Prairie Village to consider final adoption of plan calling for eventual addition of 36 miles of shared bike lanes

Prairie Village represents a notable hole in MARC’s latest regional bikeways map.

With the onset of National Bike Month, the Mid-America Regional Council today is promoting its updated Regional Trails & Bikeways Map, showing all of the biking infrastructure across the greater Kansas City region — a map that shows a persistent hole still in place over northeast Johnson County.

For several years now, Prairie Village officials have acknowledged the city’s lack of bike infrastructure, but struggled to find an approach that would expand bike access without disturbing surrounding properties.

In April, the council voted at a committee meeting to advance a proposed citywide bike and pedestrian plan that calls for the addition of 36 miles of shared lanes and four miles of new bike lanes. Developed by consultant TranSytems over several months and paid for primarily through a grant from MARC, the plan sets out a vision for expanding bike infrastructure in the future over the course of several years, with many of the specific projects being folded into planned street updates and renovations.

Here’s a map of the proposed bike plan as presented to the council in April:

And here’s the map of the proposed pedestrian plan:

The council is expected to take the plan up for final adoption at its May 7 meeting.

While there is general consensus among members of the Prairie Village governing body that the city needs to expand bike access, there are lingering concerns over the impact some of the proposed bike lanes would have on neighboring properties.

During the council discussion last month, councilwoman Brooke Morehead voted against advancing the plan because she believed residents along Nall Avenue hadn’t been given enough notice about the plans and saying that many opposed the addition of a sidewalk on the east side of Nall between 79th and 83rd.

Similar concerns were among the reasons the city council in 2012 voted against a planning effort that proposed the eventual development of a bike and walking trail along the west side of Nall.

But some members of the council say it’s time for Prairie Village to move ahead on an issue that’s lingered for years. Councilman Ron Nelson said that as a biking enthusiast, he’s been surprised to find cities like Olathe doing more to add bike paths than Prairie Village.

“Just biking around Johnson County, Jackson County, there are other cities in the area that are far ahead of us,” Nelson said. “We should be at the forefront of bicycling and pedestrian facilities.”