Beyond Autonomous Vehicles

Anyone interested in the future of cities is paying close attention to the rapid development and proliferation of autonomous vehicle technology.  Autonomous vehicles are poised to radically alter how people move around, redefining the entire concept of personal mobility, and even transforming the form and function of our cities. The most immediate and dramatic impacts…

Where Are North Loop Streetcar Riders Coming From?

Two weeks into operations of Kansas City’s new streetcar, past the pomp and curiosity of the opening weekend, people are riding.  A lot of people.  Initially estimated to handle around 2,700 passengers per day, Kansas City’s streetcar averaged more than 7,000 per day in its first week of operations.  Scrapping plans to operate three cars…

An Experiment in Crowdsourced Mapping

Last week I put together a quick experiment in crowdsourcing recommendations for bike lanes. The website allows you to draw a line for a suggested bike lane, and the results tab creates a heatmap of the cumulative recommendation from all users. In the week since it has gone live, there have been over 800 new…

Reconnecting Penn Valley Park

Penn Valley Park is not achieving its full potential today, but several specific improvements can enhance its use and better connect its neighbors.  The following proposals represent a collaborative effort by designers/Downtown residents Arpit Balhara, Jihee Chung, Alyssa Parsons, and Thomas Morefield. Just a mile from the heart of Kansas City’s central business district, Penn…

The Curious Case of a Baltimore Bumpout

A few days ago a curious curvy concrete curb appeared at the northwest corner of 13th and Baltimore. This particular concrete curb is curious for a few reasons. First, it is curious that the curb appeared in the first place. This recently rebuilt corner was new and functional and generally getting along as a normal…

Overlay Overload

For a variety of converging and interconnected reasons, Kansas City has seen a flurry of activity in recent months related to its development codes and standards. Three major updates to development standards have been adopted for the Downtown Loop, Troost Corridor, and the City’s Parkways and Boulevards. With support from a Mid America Regional Council…

Peace, Love, and Zoning: One Map to Rule Them All

Last month, the Kansas City Planning and Development Department released the long-awaited draft of the Midtown Plaza Area Plan, which was the culmination of several years of groundbreaking community engagement in the area from 31st Street on the north to 55th Street on the south, State Line to the west, and The Paseo to the…

Untangling the Westport Parking Controversy

A plan to replace a parking lot in Westport with new development is drawing criticism from both ends of the pro and anti-urban spectrum.  People on the pro-car, anti-urban side are criticizing the development because it removes parking spaces and increases density, which triggers their ‘where am I going to park/this neighborhood is unsafe’ reflex. On…

Rosedale Bike Lanes

Rosedale Completes Its Streets

Over the past few years, a combination of infrastructure investments, new development, and entrepreneurial energy is revitalizing Rosedale and contributing to Kansas City’s urban renaissance. Since moving to the Rosedale over two years ago, I’ve witnessed a transformation that is quickly accelerating. This is the first post of a series highlighting the improvements as well as some…