133 & Inverness barricade opening delayed
By Kathy Feist
Kansas City Public Works has announced a change of plans for the removal of barricades at 133rd St. and Inverness Dr. originally slated for March 10.
“We do not intend to remove the temporary barricades [on March 10] as discussions are still underway with staff, the City Manager and the Sixth District councilmembers,” stated Maggie Green, spokesperson for KCMO Public Works. ”We are meeting with the councilmembers [Wednesday] morning to debrief about the public meeting on February 25 and continue the conversation. We hope to know more about our next steps after this meeting.”
On February 25th, Public Works hosted a virtual public meeting to discuss feedback, findings, and next steps for the temporary closure at 133rd St. & Inverness Dr. The intersection had been closed since November 11 after New Castle subdivision residents complained of speeding traffic and litter in their neighborhood from shoppers traveling in and out of the adjacent shopping center.
Over 200 emails and calls were received since the street was closed to the shopping center; however not all were in favor of the closure, which is necessary for a public street to close according to KCMO public policy. Other factors taken into consideration were studies that did not support a problem with heavy traffic and concerns over the city’s tightened budget. Instead of a street closure, measures to reduce speeding along Inverness were recommended.
While the one-hour presentation noted that public comment had concluded, many thought otherwise.
Believing the meeting was a public hearing, rather than a public meeting to discuss findings, New Castle residents felt jaded. Despite claims from New Castle that residents sent over 220 emails and letters to Public Works, the HOA felt their voices had gone unheard. Participants may have also confused the public presentation as a public hearing.
While commuters celebrated the news of reopening, New Castle got to work behind the scenes.
Tommie Lampie, former HOA president for New Castle, says she not only wrote to Green and KCMO Director of Public Transportation newcomer Jason Waldron, both of whom conducted the meeting, but to Sixth District Councilmembers Andrea Bough and Kevin McManus and their staff.
She also reached out to new City Manager Brian Platt, to whom she had briefly described the subdivision’s plight during his speaking engagement at a Center Planning & Development meeting February 24th. Unfamiliar with the controversy, Platt cheered her on and pledged his support for her cause.
He came through
According to Lampie, Platt responded to her written concerns with an email stating, “We will be leaving the closure in place until further notice. We will circle back to your community [meaning New Castle’s, according to Lampie] and city councilmembers….to find out exactly what you think the local group wants to see long term.” (The Telegraph reached out to Platt for verification but was deferred to Green for comment.)
“They understand that the people whom [the closure] directly affects are New Castle residents,” says Lampie.
Sixth District Councilwoman Bough says she too has concerns that many people were not able to talk at the public meeting. “It was clear that not everyone was given the opportunity to speak,” she says. She encourages those affected by the closure to reach out to her office.
Contacts regarding the closure at 133rd and Inverness:
Sixth District City Councilwoman Andrea Bough 816-513-6523
Sixth District City Councilman Kevin McManus 816-513-6525
Public Works Information Officer Maggie Green 816-513-2612
Director of Transportation Jason Waldron 816-799-4792
City Manager Brian Platt (816) 513-1408