Process to install sidewalks becomes priority in Northland after child killed in accident

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Northland neighborhood is now working to get sidewalks installed after an 8-year-old boy died Saturday.

Jorden Hale was on a skateboard with his 6-year-old friend when a van hit them and killed Hale.

Neighbors stood by a memorial for the boy Sunday night asking for more safety and a need for sidewalks.

Kansas City has a process because there are several streets without sidewalks.

Deb Hermann from Northland Neighborhoods, Inc., helps people organize to improve their community. She said sidewalk improvements in Kansas City go through the Public Improvement Advisory Committee.

"We all know it’s lacking and we also know that the city is trying to catch up, but we're still dealing with the issue of annexing old county roads in county areas and that's a lot infrastructure with limited dollars," Hermann said.

After an application process, a city engineer will look at traffic patterns and determine how they can make an area safer.

 

"We'd like to sidewalk the whole city, the whole Northland, but there's not enough dollars to do that. But they would look at all of those in order to prioritize the projects," Hermann said.

However, she said in some situations where the need is greater, the city can move faster.

"The PIAC process for city-wide projects is a five-year process, but that does not mean that if something is determined an emergency and if that's determined, something is an improvement that could prevent that in the future, those things could happen very, very quickly," she said.

City Council members meet at the Northland Neighborhoods, Inc., office every month to hear concerns like these. The meeting information is listed on their website here.

"The reality is that you not only have the sidewalk issue, but you also have lines-of-sight along the road itself so whether or not someone can actually see, what may be there is another question," 1st District City Councilman-At-Large Scott Wagner said. "So it may be a very easy fix or it may be a complex one but we just need to know what the issue is and if It’s something we can do something measurable about

For hale's family members, having sidewalks is a necessity for public safety.

"I think it would be beneficial for everybody in that community to have sidewalks and it would be a lot safer for our children to attend parks and stuff like that," Hale's cousin Angela Marcus said. "There is no way for children to walk safely along Winn Road. You can't see in some spots very far away-- sometimes it's 100 feet. That road needs some attention from the city."

Friends and family members planned a candlelight vigil for Hale near the apartment complex on Wednesday evening.  The family was still working on funeral arrangements.

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