Mayor James Joins National Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets

Mayor Sly James has answered U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s challenge to improve the safety of people who walk and bike.

Invite your mayor to take the challenge!

Safer People, Safer Streets is a new, national challenge from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. In it, he asks mayors to step up efforts to make walking and biking easier and safer ways to get around for transportation, recreation, and fitness. BikeWalkKC applauds the newer and stronger commitment to safety from Mayor James and city staff among departments that include Public Works, Parks and Recreation, City Planning, City Manger’s Office, and more.

Mayor Sly James and KC Chamber CEO Jim Heeter

Mayor Sly  & KC Chamber CEO Jim Heeter at the Kansas City B-cycle launch.

The Mayors’ Challenge comes at a time when Kansas City is gaining momentum towards becoming more bikeable and walkable. Recent KCMO initiatives include:

  • Investing millions of dollars in new trails and bike lanes
  • A Livable Streets policy
  • A new crosswalk policy
  • Integration of bike/ped into the KC Stat performance dashboard
  • City-wide study of opportunities for road diets.
  • The city supports many BikeWalkKC programs such as Kansas City B-cycle, Safe Routes to School, and Bike Month.

We are very hopeful that the Mayors’ Challenge will be a powerful opportunity to focus attention, resources, and energy on consolidating Kansas City’s emerging bike/ped progress and taking us to the next level, but we still have a long way to go:

  • Kansas City lags peer cities in the number of bike lanes and trails.
  • There is a $1 billion backlog of sidewalk repairs.
  • Many opportunities to add bike lanes are lost each year when streets are repaved, especially in the urban core.
  • Transformative projects like the Grand Boulevard road diet face opposition.
  • Many bike lane proposals are still stymied by parking concerns.


The challenge aims to better protect people who walk and bike:

Unfortunately pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities have not seen similar safety gains and now represent nearly 17 percent of total fatalities. In 2013, bicyclists were the only group to show an increase in total deaths. While it’s true that cities around the country are seeing more people walking and biking to get where they need to go, we cannot accept an increase in deaths and injuries among people choosing those transportation options. The Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets seeks better protection of the most vulnerable users of our roadways based on the latest pedestrian and bicyclist safety innovations.

— U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

Invite your mayor to take the challenge

BikeWalkKC has already reached out mayors of the larger regional cities like KCK, Overland Park, Independence, Olathe, and others. We hope that more metro mayors will accept Secretary Foxx’s challenge for Safer People, Safer Places. You can help by inviting your mayor to participate. Learn more about the challenge here.

Mayors’ Challenge Focus Areas

  1. Take a Complete Streets approach
  2. Identify and address barriers to make streets safe and convenient for all road users, including people of all ages and abilities and those using assistive mobility devices
  3. Gather and track biking and walking data
  4. Use designs that are appropriate to the context of the street and its uses
  5. Take advantage of opportunities to create and complete ped-bike networks through maintenance
  6. Improve walking and biking safety laws and regulations
  7. Educate and enforce proper road use behavior by all
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