Avila bus stop gets upgrade thanks to concerned neighbor
By Kathy Feist
Verona Hills resident Sarah Whitman became concerned for the safety of bus riders who got dropped off at Avila University on the west side of 119th and Wornall Rd. Located near the top of a steep hill, fast southbound traffic traveling over the hill isn’t easily seen when crossing the busy road. “People want to turn on their jets at the top of the hill,” says Whitman. “I’ve seen some close calls.”
Additionally, the bus stop was nothing more than someone’s grass yard that got muddy when wet.
In 2018, Whitman decided to do something about the safety hazard in her neighborhood. She made a request through Kansas City’s Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) for a concrete bus stop pad with a pedestrian crosswalk and flashing crosswalk signs.
A year later, the project was approved by the City Council, but only for the concrete pad. Determined, Whitman worked with her district PIAC representative John Sharp, who eventually got the entire project approved the following year. Due to that delay and a pandemic-related worker shortage, construction did not begin until February 2022.
Now nearly completed, the bus stop allows riders to wait on a dry, concrete slab and cross the street safely on at the marked pedestrian crossing. Temporary crosswalk signs have been posted until the more sophisticated flashing ones arrive. When they do, pedestrians can push a button to activate the yellow flashing lights that caution drivers.
“Although it has taken time and persistence, we believe that the new bus stop and crosswalk will make this intersection safer for pedestrians than ever before,” says Whitman.
PIAC hearings are held during the summer months when residents can formally request neighborhood improvements to their district PIAC representatives. Residents find out when the city budget is approved in March whether their request was approved by the City Council.
(To see a list of PIAC projects approved for 2022/23, go here.)