2016 marked BikeWalkKC’s sixth year! Thanks to our members, volunteers, and partners we saw another great year growing the organization, and impacting the quality of life across the Kansas City region.
BikeWalkKC’s milestones in 2016
A growing organization
Our team of professional advocates, educators, and planners continues to grow. We have 10 full-time folks and another 15 part-timers working year-round to redefine Kansas City’s streets as place for people to build a culture of active living. Our new home in Midtown has allowed us to welcome the community to more classes and events.
Women Bike KC
The third KC Women’s Bike Summit closed out our first year of ongoing classes and events to build a community of women on bikes and start closing the gender gap in bicycling.
Safe Routes to School
We worked across the region providing technical assistance to schools striving to get more kids walking and biking to school. We analyzed the conditions and traffic patterns at 15 schools, supported seven walking school buses in KCK, and expanded Safe Routes technical assistance to the North Kansas City School District. Working with several community partners, we saw a record 91 schools participate in International Walk to School Day.
Kansas City B-cycle
Our bike share program added three new stations at Boulevard Brewing Company, the Kansas City Art Institute, and the Tiehen Realty’s Plaza 209 apartments. Usage rose 20% to 16,000-plus trips! Since 2012, B-cycle has grown from 12 stations and 90 bikes to 30 stations and 160 bikes.
In another record year, we served 3,500 kids with BLAST and Earn-A-Bike programs, including new partnerships with Operation Breakthrough and the Shawnee Mission School District. This year we focused on ensuring diverse communities have access to the transportation and health benefits of bicycling. We worked with Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center to start our first all-ages bike education program serving kids and parents at two KC Housing Authority communities, and we partnered with Hope Faith Ministries to begin serving the homeless community. Finally, we started our first secondary school programs with bike clubs at East High School in the KCMO Public School District, the Linwood YMCA, and Alta Vista charter school.
Our planning and GIS capabilities continue grow and allow BikeWalkKC to be an ever-stronger technical and professional partner to local governments. Our work in the Live Well Johnson County program included technical assistance for cities in Johnson County and a new Bike Friendly Business resource guide. We created an interactive map and tools for the public to provide input about the future location of bike share stations in North Kansas City. We created a highly comprehensive Bicycle Demand Analysis for the KCMO Bike/Ped Advisory Committee, which will help the city decide where to invest in new bike lanes and trails in the coming years.
Thank you to our sustaining investors
The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City supports much of our Safe Routes to School technical assistance, as well as our public policy work to advocate for a built environment that supports active living.
The Missouri and Kansas Departments of Transportation, along with the Mid-America Regional Council, provide federal funding support for our bike education program in local schools and the expansion and operation of the Kansas City B-cycle bike share system.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation provided a matching grant for the federal funds to expand bike share in 2017.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS partners with us on the Wyandotte County Safe Routes to School program, currently with a dozen schools participating and counting.
The City of Kansas City, MO and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City provide ongoing operations and maintenance support for Kansas City B-cycle.
Johnson County Department of Health and Environment administers a CDC grant supporting our involvement in the Live Well Johnson County program.
Additional supporters in 2016 included the Mader Family Foundation, Kansas City Power & Light, AARP Missouri, Platte County Parks and Recreation, Velo+, Bike Source, Vance Preman bikelaw.com, New Belgium Brewing Co., Plaza Animal Clinic, and the Polsinelli law firm.
Community progress in 2016
The KC Streetcar debuted as one of the most successful new transit developments in recent US history.
The State of Missouri connected the Katy Trail to the KC metro area with the first segment of the Rock Island Trail to Pleasant Hill.
Kansas City, KS cut the ribbon on the new connection between the Riverfront Heritage Trail and Kaw Point, thanks in part to the advocacy efforts of BikeWalkKC’s members and champions in 2015.
Overland Park moved quickly to implement its new bike plan, with 10 miles of lanes and counting. However, some skepticism on the City Council warrants continued public support from OP residents.
Kansas City, MO adopted a new sidewalk closure policy to better ensure pedestrian accessibility when construction disrupts the sidewalk network.
Prairie Village responded to community demands for Safe Routes to School and implemented a road diet on Mission Road.
Lee’s Summit and Kansas City, MO cut the ribbon on a renewed Lee’s Summit Road featuring a new trail and a combination of bike lanes and bike-friendly shoulders.
North Kansas City approved the planning and implementation of three new bike share stations: the first to be placed north of the river.
New bike lanes, curbs, and sidewalks were installed on the renovated Grand Boulevard bridge and along 20th Street in the Crossroads.
A performance audit of the KCMO bike plan brought to light many of the frustrations community members have felt about the slow pace of adding bike lanes over the years. While it was a hard message to hear, City Hall is already taking steps to address the challenges a start over with a new bike plan in 2017.
The 13-mile Downtown bike network was once again plagued by delays in project delivery. It finally went out to bid for construction in 2016, but a hot construction market meant the project received just one bid that was over budget. The city is currently trying again to get a construction contract in place. This project received federal funding at the same time as the KC Streetcar, and the City was able to build a $100 million rail line before it could stripe a few miles of bike lanes!
Looking to 2017
BikeWalkKC is planning for a big expansion of our Kansas City B-cycle bike share system with a dozen new stations in the River Market, Midtown, UMKC, and North Kansas City.
Overland Park is planning to add another 30 miles to its on-street bike network, especially in the northern part of the city.
North Kansas City is moving forward to transform Burlington Road into a Complete Street with what will likely be the region’s first two-way cycletrack or protected bike lane.
Building off the City Auditor’s recent report we look forward to rebooting the KCMO bike plan in 2017 and a renewed focus at City Hall on building more bike lanes more quickly.
KCMO voters will likely decide on an $800 million investment in public infrastructure. BikeWalkKC and many community partners are working hard to ensure sidewalks are a big part of that investment.
We thank all who have participated in and supported our work, and look forward to continued progress in 2017.