Naming the Heart of America Bridge for Bob Watts

Bridge naming ceremony on Friday, September 20th at 2:00 p.m.

Local legend Bob Watts is being honored with the upcoming naming of the Heart of America Bridge's new bike/ped path as the Bob Watts Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge. Bob was a pioneer in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Many of you donated to our fundraising campaign to raise $2,500 for the new bridge signage.

Bob and his contributions

Creating a community
Bob spent over thirty years encouraging people to bike and walk, setting an great example, and building the local community. 

  • Revitalized the Kansas City Bicycle Club in the 1960s
  • Owned and operated two bike shops – Crown Cyclery in Crown Center and Bob's Bikes in Liberty
  • Promoted the sport of bicycle racing
  • Hosted hundreds of social rides
  • Commuted by bike to his job as a machinist at the former TWA overhaul base

Advocating for pedestrians and bicyclists in City Halls, Jefferson City, and Washington
It wasn't all fun and games for Bob!  He was serious about making the city and the state safer and betters places to bike and walk.  Bob spent many long hours advocacting at the local, state, and national levels.

  • Spent a large part of the 1980s in Jefferson City advocating for the Rails to Trails idea that enabled the world-famous Katy Trail State Park.
  • An early member and two term President of the new Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation.
  • Initiated and served on the metro Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee at the Mid-America Regional Council.
  • A vocal advocate for improving the Heart of America Bridge when it opened in 1987 without bicycle or pedestrian facilities. Eventually Bob's work encouraged MoDOT to restripe the bridge with a wider shoulder and replace hazardous drain grates.

Bob's legacy laid much of the foundation for the huge strides that Kansas City and the rest of Missouri is making today. Bob passed in 2006 at the age of 74, too soon to see the new dedicated bike/ped path on the Heart of America Bridge. We think it's a fitting honor to name this new path the Bob Watts Memorial Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.

Now we just need to raise $2,500 to cover cost of signage and state fees. Will you help us honor Bob with a donation?

Special thanks to Art Gough and Dale Crawford for conceiving the idea and providing the leadership to get legislation passed in Jefferson City to make this happen.