1st Bike/Ped Missouri River Crossing in Kansas City to happen much sooner

Pedestrians already make heavy use of the Heart of America Bridge--enough to wear a 'cowpath' along the side of the bridge approach
Thanks to funding from the federal stimulus bill, the first bike/ped crossing of the Missouri River in the Kansas City area will happen about two years earlier than promised.

Bicycle and pedestrian groups, including the Missouri Bicycle Federation, have been working to encourage MoDOT to create this crossing for about five years now--since the planning for the new Paseo Bridge started in earnest.

Thousands of area residents have written, emailed, or called area agencies in support of the river crossing.

The result of that effort was that MoDOT promised to build the Paseo Bridge so that a bike/ped path can be added later, and also to add a separated bicycle/pedestrian path to the existing Heart of America Bridge, about a mile west of the Paseo Bridge.

However, construction on the Heart of America Bridge was to wait until the Paseo project is finished--about the year 2012.

Meanwhile, MoDOT discovered that the Heart of America Bridge is in need of repair--and so the decision was made to use a portion of MoDOT's stimulus funds to repair the bridge. Since traffic will be disrupted for the repairs (the main reason for waiting to add the bike/ped path--MoDOT didn't want to disrupt traffic on two adjacent river bridges at the same time), they also moved up the schedule for adding the bike/ped lane.

Experience in other U.S. cities similar in layout to Kansas City has shown that the lack of a safe bike/ped river crossing is a huge impediment to pedestrian and (especially) bicycle movement.

Adding that bicycle and pedestrian connectivity across the river is likely the single biggest improvement that can be made in the area's bicycle and pedestrian network--and will result in the greatest increase in bicycle and pedestrian mode share.

MoDOT projects work will start in Spring 2010 and be completed later that summer.
Heart of America Bridge

Final design has not been published but the work will include a bike/ped path that is separated from motorized traffic via concrete barriers.