Gentleman Friend and I recently took a weekend trip to Kansas City so that we could stand in the rain to watch an outdoor concert. During our short stay, we relied heavily on Uncle Google’s Sassy Map Lady Friend to help us navigate around town. We learned quite a lot about the overall layout of the city during our short stay – so much so that by the time we left, we were “old pros” at getting around. So comfortable and un-irritated with the city were we that we never screeched at each other in frustration as we missed our turn for the twelfth time!
For those thinking about planning a trip to this land of barbecue and…other things, I’ve put together a Cheat Sheet for you to study so that you are fluent in the area byways and highways before your trip even begins!
- Take a look at a map of the region. You’ll see a town laid out in a straightforward grid pattern. Interspersed with your north-south and east-west thoroughfares are a few random swirly routes, created to maximize the flow of vehicles and make turning left across traffic so you can get to the Price Chopper nearly impossible.
- Take a closer look at a map of the region and zoom in to the downtown area. Like with any major metropolis, this is where the major interstates come together and branch off so that you can get to where you need to be. For guests arriving to KC via Interstate 70, the city has made your next step extraordinarily easy! Regardless of where you are coming from or where you are going, the exit number you are looking for is 2. Exit 2 is then subdivided 20 ways and labelled with a letter of the alphabet. Simply look for your exit letter in the correct order. For instance, exit 2T is after exit 2R, because in the English alphabet, R stands for Rocky, which is a superior movie franchise to Transformers, which begins with T.
- PRO TIP. It helps to have multiple passengers in the vehicle to help you find your exit. Is it a left hand exit? A right hand exit? No exit at all? Whatever you do, be sure to continue travelling at 85 miles per hour. Except in that one section east of downtown itself where the speed limit drops to 17 miles per hour.
- There are many parkways. If you are staying south of the downtown area, a few with which to acquaint yourself are: Swope Parkway. Ward Parkway. Blue Parkway. Brush Creek Parkway. Volker Boulevard. When trying to remember which is which, remember the following: They are all the same.
- PLOT TWIST. It becomes Shawnee Mission Parkway as soon as you cross into Kansas. How will you know you’ve made it to Kansas, an entirely different state? You passed through a stoplight.
- It is not uncommon for several major roadways to intersect at the same point, multiple points, or just slightly adjacent to each other approximately 50 yards apart so that the rookie traveller is not 100% sure he is making the correct turn. Please see the images below for examples.
- Do not be alarmed if you find yourself driving and gradually realize it appears you are now traveling on a one-way road because traffic in the opposite direction is now separated from you by a median approximately 3 football fields wide but then you see that traffic on the other side of you seems to be going in both directions because they are actually on a road with a completely different name, but it runs parallel to where you are driving and then you realize that’s the road you need to be on but how do you get over there?
- Roundabouts! Hooray!
- Lastly: for an overall mental picture of the area, imagine a beautiful Gaelic knot, intricately woven with care using rope that’s become slightly unraveled and also it’s been submerged underwater for a bit and possibly there is some glue in that water. That’s a good start.