Racks and Paths Boost Community’s Revitalization Plans

What’s the big deal about new bike racks in Martin City? Well, you might say they’re the latest sign of a community right on track.

“We’re growing into a vibrant neighborhood and we’re focused on building our future,” says Martin City Community Improvement District (MCCID) Manager Vickie Wolgast. “Bike racks will help us get there.” 

The installation of bike racks is more than a nice touch or a symbolic gesture. It’s central to our commitment to opening up our neighborhood for all to see and experience. Around 20 racks have been strategically positioned along Martin City streets and sidewalks. You can’t miss their custom design and rich red color — a perfect match for our street banners, our colorful landscaping and official Martin City signage that’s coming soon.

“CID leadership has been working on these racks for about a year,” explains Wolgast. “Planning the custom order and securing the permits took time and several thousand dollars. I think everyone agrees the racks look great, and there’s a lot of potential here beyond aesthetics.”

There certainly is. The addition of bike racks also meets growing demand. It’s not uncommon to see bicyclists passing through Martin City and the CID has heard from many of them about how useful bike racks can be. “After we announced plans to put the racks in, excitement really started building around the timeline,” remembers Wolgast. “People were anxious for installation to begin.”

Workers from Street Smarts Design + Build installing Martin City’s bike racks.

Martin City, Missouri

New bike racks make Martin City more accessible to its residents and neighbors. Wolgast says the hardware sends a clear message that our community is ready to meet the diverse needs of its people as times change and transportation options evolve. 

“We want people to come and explore at their own pace. Walking, biking, whatever they prefer. Martin City is a comfortable, inviting place and now it will only get better.”

Martin City, Missouri

Rolling Up Into a Bigger Plan

Making our community more bike-friendly is a good idea all by itself, but it gets even better when you consider the broader view at the City level.

“Martin City is very well positioned on the map to become a popular attraction for bicyclists,” says Brian Jackson, a Planner in Kansas City’s Long Range Planning Division. “And it’s an important part of Kansas City’s overall effort to give residents more ways of getting around.”

Jackson points to a variety of factors begging Martin City to become more bike-friendly. Our community has a strong destination appeal anchored by the way 135th Street feels like a traditional small town ‘main street.” Plus, many of our businesses are near the edge of the street, making bike accessibility a snap. In addition, Martin City is right next to a lot of park land, creating easy opportunities for riders to hop off trails and grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.

Bike racks near the front doors of businesses now in Martin City, Missouri

Martin City is well positioned as a quick detour from nearby parks and bike trails.

The Blue River anchors popular bike routes along Martin City’s boundaries.

“The bike racks invite more visitors into the community and help them discover it,” says Jackson. “And as Martin City grows, bicycling will play a bigger practical role. If you live nearby, bicycling may be the easiest option for doing business in Martin City. It opens up the convenience of riding down the street, finding a place to eat, taking care of errands and then quickly getting back home. As more people move into the Martin City area, that kind of convenience will only get more attractive.”

South Kansas City is already popular with bicyclists who enjoy exploring trails and parks, and more people are using bikes as primary transportation. Pedaling is often cheaper and easier than dealing with driving or other options, and Jackson says it fits in well with priorities shared by both Kansas City and its Martin City neighborhood.

“More people on bicycles can mean fewer cars on the road, which can ultimately translate to less road maintenance and fewer parking lots. Fewer parking lots means more space for more important things. You’re also talking about a reduction in vehicle emissions which benefits everyone.”

An easy ride through Martin City.

KCMO isn’t just encouraging more bike riding, it’s planning for it. And we’re not just talking about parks and recreation. New bike paths are on the table for consideration with new road construction projects. Jackson says City leaders are working to better accommodate a variety of options in a comprehensive, integrated transportation plan, ranging from walking and biking to buses and the KC Streetcar.

“Holmes Road in Martin City is an example of where things are going,” says Jackson. “Plans for overhauling Holmes Road include a wide bike path next to it. That bike path can help Martin City attract more visitors and customers for local businesses. It’s just another way to provide access for people ready to see what Martin City is all about and willing to spend money to help the community thrive.”

A ten-foot bike path is planned next to Holmes Road in Martin City.

So, when you feel like stretching your legs, consider exploring Martin City by bike! It’s a great way to tour our community and help us shift our revitalization journey into high gear.