By Paul Thompson
Right of way and utility relocation at the Independence Ave. and Paseo intersection is expected to begin in 2018, and construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019, according to KCMO Parks and Rec Project Manager James Wang.
To update the public on progress, a Paseo Gateway public meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 11, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Kansas City University’s Butterworth Alumni Center (1750 Independence Ave.). At the meeting, Parks and Recreation staff will present design plans for the intersection. The public meeting follows a February 3, 2016 meeting in which the Paseo Gateway intersection team presented a handful of potential design concepts to attendees.
“Last time we presented five options to improve that intersection,” said James Wang, KCMO Parks and Recreation project manager. “This time we have a preferred option, so we’re going to present a design to the public.”
The goal of the Paseo Gateway intersection renovation is to reduce accidents at Independence Ave. and The Paseo while providing a safer transit route for all forms of transportation – from cars to bicycles to pedestrians. The work is also expected to improve access to public transportation.
At the October 11 meeting, staff will also ask the public to provide ideas for the design of the Paseo Gateway monument feature.
“One of the major purposes of this meeting is to get some input from the public before we dig in to the Gateway design,” said Wang.
Jay Burress, a Paseo Gateway project manager for consultant Shafer, Kline & Warren, Inc., added that the hope is to build a monument that is eye-catching without having to break the bank.
“It’s kind of safe to say that we’re kind of looking at an iconic landmark,” Burress said. “We want something that people will say, over time, ‘Oh, that’s Paseo and Independence!’ It’s a crossroads to the river valley and the Kit Bond Bridge.”
The planned transportation improvements at the intersection are expected to serve as a catalyst for the Paseo Gateway Transformation Plan, which was completed in 2013. In 2015, Kansas City and local partners received a $30 million Choice Neighborhood Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to implement the Transformation Plan in and around the Historic Northeast. The goal is to creatively harness and redirect downtown revitalization—while simultaneously improving the lives of public housing residents.