KCMO is considering an $800 million investment in the city's physical infrastructure. This is a once-in-generation opportunity to invest in the future health, equity, economy, mobility, and sustainability of the community. We need your help to ensure this investment includes sidewalks, crosswalks, trails, and bike lanes.
Update 1/13/2017: The final hearing and Council debate will be Thursday, January 19th (9:30am on 26th Floor of City Hall). If you have not yet contacted your Councilmembers, please do so ASAP!
Update 1/12/2017: We submitted updated written testimony and recommendations for rebuilding streets as Complete Streets and creating a Strategic Mobility Fund to neighborhood sidewalks and new bike lanes.
Update 12/12/2016: BikeWalkKC testified at the first public hearing on December 7th and submitted this written testimony to the City Council.
Infrastructure Bond Basics
The KCMO City Council and Mayor are considering placing an $800 million general obligation bond on the ballot to fund basic infrastructure improvements. Troy Schulte, the City Manager, introduced the bond to council with the recommendation to fund six broad categories:
- Flood Control
- Public Buildings
A bond of this nature must be approved by a 57% majority vote of the public. City leaders have indicated that an April 2017 election is likely. Ballot language would have to be adopted by council by January 15th.
In its current form, there are no specific projects proposed to be funded by bond proceeds. The City Manager has recommended funding several broad categories in order to maintain flexibility over the course of the twenty year bond issuance. However, it is highly likely that City Council will push for more clarity. Over the next two months, Council will be discussing what will go into the ballot language. Now is the time to ask the Mayor and City Council to set aside funding to make the city more walkable and bikeable.
The G.O. Bond is a once in a generation opportunity to build a city for the future. Investment of this magnitude should be aimed at improving mobility and quality of life for all Kansas Citians. And with changing demographics, demand for walkable neighborhoods will only continue to grow. For too long the city has undervalued pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. As a result the city's most vulnerable citizens have poor access to jobs, healthy food, and school. And KCMO will struggle to retain the next generation of citizens as peer cities invest heavily in multi-modal transportation and neighborhood livability. BikeWalkKC recommends the inclusion of the following in the bond package.
KCMO is long overdue for a comprehensive transportation policy update. We recommend spending the first five years of the bond addressing immediate needs (keep reading for our recommendations for that) concurrent with a massive transportation planning process that will guide the remaining 15 years of the bond. With or without the bond package, Kansas City must create a vision for mobility and access. And it must create new master plans for biking and walking.
Recommendation 2: Fix what we have and build no new roads
Any transportation related spending out of the G.O. Bond should focus on maintaining the infrastructure we have. The anemic street resurfacing program should be beefed up. Any major street reconstruction should be for the purpose of complete streets upgrades, not increasing capacity.
Recommendation 3: Update and implement BikeKC Plan
BikeWalkKC recently conducted a state of the art bicycle demand analysis that confirms the need to prioritize the urban core with the city's limited bicycle infrastructure funding. The city has several planning projects in the works that will recommend several miles of new bikeways in the heart of this high demand area. The first five years of the G.O. Bond should work toward implementing those recommendations as well as filling the network gaps identified by the BikeWalkKC demand analysis report.
Our SidewalksKC Report recommends immediately creating a priority pedestrian network as a way to prioritize the sidewalk investments from the G.O. Bond. At the same time, the city should embark on a new pedestrian master plan. The bulk of the transportation funding from the G.O. Bond should be put toward improving sidewalks.
Recommendation 5: Implement the recommendations from the road diet policy
Adoption of the city’s Road Diet Policy was an important step toward improving traffic safety and building high quality bicycle and pedestrian environments. But it has not been adequately funded. BikeWalkKC urges KCMO leadership to set aside funding in the G.O. Bond to implement the road diet policy. This will repurpose excess roadway capacity for other uses and make the city much more pedestrian friendly.
Recommendation 6: Create a new traffic calming program
Broad support for the neighborhood-led campaign to install a protected bike lane on Armour Boulevard is a sign that people want traffic calming. It is time for the city to develop and fund a program for neighbors to request basic traffic calming improvements.