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Map of Main Street Corridor west with near sections of Westport and Plaza
East of Main, W 47th Street becomes Emanuel Cleaver II  Blvd, formerly Brush Creek Blvd.
South of 43d Street  Broadway becomes J C Nichols Parkway, and Broadway brcomess Wornall south of 47th.
The Westport Coffee House, 816.756.3222 -- 4010 Pennsylvania Ave, is the BLACK spot.
 C=Californo's,  816.531.7878 -- 4124 Pennsylvania.

Zoom out to KC   --  Zoom out further to KC area   --  Hiwy Map  --  Vern's photo & bio   --   More coffee/eateries   --   NYTimes on Westport

Westport Road is a neighborhood road for visitors and shoppers, not for thru traffic-- use 39th, Broadway, Main, 43rd.





Not to be confused with The Broadway Cafe, 4106 Broadway, one door down from the Southwest corner of Broadway and Westport Road:
The Westport Coffee House
I like the Westport Coffee House because it is usually quiet enough to actually have a conversation. It has a private room often available and a large choice of hot and cold drinks and some snacks. Address: 4010 Pennsylvania Ave, on the west side of the street, between entrance to the covered parking garage and the open parking area; phone  816.756.3222 -- the black blob map on my website at http://www.cres.org/pubs/map_westport.htm. This is walking distance from my house, so it would work for me simply to meet you there. I am being picked up for another meeting elsewhere thereafter, and this would make it possible for me to keep that appointment without concern about transportation time. Is this agreeable?


NOTE the new expanded curbing at Main and Westport to slow traffic from Main to Westport. Also from
http://westportkcmo.com/parking-in-westport/

"Westport was originally designed for pedestrians and horses, hence the narrow streets and the zero lot line buildings. Itís roads were never intended to be a high-speed thoroughfares or arterial roadways for automobiles. At best, the narrow historic streets of Westport could function as low-speed neighborhood streets.

"With the addition of four-way stops at the Westport Road intersections with Pennsylvania Avenue and Mill Street, attempts are being made to bring this historic roadway back to the pedestrian focus it had lost when thousands of cars were speeding through just to avoid catching the next traffic light. A vehicular trip eastbound or westbound on Westport Road will now take longer with the recent traffic calming changes. At the same time, pedestrians will now find it easier Ė and safer Ė to cross Westport Road. Through traffic just trying to move from east to west across midtown are encouraged to consider alternative routes such as 39th Street, 31st Street, 43rd Street or 47th Street."
 



 
 

#Vacation

THE STAR AND WESTPORT VACATION

~1. The Star's misleading editorial about Westport stree vacations
~2. My email to The Star, not for publication
~3. The Star's (inadequately informed and inaccurate) response
~4. My assessment of The Star's research on this question
~5. Problem reconciling reports 

1.
2017 July 20 Editorial:
WESTPORT STREETS MUST REMAIN PUBLIC
Privatizing streets isnít the solution to Westport crime problem
By The Kansas City Star editorial board

Westport survived the Civil War. It will make it through the turmoil of this era. But itís going to stepped-up efforts from a broad range of stakeholders to end the mayhem that has taken hold on too many weekends.

A spate of shootings has resulted in more than a dozen injuries and escalating fears about public safety. Police have resorted to pepper spray, and last weekend, they closed bars early in an effort to force unruly crowds to disperse.
Clearly, people who are armed and looking for trouble donít belong in Westport or any portion of Kansas City. But thereís a problem. Unless someone brandishes a firearm or shoots one, there is little that police can do.

That reality is courtesy of the Missouri legislature, which has relaxed concealed carry laws in recent years. Gun-toting felons donít show up flagged with an ďFĒ stamped on their foreheads, and police have few options if they simply suspect someone has a weapon.

So, Westport stakeholders got creative in their efforts to create a gun-free zone. Public safety is their goal. But one proposed remedy, privatizing the streets so that people entering the area can be checked for weapons, is a recipe for racial animus. The perception will be that the unwanted entity isnít guns, but rather the people who tend to arrive late on summer Saturday nights: a predominantly African-American crowd.

Any perceived variation in how different patrons are checked for weapons no doubt would spur accusations of disparate treatment and civil-rights violations. And closing off streets to foot traffic so everyone could be checked for firearms would be a herculean, if not an impossible, task.

A meeting Friday with Westport Regional Business League included input from a California-based nonprofit that advises cities on entertainment districts. Pursue that avenue. Managing crowds is not unique to Kansas City.

Westportís numerous 3 a.m. liquor licenses are also drawing scrutiny. But the issue isnít necessarily what time Westport needs to clear out the patrons, but rather how quickly that can be accomplished. Congestion is a central problem, especially when the streets are closed off on weekend nights, heightening the party-in-the-street atmosphere. Besides, the city canít yank liquor licenses without cause.

Westport is in flux. New property owners are eager to grow the area as a residential hub and expand office space, restaurants and other services. Thatís a good recipe for building density and forming new communities in midtown.

Itís essential that stakeholders continue to work with city staff and consider a range of ideas for making Westport safer at night. But privatizing streets isnít the way to accomplish that goal.




2.
On Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 10:47 AM, Vern Barnet <vern@cres.org> wrote:

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Dear Editorial Board -- 

Lives are at stake, including mine, but you have obviously and apparently cavalierly failed to research the question of street vacation in Westport. As I resident, I am alarmed. The editorial seemed to be based on serious misunderstandings of the proposal.

