Advocates pressuring KC leaders to reduce traffic deaths after cyclist killed on Christmas Eve

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Following the death of a popular cyclist on Christmas Eve, advocates for walking and bike riding are urging the city council to take action to eliminate all traffic deaths in the next 10 years.

A car struck and killed Pablo Sanders on Christmas Eve as he was riding his bike along Southwest Trafficway. Sanders was a popular cycling activist, and hundreds of people attended a memorial for him on New Year's Day.

Now, those supporters are following up at a city council committee meeting, calling for more road diets, slower traffic speeds and other infrastructure improvements to support diverse modes of transportation.

"There have been a number of people in the cycling community who have been asking for things to get done for some time, and it just seems that, unfortunately, this is what is finally motivating people to start taking action here at city hall," Michael Kelley, policy manager for the advocacy group BikeWalkKC, said.

Dozens of cities are already part of a Vision Zero network, which seeks to eliminate all traffic deaths by making city streets more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

The city's transportation infrastructure and operations committee did not vote on the Vision Zero plan, saying the issue will be considered by a joint council committee. The proposal calls for a Vision Zero task force that would create an action plan by September.

Advocates also are pushing to spend more than $400 million to fully implement a bicycle master plan for the city, which some have said is far too expensive.

At least 14 cyclists and pedestrians were killed last year on the streets of Kansas City.

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