KCMO Safety First!
Localize a portion of Westport streets
Westport’s historic streets were made for walking and wagons more than 175 years ago.
Fast forward to the realities of today, when weekend evening and event crowds gather within the district and create a need for more innovative safety measures while still keeping its walkable vitality.
Westport formed a Community Improvement District (CID) in 2003 to band property owners in the neighborhood together to address challenges in the public arena. The District collaborates closely with the Kansas City Police Department to further smart security measures specific to the District.
A pedestrian safety measure that has successfully been in place for years is Westport’s closing of a portion of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic Friday and Saturday evenings. The closing helps accommodate and enhance this pedestrian-friendly environment and restrict entry to ages 21 and over.
Globally as security concerns are heightened, Westport has proactively identified the localization of key Westport streets to make further safety precautions. Localizing the streets would permit security scans for firearms — just as you expect when going into an arena, stadium or concert.
Sense of Community
We are a community of local small businesses, neighbors and visitors that all want to keep this pedestrian –oriented community special while upholding our collective rights and civil liberties.
Local businesses, associations, residents, neighbors, employees and community leaders are in agreement that the best solution to maintaining safety is to make localization of the streets a priority despite the fact it moves the expenses of maintaining the streets from the taxpayers to local businesses.
- Broadway Westport Council
- Heart of Westport Neighborhood Association
- Westport Regional Business League
“I support ideas that recognize young adults in Kansas City need and deserve places to go on weekends that are welcoming and safe, absent the threat of weapons. I believe the plan to privatize portions of Westport in order to permit security scans is both logical and audacious, but it saddens me that the level of violence has driven local businesses and residents to this point.”
President, AdHoc Group Against Crime, Damon Daniel
“As a Westport small business owner, we want the best for the people we serve. First and foremost, we have to keep people safe.
While crazy things are happening around the world, Westport keeps that pioneering spirit to build community. After considering all the options, localizing the streets is a no brainer for safety’s sake.”
Local Business Owner, Colleen Kelly
“Westport residents want a safe community to live in when we walk out our front door, and the proposed localization of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue will help us keep the neighborhood we live in safer without sacrificing the “Westport” that we know and love.”
Resident, HOA Member, Thad Sieracki
“We have worked security at clubs and events in Westport and throughout the city for years, and the fact is weapons don’t have any place in crowded, late night gatherings with alcohol. People can have fun without carrying guns.”
Security Professional and Business Manager, Rico Dejoie
“Localizing the streets is a proactive solution to promote safety and preserve walkability given Westport’s narrow street layout and the large crowds that frequently fill our streets.”
Property Owner, Todd Gambal
“I lived and worked in Westport and I appreciated the streets blocked off. I support going further to localize the streets to keep this special area full of pedestrians safe.”
Wesport patron and recently worked & resided in Westport, Katie McCalla
Q: What can I do to help the Westport Safety First effort?
A: Share on social media your support for the Westport proposal to localize streets for safety #LocalizeWestportStreets and call your City of Kansas City Councilpersons. http://kcmo.gov/city-officials/city-council-members
Q: What are localized streets?
A: The property owners that surround the localized streets pay for their maintenance and operating costs, including security, snow removal, lighting, trash removal, street paving and street tree maintenance.
The security of a localized street can be greater than a traditional public street, thus allowing Westport to prohibit guns — just as stadiums and other outdoor venues with large crowds do to maximize safety.
Q: Will localized streets allow residents or employees under the age of 21 to access Westport?
A: Yes, the proposal exempts residents and employees from the age restriction.
Q: What is the screening process when localizing the streets?
A: Metal detectors or wands will be utilized at the entrances to prohibit the entry of firearms.
Q: Will localization prevent or impede city services?
A: No, the City of Kansas City would retain control of all drainage and sewer systems, waterlines, and fire hydrants and is guaranteed access at all times to provide fire safety, EMT and other public safety services.
Q: Does this impact our civil liberties?
A: We value civil liberties and will uphold all civil liberties under localization whether the streets are opened or closed – just as it currently occurs.
Q: What happens if the localized Westport Streets do not meet their obligations outlined in the proposal (CIS/MOU)?
A: The area will revert the right-of-way to the City’s full control. City staff will monitor the CID’s compliance and all the terms in the MOU so that all standards are met.
Q: Where are the proposed localized streets?
A: On Pennsylvania Avenue from the south edge of 40th Street on the north to the north edge of Archibald Street, and Westport Road from Broadway on the east to Mill Street on the west.
Q: When would the localized streets be closed and subject to security scans?
A: Friday and Saturday nights from 11PM to 4AM and during a few other larger festival and event dates when the streets are traditionally closed.
Q: Who would have ownership of the proposed localized streets and their maintenance?
A: The Westport Community Improvement District would be responsible for the streets once localization occurs.
Q: Will there be a cover charge to access?
A: No- the vast majority of the time. If there ever is any charge on non-special events, it would be nominal and strictly used for the purposes of covering the increased public safety costs that the public expects at outdoor venues that attract crowds.
Q: Would the localized streets be totally accessible at all other times aside from late on Friday and Saturday evenings and during larger events?
A: Yes, the streets would continue to be used for traffic including pedestrian, biking and vehicular movement, just as it occurs now.
Q: Why do the streets need to be localized for safety?
A: Security scans to prohibit firearms on the streets are not permitted unless they are private. The public expects safety scans going into large public areas, like football games, yet it is not permitted on public streets. Localization of some Westport streets would allow those scans for firearms to occur.
Q: Is this some sort of land grab?
A: NO. The streets will remain as streets and are not permitted to be altered for anything other than a street. The businesses are taking on the responsibility for the care of the streets because they want to maximize safety beyond what visitors would get otherwise. 96% of the businesses are local, small businesses that recognize safety is the utmost importance for them, their patrons, visitors and employees (most of whom are local hires).
Q: Would pepper spray or mace be considered a weapon?
A: We do NOT consider a small personal-defense sized mace/pepper spray (smaller than 0.65 ounces) to be a weapon. These would be allowed under street localization.