Friday, January 28, 2011

Kansas City, Missouri- Adopts Livable Streets resolution

Kansas City adopts Livable Streets resolution.

 Kansas City, Missouri, January 27, 2011 - The Missouri Bicycle And Pedestrian Federation proudly announces a giant step forward for bicyclist, pedestrians and motorists today as the Kansas City Council adopts the city's first Livable Streets resolution 110069.

4th District Councilmember Beth Gottstein initiated the resolution, stating “This resolution will provide safe access to public roads for all users by encouraging transportation improvement plans consider the safety, access and mobility needs of all travelers, regardless of age or ability”
"Councilmember Gottstein has been a tireless supporter of Complete Streets efforts. From her work on the back-in angle parking demonstration to her participation in the annual Car Free Challenge, she has supported the bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit users in Kansas City, MO and across the metro area” states Eric Rogers, Vice President of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation.

 This resolution, together with policy changes recently adopted by the city, helps to ensure that more Kansas City streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities will be able to safely move along and across a complete street.  Kansas City is moving to the forefront of transportation parity in Missouri following the adoption of similar Complete Streets policies in Columbia, De Soto, Ferguson, Crystal City, Festus, Herculaneum, St. Louis, and Lee’s Summit.  There are over 200 jurisdictions formally committed to Complete Streets according to Barbara McCann, the Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Brent Hugh, Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation states, "A Complete Streets policy means our roads and streets are designed for everyone--the old, the young, people with a disability, people who walk, bicycle, take the bus, or drive. Complete Streets improve safety for all road users and may improve adjacent property values. This resolution is a great step forward for pedestrians in Kansas City – what a remarkable way to start the New Year."

For more information on complete streets visit
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is a statewide, not-for-profit, membership organization that advocates advancement of bicycling access, safety and education in Missouri under section 501(c)(4) of the IRS code.

Expressing the Council’s support for the concept of “Livable Streets” as a means to promote great neighborhoods, healthy and active people, and a thriving community.

WHEREAS, active living is a way of life that integrates physical activity into
daily routines, and the goal of active living is to accumulate at least 30
minutes of activity each day; and

 WHEREAS, active living promotes walking and bicycling for transportation,
recreation and physical activity; and

 WHEREAS, streets and sidewalks are an important part of our community that serve
transportation needs and are also a part of the public realm where people live,
shop, interact, and travel; and

 WHEREAS, the built environment influences residents’ choices to be physically
active and may be designed to provide a variety of opportunities for physical
activity; and

 WHEREAS, “Livable Streets” safely facilitate movement of people of all ages and
abilities from destination to destination along and across a continuous travel
network; and

 WHEREAS, the design of each Livable Street differs based on the context of each
street; and

 WHEREAS, a “Livable Street” is safe and inviting to pedestrians, bicyclists,
transit riders, the disabled, children, senior citizens, automobiles,
motorcycles and buses; and

WHEREAS, Livable Streets can be beautiful places built to pedestrian scale; and

 WHEREAS, a Livable Street can be the focal point of tight-knit communities where
neighbors enjoy spending time; and

 WHEREAS, Livable Streets are environmentally sustainable; and

 WHEREAS, Livable Streets are economically thriving; NOW, THEREFORE,


 Section 1. That Kansas City is committed to providing safe and livable
neighborhoods for residents to build community and be physically active.

Section 2. That Kansas City supports the concept of Livable Streets as a means
to promote great neighborhoods, healthy and active people, and a thriving

Section 3. That the Livable Streets concept is consistent and complies with the
City’s efforts to develop a bike and pedestrian friendly, multi-modal and
sustainable community, promoted in several City initiatives including the FOCUS
Kansas City Plan, adopted under Committee Substitute for Resolution No. 971268
on October 30, 1997; the Bike KC Plan, adopted under Committee Substitute for

Ordinance No. 011288 on August 15, 2002; the Walkability Plan, adopted under

Resolution No. 030211 on March 20, 2 003; the Green Solutions Policy, adopted

under Resolution No. 070830 on August 9, 2007; the Climate Protection Plan,

adopted under Resolution No. 080754 on July 24, 2008; the Trails KC Plan,

adopted under Ordinance No. 081052 on November 20, 2008; and the Zoning and

Development Code, adopted under Ordinance No. 100394 on June 10, 2010.

