Public Editor

When maps don’t seem to match the text

Readers fact-check The Kansas City Star constantly — and I love that. I bet disinterested readers make as many error catches as the subjects of news coverage themselves, in fact.

One detail readers always scrutinize is any mention of addresses or directions. This emailer today asked a good question about a story on a new residential development in the Northland:

I am a resident of Platte County and am very interested in specifically where the West Pointe Plaza will be located. I have searched this morning's article for more information than “near Parkville“ and “Highway 9 and K Highway.” I have no idea where Highway K is and have searched with the Maps app for it, but cannot find it. Could Highway K have a street name now? Is it north or south or east or west of Highway 9? I would appreciate some clarification, please.

This one took me a long time to track down, partly because she’s right that the most-common computer mapping systems don’t seem to recognize Highway or Route K as a search term. But as the attached screenshot from Google Maps shows, it’s there, running north to south between 435 on the west and I-29 on the east. It’s also known as NW Union Chapel Road south of Missouri 45, and Northwest Hampton Road to the north. Oh, and 45 is also better-known as Tom Watson Parkway there.

Confused yet? Because at least one Parkville map I found has no reference to K at all. And in my experience, that’s not all that uncommon. I’ve seen examples of official Kansas City maps that disagree with one another, such as labeling a thoroughfare “street” in one instance and “avenue” in another.