Cars and vans on a walking trail? Oh my!

07/11/2014 4:49 PM

07/11/2014 4:49 PM

The problem

When the Watchdog wants a cheap date with his perky little papillon, he’ll visit one of the area’s many recreational trails — knowing that he and his beloved will be safe from behemoths with six-cylinder engines.

Good thing he hasn’t chosen the Little Blue Trace Trail in eastern Jackson County, where security gates were removed near the Missouri 78 shelter house.

“I am meeting people in cars and vans on a cycling and walking trail,” said Mark Breeding of Independence. “Someone in a stolen truck even led a police chase, which I fortunately missed.”

Breeding said the problem persisted even after he notified Jackson County a couple of months back. Earlier this week, a concrete barrier blocked vehicles at one entrance, but a barrier farther north was shoved aside.

The answer

The folks at Jackson County Parks + Rec share Breeding’s concern.

“We fully acknowledge this has been a challenge,” the department said in a statement.

Slide-arm gates had kept vehicles off the trail there, but repeated vandalism rendered them nonfunctional.

“Because of this, concrete barriers were placed at the north and south entrances,” the department said.

On July 2, however, Independence utility workers moved the northern barrier to gain access to the area. A county crew put it back Tuesday.

Meanwhile, parks officials had been designing a bollard system — vertical posts — to admit bikers, walkers and maintenance vehicles while blocking larger vehicles. It’s supposed to be installed next week.

“We appreciate the time Mr. Breeding took to let us know about the situation,” the department said.

The Watchdog believes in sharing the road, but not in this 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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