Complete Streets kicks in: Big improvements, including better sidewalks, bike lanes, coming to U.S. 24 & Hwy 40 in Independence -

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Within a couple years, Independence Public Works and the Missouri Department of Transportation plan to start transforming a large portion of U.S. 24.

Starting in 2021, the two departments will combine funds – much of it grant money – to expand and enhance U.S. 24. That includes turning four-lane stretches into five lanes with center turn lanes, improving intersections with a better turn radius and adding “complete streets” additions such as sidewalks, curbs and gutters and dedicated bike lanes.

Officials are looking at a two-phase project. U.S. 24 from Missouri 291 west to River Boulevard (just past the Truman Library) would happen in 2021-22. From River to west to Wilson Road (just east of the railroad tracks in the Fairmount neighborhood) is slated for 2023-24.

“This is a project that’s really come together the last few weeks and months,” Tim Gramling, Independence’s public works director, said earlier this week while discussing the project with the City Council. “It’s kind of morphed into the possibility of a significantly transformative project.” . . .

Independence also has a complete streets project for U.S. 40 slated for next year.

MoBikeFed comment: Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has one of the best Complete Streets policies of any Missouri MPO. One of the requirements for any federally-funded project through the MPO is that it must include significant Complete Streets elements.

And Independence passed its Complete Streets policy in 2011.

These two working together are part of what makes projects like Hwy 24 and 40 Hwy in Independence possible. If these major corridors are improved significantly for bicycling and walking, it will have a transformative impact on the city.

Right now, these are some of the moist difficult corridors in Independence to cross or to travel along on foot, by bicycle, and for people with any level of disability.

Find out more about ramping up Complete Streets in your community at the Missouri Complete Streets information page: