City leaders planning 19-mile bike lane along the Paseo but still looking for full funding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cyclists on the Paseo might have a new bike lane coming soon, but dollars might cause a delay.

Kansas City's Department of Public Works is planning the metro's longest bike lane. It's expected to cover more than 19 road miles of the Paseo, stretching from Independence Avenue all the way to 85th Street.

Public Works leaders said it could be similar to the bike lane on Southwest Boulevard, and it will cost more than $1 million. So far, the city has $750,000 to spend, most of which is federal grant money.

Public Works spokesperson Beth Breitenstein said the city wants this bike lane because it would serve as a strong north-south connector for commuters.

"It's another transportation option," Breitenstein said. "I think the more dense and vibrant the city becomes, having more options is a win-win for everybody."

Breitenstein said her department wants to build it -- provided the difference in dollars can be met.

"A lot of things that keep people from bicycling is not feeling safe," she said. "Designing a bikeway on the road itself would decrease speeds of traffic by reducing some of that lane and areas for motorists to maneuver."

Metro bicycle enthusiasts have voiced their excitement at a series of public meetings.

Michael Kelly is a public policy coordinator with Bike Walk KC, a nonprofit that advocates for bicycle rights across the metro. Kelly said the Paseo bike lane would do wonders for up-and-coming east Kansas City.

"There are plenty of reasons why the city should not waver in trying to find more funds," he said. "We can't tell them what to do. Ultimately, that's their decision."

City leaders tell FOX4 it could take up to a year before the Paseo bike lane takes shape. Until then, Kelly and other bicycle advocates in the metro will seek that extra money needed to start this project's wheels turning.