2 MAR 2006: KC River Crossings Policy: update and next step

Our best guess is that in the past three weeks over 1000 people have written KDOT in support of better accommodation of bicyclists and pedestrians. Thanks to all who have done so--if you haven't you can still do it, it less than 2 minutes, here.

This has had a big impact on KDOT and, indirectly, on MoDOT. Here are some results so far:

  1. I just received the draft River Crossings policy which considers input from a variety of sources including MoDOT and KDOT. It is a very good policy--providing for bicycle and pedestrian accommodation on major river bridges whenever bicycles or pedestrians are allowed to operate on the roadway and any traffic generators (neighborhoods, businesses, schools, etc.) are nearby, within 1 mile.

  2. The draft policy addresses a number of KDOT and MoDOT's legitimate concerns. I believe MoDOT will accept this policy, but it is still debatable whether KDOT will. That is where your emails have helped a lot.

KDOT still did not address a number of issues. If you would like to follow up I would suggest emailing:
dmiller@ksdot.org (Debra L. Miller, Secretary of Transportation)
governor@gov.state.ks.us (Kathleen Sebelius, Governor)
You might mention these points:

  • KDOT's reply indicates they want to continue to consider each bridge on a case-by case basis. But that is KDOT's current policy and the result is that safe bicycle and pedestrian access across rivers is nearly impossible.

  • KDOT should form a bicycle/pedestrian advisory committee as other states have done. This helps communication between KDOT and the bicycling and walking communities and helps prevent misunderstandings.

  • Why is KDOT's bicycle/pedestrian coordinator only a part time position? In Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, and most other states it is full time but in Kansas the position is less than half time.

  • Why does KDOT not have a policy saying when and how they will accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel?
Many people writing KDOT about the River Crossings policies have asked KDOT about these last three issues but there has been no response from KDOT on these issues.

It is time for KDOT join the 20th Century by forming a citizens' bicycle/pedestrian committee, putting their bicycle/pedestrian coordinator to work (full time), and making a real bicycle/pedestrian policy.

I think there is a chance to make that happen know if we continue to put positively and persuasively put pressure on them.

Thanks again for your support. Below is KDOT's standard response to those who have written so far.

Secretary Miller asked me to thank you for taking the time to express your support for bicycle and pedestrian issues in the Kansas City metro area. She wanted me to tell you that the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) will support a policy in the Kansas City region that encourages agencies, such as KDOT, to consider adding bicycle and pedestrian accommodations to bridges crossing the Kansas and Missouri Rivers on a project-by-project basis. As always, we will make decisions about project scope with input from our partners, including the appropriate city or county government, the Mid-America Regional Council and the general public.

Sincerely,

Thomas C. Dow, AICP
Regional/Urban Planning Manager
Kansas Department of Transportation
700 SW Harrison Street
Topeka, KS 66603-3754
(785) 296-2552