KC Conspiracy Theorists: Walkable Development Will “Devastate” Auto Giants

Now that Kansas City has its streetcar up and running, the city is taking the logical step of updating its zoning code to allow for walkable development along the transit route. And according to some local Agenda 21 believers, anyone who works for the automotive industry should be very afraid.

Kansas City's new transit-oriented development plan calls for some common sense changes, like supporting multi-story mixed-use buildings. Image: Kansas City
First they build up to the sidewalk, then they smash the entire automotive industry. Image: Kansas City

Up for a vote this Thursday at the City Council is a transit-oriented development policy that, in very general terms, calls for compact, mixed-use growth and better walking and biking conditions. It’s not a detailed zoning plan, more like a statement of principles to encourage development that pairs well with the streetcar, instead of the low-slung buildings, surface parking, and drive-throughs that predominate now. Only areas near the stations would be affected.

You might call it a common sense step to get more out of the city’s new transit line.

Or you could call it a “dangerous” law that will destroy “our freedoms.” At least, that’s the tack that a local group calling itself “Citizens for Responsible Government” has taken. A vocal opponent of the streetcar, CRG posted a paranoid screed on its Facebook page (reprinted for preservation at TransitKC).

It begins:

This ordinance would be devastating to us all but special attention should be paid by anyone involved in the Automobile Industry in any way, this would include FORD MOTORS, GENERAL MOTORS, UAW and all Auto Workers, Auto Dealers, Mechanics, Auto Leasing Companies, Auto Transport Companies, etc., etc., etc.,

Got it. Encouraging walkable development around Kansas City’s two-mile streetcar is the straw that will break the back of General Motors.

Moving on, there’s nothing like caps-lock to hammer home the sinister concepts at work here. Someone has studied Glenn Beck’s “keyword list” well:

If this becomes LAW, it is frightening what effect it could have on current and future development. The plan calls for DENSITY and COMPACT DEVELOPMENT over and over.. concentrating jobs, housing shopping and services close to transit. (Page 5 and again on Pg. 9) “LOCATE A MIX OF TRANSIT-SERVING USES, SERVICES, ACTIVITIES AND DESTINATIONS CONVENIENTLY NEAR TRANSIT AND LIMITING USES THAT ONLY SERVE AUTOMOBILES”.

It gets worse, they say:

It calls for “Incorporating pedestrian,bicycle,and transit facilities into designs for new projects and encourage the retrofit of existing development”; where are the autos?

Parking: ” No parking between the street and storefront”!

And now to wrap up with some paranoid gallows humor:

We know in January of 2014, the CIty endorsed the UN’s Agenda 21. This ordinance is another step in that direction. One thing I saw missing was the crematorium where they will send those of us over 70 who can no longer get to the streetcar or walk or bike everywhere.

It’s true — there’s no crematorium in the plan. But once you allow for a mix of uses, you never know what’s coming.

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