail users.

One study that evaluated the relationship between access to a variety of built and natural facilities and physical activity found that the people with the greatest access were 43 percent more likely to exercise for 30 minutes on most days compared with those with poorer access. 

Cindy Mense:

Research shows that the way to really make active living change is by fostering change to policies, the built environment, and engaging communities by building social networks.

Studies that indicate that the built environment is the biggest indicator of health.  When someone opens their front door, whether or not they can walk or bike to school, work, get fresh food, city hall,  or the library is one of the biggest influences on their health. 

Currently 1/3 of Americans don’t drive and that number is expected to increase significantly. We need to rethink our roads – the connectors of people and communities.  

Brent Hugh:

The challenge of the 20th Century was building a complete, connected network of paved roads for automobiles.

That job is now complete.

The challenge of the 21st Century is making our transportation system work on the human scale again.

That means: biking, walking, trails, mass transit. It means retrofitting our entire paved road system to be accessible to people.

Our 21st Century transportation funding and funding priorities must reflect that reality.