BikeWalkKC Supports Streetcar Planning Ordinance

BikeWalkKC has submitted a letter of support for Ordinance No. 171032, which allows for further planning of proposed streetcar expansions. We believe that it is in the best interest of the city to continue to create a system that embraces all modes of transportation.

You can read the letter below:

January 10, 2018

Councilman Jermaine Reed
Attn: Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Chairman Reed and Members of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee:

BikeWalkKC supports Ordinance No. 171032, which seeks to allow for further planning of existing streetcar expansions. Keeping the city staff from making effective plans is legally questionable, as well as self-defeating to efforts to build a multimodal transportation network for Kansas City.

BikeWalkKC supports the measure for the following reasons:

  • The ballot initiative that necessitated this ordinance sets a bad precedent. Even before the measure was put before the voters, the City’s Law Department raised questions about whether it would pass legal muster. Prohibiting city planners from doing their job may very well be unconstitutional. Not allowing them to plan sends the message that we don’t want them to plan for a future that embraces multimodal transportation, which endangers all of us.
  • The City needs time to plan for streetcar expansions. With the recent passage of the Complete Streets ordinance, city planners will need time to incorporate those design principles into existing and future elements of the streetcar. Allowing the city to plan means allowing the city to develop better ideas that not only include more efficient elements, but also the opportunity for greater community engagement before the final product goes to a vote.
  • Streetcar expansion holds considerable benefits for other modes of transportation. The streetcar enables cyclists and pedestrians to go further in the city by serving as a reliable bridge between the first and last miles of a journey. That can lead to greater economic activity as well as better health outcomes, both of which go a long way to help the city continue to thrive.

The streetcar presents an opportunity for a more thoughtful development of the built environment for all modes of transportation. But we do ourselves a disservice if we continue to debate how to develop the streetcar without carefully considering how to incorporate alternatives such as walking or cycling. Passing this ordinance will allow the City to plan for further expansions while keeping intact the ability of voters to ultimately decide on whether those expansions deserve to go forward.

Please vote “yes” on Ordinance No. 171032.


Eric Bunch
Policy Director


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