The following is the public testimony we submitted to the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Transportation, Infrastructure, and Operations Committee on Wednesday, April 15 in support of Resolutions 200277 and 200279. The resolutions call for traffic calming and increased space for people to exercise and use active transportation during the Coronavirus crisis.
BikeWalkKC submits the following testimony in support of the adoption of Resolution 200277 by the members of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee.
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, BikeWalkKC has been studying a number of communities across the country that are successfully implementing measures to create additional safe places for people to walk, run, roll, or bike while still adhering to the social distancing guidelines that health experts say is the most effective way to limit the spread of the virus.
The first two elements of the plan outlined in Section 1 relating to lane and street closures are an appropriate step in line with similar interventions seen across the country. Our parks and trails are being used significantly more, and without actions like these, people will not be able to spread out and avoid becoming sick. Legislative action such as this is important because it provides the clarity that our city staff need to implement this approach. Further, we have evidence from places such as New York City, Denver, and Oakland that this is possible.
Additionally, we support the language specifically calling to temporarily reprogram pedestrian signals so that people who are walking do not have to touch them and risk exposure to the virus. This is not only a recommendation from the National Association of City Transportation Officials; it is something that has already been implemented in places such as Charleston, Chapel Hill, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles.
In conclusion, BikeWalkKC supports the adoption of Resolution 200277 because it is an appropriate measure for the city to take to make space for people during the COVID-19 outbreak and we urge the committee to adopt it.
BikeWalkKC submits the following testimony in support of the adoption of Resolution 200279 by the members of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations (TIO) Committee.
As we have all witnessed, our sidewalks, trails, and parks are overflowing with people who want to engage in physical activity during the outbreak. Unfortunately, that influx has created a surplus of walking, running, rolling, and biking in a meager amount of space that makes social distancing difficult.
We believe that in order to effectively address this problem, we need to create places where people can go to continue to safely engage in physical activity in a way that expands options and lessens the burden on our public spaces.
We agree with Mayor Lucas that east-west corridors are an appropriate way to bridge divides created by north-south streets and other barriers. While we believe that residents and other community stakeholders should help with identifying potential locations, we believe the following elements should be considered:
- As a means of ensuring equity, both the central and southern streets selected should stretch across and east of Troost Avenue.
- The City should select streets that have seen an increase in speeding by reckless motorists as noted by the KCPD.
- Streets should be linked, where possible, to other destinations for people who walk, run, roll, or bike (such as parks or multi-use trails).
- Street closures should not remove access to existing bike facilities or limit access to transit; frontline workers deserve and need multimodal transportation options.
In conclusion, BikeWalkKC supports the adoption of Resolution 200279 because it lessens the strain on existing sidewalks, trails, and key destinations during the outbreak. We urge the members of the TIO committee to adopt this measure.
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Thank you for your support. Similar to many non-profits and small businesses, BikeWalkKC’s financial sustainability has been threatened by the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are able to, please consider making a donation or purchasing a membership for yourself, your household, or your organization. Any amount helps, and we appreciate your support at this difficult time.