Plan for dangerous Kansas City intersection raises concern

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- A new plan for a dangerous intersection in the metro is causing some concern. 
The Parks and Recreation Department plans to unveil the plans for the proposed Paseo Gateway Project Tuesday evening.

Leaders at Bike Walk KC say they feel the city is taking two steps forward and one step back for pedestrians with their proposed plan. 

"It will be the first bike path of its type in the city of Kansas City, Missouri, so there's some things to really be excited about," said Eric Bunch, Policy Director at Bike Walk KC. 

Bike Walk KC works to make walking and biking better for everyone in the metro area. Bunch said the organization is excited about the changes coming, but they do have a few concerns. 

"It's an urban environment where a lot of people rely on walking and biking and so we want to make sure that it's the best design for safety of pedestrians right now and the current design that we've seen, needs a little improvement," said Bunch. 

Bunch said the plans he's seen from the city increase the crosswalk distance, which makes it hard for some people to cross the street safely. He also said it ignores the Independence Avenue Pedestrian Safety Study which called for a road diet on Independence Avenue. 

"The city really is designing this project for the long term and so we need to get those details right," said Bunch. 

James Wang a project director for Parks and Recreation, said the intersection at The Paseo Boulevard and Independence Avenue is one of the most dangerous in the city. He said the Paseo Gateway Project would bring great change. 

"We will realign The Paseo Boulevard to provide a safer intersection,” he said. “We will also add a cycle track along The Paseo Boulevard to help improve the safety for cyclists and pedestrians.”

For the past two years, the city has been working on plans for the project. Wang said the crash rate at the intersection continues to rise, which is why the city says changes and additions to the intersection need to be made, including bike paths and sidewalks. 

Details about the project are available at an open house Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. at at the Butterworth Alumni Center on the Kansas City University campus, 1750 Independence Avenue.

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