Today a large group of people showed up to celebrate the Grand Boulevard bridge over I-670, which was replaced after a structural failure and emergency closure in May of this year. The new bridge includes wider sidewalks, a northbound buffered bike lane, a southbound protected bike lane, a road diet down to two automobile lanes, benches, and a unique lighting display at night.
The Missouri Department of transportation replaced the primary structure and the City of KCMO invested in improving the bridge’s bike/pedestrian infrastructure and streetscape. Kudos to the City for insisting on a high quality Complete Street and to MoDOT and the construction crews for quickly replacing this important north/south artery for bikes, pedestrians, buses, and automobiles.
Downtown Bike Lane Connections Face Another Setback
The new bridge’s layout matches the road diet and buffered bike lanes planned for the length of Grand Boulevard from the River Market to Crown Center. Unfortunately we learned this week that construction bids for the project and the rest of the planned 13 mile Downtown bike network again came significantly over budget. This is the second time this year bids have come in over budget for the plan to add bike lanes on streets like Grand, West Pennway on the Westside, 18th Street to the Jazz District.
We don’t have any details yet about this latest setback or the City’s next move to advance this project. However, BikeWalkKC has had some productive meetings with City Manager Troy Schulte and Public Works staff to talk about project delivery challenges and the community’s desire to see faster progress on this project and bike/ped projects across the city. Our bike demand analysis is one of the ways we are working with the city to bring KC best practices and successful strategies from around the country. This latest setback is certainly disappointing, but we do see a growing desire inside City Hall to solve this problem and address the community’s pent up demand for better places to walk and bike.