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Going 360: Examining U.S. 71's impact on Kansas City amid new funding

71 highway sign
Posted at 7:35 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 11:28:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — On Monday, Kansas City, Missouri, leaders announced $5 million in funding to improve the areas along U.S. 71.

KSHB 41 is taking this story 360, talking to:

  • City leaders
  • Residents who've lived near U.S. 71 their whole lives
  • Advocates who fight for safer roads

Examining the history of U.S. 71 Highway

The idea for the highway first came back in 1951 and was then dubbed as the South Midtown Highway.

KSHB 41 investigator Sarah Plake broke down the history of U.S. 71 Highway and why it's been a contentious topic from the start.

Concerns about safety and how U.S. 71 divides neighborhoods is still talked about decades after it's completion.

Pedestrian safety advocates and residents who live near U.S. 71

KSHB 41 also spoked to pedestrian safety advocates and residents who live near U.S. 71.

Michael Kelley, policy director for BikeWalkKC, said he wasn't surprised that parts of U.S. 71 were being evaluated.

"It shouldn't surprise us that this is happening, because again, you have the confluence of so many factors that we know contribute to crashes, high speeding, intersections that don't provide protection for vulnerable road users," he said.

Leonard Lee, a resident of KCMO, walks across U.S. 71 to get to a bus stop to get work everyday. He knows first-hand how dangerous it can be.

"I feel unsafe, but we take our chances getting home because most of the time we're tired coming back from work, or going to work," Lee said.