New 3-mile protected bike lane opens on Armour Boulevard

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After months of work, the new protected bike lanes on Armour Boulevard in midtown Kansas City are finished.

Cyclists say the lanes are a great success for bike safety, but some who live in the area claim the lanes put drivers at risk.

Armour Boulevard now has a place for parked cars, a buffer zone and a lane for cyclists next to the side walk. The city just put up signs about the protected parking bike lanes to show drivers and cyclists how to use the lanes correctly. The protected lanes on Armour are the only ones like it in Kansas City.

The protected bike lanes run along Armour for 3 miles from Broadway to the Paseo. Armour used to have two lanes in each direction. Now, there's only one lane in each side to accommodate for the protected bike lanes.

"What we see in results from things like that is we see people slowing down because they don't have enough room to maneuver like they once did," said Beth Breitenstein, KC Public Works spokesperson.

Slower traffic and a separate space for cyclists makes some people feel more comfortable.

"It's made it safer for the bikers," said Nathan Roberts, who lives in Armour Boulevard. "One thing I hate about biking is when you're right next to a vehicle."

But some Armour Boulevard neighbors say the safety for cyclists comes at the expense of drivers. Kelsey Tuley, who lives on Armour, said the bike lanes make it so that drivers can't see incoming traffic.

"I almost got in a wreck the other day because I was trying to parallel park into a parking spot and a car popped over the hill, didn't see me and had to slam on the break," Tuley said.

BikeWalkKC officials says they hope, in time, people see the added layer of cyclist safety as a benefit for the entire city.

"With time as more people see how other people are doing it, it will become much more familiar and people will become used to the idea of having the lanes and the narrowed roads where they need to be slower so they can see everything going on," said Michael Kelley, BikeWalkKC policy coordinator.

The  ceremony for these bike lanes is Friday morning at 10 a.m. There will be a group bike ride along Armour right after. B-Cycle, BikeWalkKC’s bike share service, will give out free cycle checkouts (using code 9318) Friday for the occasion.