KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s been recent chatter of making a pedestrian plaza on the Country Club Plaza.
Over the weekend, Mayor Quinton Lucas touched on the idea to shut down a stretch of street so people can roam from store to store across the road. The change would go beyond festivals and events.
“In terms of next steps, certainly would be something working with the owners to do it,” Lucas said. “In terms of government and being able to do so, we can get it done in a second.”
Lucas said he’d like to see Nichols Road on the Plaza pedestrianized, meaning cars would not be allowed, but foot traffic is welcome.
After attending the Plaza Art Fair with thousands of other people over the weekend, Lucas tweeted in part:
“Is there any reason we shouldn’t pedestrianize Nichols Road through the Plaza, at least during warm weather months. It works so well… not just at festival time.”
On Monday, Lucas added that he thinks the change could make an impression.
“Imagine that every weekend, imagine that every day on the Plaza. That’s the sort of activities you have in big cities, in major and growing cities,” Lucas told FOX4 Monday.
“While in Kansas City, it’s great to have a World Cup and everything else, we need to make sure that each and every day we’re giving world class opportunities for people, and I think making us look more like a city of the world with this pedestrianization of one street could make a difference.”
He said they’ve had several conversations with the Plaza owners about how they’re filling up store fronts, and the next step is making streets more walkable.
“We could still have north-south transit going through on streets like Pennsylvania and Broadway and beyond,” Lucas said. “So really all we’re looking at is pedestrianizing an area that is in some ways almost asking and built for.”
FOX4 reached out to the Plaza spokesperson. They declined to comment.
Some people FOX4 spoke to think it’s a great idea but still have questions.
“I think that would be really cool,” Lexie Deshon said.
“I like it a lot, not have to worry about cars, especially during Christmas or a nice fall day,” Janice Ivy said. “I have parking concerns. Where would you make ample parking where it wouldn’t be a closer to park?”
“I think it could be cool, but I would have to see how it would affect the businesses,” Annie Olaughlin said.
Others think a pedestrian park on the plaza should only be the case for fairs, festivals and events.
“I think that’s the reason for the Plaza is to pull right up to Lululemon and come right back to your car, versus having to park far or go to a parking lot or something,” Kieonne Arrington said. “So no, I don’t think that would be a good idea permanently.”
Lucas sees the story of the Plaza’s future not as a shopping mall, but a regional tourist attraction and key destination.
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