New bike lanes concern some drivers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After several years in the making, the start of the downtown bike loop is being completed on Grand Boulevard.

Cyclist Steve Panzica says it is about time. “I think the city was smart deciding to make it a bike friendly street and take away a lane of traffic, I don’t think it’s needed,” said Panzica.

But some motorists disagree, voicing concern that their commute will be compromised.

“It may just cause more traffic backup which that’s going to suck,” said Cortney Sims, who drives around downtown for work.

The city says they are not worried, they chose Grand Boulevard for a reason.

Of course, it’s a big change to a downtown roadway when you are reducing lanes in each direction. But, with the traffic volumes on Grand, it’s an appropriate use of that street,” said Beth Breitenstein, spokesperson for Kansas City Public Works.

Breitenstein says they hope taking the main drag down to one lane of traffic each way will also help get drivers to slow down.

“So that people can drive through at an appropriate speed and see what downtown Kansas City has to offer,” said Breitenstein.

Panzica says he rides down Grand every day on his way to and from work, he can’t imagine the changing lanes will be a huge impact to drivers.

“Over the years of biking that way down Grand, you don’t see a lot of traffic,” said Panzica.

He also feels a bit of a slowdown for drivers is a small price to pay to keep cyclists safe.

“Now, with partial lanes being painted on Grand I feel somewhat safer,” said Panzica.

The portion of the downtown bike loop that goes down Grand is expected to be complete next week, the rest of the loop will be completed in the spring.

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