Bike progress underway, and get ready for green street paint on Armour Boulevard

A section of the Kansas City bike map.

A section of the Kansas City bike map.

Kansas City has come a long way since a 2006 designation as the nation’s worst city for bicycling.

Deb Ridgway, city bicycling and pedestrian coordinator, reported progress and plans today to the city council transportation and infrastructure committee.

It has gone from six miles of bike lanes to 38 miles, and now has 292 signed bike routes, more than 12 miles of sharrows (shared lanes) and 72 miles of trails.

“The Bike KC and Trails KC plan are no longer a document that just sets on the shelf,” she said.

The city in 2011 earned a bronze rating as a bicycle friendly community from the League of American Bicyclists. It will apply for the higher silver level next year and the goal is to reach the highest platinum level by 2020.

A new bike master plan is to come out within months, Ridgway said, and the city is more than a third on the way to completing its plan for a 600-mile biking system.

There are plans for enhanced sharrows on Armour Boulevard in which the street section for them will be painted green.

Buffered bike lanes are planned for Grand Boulevard.

The city is working on legal changes that will make it far easier for businesses to put in bike racks.

And Ridgway said they are also studying bike corrals used in other cities. Those amount to taking a car parking space here and there and converting it for bike parking.

She said the city now – unlike in the past – looks at new roadway projects from the start in terms of bicycling and pedestrian access.

Councilman Dan Fowler, an avid biker, said, “I personally witnessed the transformation in the last 11 years from being one of the most bike unfriendly cities in the world to being one of the most bike friendly.”

In citizen surveys, 37 percent said they were satisfied with city biking efforts in 2005, compared to 55 percent in fiscal year 2014.

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