The City of Overland park is considering a Complete Streets policy to better include walking and bicycling in future street projects, and it gets its first hearing the evening of Wednesday, January 25th.
Many cities around the metro have adopted Complete Streets (or Livable Streets) policies as guidelines to improve the physical environment for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, people with disabilities, children, seniors, etc. The idea is that streets can and should be designed and built for everyone - motorists and non-motorists alike. Today 45% of the metro population lives in Complete Streets cities like Leawood, Lee's Summit, KCMO, and others.
Overland Park's proposed policy is a good start. It sets some good goals, including better bike/ped access to bus routes and a future bicycle master plan. The policy also mentions on-street bicycle facilities, something that the city has shied away from in leau of multi-use trails.
We do suggest a few ways to improve the policy, based on national best practices and examples in other metro cites.
- Create a citizens advisory committee to monitor implementation, similar to Leawood and Lee's Summit.
- Set goals for implanting the policy and systems to track the progress of Complete Streets elements in new construction projects
- Modify the expectation for routine maintenance. Incorporating things like bike lanes and crosswalks is most cost effective when it is done in conjunction with regular street repaving.
BikeWalkKC staff will be on hand Wednesday evening to support the proposal and suggest these improvements. Please join us to demonstrate to the City Council that there is strong public support for making Overland Park a safer, healthier, and more accessible place to live, work, and play.