This morning I contacted Franklin D. Kimbrough, Executive Director, 816.531.4370  C: 816.509.4478, kim@wrbl.org, Westport Regional Business League, westportkcmo.com, to find out if you had invited him to a meeting of the Editorial Board. He told me the only recent contact he has had with The Star were two reporters, neither one of which asked about the street vacation. 

I have heard the city lawyer, Mr Kimbrough, and others at a wide community meeting that lasted well over an hour at the Westport library. Those initially opposed were won over by the end of the meeting. In addition, Mr Kimbrough also appeared at the last Heart of Westport Neighborhood Assn meeting. Your editorial promotes misconceptions about the proposal on many scores. 

Three examples: 
     (1) You make it sound as if the vacations are permanent, instead of on week-ends between 11 pm and 4 am (I forget the exact time when the vacation would end). Failure to mention this is, at a minimum, sloppy. 
     (2) Second, introducing the racial issue implies that only African-Americans are the ones carrying guns. This is not true, and leads one to ask -- Is the Board is guilty of racial profiling by its editorial? After all, security wands do not see color. 
     (3) Third, although you mention 3 am licenses, you easily suggest there are alternatives to this problem apparently without hearing the other avenues that have been tried -- and you do not propose any solution. You report none from the  ? a California-based nonprofit you mention. The editorial does not indicate any study of the recent increased prevalence of guns brought into the neighborhood. Although most Heart of Westport residents live on the east side of Broadway, this is a serious spillover concern for us, as well as wanting to protect all lives everywhere.

You owe it to the Westport businesses and neighbors to invite Mr Kimbrough to a Editorial Board meeting  and to study the proposed legal agreement with the City, to see if you might reconsider the damage you have done to efforts to save lives.

Most editorials are well-researched. The simple fact that you did not investigate  this issue sufficiently is apparent from what you have published. You have every right to oppose the proposed Westport street vacation, but today's editorial fails because you do not demonstrate that you have studied this question with the attention it deserves. Please return to the research standards your readers expect. 

Vern Barnet




3.
On 7/20/2017 11:28 AM, [Name] wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to write.
I can assure you that the editorial was both well-researched and that conversations are on-going with many of the stakeholders.

And yes, the board is extremely interesting in hearing more from Mr. Kimbrough. I have stopped by his office and have left messages with his staff, specifically asking about views on the proposal for privatizing the streets. The last one, left several days ago by phone, was proposing the idea of him coming to meet with the editorial board, perhaps to do a Facebook live session as well. [emphasis added]

The issue of racial perception is a huge and has been a large part of the conversation.

Unfortunately, some African Americans have not felt welcome in Westport going back to issues (and subsequent lawsuits) that occurred in the 90's. It is an issue of extreme importance. One if the concerns with wanding people is that studies have shown that despite good protocols, disparate treatment often occurs. That is a topic that Westport stakeholders have discussed, among many. And there have been some really strong efforts to write in what are basically civil rights protections into the proposal.

Yes, as you say....security wands many not see color, but the people operating them do. It's more than just the wand, it's how they are used, what is said during use, what happens if someone announces that they do not want to be checked, how are pat-downs managed.

As you can see, just this one topic gets very complicated, very quickly.

The California non-profit is a new connection for the group. Some work is being done to learn more about how satisfied other cities were with their work, what the costs might be to go forward and engage with them, who would pay, etc. So it is a bit premature to delve in too heavy right now in an editorial.
There are also efforts to get more data from police, knowing what guns they might have been able to confiscate is a part of that conversation.

In short, there is much more to this than what can be conveyed in one editorial. A lot of very diligent work is being done by people who are extremely concerned about being fair, finding workable answers and ensuring the safety and security of Westport, its residents and the financial health of its businesses.

There will certainly be more that can and will be said on the situation as people work toward solutions.

[name]
Editorial Columnist
The Kansas City Star
1729 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
816-234-4752
[[name]@kcstar.com




4.
From: Vern Barnet <vern@cres.org>
Date: Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 12:54 PM
Subject: % Reply to [Name] Editorial on Westport street vacation
To and CC: [Editorial Board members] 

Dear [Name],

Thanks for taking the trouble to respond to my concern as you have. All I will say now is these five things, quickly -- 

(1) Without having successfully made the contact with Mr Kimbrough, for whom I understand you left a message yesterday, a few hours before the editorial appeared,  the editorial was very "premature," to use your word, 

(2) The editorial seemed to dismiss the serious efforts to deal with what you rightly recognize is a "complicated" (your word) problem with what many of us read as a snide and dismissive comment, "So, Westport stakeholders got creative . . . ."

(3) There is no plan for "pat-downs" such as you mention, which is a further evidence that your editorial is poorly researched. Your statement that it was researched further undermines the credibility of the editorial. You should have waited until you heard fully from all sides. Be fair.

(4) I'm surprised you suggest that more police data are necessary since so many have been studied and form much of the basis for the proposal.

(5) I'm glad you have the 90s in mind, but the care with which the merchants have approached the racial issue should receive your applause and congratulations, not prejudicial recollections.

For years I have admired your work, this present error will not diminish my admiration. Thank you again for letting me know you will continue to examine this situation.

Gratefully,
Vern 




5.
Reconciliation problem --

I do not know how to explain the difference between the report of the editorial writer that the writer contacted the Westport office several days earlier with the report that the only contact of any staff was a few hours before the editorial appeared, except for one question from a reporter whose focus was on an unrelated matter a couple weeks earlier. 

Vern Barnet