Trail in south Kansas City is marked by curious signposts

07/09/2014 7:25 PM

07/12/2014 7:14 PM

The problem

Michael Darby of Kansas City walks his dogs along the Indian Creek Trail. He has noticed that the city has installed posts, at least along his route between Wornall and Holmes roads.

The posts indicate that if pedestrians have problems, they can call 911 and tell authorities their exact location. But when he went by, all the posts had the identical mileage designation: .2.

What good is that?

The answer

Because you’re a friend to canines, Michael, the Dog was especially eager to go down this path, which led to Deb Ridgway, Kansas City’s bicycle pedestrian coordinator.

It turns out that the connected Indian Creek and Blue River trails are the first in Kansas City to become part of a regional emergency access signage system created by the Mid-America Regional Council. Other cities have the signs too.

“The idea is to have one system used by emergency responders across the region,” Ridgway said.

The council’s Saralyn Hayes said the project started in Lenexa more than five years ago.

“Someone called in and didn’t really know where they were,” she said. “There was no signage available when they called 911, so it was difficult to locate them.”

Lenexa began work on the signage and reached out to the council, giving birth to the regional system.

Kansas City wrapped up the project this month over 5.6 miles of trail east of the state line, from the Kansas border to Alex George Lake. Part of the job involved replacing the .2 with real numbers, giving trail users a reference point for emergencies and an idea of how far they have walked or biked. The signs also include a five-digit code that tells emergency responders exactly where a pedestrian is.

The Watchdog says you should always take your cellphone to the trails. It’s safer that way.

Do you have a problem or a question about a public issue? Write to the Watchdog, The Kansas City Star, Newsroom, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108, or send email to watchdog@kcstar.com. Include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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