2015 was a great year for BikeWalkKC, for communities around the region, and for the entire walking and bicycling movement. The accomplishments this year were too many to list, but we’ve done our best to share some of the highlights.
BikeWalkKC’s news and accomplishments
Record year for Youth Education Program
Our BLAST Kids on Bikes and Earn-a-Bike programs served 2,300 kids at twenty-plus schools across the metro area, including our first classes in Olathe.
Record year for KC B-cycle
Phase 3 expanded bike share to 18th & Vine, more of Midtown, and the Trolley Track Trail. Ridership doubled to over 13,000. Since 2012 we have burned 4 million calories and offset 100,000 pounds of carbon. We had our best day ever this year in combination with the Royal Celebration.
Safe Routes To School
BikeWalkKC partnered with the Unified Government of KCK/Wyandotte County to bring Walking School Buses to ten schools in the county. We also partnered with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to build community partnerships supporting Safe Routes to School in the KCMO Public Schools, especially in the Old Northeast neighborhoods.
Our Confident City Cycling classes took a big geographic leap this year by heading out to St. Joseph, MO and Lawrence, KS in partnership with the health departments in each city.
Women Bike KC
We launched a year-round programming series and had a great Women’s Bike Summit that drew participants from throughout the Midwest. All thanks to the support of an amazing steering committee of board members and volunteers.
Midtown KC Walks
A new partnership with The Whole Person and the Midtown KC Post is highlighting the importance of maintaining good sidewalks and starting a community dialogue about finding new solutions to the $1 billion sidewalk backlog.
A new home for a growing movement
In April, BikeWalkKC moved into a new home to accommodate our tremendous growth and vision for the future. Our new office in Hyde Park is more than triple the size of our old location on the Westside. We now have room for a dedicated B-cycle and BLAST bike shop, office space for our growing professional staff, and space to host classes, events, and community meetings. If you haven’t seen it, please stop by and say hello!
New faces on the team
Our team of professional advocates and educators grew significantly in 2015. Kristen Jeffers relocated from North Carolina to become our Communications and Membership Manager. Laura Steele and Glen Rumbaugh took on bigger roles as Lead Instructors in our Youth Education programs. Nathan Force joined the B-cycle team as a Bike Share Fleet Technician. John McClaflin became our first Finance Manager.
Investing in BikeWalkKC
We were honored to receive support from amazing community partners in 2015. The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City awarded us a $75,000 grant to build neighborhood capacity for ensuring all communities, regardless of wealth, have opportunities to be active and healthy. The Kauffman Foundation provide $125,000 to help match federal funds for Phase 4 of Kansas City B-cycle, coming in 2016.
Keep keep rolling forward with a year-end donation to BikeWalkKC’s Annual Campaign.
Progress in the Region
The Katy Trail is Finally Coming to KC
Jackson County and the KC Area Transportation Authority announced an agreement to jointly acquire the old Rock Island railway and build trail within a year. Plenty of space will also be preserved for a future transit corridor.
The region’s first bike box was installed at 11th & Main Downtown, giving cyclists a head start getting through a complicated intersection on the streetcar route.
Overland Park and Leawood master plans
Overland Park adopted the region’s most ambitious plan for on-street bike lanes, and funded the first phase. Next door, Leawood adopted the region’s first integrated master plan for both walking and bicycling, including a strong emphasis on Safe Routes to School.
Lee’s Summit recognition and legal updates
The region’s first and only nationally-recognized Walk Friendly Community was upgraded from Bronze to Silver. Lee’s Summit also updated and modernized all of its local bicycle laws.
New KCMO City Council
Elections in KCMO brought several new faces and increased the level of Council support for walking and biking. We partnered with the KC Regional Transit Alliance to host a transportation forum during the campaign, and were very impressed with how engaged the candidates were with our issues.
KCMO City Council Bike Tour
Councilmembers Jermaine Reed and Dan Fowler organized the first-ever City Council bike tour, using B-cycle to tour upcoming bike projects in the 3rd District.
Leavenworth Bridge Victory
Thanks to your calls, emails, and time and public meetings, KDOT has agreed to include a bike/pedestrian path on the new bridge over the Missouri River at Leavenworth.
Road Diets Get Noticed
Communities around the region began realizing the potential of overbuilt streets to be re-purposed for more uses than just cars. Lee’s Summit converted several streets in recent years. KCMO conducted a city-wide study to find streets suitable for road diets. The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City started spreading the word about the health impacts of road diets.
Kaw Point Trail in KCK
We were really pleased with your response to help us push the Unified Government to approve investments in a dedicated bike/pedestrian trail between KCK and KCMO, via Kaw Point.
Setbacks in 2015
It wasn’t a constant tailwind in 2015. The region also some serious setbacks, including two high-profile problems.
Downtown Bike Network Delayed
We were frustrated City Hall couldn’t deliver the promised network of bike lanes linking the Westside with the Jazz District and putting Grand Boulevard on a road diet with buffered bike lanes. With the addition of streetcar tracks on Main Street, people on bikes really need a high-quality north/south route. They are promising to get it done in 2016, but we need you and the rest of the community to continue pressing for swifter progress.
Turkey Creek Trail
For the second time in recent years, the Mission City Council refused to match federal funding one of the last pieces of the Turkey Creek Trail, an important link the MetroGreen regional trail network.
Looking ahead to 2016
The momentum of 2015 sets Kansas City up to make even more progress in 2016, but continued advocacy and public support will be crucial for ensuring KC continues to become a healthier and more connected place to live, work, and play.
Leadership challenges emerge for the Rock Island trail project
In 2016 the new agencies responsible for finally moving this dream forward will be under new leadership. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders is unexpectedly resigning just one year into his third term. Meanwhile, KCATA CEO Joe Reardon is leaving to lead the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Both agencies will be in leadership transitions while the Rock Island Trail is under construction.
Bringing bike/ped to forefront in KCMO
With the Streetcar launching in 2016, it will be a good time re-emphasize investing in walking and biking. Our Complete KC project will a more ambitious bike/ped master plan, and our Midtown KC Walks project will highlight the need to find new solutions to tackling the $1 billion sidewalk backlog.
Overland Park bike network
If the city follows through with the ambitious implementation of its bike plan, it will soon have more miles of bike lanes than all of KCMO, and perhaps all of the metro area combined.
Phase 4 of Kansas City B-cycle
This winter BikeWalkKC is hard at work finalizing plans for the fourth phase of bike share, adding another 10 stations to the current 27.
Keep us rolling forward by investing biking and walking in 2016. We couldn’t have done the great things listed above without your support. Please make a year-end donation today.