As trails expand, Kansas City acts to make them safer

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As trails become more popular around the metro area, planners also are taking steps to make them safer.

Kansas City opened a bridge Thursday connecting two popular trails: Indian Creek and Blue River.

About a half mile of the new trail eventually will link to the Trolley Track trail, providing an important connection where you could go from the Country Club Plaza all the way to Minor Park or out to Olathe.

Every two-tenths of a mile along the secluded route, posts have been installed with GPS locations, so if a jogger or cyclist has to call 911 in an emergency, police can find them right away.

That gives some piece of mind to trail users, especially after recent incidents along Indian Creek where someone was stabbed.

“After dark the trails should be closed,” said Jerry Hartenbower, a Kansas City cyclist. “I’ve seen the parks department or police monitor the trails after dark, as far as safety.”

With the bridges, trails can cost up to $1-million a mile, but Kansas City has been aggressive in securing federal grants, which pay for 60 percent of that cost.

The new bridge is 330 feet long, one of the largest pedestrian crossings in the area and connects about 8 miles of trails in on the Missouri side to 20 miles of trails in Kansas.

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