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Star editorial says better bicycling is a top city priority for 2012

Bike SharingToday's KC Star editorial includes bicycling as a key priority for the future of the region, alongside such things as the Zoo, All-Star Baseball Game, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and Livestrong Sporting Park. Making it safer and easier for people bicycle is critical for our economy, our environment, and our health. 

Looking toward 2012, expect more bike lanes to be painted in Kansas City, especially in the tourist corridor between downtown and the Country Club Plaza. And a bike-sharing system could be set up as well, allowing people to pedal borrowed bicycles for short jaunts. It’s good to see that more cities are realizing the importance of alternative forms of transportation.

BikeWalkKC worked very in 2011 to lay the groundwork for more bike lanes in 2012 and the upcoming bike share system. Please help us transform Kansas City by becoming a member today or making a tax-deductible donation to our year end campaign.


Posted on Mon, Dec. 26, 2011 (original source)
The Star’s editorial | Building a better future in Kansas City 

Construction crews spent much of 2011 finishing two of the area’s gleaming, newly opened attractions, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and Livestrong Sporting Park.

But plenty of other work has been going on to provide more amenities for residents and visitors in 2012 and beyond.

• Leaders of the Kansas City Zoo this year put together a compelling campaign to turn their facility into one of the best in the nation. In response, voters in Jackson and Clay counties approved a sales tax increase to raise $14 million a year for the zoo.

This was an excellent example of broader cooperation on a key cultural asset. Shamefully, Cass and Platte county officials ignored legitimate initiative petitions also calling for votes on the tax; those elections may occur with a court order in 2012.

Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff — who has worked diligently the last eight years with limited private and public funds — pledges to work hard next year to start adding animals and exhibits. The high-profile penguin exhibit is expected to open within a couple of years. And reduced admission prices for Jackson and Clay county residents will take effect, which should lead to a welcome bump in attendance.

• Area baseball fans are eagerly preparing for the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star game on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium.

Fans and media from around the nation will get to see the improvements that Jackson County voters and the Royals paid for at Kauffman the last few years. A large 5-kilometer race is planned during the All-Star festivities, and other events will be announced in the future. Kansas City will have to put its best foot foward to show it belongs in the national spolight.

• Workers wearing hard hats soon will be replaced by free-spending gamblers after the opening of the new Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.

In this gambling-saturated market, the $400-million-plus project in Kansas will affect the existing Missouri-side casinos. Kansas City, Riverside and North Kansas City will be watching closely to see what kind of hit their cities’ gambling tax revenues take in 2012.

The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission must effectively regulate the new casino, owned by the Kansas Lottery.

• Out on the roads of Kansas City and other cities, officials this year have stepped up their efforts to provide more bike-friendly communities.

Looking toward 2012, expect more bike lanes to be painted in Kansas City, especially in the tourist corridor between downtown and the Country Club Plaza. And a bike-sharing system could be set up as well, allowing people to pedal borrowed bicycles for short jaunts. It’s good to see that more cities are realizing the importance of alternative forms of transportation.

Finally, some of the region’s recently opened amenities will continue to have a positive influence in 2012.

Livestrong Sporting Park will host the semifinals and final of the Olympic qualifying soccer tournament in the spring. Meanwhile, boosters of the Crossroads hope the Kauffman Center will bring even more economic development to surrounding blocks south of downtown.

Those were wise investments in 2011. Fortunately, this region seems poised to make even more upgrades in 2012.

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