KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A developer in the River Market wants the city to get rid of an abandoned railroad track that many drivers consider dangerous.
Brian Benjamin, a project manager with NorthPoint Development, launched an online petition calling on the city to remove the old, worn-out tracks on 5th Street, near Broadway.
The developer is currently in the second phase of building RM West Apartments, a portion of which sits directly in front of tracks.
“In discussions with the city, we’ve recommended that they cut out the entire section, pour it back with asphalt,” Benjamin said. “It’s been a problem for a long time, and it needs to be fixed.”
Benjamin said the city has made patch repairs on the tracks in the past, but they never hold. He’s afraid the loose parts are creating a hazard for drivers.
“With all the traffic through here, [it] just creates a merging issue and a safety issue because vehicles have to slow down to a near stop to avoid damage to their vehicles from passing over the tracks,” he said.
There’s also the concern over the noise associated vehicles crossing the tracks.
“It can sound extremely loud when a commercial truck drives over that thing and kind of shakes it to its core,” Benjamin said.
FOX4 talked with multiple drivers who commute down 5th Street daily. They agreed something needs to be done about the tracks.
“Oh man, they’re horrible,” Austin McClure said. “It’s like I don’t have any shocks or anything. Car just bouncing around. They need to fix them.”
“They need repaired,” Keith Moran added. “They have tried to maintain them. I see every now and again. They put in asphalt and what not, but we shouldn’t do anything until [the apartment complex] is done.”
“It kind of slows everything up here,” Audra Schupback said. “Everybody gets scared, traffic backs up. I’d love for them to go away.”
NorthPoint Development has already made a formal request with the city’s Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC). Their petition on change.org continues to gain traction with more than 200 signatures as of Thursday evening.
“It’s a straight-forward issue, and I think the city will see that when they see the overwhelming support that we’ve received,” Benjamin said. “The city has been very receptive and listening to our concerns [so far].”
The developer has a second hearing with PIAC on September 16. The committee will look at cost estimates and then offer a recommendation to the city council in January.
If approved, Benjamin said removal of the tracks could happen early next summer.