Neighbors walking dogs, joggers and bike traffic are welcome sights along Gladstone Boulevard; signs of a safe and livable neighborhood. A scene BikeWalkKC is striving to duplicate throughout the city via its Complete KC campaign and Complete Streets Ordinance. So it’s natural that the city has proposed a dedicated bike lane along the south side of Lexington Ave and Gladstone from Paseo to Indian Mound, apparently, with support of the Pendleton Heights and Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Associations dating back to 2016. Although this would effectively eliminate legal street parking along its entire path, I suppose it’s a small sacrifice for a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhood.
Curious though, that the KC Museum has been silent on the proposal as just recently they expressed a need for visitor parking when it reopens in 2019. Parks and Rec, who manages both the property and Boulevard, agreed with concerned neighbors this summer that building a large, above-ground parking structure at Scarritt Point would negatively impact the historic significance of Kessler Park, placed on the National Register in 2016. Mark McHenry, Director of Parks and Rec, was very kind to have meet with neighbors in August to address their concerns over various alternative Museum parking proposals presented to the community in July. Both parties were generally agreeable that any modifications to the currently available street parking within the Historic District should be done with great forethought and appropriate timing to match the demonstrated needs of the Museum.
Perhaps though, they realize that any opposition to something as benign and reasonable as a bicycle friendly street could be meet with great discord from neighborhoods and organizations such as BikeWalkKC. Heck, it’s an issue that could pit neighbor-against-neighbor, which any citizen would probably seek to avoid to include an organization with a reputation for being transparent and inclusive of the community. Then again, perhaps neighbors who embrace the Museum’s rebirth and its potential to further revive the Historic District might advocate to preserve both the ample street parking and historic Kessler Park for future Museum visitors to enjoy. After all, a very scenic and well-established bicycle friendly thoroughfare already exists on Cliff Drive which would seamlessly connect to the already planned bike lanes along Paseo Boulevard or perhaps down St. John connecting bicycle travelers to Budd Park and businesses adjacent. One never knows, I suppose.