KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri’s Vision Zero initiative is trying to eliminate all traffic deaths on city streets. Getting closer to that goal can mean changing what streets look like and how traffic moves on them.

Once Rafael Jones and Kelli Settle get to the Trolly Track Trail, they say it’s great to walk and bike along.

“It’s nice to have a place where you can ride that’s out of harm’s way with the traffic,” Jones said.

But it’s not always so easy for cyclists to get on the trail in the first place. Many roads don’t have dedicated space for cyclists, so Kansas City Public Works Department Public Information Officer Sherae Honeycutt said the city is changing that.

“What’s really interesting about a lot of streets throughout the city and the United States is that they were made really big, and they don’t actually need to be as big as they were made,” Honeycutt said.

One of the first places it’s happening is on Prospect Avenue near East 85th Street, where city data shows a lot of traffic crashes happen. It’s why the city removed a lane of vehicle traffic and replaced it with a two-way cycle track with a buffer zone between cyclists and cars. That track connects with even more lanes to the north and gets cyclists very close to the southern end of the Trolly Track Trail.

“Now, we’re connecting it, we’re making it accessible to a whole new group of people,” Honeycutt said.

Across the city, Honeycutt says residents can expect to see 30 miles of lanes popping up, often connecting existing bike infrastructure like the Gillham Cycle Track through midtown.

It’s especially important because data from the Mid-America Regional Council shows a lot of people on the east side of Kansas City rely on public transit. It also shows many of those communities have larger populations of people of color, which city data suggest are twice as likely to die in a crash on a bike than their white peers.

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