TKC BREAKING NEWS!!! SHOCK!!! 170 MORE KANSAS CITY STOPLIGHTS SCHEDULED TO GO DOWN!!! MEANWHILE, COUNCIL BEATS UP ON PUBLIC WORKS & CITY STAFF OVER "SENSITIVITY AND COMMUNICATION" OF THE CONTROVERSIAL PROCESS SO FAR!!!
Today that Council discussed Kansas City stoplight removal that has evoked rage from neighborhoods in the urban core.
The discussion mostly entailed Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre taking a beating from politicos who have been inspired into action by outraged neighbors.
The discussion was also related to a resolution from Councilman Jermaine Reed that would not only slow the process down but offer more feedback from neighbors.
However . . . It's important to know: While Council wants to ram through the resolution this afternoon . . . It's still not even written yet.
Here are a few highlights from the Biz Session discussion . . .
Councilman Ed Ford asked about the 9 criteria used to make these stoplight removal decisions.
Director McIntyre read off the list that is soon to be posed to the City's website so that we can all pretend to be transit experts!!!
Councilman John Sharp said: "170 lights are in question. If we think we're getting concern from the neighborhoods now. Just wait until people respond to those numbers."
City Manager Troy Schulte noted that the process for removing those lights would be over 3-5 years but would mostly take place in the 3rd, 5th and 6th Districts.
And then . . .
BY FAR THE REACTION CONCERNING "INSENSITIVITY" SEEMED TO SUM UP THE MESSAGE FROM THE COUNCIL TO CITY STAFF!!!
After chiding Public Works Director McIntyre for her insensitivity. 5th District Councilman Brooks said . . .
"I have a crossing guard who says he can't get kids across the street. I don't care what a study says. I'm going to listen to the crossing guard. "
Pastor Brooks also noted objections to Public Works mandates on local Churches dealing with their own traffic problems during discussion about Church Traffic consequences in stoplight removal that might have been overlooked.
"Do we mandate what the churches are doing or listen to what they have to say?"
Northland Councilman Dick Davis spoke to Public Works rigidity in following Federal Guidelines when it comes to stoplight removal.
Councilman Davis said: "I have some concerns about this manual and it might not require us to do anything . . . I prefer to look at that manual as a guideline."
"Who elected the manual? Why don't we go home?"
Northland Councilman Councilman Russ Johnson stated that he has already objected to removal of downtown stoplight.
Johnson said: "Before we remove the signal we need to identify appropriate modifications."
Johnson also said: "The resolution Mr. Reed has sponsored says we need to think this through." To Public works, Johnson offered this insight: "You've started that but I think you're not done yet."
Even more interestingly, Councilman Johnson cited a bit of previous City Council failed decisions.
"Decisions made on data might not always work out," Johnson said. "Like bringing MAST into the city . . . We all know the data was correct but didn't accurately reflect the situation. At the end of this we'll have a model and manage the change."
Later in the discussion Councilman Ed Ford objected to the tactics for stoplight removal.
"The note on this said it was inevitable . . . And it advised us to "sell" this decision. This is a PR campaign, we don't want a PR campaign, we want a listening campaign. In many cases we'll want to remove those stoplights, in some cases we won't. We need to listen to those people in these neighborhoods. I know staff is well intentioned . . . But we've got people in neighborhoods who are familiar with the special conditions that might not meet with the manual."
As always, Councilman Wagner had something to say . . .
Wagner . . . "We have got to get out in front and communicate. It has to be two ways."
"I hate hiding behind 'the manual' when common sense dictates something else."
Still . . . In the end, The Public Works director was smart to stay quiet and meekly offer a bit of financial consideration . . .
McIntyre noted that it costs about $3k to maintain a traffic signal. And as the Council really got going with their posturing . . . The Public Works Director spoke to budget issues:
McIntyre: "If we leave these (stoplight) intersections there, we need to have a long term plan on how to finance their upgrade."
The resolution is being rushed through as we speak . . . No budget accommodations about maintaining stoplights will be put forward.
Luckily, we'll all be riding the $100 MILLION 2mi. Toy Train so stoplights won't matter in Kansas City's future.
DEVELOPING . . .