Advantages of On-street Bicycling and the Bike KC Proposal
Dr. Brent Hugh
Department of Music
Missouri Western State College

An open letter to members of the Kansas City Council considering the Bike KC proposal, July 2002.

This document was created with the Writer. Automatic conversion to HTML format does not always create beautiful formatting--sorry!

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City Council Members,

I am very pleased that the Bike KC proposal has come before the full city council. I hope you will support Bike KC.

I live in the in Kansas City area, am a Kansas City taxpayer, and have bicycled thousands of miles on area roads (probably over 50% of them on KCMO roads) over the past few years. Over the same period of time, I have also driven many (more!) thousands of miles on Kansas City streets in my several motor vehicles, and so I believe I can see the issues of Bike KC from the perspective of both a bicyclist and a motor vehicle operator.

Here are some benefits of the Bike KC proposal as I see them:

Let me expand a little on the last point:

I have been riding my bike for many local errands over the past years and have found that the KC area is actually surprisingly friendly for transportational and utility bicycling. Perhaps 90-95% of our roads are ALREADY bicycle-friendly. Quiet neighborhood streets are very conducive to bicycling, and when I am out riding in Spring-Summer-Fall I see dozens of riders out using them.

(Drivers often remark, "Where are the bicyclists? I never see any! Why should we waste money on bicycle facilities when there aren't any bicyclists?" The simple reason drivers don't see bicyclists is that most bicyclists drive where most automobiles don't.)

With many local bicycle-friendly streets, bicyclists have little trouble getting around their own neighborhoods, but have a good deal of trouble getting from, say, Waldo to Downtown (about 6 or 8 miles; a nice 30- or 40-minute ride) or from Bannister Mall to Indian Village (3 miles; 15 minutes) simply because the roads linking one neighborhood to another are often unfriendly to bicycles.

The Bike KC proposal will help "bridge the gap" for bicyclists, creating viable bicycle routes through between areas where the only through route currently has heavy, fast-moving traffic and narrow lanes. This is the point behind Bike KC's several east-west and north-south bicycle corridors.

In summary: Bicycling is a safe and viable transportation alternative in the Kansas City area. I urge you to help plan well for Kansas City's future by supporting the Bike KC proposal.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Brent Hugh
Assistant Professor, Missouri Western State College
KC area driver, bicyclist, taxpayer, and voter
(816) 356-1740

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