KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Public Works recently installed a new bicycle track on Gillham Road in Midtown, and are now pursuing a similar project on the Westside.
As the weather warms up, Kansas City is hoping to turn down the temperature on the roads.
"We’ve had a pretty alarming rise in traffic fatalities in KCMO, 20% rise over the last 10 years. So Vision Zero and sort of our path forward right now is just saying we're not going to accept that anymore," said Maggie Green of KCMO Public Works.
Through speed management strategies, education and physical infrastructure, the city is chartering a path forward, and it’s not just for motorists.
"Over the last several years we have seen an increase in people using other modes of transportation, not to mention some folks don't even have a car, and they get around primarily by taking the bus or by walking, and so our responsibility as a city as a public works department is to make sure that we have safe infrastructure for everybody to move around the city," Green said.
A new Westside bicycle track is next on the Public Works’ agenda.
At Summit Street and Avenida Cesar E Chavez, the cycle track would run to State Line Road. Public Works is currently meeting with neighborhood groups and hopes to start this project in the middle of the summer.
Meetings include the Westside Community Action Network, one of the neighborhood stakeholder groups.
"This is a comprehensive plan that has been happening from the city for some years ago, but more important for us, is that the city is willing to talk with the neighbors," said Westside CAN Director Jorge Coromac.
Bikers will be able to ride in protected lanes covering one mile from the Westside to the West Bottoms - and that’s not all.
"This facility will connect to efforts happening down in KCK, Kansas City, Kansas, so the Rock Island Bridge is a huge project that's some developers are working on our intent, this is our investment to sort of make that regional connectivity, and we're really excited about that," Green explained.
It’s part of the city’s goal to make streets physically and logistically safer for all users, and all modes of transportation.
"Community improvements are always great. Better roads, better sidewalks, better signage, better care of all the surrounding areas and increasing safety in the neighborhood, that's always priority for us," Coromac said.
Public Works held a public meeting last week and an additional neighborhood meeting Thursday night. They also told 41 Action News there’s a million dollars worth of investment to the Westside from Public Improvements Advisory Committee 4th District funds that go alongside this new cycle track for the Westside.
To learn more about the city's Vision Zero initiative for safer streets, visit the website.