Changes in the works for marathon, race notifications

The North Face Endurance Challenge on November 17 started at Theis Park in front of the Nelson–Atkins Museum of Art and took participants up through Midtown to the Northeast and back down to Theis Park. Some Midtowners complained blocked streets prevented them from getting to work or deterred customers from visiting their businesses. The city has taken several steps to address the issues around notification of race routes.

Earlier this month, residents of several Kansas City neighborhoods and businesses complained that they had not been notified about a race that would close city streets on a Saturday morning.

The North Face Endurance Challenge on Nov. 17 included rolling street closures that blocked many Midtown streets. But this race is only one of many that have led to complaints for several years about lack of notification in advance of the races.

According to a Kansas City Parks Department RFP, the city issues permits for between 40 and 60 races a year including two full marathons and five to eight half marathons.

Currently, the process for getting city approval for a race is this: the promoter applies for a permit from the City Department of Public Works. As part of permit approval, the promoter must tell the city how it will notify people who could be affected by street closures. According to Department of Public Works spokesman Sean Demory, North Face fulfilled its obligation by placing 50,000 inserts into the Kansas City Star to notify all property owners along the route.

The requirements for notification, however, may be about to change. An ordinance set to be introduced in early December would shift responsibility for race permits from public works to the parks department.

According to the wording of the ordinance, many races include several parkways or boulevards.“Races contribute to our economic development strategy and should be promoted broadly to bring visitors to our City while the City works in cooperation with existing businesses and neighborhood associations to ensure that the economic impact is magnified by the racing experience,” it says.

The proposed ordinance includes a requirement for a race notification plan for the public and surrounding businesses, which can include signs along the race route, email notification, published notification, or a combination of these.

In addition to the ordinance, the parks department has issued a request for proposals for someone to handle race details such as fees, processing of permits and coordination with city departments. The person hired for this new position would also be responsible for verifying that the public was notified of street closures in advance.

Comments are closed.