TOWARD SAFE, ACCESSIBLE ROADWAYS
WRITTEN BY: Beth Breitenstein
PHOTOS BY: Karen Lim
Crews will start work this spring on the Englewood Road Complete Streets project. Normally, not much notice would be paid to a seemingly routine effort to add curbs, gutters, a 10-foot trail and bike lanes to what was once an unimproved two-lane street. Even the $15 million price tag might not generate a lot of buzz. Well, this innovative approach to improving this street is anything but business-as-usual.
The Englewood improvements mark the first project under the City Council-backed Complete Streets ordinance. The Council approved an ordinance in December 2017 that reinforces efforts to provide safe and accessible options for all forms of travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and motorists. The Complete Streets ordinance provides guidelines on how sidewalks and bicycles should be included in capital road projects and new development, offering increased efficiencies and lowering the environmental impact of the City’s transportation system.
“This codifies our mission to provide equitable multi-modal access to all roadway users. It was a collaborative effort to put together this comprehensive policy and we are thankful for support from our partner city departments, City Council, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and community advocates,” said Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre.
Recent complete streets initiatives include the bicycle-friendly restriping of Grand Street and the reconstruction of 20th Street from Southwest Boulevard to McGee Street. Both projects focused on multi-modal road access, allowing pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers safe routes through downtown Kansas City.
“The Complete Streets Ordinance will shape Kansas City’s growth so our future city is a healthier, safer and more connected place for everyone,” said Councilwoman Jolie Justus. “This couldn’t have happened without the collaborative effort between our citizen advocates and city staff. I’m very thankful to them and proud to have been a part of that process.”
The Englewood project and the Complete Streets ordinance are only a few of a wide range of multi-modal access improvements ready to kick off in 2018. This spring, the City will complete the update of the BikeKC Plan, establishing a clear vision for a connected bike network on Kansas City streets. Also in spring, the City will begin GO KC sidewalk spot repairs citywide.