Kansas City Missouri River bike/ped crossing named for MoBikeFed Founder and Chair Bob Watts

Bob Watts, one of the founders and MoBikeFed and former Chair of the organization, was honored in September with a ceremony naming the new Heart of America Bridge bicycle/pedestrian path in his honor.

The path, which connects downtown Kansas City with North Kansas City across the Missouri River, removes the single largest barrier to safe and connected bicycling and walking in the Kansas City metro area.  Improving bicycle and pedestrian access across the bridge was one of Bob's goals, and was taken up by the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation along with numerous local KC area groups in the mid 2000s.  
 
MoDOT agreed to build the path on the Heart of America Bridge--and another similar path on the nearby Chouteau Trafficway Bridge--in the late 2000s and completed the projects ahead of schedule in 2010.
 
Bob's role in local, state, and national bicycle and pedestrian advocacy goes far beyond his role in founding MoBikeFed.  Bob owned a local bike shop, worked on many local bicycle-related initiatives, helped encouraged the first regional bicycle plan and bike/ped coordinator, and was instrumental in forming a number of national advocacy groups, including the Alliance for Biking and Walking and Bikes Belong/People For Bikes, the advocacy arm of the national bicycle industry.
Many thanks to Bob's friend Art Gough for organizing the effort to name the path after Bob, Representative Jay Swearingen and Senator Luann Ridgeway for sponsoring the renaming bill in the Missouri General Assembly, and to MoDOT and Burns and McDonnell (contractor for the bridge refitting project) for organizing and supporting the ceremony to honor Bob.
 
Creating a complete, connected, safe, world-class bicycle and pedestrian transportation system in Missouri, including for better, safer access for bicyclists and pedestrians across major barriers like rivers, railroads, and freeways is one of the primary objectives in MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Advocacy for better bridge access across the Missouri River, including the Heart of America and Chouteau Bridges in the Kansas City area, the Jefferson City bridge, the Hermann Bridge, the Washington Bridge, and many others, has been a high priority in MoBikeFed's advocacy work over the past two decades.  Renaming the Heart of America Bike/Ped Path to honor Bob Watts was among the priorities in MoBikeFed's 2012 Legislative Platform.
 
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