Update on January 18th Truman Road Meeting

Dear BikeWalkKC Members,

We want to give a brief update on the meeting that was held at the Gregg/Klice Community Center on January 18 regarding the Truman Road protected bike lane project. The primary purpose of the meeting was for city officials to share the solutions and revised plans to the project based on community feedback at the January 6 meeting. City staff in attendance and leading the meeting included: Public Works Director Michael Shaw, Public Works Transportation Director Jason Waldron, and Councilmember Melissa Robinson (3rd District).

There were several contentious moments and outbursts, but overall this meeting was notably calmer and more respectful than the one on January 6. It opened with Public Works staff providing an overview of the history of the Truman Road project and noted that since 2018, approximately 21 meetings have been held regarding, or including, Truman Road. City staff did acknowledge that efforts to inform residents and businesses about meetings need to be improved. An example that was shared was the fact that mailed meeting notices may have only gone to landlords, and not necessarily the business owners or employees.

Staff also explained the Truman Road project within the larger context of Kansas City’s High Injury Network report, stating it is among the top ten most dangerous roads in Kansas City. BikeWalkKC staff researched this ranking in the KC Vision Zero Action Plan. On page 84 of the plan, Truman Road ranks third among the top ten fatal and serious injury crash roads in Kansas City. A second list on the same page identifies the top ten fatal and serious injury crash intersections in Kansas city, and the intersection at Askew & Truman is ranked seventh. 

City staff explained that they are mandated to address and improve the safety of Truman Road based on its ranking in the High Injury Network. Lanes must be removed from Truman Road to make it safer by slowing down traffic. Protected bike lanes are among the most cost effective ways of achieving this goal. Staff pointed out that other options do exist, but at much greater cost. 

Public Works staff presented plans to improve their initial project design based on community feedback received at the January 6 meeting. Design changes include:

  • Permanent parking instead of off-peak parking to provide more parking and reduce confusion
  • More space for large trucks to maneuver at corners
  • Dedicated loading zones for deliveries
  • More signage to help everyone understand how to drive/park/load/etc

It was unclear when these changes would take place. Our understanding of next steps include:

  • Engineers will finalize design changes as they continue to take feedback from businesses about specific locations and areas of concern.
  • No specific implementation timeline was indicated, but work could start within a few weeks pending the go-ahead from Public Works Director Michael Shaw.

Those attendees in opposition to the protected bike lanes and the presented design changes asked Councilmember Melissa Robinson the status of legislation that would require the removal of the bike lanes on Truman Road. Robinson acknowledged that legislation to remove the bike lanes has been drafted, but is on hold until the new plan changes are finalized and reviewed. If the legislation moves forward to City Council for approval, it would need seven votes to pass.

Opposition voices also stated that they are working on a petition for a referendum that would trigger a city-wide vote to remove all bike lanes in Kansas City, MO. We do not know much about the referendum petition. We will continue to monitor the situation and will share information with BikeWalkKC members as it becomes available.

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