In working to improve the built environment for those who walk and bike, BikeWalkKC advocates for policies that support broader, multimodal infrastructure improvements in communities across the Kansas City metro.
One of the main policy levers we support on this front relates to Complete Streets. As the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC) explains, “Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.”
While we were able to successfully advocate for a Complete Streets ordinance in KCMO, a number of communities across the metro are still working to develop and implement this legislative element. With some help from NCSC, Eastern Jackson County is getting a major boost on this effort.
NCSC recently announced that their third Complete Streets Consortium Series will take place in Missouri. Through a competitive application process, Eastern Jackson County was one of three communities chosen to receive technical assistance “to identify and overcome barriers to implement activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, which make it safe and convenient for people of all abilities to walk, run, bike, skate, or use wheelchairs to reach homes, jobs, shops, schools, and more.”
Eastern Jackson County (being led by the Jackson County Health Department) will receive technical support from BikeWalkKC, along with leaders from MARC and the communities of Grandview, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, and Sugar Creek.
“I believe that, more than anything else, this is a really good example of how education and advocacy can align for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians,” said Laura Steele, education director for BikeWalkKC. “Leaders in Eastern Jackson County have identified Complete Streets as a priority and they want to take bigger steps towards making that a reality.”
“These communities have demonstrated a real appetite to learn more about Complete Streets policies,” noted Michael Kelley, BikeWalkKC policy manager. “This will give several key areas in Jackson County a real chance to either strengthen existing policy or implement something completely new, and both approahces will ultimately benefit the most vulnerable road users.”
The consortium series will involve several in-person meetings in each of the communities, along with webinars. The technical assistance is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. It was designed to support the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services ongoing work through the State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) program. Additional support also comes from the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition through the University of Missouri Extension, and Missourians for Responsible Transportation.
Learn more about the program by reading the press release from Smart Growth America.