Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Checkpoints hurting Waldo and Brookside in Kansas City

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Checkpoints are causing problems with club owners and restaurant owners in Waldo and Brookside, two midtown Kansas City restaurant and bar districts.

Checkpoints set up routinely at 77th and Wornall are seemingly targeting the blossoming Waldo area specifically.  According to a local business owner in the Waldo area, the checkpoint at 77th and Wornall is positioned directly in the middle of the Waldo restaurant and bar district, being just south of the busy intersection at 75th and Wornall.  We asked the business owner (who wished to remain anonymous) if they thought that the new checkpoint location was a result of the recent success in the Waldo bar area.  He had this to say:

"The checkpoint at 77th and Wornall is definitely a back-handed compliment to our latest success as a popular Kansas City hot spot.  The main problem is that there are 14 restaurants and bars in the Waldo area, and this checkpoint location sits right in the middle of them.  600 cars per hour travel down Wornall road, and at the last checkpoint they set up at 77th and Wornall only yielded 18 arrests.  This hardly warrants a checkpoint at this location.  Setting up checkpoints at or near The Power and Light District makes MUCH more sense, as they have 20 times the bar traffic that the Waldo restaurants and bars have combined.  for years the only location on Wornall that held sobriety checkpoints was near 94th and Wornall where Wornall meets Ward Parkway.  When they started setting up shop at 77th and Wornall they started hurting our business directly.  Besides the obvious negative effects, crowds thinning out, customers leaving but not coming in, there is another negative aspect that most don't realize; the checkpoints are affecting our waitstaff and kitchen employees and their income.  Once the news gets out that there is a checkpoint literally in our back yard, we invariably have to let a few servers go for the night who were counting on their weekend tips to pay the rent, etc.  We also have to cut our cooks early, leaving them short of the 40 hours that they are counting on to make ends meet.

To be fair to us and our employees, the police should notify local business owners at least two weeks in advance when they are planning on setting up the trap at 77th and Wornall.  The checkpoints aren't fooling or surprising anyone in this modern day of text messaging, facebook, and twitter.  Once the first person sees the checkpoint, they immediately notify all of their friends and the word actually spreads to US within minutes - that's how we know how well the texting, etc. works - because WE find out quickly.  Basically, there is no way to be sneaky about a checkpoint with today's technology, so they might as well notify us in advance so we can schedule less staff for the night of the checkpoint and try to make up their hours during the week prior."

Surely, the reason for the lack of checkpoints at The Power and Light is purely political, and it seems that the new checkpoint at 77th and Wornall is a tribute to the new success of the Waldo area, however the police should consider the livelihood of Waldo's work force and notify restaurant and club owners in advance so that they can make adjustments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I HATE the P&L. The statement about the lack of check points in that area being a political thing is dead-on in my opinion.

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