I’ve been following the Walmart-Bingham school controversy and decided to drive the area, examining for myself how this section of Waldo would be impacted by the increased traffic. There was a story recently in the Kansas City Star outlining some of the issues, but no photos! If you are like me, it helps to see pictures of the area to get a true perspective.
Wal-Mart is proposing to purchase the school and turn it into a ‘neighborhood market’, open from 6am-midnight. Bingham school sits at 77th and Wyandotte, just south of the CVS Pharmacy and Planet Sub. Wornall Road is close to the west side of the property.
One of the major issues to deal with for any project moving into this location is the Trolley Track Trail: it runs between Wornall Road and the school property. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority does not want the trail interrupted for a vehicle entrance. A proposed alternative for this problem is building a bridge for the trail that cars would drive under at 77th St. Awkward!
Another issue of concern is 18 wheeler truck access for deliveries. The access road for these trucks is actually a private road. Again, it is so close to the always busy 75th and Wornall intersection. I can’t imagine 18 wheeler trucks trying to turn into the drive from 75th Street. It would be a very tight turn.
Nothing is confirmed regarding Wal-Mart purchasing this site. There is a quite a bit of neighborhood opposition to the proposal. The final decision to sell (or not sell) the school site to Wal-Mart will be made by the Kansas City MO Public School board. There is a facebook page for those who object to this plan, http://waldoniansforwaldo.com. No more proposals for this site will be entertained unless a decision is made against the Wal-Mart plan.
(As I was researching this blog, I learned Wal-Mart may be interested in putting the grocery at 85th and Wornall in the current Price Chopper store. That makes the most sense –because it’s already a grocery store in a commercial development strip with plenty of parking and major road access. If that site was chosen by Wal-Mart, KCMO Public Schools would have to find another buyer for the Bingham school.)
A large, commercial grocery store is the wrong fit for the Bingham school site, primarily because of the access for the huge delivery trucks and disruption of our beloved Trolley Track Trail. Any business that moves into this location will bring more vehicles to the area. But I don’t want to see daily truck traffic trying to access this mostly residential area. I already avoid the intersection of 75th and Wornall–just too busy to navigate with no separate turn lanes. Can you imagine what it would be like with large heavy trucks in this area several times a day? What do you think?