If you are frustrated with the pace of adding bike lanes on the streets of Kansas City, you are not alone. The KCMO City Auditor has released a performance audit of “Bike KC” – the city’s 2001 bike plan, finding it was inadequate from the start and a series of challenges over the last 15 years have doomed its success.
City Auditor’s report: Read the highlights or download the full report
Reboot the Bike Plan
The audit recommends starting over with a new comprehensive bike master plan. Not only was the original plan inadequate, the field of bike planning has advanced tremendously since 2001. Modern bike plans are comprehensive documents encompassing engineering, GIS, design, public policy, community engagement, and performance measures to track tangible progress. Kansas City’s plan lacks most of those. Recent local examples of modern bike plans include the Overland Park Bike Master Plan and Leawood’s Active Transportation Plan.
This is hard to read and looks bad for the city. It summarizes much of the community’s frustration at Kansas City’s progress. It also provides a much-needed wake-up call and an opportunity start anew with a clear vision, a well-designed strategy, and a modern master plan.
A couple of pieces are already in place. Public Works has a new design tool for guiding decisions about bike lanes, cycletracks, trails, parking, road diets, etc. BikeWalkKC recently donated $50,000-plus of our planning team’s services to create a Bike Demand Analysis to help prioritize where to start building bike lanes. The audit report lays out the remaining bike plan components to finish.
The City Manager’s response to the audit agreed with its recommendations. He directed the City Planning Department to begin rebooting the bike plan. We know the Mayor, City Manager, and many City Council members want KC to bike-friendly. Now is the time for them to move forward swiftly in the new year to create a comprehensive, state of the art bike master plan. Then, City Hall must invest the time, money, and talent required to quickly execute the new plan.