Apr 4th Elections: Kansas City Council adopts Complete Streets initiative for proposed GOBonds funding

Cities across Missouri have started to make a practice of including important walking, bicycling, and trails projects and maintenance in their regular capital funding and bonding proposals. But--until now--Kansas City, Missouri, never has.

BikeWalkKC has been working for over a year on the 1-2-3 GOBond proposals
BikeWalkKC has been working for many months to ensure that the 1-2-3 GOBond proposal is the best proposal possible for improving bicycling, walking, and trails in the city

After many months of work by citizens, community leaders, city staff, and elected officials, Kansas City has a very important capital improvement bonding proposal on Tuesday's municipal elections ballot.

And thanks to the work of BikeWalkKC advocates, working together with supportive citizens, staff, and elected officials, the proposal takes a step that Kansas City has never taken before: It gives very strong support to the city's long-neglected sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and other basic infrastructure used by people who walk, bicycle, and use transit.

Congratulations must go to dedicated advocates, staff, and elected officials who have finally brought Kansas City on par with other major cities across Missouri and across the country by making walking, bicycling, and trails a major emphasis of the city's capital investment proposal.

Now the question goes to voters--who will turn out during municipal elections Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 to give the plan a final thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

1-2-3 GOBonds proposal builds in support for bicycling, walking, Complete Streets

To put the icing on the cake, this week the KCMO City Council formally adopted a policy to implement the new Capital Improvement projects according to Complete Streets guidelines:

Ahead of Tuesday’s bonds election, Kansas City Council members set a clarifying policy — that roads and sidewalks would be repaired with walkers and pedestrians in mind, envisioning liveable, green neighborhoods.

“We want the focus on complete streets,” Councilman Quinton Lucas said in committee Thursday. “We don’t want to just craft a standalone sidewalk.”

A resolution, passed by the full council Thursday, directs the city to set a broad-thinking policy to guide the work it hopes will come after voters decide on $800 million in general obligation bonds in three separate questions on Tuesday’s ballot.

The resolution also established the council’s intent that the city will prioritize areas of highest need in its work on sidewalks.

The criteria would weigh proximity to schools, public transportation, parks, employment opportunities, grocery stores and medical centers. It would also consider needs of access for people with disabilities and give priority to economically distressed areas and low-income neighborhoods. 

However, the new Complete Streets policy only makes sense within the context of the proposal $600 million infrastructure funding policy (Question #1 of the three GOBond proposals). So if Question #1 passes Tuesday, the Complete Street direction will go into effect for the city; if Question #1 fails the Complete Streets directive will fail with it.

Results of Tuesday's election will help city leaders know whether to make bicycling, walking, and trails an important part of the city's direction and future plans

This final Complete Streets resolution is just the capstone of the effort to ensure that the capital campaign addresses the city's deficity in good, safe places to walk and bicycle.  The proposal has been built from the start to systematically address the needs of people who walk, bicycle, and use transit in the city. Of course, these items are just a portion of the complete set of three proposals, which include funding for streets, flood relief, and public buildings along with the sidewalks, bicycle facilities, trails, and other improvements for people who walk, bicycle, use trails, and use transit.

BikeWalkKC summarized the main bicycle, pedestrian, and trails benefits:

  • $150 million for neighborhood sidewalks
  • Ending sidewalk assessments and lifting the financial burden from homeowners
  • $450 million to rebuild local streets, including sidewalks and bike lanes
  • ADA improvements to make city streets and public buildings more accessible
  • Workforce development and job training opportunities for local residents to do this construction work
  • Trail improvements

KCMO Residents: Vote Tuesday and make a difference!

If you want better bicycling and walking in KCMO--along with streets and other infrastructure that is in better repair, take to the polls Tuesday and vote--this is your chance to make a real difference!

In putting together capital proposals of this type, elected leaders and city staff look to see what constituencies are active and actually get out to vote.

So if you are a Kansas City, Missouri, voter, please be sure to get out and vote Tuesday. It's one way we can make sure that Kansas City--and other cities across Missouri--continue to support the needs of people who walk, bicycle, and use trails.

More information about the GOBond proposals and benefits for bicycling, walking, and trails in Kansas City

BikeWalkKC has created a whole series of articles explaining the importance of the so-called "1-2-3 GOBonds":

 

Working to create a seamless, interconnected, world-class bicycle, pedestrian, and trails transportation system in Missouri is one of four primary goals in MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Working to support major funding to support the bicycle, pedestrian, and trails transportation system in communities across Missouri is one of the most important ways we support that goal.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn our Vision into reality!

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