For the past several years, BikeWalkKC has been working to expand and improve walking, biking, accessibility, and transit in Kansas. We are fortunate to be joined in these efforts by a core group of similar organizations including the Topeka Community Cycle Project, BikeWalkMHK, Bike Walk Wichita, and more recently Cycling KC.
Collaboration has enabled us to present a stronger case for active transportation to our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., as well as officials with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) in Topeka. This unified effort has created new opportunities to advocate for active transportation, especially with the adoption of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) late last year.
With help from the League of American Bicyclists and the Safe Routes Partnership, BikeWalkKC and our partners drafted a letter to KDOT asking how they plan to implement four key portions of the BIL relating to active transportation:
- Surface Transportation Block Grant/Transportation Alternatives Set Aside (Sec. 11109)
- Highway Safety Improvement Program (Sec. 11111)
- Safe Routes to School (Sec. 11119)
- Increasing Safe and Accessible Transportation Options (Sec. 11206)
In addition to active transportation champions, we were also fortunate to have support from the Kansas Chapter of the American Heart Association. You can see the full letter by clicking here.
KDOT responded to our letter and immediately worked with us to schedule a meeting, which was held at MARC in August (you can watch a recording of the meeting by clicking here). In that meeting, KDOT detailed their work on the aforementioned parts of the BIL and spoke in greater detail about related efforts. These efforts include:
- Safe Streets 4 All (SS4A) Match Pilot Program – The SS4A program created by the BIL will set aside $1 billion annually for the next five years to help communities enact policies and programs to protect vulnerable road users. The initial phase in Kansas will involve the development of Safety Action Plans. Through this pilot, KDOT will help to cover some of the costs communities must shoulder to pay for developing the plans.
- Kansas Active Transportation Plan & Policy Registry – With the support of everyday advocates and organizations like BikeWalkKC, an increasing number of places in Kansas have Complete Streets policies, active transportation plans, and more. In response, KDOT has created a registry where these communities can upload their plans, policies, and related documents in order to show what they have created and to serve as an example and resource for other communities.
Upon our request, KDOT has shared the slides and related information as part of a formal response to the initial letter. You can view that document by clicking here.
Coupled with the ongoing work being done to implement the new Statewide Active Transportation Plan, there’s plenty to be hopeful about for walking, accessibility, biking, and transit in the Sunflower State. With the help of everyday advocates like you, we can continue to present a unified voice for improving active transportation in every part of Kansas.
Did you know? BikeWalkKC’s advocacy efforts are member-supported! You can lend your voice to our work by becoming a member today. And get the latest on bicycle- and pedestrian-related happenings when you subscribe to our newsletter!