On July 13, the City of Kansas City, MO., hosted an open house for community input regarding the Sidewalks Prioritization Plan at the Mattie Rhodes Center’s Northeast location to connect with residents and discuss what sidewalk-related issues matter the most to the surrounding community and what major issues can be addressed by the plan.
Announced in April 2017, a 20-year $600 million bond program was approved to repair streets, bridges and sidewalks. Now, $150 million ($7.5 million per year) will be dedicated to the GO KC Sidewalk program. Another $5 million per year is dedicated to the Sidewalk Program, which includes maintenance, construction and repair. The remaining $2.5 million annually is dedicated to the ADA program to improve accessibility.
“So prior to 2017, the property owners were assessed for the sidewalks and they had to pay for any repairs,” Uday Raghavender, City engineer and organizer of the Sidewalks Prioritization Plan said. “When the bond was passed in 2017, the City took ownership of repairing the sidewalks.”
The goal of the July 13 open house event was to spark community conversation and suggestions, while also collecting survey data that will contribute to where the funds are allocated, allowing the plan to be catered toward community needs.
The plan outcomes and key objectives of the project include the following:
• Understand community priorities for sidewalk construction
• Create a safe and connected sidewalk network throughout the city
• Decided how KCMO will build and rebuild sidewalks
• Connect neighborhoods and improve access to those who need it most.
According to the City overview of the plan, “An improved sidewalk network will also help the City reach ourVision Zero goal of no traffic fatalities or serious injuries in KCMO. This Sidewalk Prioritization Plan will provide a work plan for the City for the next 10 years of sidewalk construction.”
“Since I started working for the City in 2019, everywhere we went, people said ‘Our voice was not heard.’ Raghavender said. “So community engagement public input is one of our major criteria for this.”
Issues brought up in the Open House ranged from providing repaired and equitable sidewalks along Independence Avenue to repairing the wheelchair ramps along the Avenue that are currently health hazards and in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
The event was deemed a success and solidified a form of communication within the community.
“We had about 20 attendees visit the Open House at Mattie Rhodes and leave their feedback through sidewalk goal prioritization, mapping locations, comment cards, and discussion,” said April Snay, City Planner and Engagement Specialist. “We’ll continue to collect feedback and bring it to the project team for it to be incorporated into the prioritization of sidewalk construction over the next 10 years in KCMO.”
Upcoming meetings about the sidewalks issue and further community discussion times are:
July 20 – Guadalupe Center, 1015 Avenida Cesar E Chavez, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
August 9 – Gregg/Klice Community Center, 1600 E 17th Terrace, from 6 – 8 p.m. (tentative)
August 10 – 10401 Hillcrest Road, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. (tentative)
August 17 – Platte County Economic Development, 11724 NW Plaza Cir., from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
August 23/24/25 – KCPD South Patrol, 9701 Marion Park Dr., from 6 – 8 p.m. (tentative)
Those interested in participating in the survey or seeking further information can visit https://kcmosidewalks.com