KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, city officials have a new vehicle in their garage heading into the fall and winter that will help keep protected bike lanes and other places clean.
The mini street sweeper just arrived in Kansas City at the end of September after taking about 18 months to show up, according to City Manager Brian Platt.
It’s part of the city’s commitment to expanding bike infrastructure while making sure it’s safe to use.
“It’s that much more important to make sure that we’re clearing these, keeping them clear of sediment, dirt, nuts, anything that you could trip over,” Platt said. “[It’s] much easier [to have issues with that debris] on a bike than a car.”
It makes a big difference to cyclists like Nick Ward-Bopp, who rides 90-100 miles a week between bringing his kids to school a few blocks away in his Hyde Park neighborhood and then commuting 30 miles, roundtrip, to Shawnee Mission Park in Johnson County, Kansas.
Much of that ride is on KCMO’s bike infrastructure like the Gilham Cycle track.
“I think it’s awesome,” Ward-Bopp said, referring to the mini sweeper. “It’s a huge step in the right direction, providing protected infrastructure for pedestrians. Once you build that infrastructure, it’s really important to maintain it.”
The $150,000 vehicle will eventually be joined by a similar one that costs nearly twice as much because of how it runs.
“We’ve got another, fully electric, zero emissions mini sweeper on the way that’s going to be another few months after this,” Platt said.
Ward-Bopp likes the new city acquisition, and it helps keep his path clear and makes it easier for more people to commit to cycling.
“It just connects assets, local assets, whether it’s grocery stores, universities, parks. It connects people,” Ward-Bopp said.