KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An effort is underway to build more bike paths throughout the metro to better connect our area communities. Those in charge of building the new bike paths want the public's input on where they should go.
A series of public meetings will be held this week explaining the future of bike paths in Kansas City. Just recently, road crews put in a bike path on Southwest Boulevard. They want the path to run on side streets all the way down the I-35 corridor to connect Kansas City, Kan., all the way south to Olathe.
The challenge is getting every city on board. MARC is working to get every community on the same page when it comes to building more bike lanes on streets -- and bike paths in the countryside.
MARC receives millions of dollars each year to build the paths, and the challenge is making sure they put in bike paths people will use. Transportation officials say when new bike paths are built, the number of people who use them increases -- proof they are a great investment in the community.
"We’ve seen our system grow substantially, at the same time we’ve seen increases in the number of people using them for transportation and recreational uses," Aaron Bartlett, MARC Senior Transportation Planner, said. "So it’s important because we have to invest in the future. That’s what we’re trying to do is find that set of investments that we can put dollars into over the next 10, 20, 30 years and really knot together all the communities that are in the greater Kansas City area."
The number of new bike paths built throughout the metro has exploded in recent years.
From 2008 to 2012, MARC and area communities added more than 300 miles of bike paths and bike lanes, increasing the total number of bike lane miles by 49 percent.