KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is in the process of installing its longest protected bike lane running east to west on Truman Road, but business owners and those who live nearby are raising questions on the city's plans on protecting cyclists when using these lanes.
Valorie Engholm is a recreational cyclist, but for awhile she didn’t have a car and had to rely on her bike and other modes of transportation to get around.
“I biked and bussed to get to work, to get to school, grocery store, get my kid to school, everything,” Engholm said.
For nearly two years, the city has been working on adding protected bike lanes throughout the metro. Their latest focus is on Truman Road with plans to take the six-lane roadway and cut down the driving lanes to four. The remaining space is set to be turned into protected bike lanes. Engholm applauded the addition of bike lanes on Truman since it’s a roadway that connects to other key corridors throughout the city.
“I would not have biked on Truman Road and would do anything to avoid it and to people that means taking longer to get to school and work,” Engholm said.
Crews are in the process of resurfacing Truman Road from Hardesty to Holmes, which they estimate could take anywhere between 3-4 weeks. Materials for delineators and curb stops are being impacted by supply chain issues so the city doesn’t have a predicted project end time yet.
“With gas prices and taxes being higher and being impossible to buy a used car and all of those costs together, car is not an option for a lot of people,” Engholm said.
Businesses located along Truman, like Las Marias tortillas, say the lanes will open the doors for additional foot traffic, but controlling traffic may be a challenge.
“It’s a pretty busy road, people go flying by quite a bit, they are going to have to be careful on the design to protect people on bikes,” said Jean Paul Chaurand, owner of Las Marias.
City leaders say they are aware of challenges on Truman Road, with the roadway being listed on the city’s top 10 list of high crash corridors, but say the bike lanes will help.
“What you will notice about a lot of our streets, if you’re a cyclist like I am, they feel unsafe,” City Manager Brian Platt said. "You’re up next to cars, there a lot of travel lanes, cars drive quickly and what we are doing with a street like this is redesigning it to make it more comfortable, but also an actual safer environment for cyclists."
The city is aiming to add a total of 30 miles of protected bike lanes by the end of this year.