KCMO Bond Recommendations 5 & 6 – Road Diets and Traffic Calming

Earlier last month, Troy Schulte, the KCMO city manager, officially proposed an $800m general obligation bond to the city council. As proposed the city will use bond proceeds over the course of 20 years to repair and upgrade the city’s infrastructure.

Over a series of several blog posts we will outline our plan for how this bond funding could be used to make Kansas City a better place to walk and bike. In this post we will focus on our final recommendations – Road Diets and Traffic Calming

Click here to sign the petition and send a note to KCMO city council.

We are going to combine our final two recommendations into a single post.

Recommendation 5 – Implement and Expand the Road Diet Recommendations

A litany of case studies as well as guidance from the Federal Highway Administration underscore the many proven benefits of lane reductions on city streets, the most important being a significant increase in safety for all street users. Unfortunately, implementation has been slow in Kansas City. With no dedicated funding, this effective and inexpensive safety measure can only happen as streets on the list are repaved which means that major safety improvements are years away in most cases.

But don’t stop with just the streets identified in the 2015 study. Create a new evaluation process to identify more streets for road diets. Current traffic volume was the only consideration for feasibility to develop the 2015 list. But ruling out a street because traffic volume is too high ignores the many benefits of road diets. Other factors should be considered even when traffic volume is high, such as:

  • Neighborhood support
  • Streets that are priorities for encouraging more pedestrians and bicyclists
  • High crash rates or speeding
  • Any street on the bike plan
  • Where a wider sidewalk is desired

Recommendation 6 – Fund a Neighborhood Traffic Calming Request Program
Traffic calming is an oft-requested measure from citizens concerned about traffic danger. For example, broad support for the neighborhood-led campaign to install a protected bike lane on Armour Boulevard is a sign that people want traffic calming. It is time for the City to develop and fund a program for neighbors to request basic traffic calming improvements.

Currently, there is no mechanism for neighborhoods to request simple, effective traffic calming. Such treatments not only improve safety and accessibility but they also contribute to the success of business along commercial streets. The focus should be on low-cost, high-impact projects. Example neighborhood traffic calming solutions include:

  • Painted bump outs and curb extensions
  • Crosswalks
  • Bicycle Boulevards
  • Two-way conversions of neighborhood streets
  • Speed tables and raised crosswalks

Here is how you can make your voice heard:

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