St. Louis County: We Don’t Build Bike Lanes Because No One Bikes

Great news from greater St. Louis: Communities from across the region put their heads together, and after 16 months of labor came up with a bike master plan that includes a 1,000-mile cycling network.

St. Louis county has made no accommodations for cyclists on its roads "as a matter of policy" because they say hardly anyone bikes there. Maybe, just maybe, the two are related? Photo: KMOV St. Louis

It seems, however, that not all the region’s actors are sold on the idea of biking as transportation. Herbie Markwort, who writes for Network blogs Gateway Streets and NextSTL, noticed recently that there are no bike accommodations on any roads maintained by St. Louis County. And it isn’t a simple oversight, he explains:

I only see road segments designated as “wide outside lane,” “paved shoulder,” or “needs further analysis;” nothing that would require paint on the road.

In a recent Road Crew chat on STLtoday.com, I asked the following question: Is St. Louis County against the inclusion of on-street bicycle facilities on its roads?

David Wrone, spokesman for the St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic, replied: “As a matter of policy, we don’t build dedicated bike lanes. St. Louis County salutes the bike-riding community, but we manage our system in the knowledge that motor vehicles comprise the vast majority of our customer base. The ground and money aren’t available to provide ‘Bike Only’ travel lanes.”

Good one, Wrone. You “salute” cyclists, they just aren’t worth any “ground” or “money” because all of that is reserved for the folks who really count: motorists. How forward thinking!

I wonder if it’s ever occurred to anyone in St. Louis County that maybe car traffic vastly outnumbers bike traffic because they haven’t made it safe to bike. Just a thought.

Elsewhere on the Network today: NRDC Switchboard shares research that shows small, neighborhood parks, or “pocket parks” as they’re sometimes called, improve health outcomes in neighborhoods. The Virginia Bicycling Federation announces that 80 miles of sharrows are coming to Richmond. And Systemic Failure highlights Rick Perry’s past enthusiasm for high-speed rail.