Pedestrians and Your Vision of Downtown Kansas City

I heard Mayor Barnes of Kansas City on the Walt Bodine Show this morning as I drove in to work. She is, of course, stumping for the new Downtown Sprint Arena - which I happened to be the first blogger in Kansas City to blog. I am in favor of it, and will vote for it, but she caught me off guard with her approach to the downtown/urban core of Kansas City.

She wants a city where people walk from the Rivermarket to Crown Center, or from Crown Center down to the Plaza, or any combination of those. I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t think the city’s current transportation infrastructure would support any kind of noticeable pedestrian traffic. Short of a few buildings that are connected by sky-ways and the walkway that connects all of Crown Center, there is no real pedestrian-specific routes through the core of Kansas City. Could you imagine trying to ride a bike down Main, Broadway, or Southwest Trafficway?

So, in an effort to find out where the Mayor stands on this and what she has planned, I emailed her the letter below. I’d like your response as well. What do you think needs to be done for Kansas City to be more pedestrian - or non-motorized vehicle rather - friendly? Or do you think it even matters? Of course, I have my thoughts, but I’ll keep those to myself until I get some feedback.

Email to Mayor BarnesGood Afternoon Ms. Mayor;

While on my way to work this morning I listened to you on the Walt Bodine Show and am very excited to hear your vision of a downtown/urban area where walking and other alternative modes of transportation are not only encouraged but considered part of the norm.

As a cyclist, though, I’m not sure how practical this will be with Kansas City’s current transportation infrastructure. I feel that much of this part of Kansas City is not biker friendly and is geared almost completely toward motorized vehicles. What are your current plans to help insure that the core of Kansas City, all the way from the Rivermarket to the Plaza are more accessible not only to walkers, but cyclists, Segway riders, and other modes of non-vehicular transport that have yet to be thought up?

I am posting this email on my personal weblog,, to encourage other Kansas City residents to consider this issue as well. I do have a comment system on my website that is opened to the public and would encourage you to use that for your response so your thoughts can be shared with other’s in the Kansas City area.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.