According to the Kansas City Star Editorial Board, KC needs 100 miles of new bike lanes by 2011:
Kansas City, let’s create 100 miles of bike lanes by early next year.
Let’s do it for a healthier, greener place to live. Let’s do it because generations of Kansas Citians have asked for it.
Let’s do it because this is a great American city and bike lanes would make us better. Heck, more bike lanes would trim us up and get us off those chubby city lists.
Now is the time for the Kansas City Council to get serious about creating what’s been debated for 25 years: A bike-friendly city.
Goals need deadlines, so here’s our idea:
100 miles of on-street bike lanes by April 30, 2011, the end of the next city fiscal year. And Mayor Mark Funkhouser should push harder for his goal of making Kansas City a bike-friendly, platinum-rated city by the League of American Bicyclists by 2020.
The 100-mile goal is tough, but doable, and Kansas Citians have been asking for a safer biking environment for decades. Kansas City has devised and revised and re-revised — and yet never acted on — ambitious bike route plans since 1986, with complete reworks in 1991 and 2001. This foot-dragging has put us far behind other metropolitan areas. We’re the worst cycling city in America, according to some.
Kansas City has waited long enough. Let’s add 100 miles of bike lanes by early 2011 and make our city a healthier, more attractive place to live.
Did you catch the words there?
“Bike lanes”. Not “bike paths”. Not “trails”.
The focus here is transportation, not recreation.
100 miles is obviously just an arbitrary round number, but it’s an ambitious goal, particularly given that KC has very few bike lanes, and only about 30 miles of off-street paths and trails.
It takes more than bike lanes to make a city truly bicycle-friendly, but it’s certainly a good start. A modest investment in cycling infrastructure would pay for itself many times over in decreased congestion, improved health, and improved air quality (particularly given that the KC area has repeatedly violated air quality standards and may be forced to impose new restrictions).
And, of course, the value of lives saved is immeasurable.
So, do KC leaders “get it”? They’re been moving in that direction for awhile now, but so far, there isn’t a whole lot to show for it. Are they willing to take concrete steps, such as adding 100 miles of bike lanes, to make a move livable city?
Let’s hope so!