Kansas City Adopts Vision Zero

The city aims to make its streets more walkable and reduce traffic violence by investing in sidewalks and other safety improvements.

2 minute read

September 28, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Downtown Kansas City Missouri

Stuseeger / Flickr

Last month, Kansas City adopted a Vision Zero plan that pedestrian advocates hope will be a step toward making the city safer and more walkable. According to an article by Mili Mansaray for KCUR, “Residents complain about missing and poorly marked crosswalks and crumbling sidewalks.” The city’s walkability score, as defined by Walkscore.com, sits at 35 out of 100.

“We as a city, like most American cities, rely on design standards and other rules that do not prioritize pedestrians and other vulnerable road users,” said Michael Kelley, the policy director of BikeWalkKC. And, like other cities, Kansas City has seen a sharp rise in pedestrian deaths in the last decade, with communities of color disproportionately affected by traffic violence. “Smart Growth America reports that older adults were also struck and killed at much higher rates than other populations in 2020.”

Now, the city plans to implement more safety improvements and prioritize the communities that need them most through an $900 million infrastructure plan approved by voters in 2017, Go KC. “Through the Go KC bond program, the city will spend $7.5 million on sidewalks every year. Of that, $5.5 million will be used for sidewalks, and $2 million will be used on improvements to make streets safer for people with disabilities, such as curb ramps and colorful sidewalk bumps.”

Advocates are calling on the city to update its 2003 Walkability Plan and devote more resources to prioritizing pedestrians and other non-driving modes on the city’s roads and reconnecting communities cut off from resources by urban renewal projects.

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