KC Light Rail

Your source for news and information on Kansas City’s light rail progress

Archive for April, 2007

Chastain Makes Pitch to CX

Chastain speaks to members of Central ExchangeDuring today's forum with members of the Central Exchange (CX), Clay Chastain railed against the establishment and city hall for being "nothing but negative". Questions from the audience were very general ("What can we do?", "Have any studies been done?", "What other cities are doing light rail?"), but when pressed for additional details about the plan after the forum concluded, Chastain had these responses:

Why Broadway? Chastain responded with the reasoning that Broadway is more grand and goes right through the heart of Westport and Plaza. It also provides direct access to the train station. He envisions the line being elevated across Pershing, connecting with Union Station, then "feathering" into Broadway after crossing the terminal tracks. Broadway also provides direct access to the new Performing Arts Center and Bartle Hall.

Were you aware beforehand that Alstom — maker of the ground-level power supply referenced in the plan — has not implemented the technology in cold climates? Yes, he was aware, but is convinced that the technology can still be used and that Alstom has long-term plans to implement it in colder climates abroad.

Were you inspired by the original design of Penn Valley Park in your quest to include enhancements to it in the approved plan? Yes. When the park was originally designed by George Kessler, Chastain noted that the curvy path of Broadway was designed for carriages, not as a "highway" dumping into I-35.

Have you spoken to Mayor-Elect Mark Funkhouser since the election? No. Chastain wanted to make sure some time had passed after the election and he hopes that Funkhouser reaches out to him.

Also, Chastain has not been reading this site, but is now aware that it exists. So if you're finally getting around to checking us out, Clay, welcome! We will also be covering the public forum next week hosted by the AIA.

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Meet Clay Chastain @ Central Exchange

The Central Exchange — a leadership organization for professional women — is hosting a talk with Clay Chastain, author of the recent light rail ballot initiative. Free for members and $20 for non-members, the event starts at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at 1020 Central St. in downtown KC.

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Mayor-Elect: Light Rail a Top Priority

Mark Funkhouser will take the top seat in Kansas City government on May 1, along with a "gently used" city council (a handful are re-elects and former Missouri state legislators). Funkhouser was short on transit specifics during the primary and general election (as were most, although kudos to Jim Glover for riding the MAX to hand out campaign literature and shake hands). An article in the Star last week notes that Funk plans to make one of his first priorities "reach[ing] out to suburban officials to work on mass transit, including light rail". We haven't had a chance to talk to Funk about light rail directly, but we have spoke to one of his campaign people (Britt), who assured us that it really is one of his top issues.

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