Plans for River Market, Berkley Riverfront Park pedestrian bridge hit small delay

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The long-awaited connection between the city’s River Market and Berkley Riverfront Park is seeing a small delay.

City leaders are exploring options to share the costs to build a bridge meant for pedestrians and bikes.

The current bridge, which overlooks the viaduct at Grand Boulevard, connects the two areas, but it’s meant for cars and trucks. There’s no space outside the bridge’s two lanes for bikers or hikers.

Maggie Green, a spokesperson for Kansas City’s Department of Public Works, shared renderings of plans for a standalone bridge the city intends to build alongside the viaduct, which would offer space for walkers and bicyclists.

Green said this project would cost $5.25 million, and city leaders are now looking for partners to share expenses with. The city council has approved $1.7 million toward the project while it seeks assistance from neighboring partners.

“In the Public Works Department, we’re committed to find a way to make that bike and pedestrian access to the riverfront, which is why we’re still looking at funding options and different things,” Green said Friday.

Once riders and pedestrians arrive on the market side, excited business operators inside the River Market await them. 

“We’re very much dependent on local traffic,” said Bryan Merker, owner at Le Chronic Cafe. “And with how COVID has affected businesses, especially small businesses, anything that can help business is a positive thing.”

“We’re a market, and we would love to get more folks that are cooking down here, and there are tons of apartments down there. All those folks need to cook, and we would love to have them in,” said Alex Pope, operations manager at Local Pig.

Green said construction could begin as early as the close of 2021. The pedestrian and bike bridge falls into line with the city’s ongoing “Complete Streets” program. A separate bridge is also in the works to provide streetcar access to the riverfront park.

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