KCStar front page: Share the Road?

The Kansas City Star had a front page article Monday about the work of the "Share the Road" task force, a new group that has been formed in response to a string of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities this year in the Kansas City area:
now, in light of at least 16 crossing fatalities in the metropolitan area so far this year - 13 pedestrians and three bicyclists - a push is on to remind people about the safety lessons they learned years ago. It includes efforts to refit the area's traffic control systems as urban redevelopment, higher gas prices, environmental concerns and health awareness put more walkers and bikers on the streets.

As part of the Share the Road Safety Task Force, Lee's Summit police on Friday conducted a "walking audit" to determine how long it takes senior citizens from John Knox Village to walk across a six-lane parkway to get to a nearby shopping center. The intersection's traffic signal will be recalibrated accordingly.

"We at least need to get them to the center island," said Police Sgt. Mike Childs.

The task force is a consortium of Kansas City, Lee's Summit, Parkville, Raytown and Leawood law enforcement officers, public works officials, and representatives from youth associations and senior groups.

Other partners include the Missouri Department of Transportation, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Missouri Bicycle Federation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Much of the task force's work is to educate. Other goals are more tangible, such as reconfiguring traffic lights to include "walk" signals. The effort also includes a push for more sidewalks and bike lanes.
The Task Force set October 2006 as "Pedestrian Safety Month" and is aiming for May 2007 as "Bicycle Safety Month".

These programs will then repeat yearly, each fall and spring.