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
Kansas and Missouri are among just 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid. This must change, and we need your help.
Many of our initiatives at KC Healthy Kids focus on improving community food security, which is defined as a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. By its very definition, community food security means building food system equity. We cannot succeed in that goal without addressing racial injustice.
Update April 24, 2020 The Open Streets initiative is underway in Kansas City, Missouri! Open Streets includes three efforts: automatic pedestrian signals, neighborhood Open Streets permits and road closures near parks and trails. These "local traffic only" road closures create more space for people to be active outdoors while maintaining six feet of social distance:
You might be feeling extra antsy to get outside as stay-at-home orders are extended across the region. Physical activity is an essential activity with many health benefits, like reducing stress, improving sleep and contributing to a healthy immune system. But some parks and trails have closed due to crowding. Many sidewalks are too narrow to walk at a safe social distance. Even with less traffic on the roads, streets aren’t necessarily safer for pedestrians. Just this week one pedestrian was hit, the other killed in Kansas City, Missouri. And Black neighborhoods are more likely to lack parks and green space and have higher rates of pedestrian deaths due to long-term disinvestment.
In response, cities are making space for safe physical activity during the pandemic. The City of Kansas City, Missouri’s City Council passed an Open Streets resolution on Thursday, April 16, 2020 to allow temporary street closures for walking and biking until the state of emergency is lifted. KC Parks has already closed roads to car traffic at Swope Park and Blue Valley Park. Find more information at KC Parks Open Streets.
Our friends at BikeWalkKC have even more ideas about how to make safe space for more people. We have worked with them and other community partners to make streets safer for people of all ages and abilities by advocating for local policies and teaching kids how to speak out for walkable neighborhoods.
Learn how you can speak out for safe, walkable neighborhoods during the pandemic and beyond:
Walking Detective Go on a walking investigation to find clues and collect evidence to learn how walkable your community is. Build a case report to show city officials what things are working well and what things need to be improved.
Speak Out for Safe Streets We have advocated for local policies like Complete Streets, Vision Zero and the Bike KC Master Plan. Contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the coalition of organizations speaking out for safe streets.
Updated May 25, 2020
We’ve always fought to defend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps). Now that more people need assistance, we’re focused on increasing benefits and making it easier and safer for people to apply.
As many of us are working from home, kids are home from school and we’re all social distancing, the days seem to run together. Do you know what day it is today? It’s Wednesday, April 1, 2020. It’s Census Day.
We are disappointed that the United States Department of Agriculture has proposed a new rule that, if enacted, would roll back school nutrition standards established in 2012. The proposed rule would allow schools to serve fewer fruits and whole grains, reduce the variety of vegetables and offer less healthy entrees. The USDA’s own research has shown that the 2012 nutrition standards improved student diets and increased student participation in school meals.
KC Healthy Kids, the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition and many of our partners opposed a public charge rule change that would make it challenging for some immigrants to access nutrition, health care and housing assistance. Despite an outpouring of opposition from the public and several legal challenges, the rule change went into effect today. We believe the rule change will seriously harm the health and well being of immigrants and their communities. Keep reading to learn more about public charge, who is affected and how you can take action.
The Child Nutrition Act is a federal law that sets policies and funds programs that help all children have access to nutritious foods. Programs include WIC, National School Lunch Program, Summer Food Service Program and more. Congress reviews and reauthorizes the act every five years and work is now underway to pass a new bill.
Glenn North and Chico Sierra have been selected to create artwork for KC Voices, a collaborative effort to involve residents and stakeholders in low-income, racially diverse neighborhoods in KCK and KCMO in sharing stories and information about how food policies shape our community, our opportunities and our plates. The collaborative addresses SNAP, WIC, school food and other programs contained in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization and 2018 Farm Bill.