Updated: Kansas City, Missouri City Council passed the ordinance this evening.
In 1912, Kansas City, Missouri became the first city to criminalize pedestrians in public streets. Today city council members will vote on an ordinance that would reverse that traffic law. It would also exempt people using active transportation, like bikes and scooters, from being ticketed for dirty or muddy tires and no longer allow cyclists to be stopped for a bike inspection.
While we want to ensure that kids and teens are safe to walk and bike, these laws does little to protect their safety. Reporters in Jacksonville, Florida analyzed five years of data but found "no strong relationship between where tickets are being issued and where [pedestrians] are being killed."
What they did find was that enforcement of pedestrian laws disproportionately impacted Black people and people in low-income neighborhoods. The same inequitable trends have been observed in other cities.
It is also unreasonable to punish people for walking in the street when many neighborhoods still lack safe and accessible sidewalks, especially in under-resourced and Black and Brown neighborhoods.
Because of this, some street safety experts have argued for decriminalizing walking and biking. There are better ways to decrease pedestrian injuries and fatalities. That's why we advocate for policies, like Complete Streets, that invest in sidewalks, streets and public spaces that are safe and accessible for all users.
Learn how jaywalking became a crime and why we advocate for streets designed for people.
The epidemic of violence in this country is a public health crisis. It shatters families and impacts our sense of safety and overall health and well-being, including the ways we access food, physical activity, community, school and work.
KC Healthy Kids emphatically condemns and remains committed to confronting violence and oppression which create barriers for many who want to access the community-based solutions KC Healthy Kids promotes: youth advocacy, mental health, good food policy, local food, and active communities.
As we work to advance the health and well-being of kids and their communities, we strive to recognize and support the incredible resilience communities demonstrate in the face of violence and to remember to start by listening
Here are some things we’re doing now. We’ve provided links so you can learn more and take action too.
Fans of Kansas City’s local food community have a new way to find farms, markets, restaurants and retailers near them with a brand new tool, the Eat Local KC map.
It was created to amplify resources and relationships through storytelling and connecting people to the local food system. The map will also help illustrate opportunities within our food system for improving infrastructure to facilitate processing, transportation, and other preparation necessary to sell to consumers.
Eat Local KC is built for eaters, growers, wholesale buyers and anyone else invested in local food. You can easily navigate the map using layers that highlight different aspects of our local food system:
Additional layers will be added in the future to include institutions that buy wholesale local food and other aspects of our local food system. This map is not yet complete, and we look forward to adding everyone involved in the local food system as soon as possible.
Make the most of the map
We realize there are other food system maps in Missouri and Kansas, but Kansas City is uniquely situated to envelop both sides of the state line so we need a map that reflects our connections all around the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond. This map is regional and will span a radius of 250 miles around Kansas City to show the entire network of farmers, infrastructure, and buyers who work together to feed our region.
Eat Local KC was created in partnership with several organizations working together to build relationships within the local food system, to increase local food purchasing in institutions, and to help beginning farmers and seasoned growers create opportunities to sell local food.
Partners include West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, Cultivate KC, K-State Research & Extension, New Growth Missouri, The KC Food Hub, and University of Missouri Extension. Funding was provided by the Health Forward Foundation and USDA.
If you want to be included in the map or have questions on how to use the map, please reach out to Autumn Winegar at email@example.com.
Kids need to grow up in communities where physical activity can be a natural part of their day, and Kansas City has taken a big step closer to that being a reality with its first ever physical activity plan. We are proud to be a part of this plan that makes it easier and safer to walk, bike and play in our region.
The vision of the Kansas City Physical Activity Plan is to foster a culture of physically active lifestyles in our region. To achieve this vision, a special work group has led the development of a comprehensive set of Kansas City-focused, sector-specific strategies and tactics designed to increase physical activity in residents of all ages. In total, 22 strategies and 67 priority tactics across societal sectors were identified to increase physical activity across society including:
The Kansas City Physical Activity Plan is released in two formats, and all documents are available to read and download here.
1. Kansas City Physical Activity Plan
This document includes strategies and priority tactics organized by societal sector, in addition to background information on The Plan, detailed information about the development process, action steps for local leaders and community members, and next steps.
2. Kansas City Physical Activity Plan Playbook
This document includes the strategies and priority tactics organized by societal sector and is designed as an easy-to-read summary of the Kansas City Physical Activity Plan.
Also available on the website is a video summary of the Kansas City Physical Activity Plan, a calendar of upcoming Kansas City Physical Activity Plan events, and opportunities for individuals to join a societal sector work group.
About the Kansas City Physical Activity Plan Work Group
The Kansas City Physical Activity Plan Work Group is an expert group of community organizations working to promote healthy lifestyles for all residents in our region. This group provides specific leadership in societal sector work groups and overall strategic decision making for the Kansas City Physical Activity Plan. Member organizations include: BikeWalkKC; the Calvary Community Outreach Network; Children’s Mercy Kansas City; the Health Resources and Services Administration; KC Healthy Kids; KCMO Parks and Recreation; the UMKC Health Equity Institute the Community Health Research Group; and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
KC Healthy Kids is proud to join more than 100 businesses recognized for workplace wellness and steps taken to keep staff healthy.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Healthy KC Initiative is recognizing 132 businesses and organizations as Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certified. KC Healthy Kids received platinum level certification.
