KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s peaceful on West 133rd Street and Inverness Drive in south Kansas City. There are few cars to interrupt your stroll.
There’s a reason for the tranquility, which hasn’t always existed, and it’s one that makes many drivers upset.
In November, the Newcastle neighborhood asked the city for permission to put up a barricade on West 133rd Street, blocking a popular cut through from their neighborhood to a booming retail center on West 132nd Street.
Newcastle neighbors told FOX4 Problem Solvers that before the barricade was in place, there was so much traffic it was difficult to even cross the street. But now, drivers who have relied on that cut through for more than 15 years are frustrated.
“I certainly understand their desire, but I just think it’s a public street,” one woman said.
It’s a debate that’s captured the attention of the local newspaper, The Martin City Telegraph, which has written multiple articles. It has also pitted neighborhood against neighborhood.
Debbie Boles, who lives outside the Newcastle neighborhood, said she’s frustrated that the city ever allowed the street to be closed.
“If you have a problem with speeding, littering, you call the police and give them the opportunity to take care of it,” Boles said. “That has been totally bypassed here, and I don’t know what’s going on with our council members to totally bypass this.”
Kansas City spokeswoman Maggie Green said the city is in the process of reviewing the temporary closure, but it could become permanent as early as June 15.
“I received well over 200 phone calls and emails from folks both in support and not in support of the closure,” Green said.
Among the complaints is that the closure has created more problems in other areas by forcing traffic onto surrounding streets. Plus, one driver said it’s caused a growing number of drivers to try to access other roads by driving through parking lots at unsafe speeds.
On June 15, Green said the Newcastle neighborhood will have a petition completed, asking the city to make the closure permanent. If 100% of the neighborhood agrees, the road will be permanently closed.