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As The Wheel Turns

How biking continues to evolve in St. Louis

Courtesy of Great Rivers Greenway District

Patrick Van Der Tuin was driving through Holly Hills in 2003 when he saw a cyclist hit by another car. After stopping to help, Van Der Tuin was inspired to raise awareness about cyclists’ safety on the roads. He founded Ghost Bikes, a now-international movement in which bikes are painted white and chained up to memorialize places where cyclists were hit or killed on the roads. “It’s all about grabbing people’s attention and creating a dialogue with local officials,” he explains.

Today, the dialogue about cycling in St. Louis is at fever pitch, with the Downtown Bike Center slated to open this month. The center, located at 1011 Locust, will offer a place for commuters to store bikes and gear, as well as take a quick shower, for a monthly fee. With Big Shark Bicycle Company planning a shop next door and Trailnet relocating there, the site’s becoming a one-stop spot for cyclists—though Trailnet executive director Ann Mack says it’s only the beginning.

“Eventually, we’re looking at establishing more bike centers around the city,” she explains. “Also, we’re looking at a bike rental system that’s very popular in Europe. What we’re doing is just like any infrastructure—establishing a solid foundation and then adding amenities to it.”

The Iron Horse Trestle (rendering above), developed by Great Rivers Greenway (GRG), is another project planned to encourage cycling in the city. Built on a former railroad trestle, the elevated walkway and bikeway will extend about 2 miles through north St. Louis. Features will include elevated landscaping, art, event venues, and environmentally sustainable amenities, such as channeling rainwater to support plants. Todd Antoine, GRG’s deputy director for planning, says the project will likely be built in the next five to seven years.

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