MoBikeFed Press Release: PEDESTRIAN DEATH ON BROADWAY BRIDGE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR SAFE RIVER CROSSINGS

PRESS RELEASE
12 October 2007

Contact information:
Dr. Brent Hugh
Executive Director
Missouri Bicycle Federation
876-695-6736
director@MoBikeFed.org


PEDESTRIAN DEATH ON BROADWAY BRIDGE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR SAFE RIVER CROSSINGS

The death of a pedestrian early Wednesday, apparently attempting to cross the Broadway Bridge near downtown Kansas City, has brought to the fore the issue of safe bicycle and pedestrian access to Kansas City's river bridges.

"It's shameful that as a metropolitan area we cannot provide safe access across these bridges for those who depend on walking and bicycling for basic transportation," says Missouri Bicycle Federation Executive Director Brent Hugh.

"The Broadway Bridge is an incredibly hostile and dangerous environment for pedestrians," says Hugh. "But a steady stream of pedestrians crosses it every day--because it is the only way they have to get from home to work."

"Walking, bicycling, and transit aren't optional," says Hugh. "They are basic transportation."

According to census data, 13% of households in KCMO do not own an automobile. In Missouri, 13% of adults--and over 25% of the general population--are not licensed to drive.

Community advocates have been pushing MoDOT, which controls all Missouri River bridges in the region, to include a bicycle/pedestrian path on the new Paseo Bridge and to retrofit the existing Heart of America, Paseo, Broadway, and other existing bridges.

"At this point, we have over 2300 public comments in support of safe bike/ped river crossings, a unanimous vote of the KCMO city council, and strong direction from the regional planning organization," says Hugh. "All of these are asking MoDOT to come up with a realistic plan to provide safe bicycle and pedestrian access across the river in the heart of the metro area."

"MoDOT should be embarrassed that after all that community support, they cannot come up with anything more than weak promises, unfunded ideas, vague possibilities, and long, drawn-out timelines to solve this serious problem."

"MoDOT should make a definite promise to include a bike/ped path on the Paseo Bridge and to retrofit the Heart of America Bridge for safe bike/ped use within one year. Then let's see a timeline and a realistic plan to tackle the rest of the bridges. People's lives are at stake here."

"MoDOT leadership in District 4 has a long history of giving a cold shoulder to any type of transportation other than single-occupant automobile," says Hugh. "Quite frankly, if MoDOT District 4 leadership cannot change its attitude to adapt to the changing transportation needs of our community, then we as a community should be asking for new MoDOT leaders who can."

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The Missouri Bicycle Federation, founded in 1994, represents the interests of walkers, runners, trail users, and the more than 2 million Missourians who bicycle regularly. Through its network of affiliated clubs and groups, MoBikeFed represents over 15,000 Missouri citizens. Find out more or join the federation at MoBikeFed.org.


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