New bike lanes, trails promote bicycling in KC
The Kansas City Star
Kansas City is pedaling toward a brighter future by offering more bike lanes and other cycling-related amenities.
National experts are taking notice. By one measurement Kansas City ranked as one of the nation’s worst big cities for bicyclists in 2008, down at No. 50. But Kansas City had moved up to No. 34 by last year.
Fine, it’s not No. 1 or even in the top 10 — yet. Given the city’s often-brutal weather, Kansas City isn’t likely to supplant Portland, Ore., or a few of the other bicycle-friendly cities.
However, the city’s progress is worth celebrating.
The addition of short-term rental bikes to downtown and the Crossroads in 2012 was a major step forward for the image of cycling in Kansas City. Get more people pedaling, even for short distances, and they’ll see how practical it can be as a way to get around.
Also, the city continues to stripe more miles of bike lanes, vivid reminders that cars and trucks aren’t the only ones allowed to use the roads. There’s more to come, too. The new city budget calls for resurfacing or renovating more than 100 miles of streets in the next year, and City Manager Troy Schulte says the city will add painted bike lanes to many of these roads.
More trails have been extended in various parts of the city, too, giving bicycles more off-road places to safely ride.
Kansas City has missed many chances in the past to improve the health of its residents and to cut traffic congestion and the pollution it causes. Bike users often were an afterthought of city planners.
But that mindset is changing at City Hall and out in the community. While plenty more can be done to woo people onto their bikes, it’s encouraging to see Kansas City is headed in the right direction.