Growth, future development and a need for modernization has led Parkville to consider a comprehensive plan to improve vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle access along the Route 9 corridor.
The city hired Cook, Flatt & Strobel (CFS) Engineers, P.A., a Kansas City, Mo. - based consulting firm, to conduct a study and present street improvement options to the board of aldermen in July and to the residents in a series of public meetings beginning in August.
“Parkville and surrounding areas are experiencing tremendous growth,” said Mayor Nan Johnston.
“Present traffic conditions can be frustrating enough, so when the planned development takes place, it will need to be able to handle the increase in traffic.
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“Parkville also has many residents who bicycle, run and walk,” Johnston said.
“There are no shoulders on the highway, so it is a safety issue as well. Currently, people visiting our parks and trails system have to drive or bravely navigate 9 Hwy on foot or bicycle to get there. Many Park University students do not own cars and need a safe way to get to the grocery store and other commercial areas.”
Route 9 is “regionally significant, connecting vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Route 45 to employment centers and regional destinations including downtown Parkville, Park University, the Horizons, over 200 acres of parkland, the South Platte County Community Center and the Platte County Health Department,” as stated in the study.
The study was funded by the Mid America Regional Council (MARC) Board of Directors, the cities of Parkville and Riverside, Platte County, the Missouri Department of Transportation and Park University.
Sabin Yanez, principal with CFS Engineers and project manager, said the city wants to “address traffic flow problems along with keeping the same downtown feel in Parkville. They want to build upon the character of the downtown and find solutions which will enhance it.”
An important aspect of this proposal is a “complete street design,” which includes vehicle lanes, pedestrian crossings and sidewalks as well as bicycle lanes.
“A number of the citizens of Parkville have expressed a desire for quality of life access to the amenities of the downtown,” which do not require the use of a vehicle, Yanez said.
The study also examines some “unique challenges” along the route such as drainage issues, “uncontrolled access” creating potential conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians; Walnut Grove Cemetery’s proximity to the road, a shallow angle at East Street at Rte. 9 that could cause traffic safety issues, visibility challenges because of the retaining wall at sixth through 12th street intersections, a narrowing of the right-of-way on Rte. 9 downtown and the “unusual configuration” of 1st Street, which causes traffic to back-up at peak times of the day.
The study presents a group of options for improvements at locations along the corridor. The proposed improvements include the addition of signals, lanes and pedestrian crossings as well as multi-use paths, bike lanes and sidewalks.
For details on the options and more information, visit http://parkvillemo.gov/route-9-corridor-study/ and http://parkvillemo.gov/download/Route%209%20Corridor%20Study%20Public%20Meeting%20Boards.pdf.
After the residents provide comments on their preferences at public meetings, the consultants will make final recommendations, said Lauren Palmer, city administrator. Then in November, the board of aldermen will vote whether to adopt the recommendations in the final study.
The projects will take several years to complete and be constructed in phases, Palmer said.
The mayor said the consultant team is “tasked with identifying a recommended financing strategy for each phase of improvements. There will likely be a combination of funding sources from state, federal, and local funds as well as private owners.”
The first public meeting to answer residents’ questions was held on Aug. 5. Future public meetings will be scheduled.