Changes coming to Westport's Mill Street

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Changes are coming to a portion of Westport. Local design and planning firm Gould Evans will be repainting a portion of Mill Street to make it more pedestrian friendly.

Volunteers will be out bright and early Saturday to do the work.

"It's really a supply and demand issue," said Kim Kimbrough, executive director for Westport. "There are way more pedestrians then there are cars. Wouldn't we be better off taking care of the pedestrians?"

The changes will include taking out the center turn lane on Mill Street near Westport Road.

"We're leaving the sidewalk as it is," said Robert Whitman, landscape architect at Gould Evans. "What we're going to do is paint out an amenities zone that buffers those pedestrians from the fast moving traffic."

The plan is to then add 20 new parking places beside that zone.

"Parking is a real important commodity in Westport," said Whitman. "So being able to add parking and making it a more pedestrian environment is key to this project."

The north and southbound lanes will also be reduced to 10-foot lanes from the current 14-foot lanes.

The city will also be changing two intersections in the area to 4-way stops. Those include the intersection of Mill Street/Westport Road and Pennsylvania/Westport Road.

"This is a 12 month temporary project," said Whitman. "The goal is for everyone to see how well it's working and our hope is that it's going to work really well and that everyone is going to love it. Then the goal down the road is that we make it permanent and enhance these changes that are temporary to really create permanent changes in Westport."

"This is really going to change the dynamics of this part of Westport," said Kimbrough. "It's going to make it way more pedestrian oriented, it's going to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street and use the intersection."

A small portion of Mill Street on both sides of Westport will be closed Saturday morning for volunteers to repaint the lines on the street. Gould Evans leaders hope the project will be done in four hours. 

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Jade DeGood can be reached at Jade.DeGood@KSHB.com.

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