Kansas City River Crossings Policy passes unanimously

Today the Kansas City River Crossings Policy passed a critical committee without a dissenting vote.

The policy provides that new or reconstructed river bridges will accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians whenever the bridge is near population centers, schools, or businesses. On freeway bridges, bicycle and pedestrian accommodation should be considered, especially if no nearby bike/ped crossing points exist.

Bicycle and pedestrian groups have been working with MoDOT, KDOT, and government officials in the area to hammer out an acceptable policy for accommodating bicycle and pedestrian travel on bridges over the Kansas and Missouri Rivers within the Kansas City metro area.

The Johnson County Bicycle Club, Kansas City Bicycle Club, Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation, and Kansas City office of the Missouri Bicycle Federation were directly involved in the negotiations, which spanned five months. The policy must be approved by one final committee, but that should be a routine step.

Many kudos go to MARC staff, who skillfully presented information and moderated among differing viewpoints. River Crossings Task Force Committee Co-Chairs Marge Vogt (Olathe City Council) and John Fairfield (KCMO City Council) get a large part of the credit for moving the policy forward and moving negotiations forward--negotiations that seemed deadlocked on more than one occasion.

KCMO Councilman John Fairfield in particular has emerged as a champion for bicycle and pedestrian access in the Kansas City area and a skilled negotiator.

And the success of the negotiations was given a major boost by over 800 Kansas and Missouri bicyclists and pedestrians who took the time to contact KDOT and the Kansas governor's office asking KDOT to move forward with a bicycle/pedestrian friendly policy.

The next step? MoDOT needs to hear from us--the first test of the new policy is the quarter billion dollar Paseo Bridge. Despite 350 public comments asking for consideration of bike/ped accommodation as part of the project, MoDOT did not consider the options as it should have. This sets a poor precedent that will have repercussions across the entire state. Now MoDOT needs to hear from you.

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