Celebrate Bike to Work Day With a Commute Through Forest Park
It’s no surprise that Forest Park is a destination for bikers. The paved trail that wraps around the circumference of the Park is ideal for cyclists. The smooth path winds through trees, past golf courses and St. Louis landmarks such as the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri History Museum.
As biking becomes more of a popular form of transportation, the trails of Forest Park aren’t just a destination, but, for many, part of their daily commute. “I think people like using the Park because there are so many options that go in different directions and connect to other areas of the city,” says Sheryll Williams, Outreach Coordinator at Great Rivers Greenway. “Forest Park is like a wheel where you find the path that takes you closest to where you want to go with a minimum of conflict points.”
Great Rivers Greenway, whose goal is to develop a network of greenways that connect rivers, parks, and communities in the St. Louis region, provides two greenways with direct access to Forest Park. The St. Vincent Greenway connects near the Missouri History Museum, providing an entrance from Lindell Boulevard. The Centennial Greenway enters the Park on the Skinker Boulevard side by Washington University. “That is an important corridor,” says Williams. “People can access Skinker and go through campus to avoid on-street riding.”
Other popular commuter ways connecting to Forest Park include:
From the Hill
Take the bike lane on Oakland Avenue (in front of the Saint Louis Science Center) entering the Park via the tunnel that runs under Highway 40
From the Grove
Find the pedestrian bridge that crosses over I-64 and connects near Euclid Avenue and Clayton. Take Clayton Avenue to enter the Park.
The Chouteau Greenway is still in the design stages, but is planned to connect the Gateway Arch to Forest Park. The part of this greenway that currently exists is near the Cortex Metrolink Station.
For Williams, a longtime commute biker, it’s exciting to see an increased popularity in biking as a form of transportation. “It feels like biking is hip again,” she says.
With May being National Bike Month and May 17, Bike to Work Day, Williams hopes that St. Louis residents will dust off their bikes and try riding to work or school. There are many benefits for your health and the environment, not to mention your wallet. It’s also a great way to explore your community.
If you’re tempted to start biking as a means of transportation, Williams advises that you think about the logistics such as your employer and whether or not there is a place to store your bike once you get to your destination. “I’ve seen an improvement in facilities like bicycle parking,” she says. “It isn’t always a mystery like it once was. In the 90s, I would ride my bike to the Galleria, and most of the time I would park my bike on the perimeter because there wasn’t even a bike rack at the major doorways.”
Williams also recommends doing a trial run of your commute on the weekend so you know what to expect and how long it will take to get to your destination.
And for all bikers and pedestrians on the Greenway and in Forest Park, Williams recommends courtesy. “I always emphasize the need for more courtesy,” she says. “I think we can all do better because there are so many users. It just helps us all think of others whether it’s stopping on the side, stopping abruptly on the trail or walking in groups and not yielding for others. Courtesy is critical so we can all enjoy these spaces.”
“I hope that people will decide that the weather’s right and that they’re ready to get started,” says Williams.
And there’s no better time to do that than National Bike Month. Plus, there will be a refueling station on Bike to Work Day this Friday at the Missouri History Museum sponsored by Trailnet.