Thanks to funding from the Menorah Heritage Foundation and help from dozens of volunteers, BikeWalkKC embarked on a comprehensive review of Gillham Road in 2022. We collected qualitative and quantitative data to help evaluate the Gillham Road Complete Streets project, which represents one of the most extensive implementation efforts of protected bike lanes in the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s (KCMO) complete streets policy.
In total, 338 surveys were completed, either administered in person by volunteers or taken online. Survey respondents were clear about many things, but one in particular stands out: the Gillham Cycle Track influences their decision to bike.
People love it and feel safer with it. They go out of their way to use it. It lets them replace car trips and they want it extended in all directions. But bad driver behavior is a big problem. People want better maintenance, regular cleaning and stronger separation from cars.
Before the cycle track, I was terrified. Once they put this in I bike to work. I wish there were more trails like this around the city.
The Gillham Complete Streets Report was finalized in April 2023. Key takeaways from the report include:
Gillham Road is well used by both people who walk and bike. It has a higher rate of people walking and biking than city streets in general.
- On weekdays, up to 1,087 people walk and up to 215 people bike on Gillham at the busiest intersection (Armour Boulevard). These figures represent 6.0% of all traffic, much higher than the city-wide work commute rate of 1.8% (ACS 2021).
- On weekends, 733 people walk and 355 people bike at the busiest intersection. (Unfortunately, the US Census does not collect data on non-work bike/ped trips.)
- Armour Boulevard is the busiest intersection for both walking and biking, especially on the weekends.
I feel much safer riding on the protected path, especially with my 2 year old.
The Gillham Cycle Track has a big impact on how people get around. People feel safer, are using it more than before, and are reducing their car trips thanks to it.
- 80% feel safer with the protection from cars
- 73% go out of their way to use it
- 68% would have driven a car without it
- 63% were not traveling on Gillham before it
I use the cycle track to get to and from work so I go a little out of the way to get there just to use it
People use the Gillham Cycle Track for many reasons. Top reasons: recreation, exercise, commuting to work, and shopping/running errands.
- On the weekends, people use the cycle track more than the national averages for walking and biking.
- It’s more than bikes. People use the cycle track to walk, run, and to use assistive mobility.
I live in Waldo but my friend lives in Hyde park so I will often go up specifically so we can run together using the lanes.
Driver behavior was the biggest problem observed at all locations and times of day.
- Not yielding to people walking/biking who had the right of way
- Making illegal left turns
- Running red lights
- Ignoring “no right on red” signs
- Parking in the cycle track, forcing people into traffic to go around
Other issues identified include:
- Need for better maintenance and cleaning of debris, such as trash, tree limbs, and glass
- Desire to extend the cycle track north/south and east/west
- Improved cycle track infrastructure including wayfinding signage, driver awareness signage, pedestrian-scaled lighting, bike and pedestrian signal priority, etc.
- Stronger physical separation between bikes and cars, such as grade separation
- Raised crosswalks to improve pedestrian safety and further slow drivers
- Removal of slip lanes that allow cars to make dangerous right-hand turns across the cycle track
The next time someone says: “Nobody uses the bike lanes in Kansas City”, you now have the data to prove them wrong. People DO use them, and they want more of them.