Not everyone’s along for the ride as North KC works to create bike master plan

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- North Kansas City is working on a bike master plan.

The goal is to add more safe paths for anyone who uses city streets:  drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. But concerns are already popping up as one major bike lane project takes shape.

Kathy Ragan and Mindy Hart love to create. It's why they opened their business, Expressive, in downtown North Kansas City.

"It's a place where you can come in and feel safe exploring your creative side," Ragan said.

But just as they were prepping the space to welcome customers, Armour Road, right in front of the shop began a big makeover.

"There's about half the traffic there was before. We're a little bit concerned that might impact the amount of business we were expecting," Ragan said.

The  city took out one driving lane, in each direction, to install parallel parking spaces and bike lanes on Armour.

"My husband was an avid cyclist before he had injuries that prevented it and he was hit by a truck while riding his bicycle, so bike lanes are very necessary," Hart said.

What the business owners aren't convinced of is how well it's working.

Drivers not used to the new traffic pattern can still be spotted driving in the parking and bike lanes and running onto new center curbs. And many drivers are finding ways around it, adding more cars to residential roads.

"We haven't really talked about what those solutions are to help the residences there and traffic issues there," Hart said.

Despite the headaches, the ladies do see some upsides of the new layout, too.

It's easier and safer to cross the busy street on foot now, and they hope adding the bike lanes, which will eventually connect all the way to I-35, will encourage more people to come and explore North Kansas City.

"If there are great parking areas for people to park and walk around, it'll end up being a wonderful place to come hang out for a day," Ragan said.

A consultant working on North Kansas City's new bike master plan said that's exactly the goal -- addressing transportation challenges and making communities safer and more accessible to all.

"It's not quite as hard of infrastructure as a brand new road. It's adjustable, adaptable and putting in right metrics and implementation processes we can make sure it's working and continue to make adjustments necessary," said Christine Hoxie, with Hoxie Collective.

If you'd like to learn more and offer input on North Kansas City's new bike master plan, there's a public input meeting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the city's parks and rec building on Clark Ferguson Drive. You can also learn more here.

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