Lee’s Summit residents are on the move…walking, jogging, riding bikes, getting fit. Just look around and you will see. Families are walking and riding bikes in parks and on multi-use trails. People are running more errands on foot or on their bikes. Group rides are leaving from the local coffee shops, bike shops and pizza shops. Call it active transportation, getting in shape, going green or just having fun.
Mayor Randy Rhoads is proclaiming May as “Bike and Walk Month” in our fair city. He is scheduled to read the proclamation at the May 2 City Council meeting reflecting on the many benefits of walking and bicycling to individual citizens and to the community as a whole.
In fact, the city of Lee’s Summit has made a significant commitment to improving safety and accessibility for bicycling and walking. Efforts to date have included investments in sidewalks and multi-use trails, development of an award-winning, walkable downtown, re-striping roads and crosswalks to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians, passage of a Livable Streets Policy, development of a Safe Routes to School program, formation of a Livable Streets Advisory Board, and adoption of a Bicycle Transportation Plan to develop preferred bicycle routes throughout the city.
These are just a few of the many accomplishments that have earned national recognition for Lee’s Summit as both a “Walk Friendly Community” and a “Bicycle Friendly Community.” Ours is one of only 28 communities in the nation to have earned both of these awards.
Lee’s Summit citizens wisely approved the recent no-tax-increase bond proposal to add paved shoulders to Pryor Road and sidewalks to Orchard Street. These improvements will further enhance safety and accessibility in both newly developed and more established areas of our city.
So get outside and get moving! Reap the many benefits that an active lifestyle in a progressive community has to offer. The next time you get in your car to go somewhere, ask yourself, “Could I walk, ride my bike, or take public transit to get there instead?” Try to make “active living” a natural part of every day. You will enjoy improved physical and emotional health, improve the environment, and save a few bucks on gas in the process.
Always keep safety and “sharing the road” in mind when you are out and about. Whether in your car, on foot, or riding your bike, follow these simple rules: Be visible. Be predictable. Be aware. Be Courteous. Be legit. (Obey traffic laws.) Above all, be safe. Always wear a helmet when you get on a bike.
Please take advantage of these many fine resources, including websites and Facebook pages:
• City of Lee’s Summit www.cityofls.net (Mayor’s Proclamation, Livable Streets Policy, Bike and Walk Month video, Bicycle Transportation Plan, Safe Routes to School, info on Livable Streets Advisory Board, Health Education Advisory Board, etc.)
• Livable Streets www.livablestreetsls.com (Bike and pedestrian safety info, local biking and walk/run events and
• Bikewalk KC www.bikewalkkc.org (Regional info including Bike month activities.)
• Mid-America Regional Council www.marc.org/transportat
• Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation www.mobikefed.org (statewide info)
• National Complete Streets Coalition www.completestreets.org (national perspective)
Join the action. Get out and walk or ride your bike. See your neighborhood and your city in a new and invigorating way. Then take a break and sit on a street bench to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring in Lee’s Summit.
Ed Kraemer is the medical director of the Medical Pavilion at Truman Medical Center Lakewood. He serves as Co-chair of Lee’s Summit’s Health Education Advisory Board and as a member of the Livable Streets Advisory Board.