Walking to Useful Places Is About to (Slowly) Become Safer and More Convenient In KCMO

The KCMO Parks Board recently advanced a measure that would place stricter design guidelines on development on or near the City’s Boulevards and Parkways. The next stop for this development code update is the City Plan Commission (CPC) where commissioners will decide if the draft is ready for City Council to review.

A really exciting component to the proposed ordinance is a provision for pedestrian standards applicable to all new development requiring safe pedestrian connections between the public sidewalk, pedestrian amenities and main building entrances. All new development must include a convenient path for pedestrians to traverse a parking lot, safe from car traffic. Development must also include safe pedestrian travel between adjacent properties.

For Parkways this standard will be even stricter where developers will not be allowed to build large parking lots between the sidewalk and the building entrance. Boulevard standards will be even stricter still where new buildings cannot be set back more than 25 feet from the sidewalk making the walk to the front door an even safer and more convenient.

Also integral to the walkability of the city, the update will require developers to add public sidewalks to any new development. The city already has a policy requiring sidewalks with new developments as long as the land was platted to include sidewalks. As a result development in many KCMO inner-ring suburban neighborhoods was not required to add sidewalks under the old policy. The new language will eliminate this exception and require sidewalks with new development regardless of how the parcels were platted.

CPC will hear and vote on the proposed ordinance on Tuesday, July 7th at 9:00 AM on the 26th floor of City Hall. If CPC approves the draft, the ordinance may be heard by the Planning, Zoning, & Economic Development Committee the following day, Wednesday, July 8 at 1:30 on the 26th floor.

A huge thanks is in order for the city of KCMO, particularly the Planning and Parks and Recreation Departments. They are working to make the city a better place to bike and walk.

To see the draft in its entirety, follow this link. Below we’ve provided a very quick list of the items that are most relevant to increasing pedestrian safety and convenience. They are split out by how their applicability.

Required of Development on All Streets

  • Construction of public sidewalks
  • On-site pedestrian circulation – Safe, direct pedestrian connections between the public sidewalk, main entrances of all on-site buildings, any pedestrian amenities, and adjacent properties.
  • Adherence to pedestrian facility design standards – Includes well marked crosswalks, five feet minimum width, generally concrete, traffic calming at driveways, and raised 6” above adjacent travel lane.

Required of Development on or Near Parkways

  • All of the above plus;
  • Large parking lots will not be allowed between street and building entrance

Required of Development on or Near Boulevards or where Two Parkways Intersect

  • All of the above plus;
  • Maximum building setback of 25’
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