If anything came from last week’s Independence Plaza Neighborhood Council meeting in which residents discussed the proposed bike lanes slated for Independence Avenue, it was two things.
First, residents rejected the proposal almost unanimously and second, the City’s outreach efforts are abysmal given 95 percent of those residents in attendance knew nothing of the project.
Also interesting was the fact that nobody from the city’s Public Works Department or BikeWalkKC, the non-profit group advocating for the changes, showed up for the meeting.
Also notably absent was any official “sketch” or rendering of how this project would look in its completed state.
In its place was a hard copy memo from BikeWalkKC Policy Manager Michael Kelly stating that the Independence Avenue project calls for what’s termed as “major separation between cars and bikes on Independence Avenue.”
For the record, major separation is exactly what the BikeWalk zealots did to Armour Boulevard between Gillham Plaza and Broadway Boulevard that makes driving that stretch of Armour like playing whack-a-mole and you’re the mole.
If you get across safely, you win the prize of living to drive another day.
One interesting guest in attendance was a woman named Tiffany, from a “rich white neighborhood” down off 75th Street who occupied roughly fifteen minutes of talk-time lecturing the attendees about city policy, processes, and the numerous city commissions she sits on that makes her a so-called authority on city planning and such.
When asked what document was driving the plan for Independence Avenue, Tiffany, skilled in city-speak psycho-babble non-answers, gave exactly that: a non answer about the avenue bike lane specifically.
Fortunately, three Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood residents were in attendance to set Tiffany straight on a number of so-called process points advanced by Tiffany, including notification of residents of projected traffic changes and the logistics thereof.
The Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood, for the record, was instrumental in getting the planned bike lanes halted for a section of Gladstone Boulevard and Lexington Avenue that would run through the Scarritt neighborhood boundaries.
Tiffany also let slip that while GO Bond funds aren’t being used for any new street or bike lane construction, the GO Bond funds could be leveraged to add amenities such as striping for bike lanes during an existing street upgrade.
It should be noted that a section of Independence Avenue is slated for re-paving during this fiscal year.
Also in play are 3rd Council District PIAC funds, part of which could be directed at the behest of BikeWalkKC for bike lane projects citywide despite the overwhelming neighborhood opposition for the project.
This Dog has long documented the city’s lack of concern for citizen input on a variety of projects, often throwing out area plans in favor of a big developer with deep pockets, the Plaza-Midtown area plan specifically, in which a row of Historic Nelle Peters designed low-density apartment buildings were razed in favor of some chrome and glass, multi-story monstrosity with zero architectural appeal.
Now is the time, with a new mayor and council in place, for neighborhoods to push back on projects such as the ridiculous proposal to neck down Independence Avenue to one traffic lane in each direction so that the spandex wearing bicycle zealots can continue to clog traffic.
This critically-thinking motorized dog would like to offer an expertly worded quote from one of the neighbors in attendance last Thursday evening.
“The desires of the few don’t outweigh the disruptions to the many.”