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Central Standard

Highway 71: Connecting The Metro, Dividing Neighborhoods

hwy_71.jpg
Tim Samoff
/
Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Highways connect people and places with a speed we've come to take for granted. But highways also have a history of dividing and sometimes nearly obliterating the very communities they intersect.

Perhaps the most controversial example of this phenomenon in Kansas City is U.S. Highway 71. 

Controversy has surrounded this highly traveled stretch of road since its inception. Today, people complain about the traffic lights. They say the highway encouraged white flight, resulting in a legacy of segregated communities. Still others object to having to cross a highway to get from one side of their own neighborhood to another. Meanwhile, commuters appreciate the convenience and speed with which they can traverse the greater metro.

Central Standard explores the past, present and future of U.S. Highway 71.

Guests:

People don't make cameos in news stories; the human story is the story, with characters affected by news events, not defined by them. As a columnist and podcaster, I want to acknowledge what it feels like to live through this time in Kansas City, one vantage point at a time. Together, these weekly vignettes form a collage of daily life in Kansas City as it changes in some ways, and stubbornly resists change in others. You can follow me on Twitter @GinaKCUR or email me at gina@kcur.org.
Every part of the present has been shaped by actions that took place in the past, but too often that context is left out. As a community storyteller taking a new look at local history, I aim to provide that context, clarity, empathy and deeper, nuanced perspectives on how the events and people in the past have shaped our community today. I want to entertain, inform, make you think, expose something new and cultivate a deeper shared human connection about how the passage of time affects us all. Reach me at hogansm@kcur.org.
Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer, Media Training Manager and now the Community Engagement Manager at KCUR. You can reach him at Matthew@kcur.org, or on Twitter @MLMIndustries.
Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.