My Low-Car Diet for Kansas City

I moved back to Kansas City in February 2016, thinking I would probably buy a car at some point, but it’s June and still I haven’t.

The work I’ve had since moving here has not required me to drive. I’d like to keep it that way.

When I was living near 30th and Prospect in February and March, in the Santa Fe neighborhood, I took the 71 downtown or the 31 across town. The bus service on KC’s east side, at least around 31st Street, was regular and frequent. My main complaints were that I had to walk 5 or 6 blocks to get to the 71 bus stop on Prospect, and when I did get there, the Bluford library was about the only place to hang out on a regular basis. (In other words, hipster coffee shops have not yet made their way to Prospect. M&M Bakery at 31st and Woodland sells donuts and coffee and sandwiches, but walking there took 20 minutes at best.)

After spending a couple of weeks way out south on Holmes, I’m now ensconced in Westport, close to many bus routes: the Main Street Max, 47, 40, 51, 39, and 35. Getting to the Max takes longer than reaching the 71, and often it feels like running a gauntlet of men who need validation from women. I take other buses when I can that don’t require me to scurry down 39th toward Main.

Sometimes it’s more stressful living in Westport than living in the Santa Fe neighborhood, but here I have my choice of 3 coffee shops within 3 blocks, many options for dining out, and a rec center, library, and post office within a 10-minute walk. That’s nice, but I miss being surrounded by African Americans. In Kansas City, it seems, I am either one of a few white people in a black neighborhood, or I am in a white neighborhood with a few people of color.

I’ve been looking for jobs that will put my editorial skills to use improving the environment. Those jobs seem to be scarce, and the aggregators like Simply Hired don’t make it easy to find them.

So I’m shifting my strategy to finding companies whose goals align with mine. The more I find, the better chance I have of getting a job. I will do some walkabouts in Kansas City in which I roam neighborhoods and jot down names of businesses that are hiring or interest me for some other reason. I’m going to start this week in Westport.

Wish me luck.