Archive for Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letter: Missed Opportunity

December 17, 2009

As a resident of Lenexa who lives adjacent to De Soto’s eastern boundary along 83rd Street, I was invited to the May 7 DeSoto City Council Meeting to hear the proposal for resurfacing 83rd Street from Kill Creek Road to De Soto’s eastern limits.

Appreciative of the invitation, my husband and I attended. However, my thoughts were not just to hear about the resurfacing, but to propose “a forward-thinking, but spend-once mind frame.”

Yes, I proposed the idea of “Why not widen 83rd Street to accommodate bike riders, as well as walkers?” I have been walking west down 83rd from my driveway to Cedar Creek Road for four years, every other day. You might say, it’s become my adopted highway.

What can I tell you? Well, it’s safer than anybody gives it credit, but could be much safer with bike lanes — or at least widened — which is why I made it a point to propose the idea before the resurfacing.

I can also tell you 83rd Street is an absolutely beautiful tree-lined roadway that winds through what I have been told is “God’s Country.” (That’s for you Roy Webb.) People have learned to expect me; they wave and honk. The result, we are all smiling and in a good mood.

Before the meeting, I researched some agendas of our surrounding neighbors. Lenexa has a “Vision 2030,” which talks about a Lenexa to Lawrence bike/walking path. The gentleman at the Sunflower Bike Shop in Lawrence is heavy into biking across Kansas.

In talking with Brant with the city of Lenexa, I learned 83rd Street will one day accommodate 20,000 cars a day. He gave me an inch thick master plan of the proposal for 83rd Street, all the way up to my driveway. Remember, I live in Lenexa, but am adjacent to De Soto’s eastern border. It is a very detailed map, so folks, Lenexa’s been seriously forward thinking.

With that said, De Soto needs to be thinking about its image, and what a positive “welcoming image” could bring it. I sit at your eastern gateway. What kind of people do you want to attract?

Bike riders are healthy, good-natured people who could bring economic opportunity to De Soto. They have to rest and eat somewhere. Why not in De Soto? Why worry about beautifying your city, or growing your waterfront Johnson County property, if all you are going to do is stay tucked away? Bike riders don’t zoom by as fast as cars do. They actually take time to enjoy their surroundings.

I am glad to see people such as Mitra Templin and Rick Walker keeping the 83rd Street bicycle route alive. However, Ronnie McDaniel does have a valid point, safety is an issue, but it doesn’t always have to be a restricting issue. Don’t let 83rd Street be a missed opportunity.

I can visualize that Lenexa to Lawrence bicycle route now. It could become a huge event.

Darlene Bedford



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