Photo from EnVision Kirkwood 2035 Comprehensive Plan.
The National Complete Streets Coalition is working with Missouri-based partners to launch our third Complete Streets Consortium Series, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After a competitive application process, the City of Kirkwood, City of Joplin, and Eastern Jackson County have been selected to participate in this program to support safer, healthier streets.
Through the Complete Streets Consortium Series, the National Complete Streets Coalition has worked with three communities each in Tennessee and Colorado to foster state-wide collaboration and overcome barriers to safer, more equitable streets. In Tennessee, we focused on better, earlier coordination between regional agencies and state health and transportation departments. In Colorado, we explored how first-mile/last-mile connections to transit can support Complete Streets and regional mobility.
Now, we are excited to extend this technical assistance program to three communities in Missouri with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition through the University of Missouri Extension, and Missourians for Responsible Transportation.
After a competitive application process the City of Kirkwood, the City of Joplin, and Eastern Jackson County have been selected for the third Complete Streets Consortium workshop series. These communities will participate in a series of three workshops designed to identify and overcome barriers to implement activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, which make it safe and convenient for people of all abilities to walk, run, bike, skate, or use wheelchairs to reach homes, jobs, shops, schools, and more.
These three communities from across the state of Missouri share some common challenges and opportunities that we’re excited to work through together:
- Jackson County covers part of Kansas City, as well as surrounding communities to the east. Although the county has had some early success at implementing Complete Streets projects, the landscape of Eastern Jackson County is fractured with bike lanes that end at town boundaries and different understandings of what Complete Streets means. The county’s goal is to develop a unified, county-level Complete Streets policy and encourage municipalities to develop policies of their own.
- Kirkwood is a first ring suburb of St. Louis. The city has taken important strides on Complete Streets and road diet projects, but hopes to develop a stronger, shared understanding of the benefits of Complete Streets among community members, much like Eastern Jackson County. Kirkwood is also in the process of developing a Vision Zero Action Plan and has a strong working relationship with the state Department of Transportation.
- Finally, Joplin is a city in southwest Missouri. As with the other two communities, Joplin is hoping to build stronger support and understanding of Complete Streets benefits among community members and engineers alike. The city has faced resistance to investing in better Complete Streets connectivity, so learning more about success stories in Eastern Jackson County, Kirkwood, and beyond will help to build greater support for their projects.
Each of the communities will host one of the three workshops over the course of the next eight months. The workshops will be tailored to the communities’ specific needs for implementing Complete Streets and activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.
“A region can’t thrive if some people are struggling just to get to the grocery store,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “Often, overcoming that challenge takes cooperation across agencies and sectors. Through our previous Consortia in Tennessee and Colorado, we’ve learned how important it is to bring together health and transportation professionals to foster stronger, multidisciplinary partnerships. We’re excited to continue this work with Kirkwood, Joplin, and Eastern Jackson County.”
This technical assistance is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. This program is designed to support the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’s ongoing work through the State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) program.