2007: The Year in Cycling

2007 was a huge year for bicycling in the Kansas City metro area. Here are some of the highlights…

Tour of Missouri
The largest sporting even in the history of Missouri kicked off here in KC on the Country Club Plaza. It was a huge success. The KC stage is rumored to have attracted the most spectators and economic impact, even more than the finish in St. Louis.

Cyclocross National Championships
The cycling world’s focus returned the region in December when KCK hosted the Cyclocross National Championships.

Commuting

  • A national ranking placed KC dead last for bike commuting among major American cities, yet all signs indicate the situation is rapidly changing.
  • Bike to Work Week had another record year. Almost 400 people road nearly 20,000 miles, keeping 18,000 pounds on carbon dioxide out of the air and $3000 in the pockets of local commuters.
  • New bike racks were installed in Downtown KCMO on 12th Street and at the Sprint Center.
  • North Kansas City began planning to install bike racks along Armour Road in its business district.
  • The Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation started a monthy Commuter Mocktail hour with free snacks and bike repairs.

Bike Culture

  • An urban cycling culture continues to blossom in the Downtown/Midtown corridor where it is becoming obvious that all of the cool kids are riding.
  • Critical Mass is setting new records, pushing 100 riders
  • Alleycat races in the urban core keep multiplying and becoming more popular

Safety

  • Fatalities and injuries remain hight, but efforts have been stepped up to make the city safer.
  • The Share the Road Safety Task Force was formed with representatives of law enforcement, transportation departments, city officials, and advocates. It’s first enforcement operation demonstrated to all road users that you can get a ticket for disobeying traffic laws.
  • The motorist who almost killed 13 year-od Juan Portillo pled guilty and will do jail time.
  • Manslaughter charges were filed in the Gaunt and Chris Cooper killings, and trials are expected later in 2008.
  • The Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation starting distributing lights to cyclists in the urban core who might not be able to afford them.

Mountain Biking

  • The Missouri General Assembly passed a new law to ease construction of trails in Missouri parks and conservation lands.
  • Work began on a new trail system in Swope Park, finally brining mountain biking into the very heart of the city.

Advocacy

  • KanBikeWalk was formed as the first state-wide group lobbying for the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians in Topeka.
  • The nationally-syndicated Perils for Pedestrians program filmed an episode in the KC area.
  • Bicyclists and pedestrians came together to help elect a bike/ped-friendly KCMO City Council, which resulted in the metro’s first political ad featuring bicyclists.
  • After much advocacy, MoDOT consented to allow a bike/ped lane on the new Paseo Bridge, as soon as local governments find the money to pay for it.
  • Local advocacy convinced the KCMO City Manger to hire the city’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.
  • A multi-year campaign by the Missouri Bicycle Federation resulted in an agreement for extending the Katy Trail State Park into the Kansas City suburbs.
  • Advocates from across Missouri descended on Jefferson City to meet with legislators.
  • Coverage of bicycling issues increased in the local news media.

Planning

  • KCMO, Lee’s Summit, Grain Valley, and Blue Springs all worked to plan and/or expand comprehensive, city-wide trails networks.
  • Overland Park began planning on-street facilities to compliment its excellent off-street trail system.
  • Olathe created a ground-breaking bicycle transportation plan to integrate both on-street routes and off-street trails.

Things to watch for in 2008

  • Funding bike/ped lanes for the Heart of America and Paseo bridges
  • On-street bike routes in KCMO, plus more bike parking and the replacement of hazardous storm drains.
  • A new planning and zoning code in KCMO that will make the city more friendly for bicycles, pedestrians, and transit.
  • The Missouri Bicycle Federation will propose new laws for Complete Streets and stiffer penalties for motorists who kill or injure bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • The Tour of Missouri will return for a second year.
  • KanBikeWalk will ramp up its efforts to lobby for the rights of Kansas bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Advocates will continue pushing for bicycle accommodations on road projects like Missouri Routes 45 and 150, Lee’s Summit Road, and 127th Street in Olathe.
  • Construction should begin on a new trail along the north bank of the Missouri River in Platte County.
  • The Riverfront Heritage will near completion with the construction of critical links in the West Bottoms, Kaw Point, and under the A.S.B. Bridge.
  • Planning will get underway for the Katy Trail State Park extension to Kansas City.

This entry was posted in Advocacy, Bridges, Commuting, Crashes, life, Mountain biking, News, planning, Politics, Racing, suburbs, trails and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 2007: The Year in Cycling

  1. Corinna says:

    We have a lot more than 100 at Critical Mass. More like 150 when it’s nice out. I know one month Shawn made over a 100 spoke cards and many people were still asking for them after they were all given out.

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