Transportation Goal 1
GOAL: Reduce vehicle miles traveled per capita
Mixed-use and mixed-income development
T-LU 1.1: Increase and target sustainable, mixed-use and mixed-income development at key activity centers and corridors where infrastructure is already in place.
By increasing the number of housing units and types as well as encouraging a mix of uses around existing activity centers and corridors, residents and workers will naturally reduce the mileage they drive. This is not only because distances to get to jobs, grocery stores and other amenities will be reduced, but because sustainable development lends itself to other forms of transportation, like walking, biking, transit and scooters. By developing these types of high-intensity centers and corridors where infrastructure already exists, we will realize several cobenefits such as reduced land consumption and improved opportunities for communities to gather and interact in common spaces.
When implementing this strategy, priority should be given to existing environmental justice (EJ) areas that include activity centers and corridors. Equity opportunities and benefits include jobs access, economic development/workforce development and housing affordability.
T-LU 1.2: Establish 15-minute neighborhoods
The 15-minute neighborhood concept imagines neighborhoods where residents can reach most of their daily needs within a 15-minute walk of their homes. This includes access to goods and services like grocery stores, schools and healthcare. Many residents of 15-minute neighborhoods would also be able to reach their jobs within this 15-minute walkshed, thanks to incentives for small- to medium-sized employers. For a 15-minute neighborhood to be truly sustainable, it would need to contain housing opportunities for a range of income levels, thus allowing a variety of workers to live, work and play within its boundaries. To work towards implementing 15-minute neighborhoods, it is crucial that planners work closely with neighborhood leaders and residents to fine-tune the concept to the particular community.
While 15-minute neighborhoods have the potential to increase opportunities for lower-income households, especially those that do not own a car, gentrification leading to the displacement of existing residents is a possible side effect of this strategy. Therefore, local governments should work to increase incentives for affordable housing and work to diversify employment in partnership with local neighborhood associations.
T-LU 1.3: Increase complete and green streets throughout the region
Complete and green streets provide comfortable places for people to walk, roll, bike and drive while managing stormwater with vegetation and permeable surfaces.
While all streets cannot accommodate all users, most can be retrofitted to allow for the comfortable and safe travel of all users.
In the Kansas City region and across the country, many streets can undergo a “road diet,” replacing pavement previously only designated for motor vehicles with transit facilities, bike lanes, sidewalks, multi-use paths or other public space.
Furthermore, green elements can provide additional benefits such as beatification, place making, providing shade and urban heat reduction, and decreased flooding through better water retention.
By increasing complete and green streets throughout the region, local governments will facilitate a mode shift from driving to walking and biking, thereby reducing VMT, while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Complete streets by their nature provide a more equitable transportation system because they are designed more for people than single-occupant vehicles. Still, changes to streets are not always viewed by the neighborhood in a positive light. All communities should be engaged in changes to the built environment that affect them, and planners should make a concerted effort to engage nearby neighborhoods as early as possible during the planning process to gather input.