Pedestrian and Bicycling Improvements

This opportunity is part of two Catalyst Projects:
Catalyst Projects > Green Infrastructure > Pedestrian and Bicycling Improvements
Catalyst Projects > Marlborough Village Commercial Revitalization > Pedestrian and Bicycling Improvements


One of the highest priorities of Marlborough residents is connectivity – both physical and social connectivity. Having a safe and hospitable environment in which to walk and gather with neighbors in the public realm is crucial to achieving this priority and one way to think of this opportunity is the creation of Complete Streets, or a set of strategies that make streets and sidewalks safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.

Many who live in Marlborough neighborhoods rely on public transportation to get to their jobs, doctors, schools, food, and social networks. Every trip on public transportation begins and ends with a walk or a bike ride. Marlborough supports the pedestrian districts delineated in the Swope Area Plan along the Troost Corridor, the Prospect Corridor, the Trolley Track Trail Corridor and the Marlborough Village Commercial node on Paseo.

Marlborough residents and businesses would also find value in sidewalk and bike improvements for continuous and safe connectivity on 75th Street, 85th Street, Hickman Mills, and more extensively along Paseo Boulevard to get to the Community Center, Center Schools, Marlborough School, parks, and their major bus routes. (Prospect, Troost, and 75th are not currently on the Bike KC Plan.) Neighborhood Connectors, as designated in the Trails KC Plan, should be added at three key locations: 1) between Trolley Track Trail and Marlborough Park; 2) Marlborough Park to Arleta Park; and 3) Arleta Park to Blenheim Park for a trail system that connects these five neighborhood to the Citywide resource of Trolley Track Trail and their local public parks to support active transportation and recreation options. The Parks department has also expressed some interest in beginning an inter-Community Center trail network that would begin by connecting Marlborough and Southeast Community Centers.

A specific priority of Marlborough residents is to make safer environments for children to get to school. Coordinating a volunteer crossing guard program and installing flashing signs would be beneficial programs to consider in addition to continuous sidewalks, traffic calming strategies, narrowed crossing areas at corners, and a planted buffer zone between the sidewalk and street. Another local program that increases the safety of children walking and biking to school is KC Healthy Kids Safer Routes.

The south side and east sides of Marlborough have the most need for sidewalks in the five Marlborough neighborhoods, and Council District 5 has been previously identified as the district in KCMO with the most need for sidewalk improvements. The current Prospect MAX planning study as well as the Streetcar study will identify the most travelled paths to bus routes. Using this information to pinpoint specific connections from the neighborhoods to the major roads is important for creating a compelling funding request for sidewalk improvement projects and bike lanes or sharrow designations. Through partnering with Blue Hills Community Services on their improvement district planning, wider community benefits may also be leveraged to accomplish pedestrian and bike improvements along Prospect.

As the Water Services green infrastructure projects are carried out, “piggybacking” pedestrian improvements on these public projects is a good way to make major improvements in a community. Work closely with the Water Services Department to clearly understand what can be in their budget and what cannot. Coordinate with other City Departments and funding sources to pave the way for sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian ramps, landscaping, lighting, and other amenities to be included in road projects, utility projects, and private construction in public rights-of-way (i.e. high-speed fiber optics). Digging a hole once for a coordinated group of projects saves everyone time and money.

High walking demand  is also correlated to the mix of land uses, in other words, the more there is to do in an area, the more people walk. In the development of new hubs of commercial activity such as Marlborough Village, as well as the future projects on Prospect and 85th Street, new opportunities for shops, restaurants, gardens, and programmed activities will increase the draw of residents and visitors and it is important to make sure that the path to get there is clear and safe. This transformed streetscape should require vehicular traffic to travel at slower speeds. It should also be environmentally responsive through providing street trees and native plantings to clean the air and stormwater runoff from the street as well as provide a buffer between the sidewalk and street. The Walkability Plan states:

Special attention to continuity should be given to pedestrian districts, mixed use centers and neighborhood centers to assure the sidewalks system is well integrated to the users’ front doors. This might include changes to the subdivision and development plans to move the users to the front of the parcel where pedestrian and transit is accessible to the users rather than requiring the pedestrian to walk across a vast parking lot.

As the Dodson Industrial Association and the Marlborough Community Coalition begin a new path of collaboration, all organizations will discover mutual benefits in leveraging their collective capacity and voice to address local infrastructure issues including water supply, stormwater management including the flood levee, and 85th Street improvements continuing west. 

Additional information to implement this opportunity below:


Implementation pathway:

  1. Board to request a committee to complete the Neighborhood Walking Survey from the KC Walkability Plan (talk with Curtis Calkins about the walkability audit)
  2. Participate in Prospect MAX and Streetcar planning studies to advocate for projects in Marlborough to extend to 85th and to garner information on the most highly trafficked paths from neighborhoods to transit routes.
  3. Review capital improvement plans for confluence.
  4. Look for piggyback options with Water Services green infrastructure projects – Upcoming phases of the green infrastructure project envision constructing larger stormwater management facilities such as ponds and wetlands in open public spaces such as parks, boulevard medians, and vacant lots.  Construction at these sites will provide opportunities to construct walking and bike paths alongside those facilities as the sites are restored.
  5. Select strategic improvements and professionally estimate cost.
  6. Reach out to partners for collaborative ventures and apply for funding together.


Partner organizations:

Kansas City Walkability Plan

Bike KC plan

Trails KC plan

Kansas City Water Services Department Overflow Control Program for green infrastructure

KC Economic Development Corporation, Urban Renewal

Area Urban Renewal Areas – Prospect Corridor and Fairyland

KC Healthy Kids – safer routes to schools

LINC provides high quality after school programs for KCMO, Center and Charter schools in the metro area.

Walkable Communities – rules of thumb, resources and imagery

MARC, Smartmoves and Metrogreen Action Plan


Revolve KC, Theresa VanAckeren

816 Collective, Idris Raoufi

Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation

KC Metro Bike Club

Share the Road Safety Taskforce

Dodson Industrial Association

Funding sources or supportive programs:

Walking Info, Government Funding Sources list

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse, Financing and Funding for Trails (for bicycling and walking facilities)

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Pedestrian-Oriented Overlay supportive zoning program to preserve and enhance the character of pedestrian oriented streets

Pedestrian Improvements – Capital Improvement Plan

  • Curbs and Sidewalks – Revolving Public Improvement (RPI) Fund
  • Supplemental RPI
  • Citywide Sidewalks – Non Assessable
  • ADA Curb Cuts and Emergency Corner Replacements
  • City Owned Sidewalks and Curbs
  • Boulevard Curbs and Sidewalks
  • Trail Maintenance

Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) is 13 people whose purpose is to advise the City Council on public improvement needs.  Their input is used to recommend projects for funding by a 1 cent sales tax dedicated to public improvements.   If a business, organization or neighborhood has a need for capital improvements (sidewalks, water and sewers, road improvements, storm water runoff, etc.); they are encouraged to submit a project request form. The deadline in 2013 was August 31, 2013. Hearings are held in advance by district, so that the Committee and Council can hear directly from citizens about public improvement needs. In District 5 these hearings happened in mid-July 2013.

Center School Board


Article about school board involvement in funding sidewalk improvements.

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