Kansas City is getting ready to add more miles of bike lanes along the Paseo and south and east of downtown, thanks to grant funds and city matching money.
The City Council has approved a $1 million project to design and construct about 19 miles of on-street bike lanes along the Paseo, northbound and southbound from Independence Avenue to 85th Street. Nearly $728,000 of that is from federal funds, and the rest is local matching money, through public improvement sales tax dollars in the 3rd and 5th council districts.
The city hopes to complete the design in 2017 and finish construction by September 2018.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed, chairman of the council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “It’s something everyone in our community, regardless of where you live, should embrace.”
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Reed said there are numerous churches along the Paseo, and some are apprehensive of the plan, fearing the bike lanes will take up space now used by on-street church parking. But he said there will be significant outreach to the community in the next year, and there are ways to accommodate both bike lanes and parked cars. The outreach will also help identify the best locations for bike racks.
Reed recently took an afternoon bike ride with several dozen students in East High School’s bike club, which was started with the help of BikeWalkKC. He went to the school just to greet the students and ended up biking about 10 miles with them, wearing his business suit. He said it was a beautiful afternoon, and he had thought about playing golf, but the bike ride was great recreation.
More miles of bike lanes and bike rack locations are also in store for areas northeast and south of downtown, filling in gaps in the city’s existing bike plan.
The council approved $111,000 in federal funds, plus about $28,000 in local matching funds, to design bike lanes for two separate projects. One project is along Charlotte Street and Holmes Road from 25th to 36th streets, addressing gaps in bike facilities from downtown to midtown. The other is to design bike paths along Lexington Avenue and Gladstone Boulevard in the northeast area of Kansas City, based on requests from the Scarritt Renaissance and Pendleton Heights neighborhoods.
Those projects should be designed by May, with construction to follow after that.
City officials had hoped to stripe new bike lanes this year along Grand Boulevard from River Market to Crown Center, but those construction bids came in over budget and had to be rebid. The city has repackaged the project and hopes for lower bids next month.