Planners designing a major reinvention of the congested North Loop trafficway in downtown Kansas City are now seeking public reviews online.
The wide-ranging discussion also contemplates plans for a new Buck O’Neil Bridge, which took on greater urgency in recent months when engineers warned that the old bridge needed repairs that could require closing it for up to two years.
The palette of ideas accumulated by designers with the Beyond the Loop project gives options ranging from leaving the North Loop mostly intact to breaking it down to street level thoroughfares with opportunities for new development and green spaces.
The survey is available at www.beyondtheloopkc.org.
Visitors at the Mid-America Regional Council, which is coordinating the planning, got a head start on the survey Tuesday, marking with stickers their preferences on picture boards displaying the options featured in the online survey.
Early returns, not surprisingly, showed that people were “clear on what they don’t want,” said Ron Achelpohl, MARC’s director of transportation and environment.
People don’t like the North Loop the way it is, nor the bridge and its lack of pedestrian and bicycle access.
The planners want to hone the work into two or three specific designs later this year and be ready with a proposal by the first of next year to begin required environmental studies.
City officials and the Missouri Department of Transportation have applied for state cost-shared funds that would provide $7 million for temporary repairs and environmental studies that engineers hope would keep the old bridge open and stave off a major repair for the two or more years it would take to build a new bridge. The state’s decision on the funds is pending.
The regional partners in the major remake projects for the bridge and North Loop would still have to secure more than $200 million from federal, state and local sources.