For 2020, Workplace Wellness Certification had a specific focus on what policies and measures businesses implemented to ensure the health and wellbeing of their workforce, as well as creating a more inclusive and equitable environment to ensure employees’ mental health.
"As a nonprofit that advances the health and well-being of children and families through community-driven initiatives and advocacy, a healthy workplace culture has always been a priority at KC Healthy Kids. The Chamber’s certification motivated us to do even more, like establishing a formal wellness committee and offering regular mindfulness moments during staff meetings, to name a few,” says Danielle Robbins-Gregory, President/CEO of KC Healthy Kids.
"Over the past year, the wellness committee has helped us continue to strengthen our connections as a staff when we can’t be together in the office. The committee took suggestions from staff and arranged for a virtual happy hours, a watercolor workshop and distanced coffee dates at a park.”
The Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certification program recognizes area organizations for innovation and excellence in promoting a culture of health in the workplace. Certifications range from Honorable Mention up to Platinum and are based on five pillars of health: healthy eating, active living, tobacco cessation, work-life integration, and design-built environment.
The Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certification has taken place in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020 after the certification was moved to every two years. The next certification will be in 2022.
Kids who attended our 2020 Champions for Health Youth Summit put their plans to make a better world onto cotton squares that were later stitched into two quilts by artist NedRa Bonds.
Two-hundred students designed quilt squares based on the stories NedRa told them about other youth activists and the question for the day, "What is your leadership superpower?"
NedRa is an American quilter, activist and retired teacher, born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in the historic Quindaro neighborhood. Read more about NedRa
Congratulations to the following classrooms that participated in the Champions for Health Challenge! Winning classrooms will receive $1000 awards for health and wellness projects at their schools.
See the Winning Submissions
The challenge encourages students to think critically about how their surroundings—walking trails or broken sidewalks, safe playgrounds or blighted lots, schoolyard gardens or fast food restaurants—impact their health.
Past winners have purchased playground equipment, water bottle fountains, pedal desks, and hosted Zumba parties, local food tastings and more. All projects are designed for kids by kids.
Since the contest began in 2013, KC Healthy Kids has awarded $61,000 to 136 classrooms in the six-county metro area.
Challenge Winners – $1,000 Awards
Honorable Mention Recipients – $100 Awards
Learn more about the Champions for Health Challenge
On December 27, 2020 the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law. The $900 billion pandemic relief bill extends and enhances aid programs that were set to expire at the end of the year.
A full summary of the bill is available here. Our policy team has highlighted emergency relief for food and farm programs, workers and businesses.
Food and Farm Workers
Food and Farm Businesses
For more information and resources, check out our COVID-19 Policy Resource Guide.
Update November 19, 2020 We are thrilled to announce the Complete Streets ordinance was passed unanimously by the UG Board of Commissioners this evening! Thank you to BikeWalkKC for leading this collaborative effort and all of the community organizations who supported Complete Streets in Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County.
Update October 26, 2020 The Complete Streets ordinance unanimously passed the Public Works and Safety committee this evening and will head to the Board of Commissioners for a vote on November 19, 2020. If you live or work in Kansas City, Kansas or Wyandotte County, join us in speaking out for safe and accessible streets for people of all ages, abilities and modes of transportation.
Next month, the United Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas will vote on a Complete Streets ordinance nearly ten years after passing a resolution stating their commitment to Complete Streets. We support this Complete Streets ordinance, and here’s why.
Why do we need Complete Streets?
Physical activity, like walking and biking, is good for kids’ physical, cognitive and mental health. The 2020 Kansas City Regional Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth reports that just 5.7% of kids in the Kansas City metro walk to school. Traffic-related danger is one of the main reasons parents are afraid to let their kids walk or bike to school, and for good reason. Earlier this year, a middle-schooler and a school crossing guard were hit and injured or killed by cars in Kansas City, Kansas. But pedestrian injuries and fatalities are not inevitable. Our streets are dangerous because they are designed for cars, not people. Sidewalks and walking paths can ease fears and promote safe physical activity, but only 32% of residents in Wyandotte County live in a highly walkable neighborhood, according to National Walkability Index.
What are Complete Streets?
Complete Streets policies set standards so streets are designed to be safe and accessible for people of all ages, abilities and modes of transportation, including kids walking and biking to school or the park. Complete Streets reduce injuries and deaths from vehicle crashes and improve pedestrian safety by slowing and calming traffic. The 2019 Dangerous by Design report shows that people of color and people in low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by pedestrian fatalities, often because infrastructure is lacking or in poor condition due to ongoing disinvestment. People living in these neighborhoods are also more likely to lack access to a vehicle and experience poor health outcomes. That's why the United Government’s Complete Streets ordinance prioritizes low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
Learn how you can speak out for walkable neighborhoods and healthy communities with The Walking Detective or Champions for Health so kids have safe routes for walking and biking.
Images: Google Maps
Here are 10 ways you can speak out for good food policy in Kansas City today and everyday.