Kansas City's Cliff Drive car-free weekends launched

In the first "car-free parkways" program we know about in the state of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, had the "Grand Closing" of Cliff Drive May 16th. The drive will be closed to motorized traffic every weekend during the summer, from 2PM Friday to 8AM the following Monday.

Photos of the Grand Closing ceremony are here.

The Grand Closing ceremony was covered in the Northeast News:
The wrought-iron gates at the east entrance to Cliff Drive squeaked and groaned a little as parks and neighborhood officials swung them closed, inaugurating the first car-free weekend on Cliff Drive.

But as they pushed the locks into the place, they knew, along with several dozen others gathered Friday afternoon, that by closing the gates they were opening up the state’s only urban scenic by-way to a whole new era of recreation.

“Closing down a street is a beautiful start and says we want people out here biking, walking and jogging every weekend this summer,” North Division Parks Manager Mike Herron said during the dedication ceremony.

The presentation on Friday also gave city officials a chance to tout Mayor Mark Funkhouser’s new plan to designate Kansas City as a top destination for cyclists. The plan was unveiled earlier this week and will ultimately lead to a new task force that will look for ways to make the city and its urban core more accessible to cyclists. The Cliff Drive car-free program is the first step in that plan, officials said.

“This shows the kind of commitment this community and this city has to creating bicycle friendly alternatives for our citizens,” said Deb Ridgway, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator in the city’s Public Works Department.

As officials closed the gates, cyclists, walkers and casual outdoor enthusiasts walked into the park marking the closing of one era in the century old park and the opening of another.
Car Free Parkways are a great way to get more people out walking, bicycling, roller blading and generally enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

One of MoBikeFed's goals in its Vision of Active Transportation in Missouri is to develop more car-free parkways programs in cities throughout Missouri.

This video of the car-free Sundays program in Bogota, Columbia, shows the potential this program has for transforming a city.

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