Waldo to get Trolley Trail connector

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Big changes are coming to the intersection of 75th Street and Wornall Road.

The city has received a $2-million federal grant to make the corner safer for bikes, walkers and vehicles in the busy business district.

"The current set up, the trolley trail kind of sends you through a busy parking lot that’s not really built or structured very well at this time," said Beth Breitenstein of Kansas City public works. "What we’re going to do is improve that access for parking users, the park-and-ride facility that KCATA operates over there, as well as send trolley trail users, through a safe connector through that area."

The changes are designed to make it easier for pedestrians, bus riders, cyclists and cars to travel into Waldo.

Neighbors have long lobbied for a connection to the popular trolley trail, which abruptly ends at 74th Street, forcing runners and bike riders to navigate a congested parking lot and bus transfer station.

New sidewalks will be added, as well as traffic signal and pedestrian crossing upgrades.

"It’s just a more walkable, a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere for folks," said Kevin McManus, 6th District councilman. "Whether they are driving, the fact of the matter is you are getting out of your car eventually. You’re trying to get to these shops. That’s why I think the businesses around here really supported this project. They know this is important for livability and for people who are trying to support their businesses both now and in the future."

In addition to the federal money, the city is spending $815,000 on the project, and the Waldo Business Association is kicking in $10,000 in matching money.

There will be a lane reduction on 75th Street to slow down traffic a bit, and more trees and green space will be added to the neighborhood.

Neighbors will provide suggestions for the designs currently underway. Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2018.