We did it! Buffered bike lanes were painted on Tower Grove Avenue last week! Cyclists on St. Louis’ busiest bike route will now have dedicated lanes when Kingshighway closes in a few weeks.
Update: The new Tower Grove Ave bike lanes are prominently mentioned in this St. Louis Post Dispatch article about the Kingshighway closure, which is now scheduled to begin July 6.
We’ll detail the lanes in a later post, but for now we’ll savor the moment, thank our friends, recall how we got here, and share thoughts about what’s next.
We’d like to sincerely acknowledge, first, the role played by Mayor Slay’s office, Alderman Conway, and the Streets Department in making this happen. Bringing them on board did not always feel easy, but once committed they moved quickly and expertly to install the lanes. They did so because hundreds of you signed our petition and told them, in various ways, why making Tower Grove Avenue safe for cyclists is so important. Thank you all. We are also grateful to Great Rivers Greenway and Trailnet for their advocacy and support, and to the passionate and talented people who work there. Special thanks to Rhonda Smythe for her wisdom and vision, and most of all to Dana Gray, without whose inspiration, aid, and guidance this would not have happened.
We started SafeTGA two years ago to advocate for cyclist safety on Tower Grove Avenue because we rely on it ourselves, and we know many others do too. We wrote about the threats posed by the upcoming Kingshighway project early on, and raised the alarm when the City postponed Phase III bike lanes to accommodate more traffic during the closure. We organized a meeting for local cyclists to find a consensus on what we want Tower Grove Ave to look like, and presented the Mayor a petition asking that buffered bike lanes be installed before Kingshighway closes. The result was astounding – over 650 people signed the petition, hundreds wrote about why this was important, and a local TV station did a news story about this issue. Yet the future of Tower Grove Ave involves the neighborhood as a whole, and we presented at both the Southwest Garden as well as the Shaw neighborhood meetings to share our concerns and gather feedback from the broader community. Once the neighborhood organizations were on board things moved quickly, and within a week crews were painting lines on Tower Grove Avenue.
Going forward, SafeTGA will continue to advocate for cyclists and pedestrians along the Tower Grove Avenue corridor, from the Tower Grove neighborhoods to the Cortex District. We’ll also organize group rides around St. Louis to check out bike infrastructure and offer feedback. If this sounds like something you’d like to hear more about, stay in touch: write us at firstname.lastname@example.org, like our SafeTGA page on Facebook, and search for our #SafeTGA tag on Twitter.