UPDATE: Read our report from the February 1st hearing at City Hall and proposed compromise for Truman Road.
BikeWalkKC learned this morning (January 27) that Councilmembers Robinson (3rd District) and Ellington (3rd District At-Large) have introduced an ordinance to remove Truman Road from the Protected Bike Lane Plan. In addition, it would force the City to tear out the brand new protected lanes on Truman Road. Full removal would be required within 60 days.
BikeWalkKC opposes this for the following reasons:
- Solutions to address the issues and concerns of Truman Road business owners have not had the chance to be implemented.
- Tearing out the work that has already been completed will cost 3rd District residents more money.
- Tearing out the bike lanes will jeopardize Kansas City’s ability to access future federal funding and to attract development investments.
- Protected bike lanes are the most affordable option to a problem that the city is mandated to solve.
- This action would open a Pandora’s box and jeopardize many other worthwhile infrastructure investments.
🚨 Click here to take action, or keep reading to learn more.
1. Solutions to address the issues and concerns of Truman Road business owners have not had the chance to be implemented.
At Councilmember Robinson’s request, the Public Works staff and its contractors were ordered to cease all work on the Truman Road protected bike lanes, which they did. This work stoppage provided more opportunity for business owners to identify the conditions, concerns, and issues they have with how the project would impact their individual business.
At the January 18 community meeting, Public Works staff presented an overview of its revised changes to the plan based on the businesses’ input. Councilmember Robinison indicated that she was willing to allow these changes to take effect and to evaluate their effectiveness. BikeWalkKC staff who attended the January 18 meeting reported the following changes proposed by Public Works staff:
- Allow permanent parking 24/7, not just outside of rush hour. The City agreed to allow permanent street parking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Currently, there are parking restrictions during designated rush hour time periods.)
- Create designated zones with space for loading and deliveries. The City agreed to dedicate space for large trucks and equipment that businesses need for loading/unloading equipment and supplies. They also committed to waiving the permit fees normally required for loading zones.
- Better signage to indicate where there is dedicated parking. It should be noted that street parking was not “taken away” in the original plan. Street parking was moved away from the curb so that the bike lane could be situated between the parking lane and the curb. When work was ordered to stop, the temporary “no parking” signs intended to keep construction workers safe remained in place, creating mass confusion.
- Adjust sightlines for delivery trucks and other large vehicles. Changes to the design would address concerns about maneuvering large vehicles around the bike lanes.
2. Tearing out the work that has already been completed will cost 3rd District residents more money.
It will cost more money to remove the bike lanes than to implement the proposed changes presented by Public Works staff. It could cost more than $1 million to physically remove the bike lanes and replace them with an alternative design.
3. Tearing out the bike lanes on Truman Road will jeopardize Kansas City’s ability to access future federal funding and to attract development investments.
Beyond the immediate cost to 3rd District residents, there is also the question of what this sudden reversal of an already approved infrastructure project will mean for future funding opportunities. This is especially true at the federal level. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law says that states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) must prioritize projects that make it safer for people who walk, roll, use public transit, and bike.
Those obligations are reflected in the competitive grant applications that Kansas City, MO has and will apply for to help fund infrastructure improvements. Removing the Truman protected bike lanes sends the wrong message. How will federal entities, state entities, or local developers respond to Kansas City’s funding requests if they know that there is a risk that approved projects may be scrapped and grant dollars squandered?
4. Truman Road protected bike lanes are the most affordable option to a problem that the city is mandated to solve.
Truman Road is the third most deadly street in Kansas City, MO. From 2015 to 2019, there were 12 fatalities and 67 serious injuries related to traffic crashes. Public Works is mandated to increase the safety of road users. It is required to reduce the number of lanes on Truman Road. The installation of protected bike lanes is the least costly option. If these bike lanes are removed, Public Works will still need to reduce the driving lanes on Truman Road, and it will cost far more money than preserving and improving the current bike lane configuration.
5. Opening Pandora’s box
If councilmembers allow this ordinance to pass, it sets a dangerous precedent. Councilmember Robinson originally approved the city’s Protected Bike Lane Plan, and she expressed enthusiasm for Truman Road’s inclusion in the plan. She voted in favor of the plan. If her current ordinance passes, it will make it very easy – too easy – for a councilmember to abruptly reverse course after a project is set in motion. It would clear the way for elected officials to remove solar panels, to halt affordable housing projects, and to potentially exempt themselves from entire policies that they don’t like or agree with. Sadly, it will be neighborhood residents who will lose out on funding and important improvements.
We agree that the City needs to improve its public engagement process.
BikeWalkKC is in full agreement with Councilmember Robinson’s recommendation for a more robust and inclusive public engagement approach to neighborhood improvement projects. We agree that engagement should be better. We ask Councilmember Robinson to meet with us to work on a comprehensive public engagement plan that the City adopts. We also ask that she wield her influence to prioritize public engagement in the upcoming City budget.
🚨 Call to Action
- Show Up to City Hall – It is really important that people show up in person to oppose this measure. Please come to the 26th floor of City Hall (414 E. 12th Street, KCMO 64106) on Wednesday, February 1, at 8:45am to help us oppose this measure.
- KCMO Residents – Email the City Council – If you’re not able to attend, use this link to send an email to your councilmembers and Public Works explaining why the Truman Road bike lanes should be preserved and completed.
- Non-residents – add your name to the petition – use this link to add your name to a petition in support of bike lanes.