Bike Walk KC urges city to make infrastructure repairs - KCTV5

Bike Walk KC urges city to make infrastructure repairs

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The advocacy group “Bike Walk KC” officially launched a petition this week urging the city to use a general obligation bond worth $800,000 to make infrastructure repairs across the city.  (KCTV5) The advocacy group “Bike Walk KC” officially launched a petition this week urging the city to use a general obligation bond worth $800,000 to make infrastructure repairs across the city. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The advocacy group “Bike Walk KC” officially launched a petition this week urging the city to use a general obligation bond worth $800,000 to make infrastructure repairs across the city.

The group hopes that this will improve sidewalks that are crumbling and create a more livable environment with means of easier transportation. The estimated cost of repairs needed across the city is anywhere between $1 billion and $2 billion.

The group said the cost has become so backlogged due to the current sidewalk policy in place.

“We have decades of sidewalks crumbling because of that bad sidewalk policy,” said Bike Walk KC policy director Eric Bunch.

For most of Kansas City's history, the responsibility of fixing sidewalks has fallen on the home or property owner. The price to fix the sidewalk is the same whether you live in a $30,000 home or a $1 million home.

“Neighbors are afraid to turn in their own sidewalks cause they know they end up getting dinged with the bill,” Bunch said.

That leaves many sidewalks in bad shape because people who can’t afford to make ends meet do not place priority on fixing the walk. But soon, voters might have the chance to put the responsibility on the city.

City manager Troy Schulte introduced the obligation bond that would be used to fix six categories over 20 years. They include:

  • Sidewalks
  • Streets
  • Bridges
  • Flood Control
  • Public Buildings
  • Parks

The bond must be approved by the city council to be placed on the April ballot. IT must also be approved by a 57-percent majority of the public vote.

The group fears some people and city council members may prefer to use the money to build new roads and infrastructure. Schulte has said his goal would be to fix what’s broken and not build anything new. The group agrees that is the best solution.

“The really interesting thing about this proposal is it would change the way the city does business,” City communications director Chris Hernandez explained.

Hernandez said families who cannot put food on the table are unable to fix the billion-dollar problem and the city may have to step in to make it happen.

“We believe it should be more equal. The quality of your sidewalk should not be based on where you live in tow or the value of your property. We want it to be equal for everyone," Hernandez  said.

Bunch said fewer than 25-percent of people are satisfied with the city’s sidewalks and something needs to be done.

“It’s about walking their dog, being with kids, walking to school, many areas in the Northland where there aren’t any sidewalks and kids are walking in ditches literally to get to school,” he explained.

The first opportunity for public comment will take place Wednesday. Ballot language would need to be adopted by Jan. 19.

Hernandez said the problem is big enough that even $800,000 will not fix all the infrastructure problems, but it will certainly be a start.

“Oh it’s huge. I mean this is a huge infrastructure issue. That’s why we are proposing such a bold program to go in there and fix this over the next few years," he said.

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