Kansas City Residents to Missouri DOT: Enough With the Highways Already

Usually when we hear news from a Streetsblog Network member about the Missouri Department of Transportation, it’s because the agency is blocking ideas like a complete streets bill or a highway-to-boulevard conversion in downtown St. Louis. The advocates at BikeWalkKC report that now the agency is feeling some grassroots resistance to its cars-first approach:

The Missouri Department of Transportation’s listening tour stopped in KC for three nights recently, and KC area residents were very clear in their preferences for the future of the state’s transportation system. MoDOT was seeking input on how spend a possible new state-wide transportation sales tax. Citizens at all three KC sessions said loud and clear that MoDOT should use any new funding to improve transportation choices for Missourians.

Audiences expressed strong support for increasing state funding public transit, passenger rail, bicycling, and walking. And it wasn’t just a desire for more choices. There was also a significant discussion about limiting highway construction. MoDOT often talks about how they have one of the largest state highway systems in the country, and participants wisely started questioning the need for new or expanded highways. More than one person used the phrase “no new lane miles.”

It was very encouraging to hear such a strong public consensus that it was time for Missouri slow down highway building and start making meaningful investments in transit, rail, walking, and biking. Later this year MoDOT will released its list of projects that would be funded by a new sales tax, and we will see if they really listened.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Wonder why state DOTs have such a windshield perspective? Maybe part of the reason is that it’s hard to get to most state DOT headquarters unless you drive, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign reports. James Rowen at the Political Environment says Wisconsin’s dismal job creation record under Governor Scott Walker is no surprise given his rejection of federal rail construction funding. And Tucson Velo tracks the arrival of some new bike corrals.