KC Light Rail

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KCI Connection: Now, Later, Never?

A letter to the editor and a special column by transit activist Kite Singleton take on both sides of the costly airport link included in the voter-approved light rail plan. Since KCI is so far away from the city center, does it make sense to ever build out that far? (Although, truth be told it's no more than 4 miles further away than Lambert is from St. Louis city center — feel free to compare MCI and STL yourself at Google Maps). One also has to consider recent comments by aviation and other city officials that a) the city must rely on the new car rental tax to pay for the Sprint Center, b) KCI is similarly addicted to your parking dollars, and c) a more traditional single terminal is in the works.

Yes, it will be expensive, but it should be in any long-term plan, if only to offer denser development incentives in the sprawling Northland. The most obvious benefit, however, will be to offer visitors a car-free experience from the moment of their arrival, which would increase the likelihood they will use the system more during their entire stay. In the interim, a boost to the pathetic, weekday-only #129 bus route is sorely needed.

Also of note, Saturday was the 50th anniversary of the last run of Kansas City's streetcars. Thank you for your wonderful legacy, Mayor Bartle.

8 Comments so far

  1. Brent June 25th, 2007 7:24 am

    I agree that the airport run shouldn’t necessarily be a “Phase 1″ build…Go from just North of the River to the Plaza in phase 1. Phase 2 should then go South (to Brookside or Waldo, depending on the route) and North to the airport. Get Phase 1 done by 2010, and Phase 2 done by 2014.

  2. Eric June 25th, 2007 8:25 am

    Certainly we need to connect the airport with rapid transit eventually, but doing it the first phase would be very expensive. And perhaps light isn’t the best choice. Dedicated bus lanes on I-29 might be faster, cheaper, and serve all three terminals.

  3. northlander June 26th, 2007 2:38 pm

    For redevopment just give out a TIF and see what happens. More Condos and apartment etc. Brookside could be changed in no time, maybe even a new shopping center.

  4. Dave June 26th, 2007 3:48 pm

    um, this post was about the airport…

  5. northlander July 4th, 2007 4:29 pm

    So start LR from the downtown airport and run it to KCI. Use airport fees to pay for it. That way those who fly and use transportation can pay for it.

  6. cm davis July 7th, 2007 7:45 am

    kite singleton should go fly a kite. his per mile estimates for light rail are prehistoric…anything under $70 million is a dream. he’s also a member one of the special interest groups that want this boondoggle built and who will benefit financially from it. when are we going to hear the comments of regular folks? not one light rail forum has invited public comment. go to www.transittruth.com for more info.

  7. Dave July 8th, 2007 1:33 pm

    the ATA will be *required* to seek public comment if they plan on asking for federal dollars. since the first step (the Alternatives Analysis) is not yet complete, you can expect to see a public comment period in a later phase. also, a vote on the ballot proposal was a perfect opportunity to voice your opinion on whether light rail should be built at all. if you checked “no”, then you’ve had your say. others checked “yes” and would like to discuss how to move forward.

  8. John September 7th, 2007 5:21 pm

    I agree with most everyone that has posted thus far. The starter line should definitely be placed somewhere in between the downtown airport/ North KC area and the Brookside/ Waldo area. Later, lines out to the airport and surrounding suburbs could be put in. A primary reason for this, besides cost, is that a line from KCI to the downtown would be rather useless to most city residents/ tourists. One would get into the downtown area and then what? Take a cab? There would be nothing to take people the rest of the way to/ near their destination. You might as well just drive instead.

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