If you live, work, or travel through Midtown KCMO you might have seen some changes coming to Armour Boulevard in the Squier Park, Hyde Park, and Old Hyde Park neighborhoods. The boulevard is getting a big makeover into a Complete Street that will make it safer, more comfortable, and more sustainable for everyone – whether walking, biking, using transit, or driving an automobile.
As of May 30th the street has been repaved and temporary lines painted. Once the new pavement cures in a few weeks, crews will return to paint permanent stripes and install signage. While the current temporary setup might be a little confusing, the ultimate finished product will include a variety of paint markings and signs to explain the new layout for biking, crosswalks, parking, and car travel lanes.
The key benefits of the Armour Boulevard Complete Street makeover include:
- Traffic calming and slower speeds, designed to reduce crashes up to 34%
- Safer routes to school for kids walking or biking to the five elementary schools along the corridor
- Shorter, safer crossings of Armour for pedestrians, especially those with mobility limitations
- Safer, more comfortable bicycling that feels more like biking on a trail than in the street
- On-street parking becomes less confusing and will be allowed 24/7
More about the parking-protected bike lanes:
- Parked cars create a physical barrier separating moving traffic from people in the bike lane and on the sidewalk
- Striped buffer area separates bikes from the “door zone” of the parked cars
- Buffer area also gives automobile passengers a safe loading/unloading zone away from moving traffic
- Green paint will highlight “mixing zones” where bikes and automobile traffic will mix or cross, e.g. turning lanes and bus stops
This guide from the City of Colorado Springs provides lots of good information on the use and benefits of parking-protected bike lanes.
About the Armour Boulevard Complete Street process
During 2016 and 2017 BikeWalkKC convened a group Midtown neighborhoods and residents who were concerned about the speed of traffic on Armour Boulevard and resulting safety issues for families walking and biking the area. Representatives from the Squier Park, Hyde Park, and Old Hyde Park Neighborhood Associations met several times with BikeWalkKC, KCMO Public Works staff, and 4th District Councilmember Jolie Justus. Institutional stakeholders like schools and businesses were also consulted. The process resulted in today’s Complete Street project, which received significant public input and was endorsed by all three neighborhood associations.