Proposed Pedestrian/Bicycle Span to Downtown Riverfront Well-Received

A plan to extend the streetcar to the riverfront using the Grand Boulevard viaduct also includes building a parallel pedestrian/bike bridge. (Image courtesy Confluence)

By Kevin Collison

The latest design for a proposed bicycle/pedestrian bridge to Berkley Riverfront Park was warmly received last week but people will have to chill a little longer to learn how the project could be financed.

Port KC hosted the public meeting on the ped/bike span, part of the larger plan to use the Grand Boulevard viaduct to extend the streetcar route from the River Market to Berkley Riverfront Park and possibly the Isle of Capri casino.

Jon Stephens, president and CEO, estimated about 100 people came to the meeting at his agency’s new offices at The Union apartment development. It was co-sponsored by the KC Streetcar Authority, KC Area Transportation Authority and the city.

“Based on our feedback, running a separate pedestrian lane is a huge piece of the puzzle, not only for the streetcar but for riverfront development,” he said.

Streetcar and Port KC officials believe separating bicycles and pedestrians from streetcar and vehicle traffic would be a more effective approach. (Image courtesy of Confluence)

In December, CityScene KC first reported that Port KC and the Streetcar Authority had dropped the idea of using the Grand viaduct as a shared route for the streetcar, vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, opting instead for a separate ped/bike bridge.

Making the job a bit less expensive, when the current Grand viaduct was built in the 1980s a second parallel span was contemplated to the east. Three support piers were built in anticipation of that project and could be used for the envisioned bike/ped span.

While there was fresh information and renderings of the ped/bike bridge, an anticipated announcement about how Port KC and the Streetcar Authority could fund the $32 million, half-mile riverfront extension was postponed.

Stephens said a recent decision by the feds not to provide $25 million for the project slowed the partners down.

“By early spring, we’ll be able to lay out a financial plan of how we’ll do it,” he said.

Here’s how a streetcar station serving the Berkley Riverfront Park might look. (Image courtesy Confluence)

Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.