KANSAS CITY, Mo. – About one-third of all Kansas Citians don’t own a car, according to city officials. That’s one of the reasons why the city is working toward becoming more biker-friendly, but the reasons they have to cater to bicyclists goes even further than helping those without a car.
When gas rose to sky-high prices, Sharon Sandate said she considered biking to work.
“I was in the best shape of my life, I thought, wow I could ride my bike to work, but going from Shawnee, Kan. to downtown Kansas City, there was no- there wasn’t even consistent sidewalks to go on,” Sandate said.
Kansas City’s trying to change that by adding 600 miles of on-street bike areas and 230 miles of mixed-use trails by the year 2020.
“Your home should be your trailhead, so you should be able to leave from your front door and be within an easy distance to a bike facility,” said Deb Ridgway, the Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator for Kansas City.
Right now, the city’s working on finishing up the third phase of a three-phase Bike KC project that started in 2002. This phase includes adding bike route and “share the road” signs to 176 miles of roadways or 352 “lane miles” from now until the summer.
“These signs are really more of a cue for motorists that this is a route that’s been identified for bicyclists and please pass with care,” Ridgway explained.
Ridgway said statistically, there are about 1.2 bikes per person, but not everyone rides. She hopes the added miles of bike routes will change that.
“And they might try riding for transportation if we have facilities that encourage that and support it,” she said.
The money to create more bike routes is coming from federal, state, and local funds. The city hopes to be considered a platinum level bicycle-friendly community by 2020, right now it’s at the bronze level.
Find out more about the Bike Share Program from Bike/Walk KC
More on Kansas City’s Bike KC plan