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More Evidence of Successful Park Road Closures

Cliff Drive in Kessler Park, Kansas City (Photo: Flickr, by MoBikeFed)

Cliff Drive in Kessler Park, Kansas City (Photo: Flickr, by MoBikeFed)

There’s more evidence that road closures in parks can be a big success in increasing their usership and improving safety and conditions. Case in point: Kansas City is expanding its closure of Cliff Drive in Kessler Park to vehicles on every weekend throughout the year. This follows a pilot program last May through October to provide safe opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle-oriented activities that promote healthy lifestyles. According to the KC Parks and Recreation Dept., reported results from the 2008 pilot include the following:

  • Residents reported an increase in visitation to the Northeast by bicyclists
  • KCPD reported the number of 2008 calls/incidents specific to Cliff Drive decreased by 74% when compared to 2007
  • The Kansas City Museum reported attendance increases (even considering construction at its Corinthian Hall)
  • Parks and Recreation Maintenance and Operations staff reported less litter and fewer incidents of dumping and vandalism.

An earlier Center for City Park Excellence report on road closures noted experiences of other city parks closing their roads to cars and opening them to people, and provides some insights into how communities might pursue similar changes. Just how many roads could be closed to cars in city parks is unknown, but it is clear that there are increasingly more being done so successfully.