The corner of Missouri & Troost in Columbus Park had been known for motorists who frequently sped and ignored stop signs. It raised concerns from neighbors about traffic safety in their neighborhood.

“I’ve had a front row seat to how much of a speedway this street used to be,” Erin Royals, a resident of Columbus Park, said.

Now the corner has narrower roadways, crosswalks, and high-visibility stop signs to grab drivers’ attention. The changes were put in place by city workers and engineers as a part of Kansas City’s Vision Zero Plan.

According to data in the plan, 89% of the city’s highest-risk roads are in low-income areas and African-Americans make up the largest group to be killed in traffic crashes, accounting for 46% of all deaths, with Black Kansas City road users twice as likely to be killed as White users.

Residents in Columbus Park say they can already see a difference in the behavior of motorists in their neighborhood.

“The flashing stop signs are really a game-changer. They can’t zoom down here anymore because there’s something physically making them stop,” Royals said.

The project in Columbus Park is one of 50 Vision Zero projects happening across the city aimed at making roads safer for walkers, cyclists, and drivers with the ultimate goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. 

The Vision Zero resolution was created in 2020 after a study conducted by the city showed a 37% increase in traffic fatalities and serious injuries between 2010 and 2020. Since then, city planners and engineers have targeted areas with high concentrations of serious accidents or fatalities, many of which are in disadvantaged areas. 
Residents, city officials, and advocates are calling for traffic diets, such as removing unnecessary vehicle lanes to calm traffic and slow drivers. An increase in speeding countermeasures is also being implemented by installing more speed limit signs, installing speed safety cameras, and speed humps along roads.

The city does have plans to highlight the safety need in those disadvantaged areas with projects at Van Brunt & Independence (3rd & 4th District), 31st & Prospect (3rd District), 31st & Troost (3rd District ), 63rd & Prospect (5th District), 82nd Terrace & Troost (5th District), 30th & Myrtle (3rd District), Missouri & Troost (4th District).

“The project here at Troost and Missouri is going to be one such example of how, through design, we’re making our community safer; we’re encouraging walking, biking activities and so many more; and making sure that every community truly is a part,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

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Jacob Martin

Jacob Martin covered news that focuses on housing and equality issues in Kansas City. Prior to joining our team, he worked as a general assignments reporter with KCUR in Kansas City. A Louisville, Kentucky...