KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Thursday evening, Kansas City, Missouri, officials were focused on hearing feedback about the Trolley Track Trail area from residents living in the Brookside neighborhood.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Discussions were part of the 63rd Street Corridor Plan that was proposed in 2019, but put on hold due to COVID-19.
The trail is used widely by those living in south Kansas City, Waldo, the Country Club Plaza, Brookside and south Plaza neighborhoods.
“People are pretty friendly on the trail,” said Holly McSpadden, who frequents the Trolley Track Trail. “You got the whole parade, little kids, runners built like gods and goddesses, and the rest of us — the trail has been terrific.”
The trail spans nearly seven miles, but those who use it, say it’s not without fault.
“The thing that bothers me the most is crossing over Meyer [Boulevard],” McSpadden said. “Because the trail leads you to Meyer [Boulevard]; the shops, Price Chopper is over there.”
McSpadden says there’s not a safe way over the street, she’s even helped others cross.
“It’s a scary place for me to cross and I can run, I can be seen,” she said.
Travis Levitt, who lives near the trail, also has his concerns.
“Meyer [Boulevard] is very busy, 63rd Street is very busy, there’s a lot of crosswalks, a lot of lights,” Levitt said. “I think there is a lot of confusion for pedestrians and vehicles.”
It’s because of those issues that the Kansas City Public Works Department wants to improve the Brookside area.
“Crossing 63rd is a safety issue and we need to make sure people are safe when they cross,” said Michael Shaw, director of the KCMO Public Works Department.
In a public feedback meeting Thursday night, KCMO and TREKK laid out options for improving the area.
This includes adding a crosswalk and an extension of the Trolley Track Trail behind the Brookside shops, along the tennis courts.
The city says the point of the project is to add connectivity so that people can cross the street, use the trail and enhance Brookside Court Park.
However, the changes come with potential decreases in parking, traffic flow changes, removal of at least one tennis court and potentially limiting the lanes near the Brookside shops to one direction.
“When we start talking about adding mobility lanes, it’s adding a path back to a path that was once taken away on 63rd street,” Shaw said. “We want to add that path back and get the community’s response.”
Shaw is focused on connectivity and the safety of the paths.
“There’s some challenges, right?” Shaw said. “There’s parking, tennis courts, so maybe one, or both, or none have to go away to accommodate this change.”
He also said he’s focused on getting the trail back to what it was initially intended to be.
“It used to be a trail first and we took the trail away to add parking,” Shaw said. “I think the value set has changed a little bit and the trail is maybe more important than the parking. We will find out during this community engagement process.”
KSHB 41 watched as drivers circled full parking lots surrounding the Brookside Shops waiting for a parking spot.
Some say when trail users walk through the full parking lot, it adds to its unsafety.
“To make it safe for the kids on bikes, for the runners, for me, and the little older people who need help,” McSpadden said.
KCMO said, “even though the funding and construction timelines have not been determined, KCMO is confident additional funding will be identified to complete the design in 2024. The earliest construction can begin is 2025.”
Shaw also announced that KCMO City Council approved Phase 2 of the City’s five-year plan which included connectivity from the Trolley Trail Track to the Gillham Cycle Track.