Location: Missouri

Kansas City's Platinum Vision

After years of languishing as one of the least bicycle-friendly cities in the nation, Kansas City, Missouri has launched an ambitious initiative to turn thing around. Not only does KC want to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, it wants to become a “platinum-level” community, the highest possible designation for bicycle friendliness.

This audacious plan was announced May 14th by Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser. He’s set a goal of getting to platinum level by 2020. That’s a long way off, but KC certainly has a long way to go.

Among the speakers at the press conference were Funkhouser, KC Bike/Ped Coordinator Deb Ridgway, Kansas City Councilmember Russ Johnson, and Shawnee, Kansas mayor Jeff Meyers, whose city is currently a Bronze-Level Bike Friendly Community.

Councilman Johnson, who is chairman of the City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, rode his bike to the press conference from his home in North Kansas City, and said that there’s no better way to see the beauty of the city, but that KC needs to make commuting safer and easier. Johnson had to ride on major highways and had to share the Heart of America bridge with big rigs and cars speeding by his shoulder.

A TV news helicopter followed Johnson on his short trek to city hall, and observers watched him dodge sewer gates and fight for space on roads. “It isn’t as easy as it could be,” Johnson said. “There are very economical things we can do that would make it easier.”

Mike Hendricks, columnist for the Kansas City Star, says that “considering Kansas City’s shortage of bike lanes, etc. — which puts us at the tinfoil level, I’d say — platinum looks like a lofty, if not unachievable, goal.”

Deb Ridgway is more hopeful: Kansas City now has 25 miles of trails and 6.5 miles of bike lanes. By the end of the year the city will install 100 bike racks at community centers, add bike route signs on 30 miles and improve sewer grates. “I think that we can get there,” she said.

Read more: KCBike.info, Kansas City Star, Mike Hendricks, KSHB-TV, KCTV-5.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

3 responses to “Kansas City's Platinum Vision”

  1. I’m really loving all the attention cycling is getting in Missouri these days. Its really great. Being from Sedalia, we get the KC news. I know Mayor Funkhouser hasn’t always been everyones favorite mayor but this is great. This is really great. It is a sad story that KC only has 6.5 miles of trails and they plan to install 100 bike racks.

    To put this into perspective, Columbia is in the process of installing 1000 pike parking spaces.

    Platinum is reachable. Everything is doable its just a matter how when. The bridge situation is going to be a major issue that will have to be resolved but their are a lot of things that can be done that do not involve the bridges. And as support for cycling grows their will be more interest and support for improving the bridges.

    This all ties in with the proposed light rail and other public transit.

  2. Randy says:

    The Kansas City Star featured an editorial on the topic (Bicyclists need help in KC), calling the plan “a reasonable path to make it more enjoyable and easier for bicyclists to get around the city. Kansas City bikers should embrace this effort and encourage City Hall to make it a priority.”

  3. […] a long way to go to reach the bicycle friendliness the mayor desires. For now, KC has a reputation as among the least-bikeable cities in […]