What Strategies is Kansas City Using to Address Infrastructure Maintenance?

The Council Goal for Infrastructure and Transportation is: To improve City's physical infrastructure with special attention to streets, curbs, sidewalks, and water/sewer systems, and strengthen the multi-modal transportation system in ways that enhance connectivity among neighborhoods, business centers, and cultural/health/recreational destinations.
Below are the objectives from the current Citywide Business Plan that outline the specific strategies that the city is pursuing that relate to strengthening physical infrastructure. These objectives provide insight into the departments that are involved and the actions that are being taken.

How Can We Measure Progress on Infrastructure Maintenance?

As previously mentioned, an important measure of infrastructure is citizen satisfaction with assets such as streets - when examined over time, this can show whether perception of the infrastructure in the community is improving or declining. It is also useful to examine the ratings created by engineers to assess the condition of assets such as streets and bridges. Data on the city's street, streetlight, and bridge conditions is below. Other asset categories are in the process of inventory, condition assessment, or planning.

Aligning with Citizen Prioritization

The citizen survey asks citizens to select their top three overall city service areas needing more emphasis from the City. Within each of these overall areas, citizens are asked to select their top two specific services needing more emphasis from the City.

Streets and Infrastructure is the Highest Priority for Improvement

Over 50% of citizens selected streets, sidewalks and infrastructure as one of their three overall service areas needing additional emphasis. (updated bi-annually)

Within the Area of Infrastructure, Street Maintenance is the Highest Priority for Improvement

Over 40% of citizens selected street maintenance as one of their two infrastructure services needing additional emphasis. (updated bi-annually)

 Street Condition Ratings

 The City of Kansas City maintains more than 6,000 lane miles of street (a one mile stretch of roadway that is made up of two lanes each way would be equivalent to 4 lane miles). Segments of streets are given a pavement condition rating (PCI) based on cracking, potholes, and other irregularities that impact the smoothness of the street surface.

In addition to being utilizing to assess the overall state of the city's roadways, PCI ratings can also be used to direct road maintenance activities to achieve the best return on investment. The lowest rated roads are candidates for reconstruction, while medium to high rated roads can be maintained via street resurfacing, in which a segment of street has its surface removed (through a process called milling) and is then repaved with new asphalt. Find more information about streets being repaved (via a map or list)  on the Street Preservation webpage.

City Bridges

Also critical to infrastructure maintenance is the condition of bridges. Kansas City maintains over 500 bridges, and does a thorough rating and inspection of all of them on a biennial basis. The chart below shows the percent of bridges with a bridge sufficiency rating of 65 or higher, which categorized them as good (65-75) or better (> 75) condition. Ratings below this include Fair and Substandard.

Streetlights

The street lighting system consists of approximately 95,000 luminaires that are owned, operated, and maintained by the City of Kansas City. Streetlights are maintained through a performance contract by an outside contractor, which has resulted in a very high condition rating for this asset category, with over 90% of streetlights consistently rated good or better.

City Sidewalks

Satisfaction with sidewalks has remained steady the past few years. In fiscal year 2013 the citizen survey added a question asking about the condition of sidewalks in peoples neighborhoods. People tend to be more satisfied with sidewalks in their neighborhoods than they are with sidewalks citywide.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Curb Ramp Barrier Removal

As part of the Settlement Agreement signed July 26, 2012 between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the City MUST deliver a detailed and timely in order to correct violations in City-owned facilities. One finding that the City must address is the number of curbs in the city that are not ramped to meet ADA specifications. Progress in inventorying and addressing these curb ramps is shown below.

Percent of Citywide Curb Ramps with ADA Compliance

A first step in addressing ADA curb ramp compliance is an accurate inventory of curb ramps that are not adequately ramped, as shown below. (updated annually)

Number of Curb Ramps Brought up to ADA Standards

Over the last two fiscal years, the City has allocated funding to repair curb ramps and bring them in compliance with ADA standards; progress in this effort is shown below.

Percent of Citywide Curb Ramps with ADA Compliance

A first step in addressing ADA curb ramp compliance is an accurate inventory of curb ramps that are not adequately ramped, as shown below. (updated annually)

Number of Curb Ramps Brought up to ADA Standards

Over the last two fiscal years, the City has allocated funding to repair curb ramps and bring them in compliance with ADA standards; progress in this effort is shown below.

KCStat Meetings

All Council priorities, including those in the area of Public Infrastructure, are discussed at KCStat Meetings, which are public meetings held at City Hall and moderated by the Mayor and City Manager. Anyone from the public may attend, or follow the discussion via Twitter (#kcstat). Videos of KCStat meetings and meeting documents are archived online and can be accessed at kcmo.gov/kcstat/.