Kansas City, Missouri, which last summer closed Cliff Drive, the only urban Scenic Byway in the state of Missouri, to motorized vehicles on weekends from May through October, has decided to expand the program:
Beginning this Friday at 2:00pm, Cliff Drive will be closed to motorized vehicles every weekend throughout the year. The gates will reopen each Monday at 8:00am.
The innovative Car Free Weekends pilot program, which took place every weekend from May to October 2008, was initiated to provide safe opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle-oriented activities that promote healthy lifestyles for all to enjoy. Based on the success of the 2008 summer program, the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners approved the expansion of the program to year round.
Impact of the 2008 Pilot Program:
- Residents reported an increase in visitation to the Northeast by bicyclists
- KCPD reported the number of 2008 calls/incidents specific to Cliff Drive decreased by 74% when compared to 2007
- The Kansas City Museum reported attendance increases even with the restoration of Corinthian Hall
- Parks and Recreation Maintenance and Operations staff reported fewer incidents of dumping, less litter and fewer incidents of vandalism
Laurie Chipman, Advocate for the Kansas City Bicycle Club, notes that “Here is a win-win low cost program. Crime is reduced because cars are shut off and there are “eyes on the street.” Some of this crime was no doubt dumping of trash. But, more visits to the neighborhood increases economic development opportunities. I would like to see this car-free route lengthened into areas where people can buy refreshments or some vendors set up stands there.”