Well done to all the activist and advocates in Kansas City to help make this possible!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mike's ride

 “I knew I had it as early as 1999.” Mike Reiman told me in one of our interviews as he sipped his coffee. “I had symptoms, mainly the oscillating hand movements.” He seemed almost indifferent, telling me. One could see he has fully accepted the grasp of the disease, eleven years, after the first signs.

I first saw Mike on a weekly organized group ride in 2009, called the Brookside Ride, in Kansas City. The group was moving slowly up a long hill, and I noticed a rider solo rider ahead of me.

The rider seemed focused on the road ahead, but seemed overly careful and cautious, I could tell there was something going on even though his line was true.

Uncertain what his issue was, I chose to ignore him on that first ride together. The second time on the ride I passed him and made some silly comment about the weather. The third time, I saw him after the ride with a group of cyclists who went for food and drink at a local pub. I sat at another table, and later that night the Brookside Ride leader told me, after I inquired about this man's story, that his name was Mike, he had Parkinson’s and that he use to play with the Chicago Symphony, then moved back to KC after he retired and was living in Brookside with a relative.

Mike's story was worth telling. But I did not do anymore group rides that year and did not see him again.

A year later I saw him in the grocery store in Prairie Village and introduced myself. Then, a few months later, he was at a coffee shop in Brookside and we had the first of many long and interesting conversations.

Getting ready for a downhill ride in the Rocky
Mountain National Forest
 “I grew up in Waldo, in Kansas City.” He said with a smile, “I got my first bike in 1968.” Staring out the window I could see he was thinking about the past.

Mike moved from KC to Chicago, and back to KC. He is living with a relative in Brookside. He lived in Chicago for a number of years, going there to study music at Northwestern. He played Trombone and the bass guitar. He studied with the Chicago Symphony and worked at golf course for his career.

“I started commuting to work and for errands in the 1980s; riding my bike  for transportation made more sense than using my car.” He said with a serious tone, “By the time I got in my car, dealt with traffic, and parking, I found I could already be inside the store if I had ridden my bicycle.”

I asked him about the Chicago winters.

“I still rode in winter when I could.” He smiled, “I remember one time, when it was snowing heavily, I got on my mountain bike and rode to a restaurant to meet friends for dinner. There I was, fully bundled up, wearing a ski mask,  rolling up on my bike. My friends just laughed.”

Mike developed symptoms of Parkinson’s and self diagnosed in 1999. “I wasn’t officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s until 2003” He stated as he looked me square in the eye, not seeking any recognition .

Mike and I in PV
“Did you slow down your bicycling?” I asked.

“No!” He said with conviction, “I rode more!” He told me he did not want the disease to get the better of him and the more he rode his bike the better he felt.

And ride he did. Eventually, he moved back to Kansas City to live with a relative in Brookside. Bicycling became a life style and a way to keep the disease at bay.

Mike rides with a passion and unassuming peaceful quality. Over that last couple of years the disease has caused him to ride less. But he rolls on, and with the help of physical therapy, massage, chiropractor, and acupuncture, he has been able to continue riding and keep the pain at a manageable level.

“I am not able to get the 15-20 miles a day I was doing the last few years, but I am able to ride.” He said, then he told me about riding down to the Plaza and back from his home the day before we met for the interview, it was 25f degrees. He grinned "Just like anything else in life, I have my good days and bad days."

I asked what adventures he had lately and he excitedly told me he was able to ride the Katy Trail over the last two years.

Mike staying in a hotel caboose on the Katy
 “In 2009, I rode from Clinton, MO to Jefferson City.” He said proudly. “It was hot, July, and like a lot of people, I ran out of water. Luckily I met someone who shared some with me.” He said and he laughed, “Then I got caught in a four day rain and decided to stop at Jefferson City.”

In 2010 he finished the trail riding from Jefferson City, Missouri to St. Louis. “Last year was harder, there was more pain.” He said solemnly. “I finished though, and made a video.”

Mike is doing well, winter is here, and for someone with Parkinson’s winter is no fun. On our last interview in November, he told me he had been hiking on some mountain bike trails, yes, hiking. He is as active as he can be. Still riding when he feels up to it, no matter what the weather and staying active.

If you are lucky and in Brookside, you may just bump into Mike. Be sure to chat with him.
Mike you are truly and inspiration and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know you. You have a disease that is tough to live with, but your inner fire is stoked and I am excited for your future adventures. I look forward to riding with you soon!

Mikes Katy Trail video: