2020 was a challenging year on a number of fronts, but through it all, BikeWalkKC was able to adapt. We notched policy wins that were years in the making (and even on the fly) thanks to people like you who supported this work and took a stand for active living and vibrant neighborhoods. Bolstered by these wins and the prospects on the horizon in 2021, we have set out to develop an ambitious policy platform for the new year.
While a major focus of the last couple of years has been on agenda setting and policy adoption, we will place a greater emphasis on community engagement, implementation, and funding in 2021. The pandemic has made clear that we can’t return to the old normal, which means we have to work even harder to make sure marginalized voices are centered in key conversations, communities implement the policies they adopt, and that leaders ultimately fund the changes to the built environment we know will create a better place for everyone.
Below is an overview of our top priorities by region:
Vision Zero – The adoption of the Vision Zero resolution was a good first step. In 2021, we’ll work to ensure city leaders finalize, adopt, and fund the action plan the resolution called for.
Decriminalizing Mobility – We have been working to decriminalize mobility, or ensure that people are not punished for walking or biking in our streets. Having identified some places to start in the municipal code, our focus now is on advocating for legislative changes before the City Council.
Better Community Engagement – Centering the voices of neighborhoods and stakeholders early on and throughout the planning process is essential for successful projects. We will continue to advocate for deeper and more inclusive public engagement, especially for communities historically harmed by decisions made on transportation projects.
Funding – Some dedicated funding was carved out in the last budget for multimodal elements, thanks to supporters like you. Our job now is to preserve, and possibly increase, those dollars for walking, biking, and transit.
Increasing the pace of change – Slow implementation of plans and policies continues to be a structural challenge at City Hall. Even when a project has funding, it can languish for years without progress. This includes projects like Gillham Road, Lexington/Gladstone and several other plans which are sitting on the shelf and waiting for action. We will advocate for improving the project delivery process to see more paint on the pavement more quickly.
Complete Streets – Thanks to the tireless efforts of our partners in the area, KCK finally adopted a Complete Streets ordinance in November 2020. In 2021, BikeWalkKC will work with those same partners and others to reshape the Healthy Communities Wyandotte Infrastructure Action Team and ensure the ordinance supports subsequent multimodal efforts, such as the development of the countywide mobility plan.
18th Street Bridge – The 18th Street Bridge is a key connector in the area for all road users, but KDOT is currently evaluating alternatives which exclude bike/ped facilities. We will work with partners to advocate for the inclusion of those facilities in the final design.
Pandemic Recovery – There is a good chance that federal legislation pursued in 2021 will focus on infrastructure spending as part of the broader economic recovery. Our job, in turn, will be to help ensure that this legislation includes dedicated funds to support projects which will make it easier to walk, roll, ride, and use public transit.
MARC Complete Streets – The Mid-America Regional Council is embarking on an update of their Complete Streets policy. BikeWalkKC will work to assist those efforts and help ensure a stronger measure is adopted.
Regional Transit Funding – Zero Fare Transit in KCMO was a big win, but it shouldn’t be limited to one place. Working with our partners at the KC Regional Transit Alliance, we will seek to elevate the conversation around improving funding for transit more broadly.
Complete Streets – We will continue to advocate for communities to adopt stronger Complete Streets legislation. While a number of communities have adopted resolutions, these measures are often too weak to ensure a robust, concentrated effort on improving the built environment for all road users.
Vision Zero – A number of communities beyond KCMO have expressed an interest in pursuing Vision Zero, particularly in NE Johnson County. Our main focus on this front will be setting the agenda and laying the groundwork for advocacy of a more specific policy later on.
MO Livable Streets – In partnership with Missourians for Responsible Transportation, we will work to reestablish and strengthen the Missouri Livable Streets group. The group’s focus in 2021 will be on building stronger connections with partners, increasing funding for active transportation, and providing technical assistance for communities across the state.
Distracted Driving – Missouri remains one of only two states in the country without comprehensive hands-free distracted driving legislation on the books. We will work with our statewide partners to pursue legislation which seeks to make the streets of the Show-Me State safer while also ensuring equitable measures are included to prevent over-policing.
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YOU are in important partner in this movement. Get involved in advocacy work here: https://bikewalkkc.org/getinvolved/. And if you have any questions about this or our other advocacy efforts, please send us an email at email@example.com.