KC Light Rail

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SmartMoves workshop recap

This blogger made tracks to the Central Library last night for MARC's SmartMoves workshop. I'd guess there were a little over 50 people. Attendees were asked to help identify key corridors for transit in the region. We were broken into smaller groups of about 8 and seated around a large map. My group was somewhat well-distributed with residents from the Northland, Downtown, East-central city, South Plaza and Shawnee.

Our group's discussion facilitators asked us what criteria transit should focus on when selecting a route. Popular criteria at our table included commuting, getting to recreation destinations (like stadiums), tourism (airport to hotels to cultural attractions), access to other transit lines / reducing the number of transfers to reach one's destination, and human services / security (hospital access, evacuation).

Our facilitator then asked us to use those criteria to draw lines along corridors on the large map of the metro in front of us. We could each draw two lines, and by about the fourth person, everyone's lines were on the map.

Our map looked like a trimmed-down SmartMoves map of olde, with corridors identified as I-35 from Liberty to Olathe (by far the most popular route at our table), I-70 from Blue Springs to the Speedway, KCI Airport to Belton, and Downtown to the Plaza. Most agreed a rail solution was preferred, but didn't think we'd see it initially due to cost; they seemed okay with buses.

Several people suggested their second route not be a corridor but more of a local circulator in areas like College Boulevard to the Grandview Triangle, Shawnee Mission Parkway, or Barry Road. The argument was after you park, ride and get off, you then have to get the last few miles to your door.

Other points brought up:

  • Connect the local universities
  • Will the Fed's really like us laying down Light Rail tracks in the same corridor they just gave us millions to add two pseudo-BRT lines?

Up next: MARC talks to elected officials for funding. I was told these officials have said in the past that they haven't heard from their constituents that there's a need for this kind of transit — too bad I recognized only one of them there — Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. If this is important to you then let your local and state officials know.

Look for updates from MARC in spring 2008.

More info: http://www.marc.org/kcsmartmoves/

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