KC Light Rail

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

Archive for May, 2008

City-wide light rail workshops this week

Now that the neighborhood workshops are complete, the ATA is taking the light rail proposal to the city-at-large for viewing. Two sessions will be held in the politically expedient Northland and southeast parts of KCMO:

5:30-7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 13
Ruskin High School Gymnasium
7000 E 111th St.

5:30-7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 14
Midwest Baptist Seminary
701 NE Vivion Rd.


Funkhouser to announce May 30 regional light rail meeting

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser is holding a press conference at 4 p.m. today at Raytown City Hall to announce a May 30 meeting of regional Missouri leaders to discuss light rail. According to Prime Buzz, "he’ll address specifics regarding governance, financing and service. The results of a poll that’s being conducted to assess voter support will also be available." It will not be carried on Channel 2, so unfortunately we'll all have to rely on traditional media outlets for coverage.


Take the car free challenge next week

The local bike activists at kcbike.info are encouraging you to take one week out of your car-centric life and see how liberating it can be. It's Bike Week 2008 next week, so sign up if you want to give $3.60/gallon gas prices a break. The weather looks promising. What have you got to lose? You don't even have to bike, just give up your car and carpool, walk, or use transit (or any combination that works for you). Did we mention a one-way trip on the bus is still only $1.25? Biking and walking are, of course, free. Need help? Leave a comment and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction, or check their handy route map.

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Light Rail in KC: Issues Recap

Chastain v. City: City wins! The Alternatives Analysis for a revised route continues unabated. Note to Hearne Christopher: Time to remove Chastain from your speed dial to make room for David Cook! Moving on…

Regional v. Starter Line: As an editorial in this week's Business Journal reminds us, this really isn't an either/or proposition. A starter line without a regional vision is dumb and a regional system without a first spike in the ground is impossible. Unfortunately, all of the rhetoric completely ignores the SmartMoves umbrella, even though the lines being drawn on the map are essentially the same. Here's an idea: Create a Plan A and B, then go with Plan B if Plan A fails! May we have our consultant fee now?

Midtown v. Downtown (and everyone else, for that matter): Not much has been made of this topic in the Old School Media, but it just may bubble over soon if 4th District Councilpersons Marcason and Gottstein avoid the tough work of calming down some very animated Hyde Park residents. Fear of encroachment, higher property taxes, and anything else that sounds Super Scary To Neighborhoods may be the thing that unravels the whole project… again. Believe it or not, the East Side "spur" debate is quietly resolving itself through good ol' communication (expect Cleaver, not Linwood). Take heed, Hyde Parkers!

Union Station v. Crown Center: Low on the list to most, but a few vocal proponents insist on the most direct connection possible with the only true bi-state success story (the Station is covering it's own expenses now, thank you very much). Our own informal polling suggests that it's wise to leverage the supposed support of the Hall clan — a first in KC light rail history — versus the symbolic gesture of a shorter walk to another mode of transit. We timed it ourselves and it's a five minute walk through The LINK to the Amtrak ticket counter; future commuter rail operations would likely terminate east of the actual station due to space constraints anyway. Our money's on Crown Center (with good signage pointing the way, never KC's strong point).

Grand v. Walnut v. Main: Oh, those poor parades full of dung-laden horses. Where will they go if light rail steals Grand? Probably the same place they went when we last had light rail (yes, streetcars are light rail… get over it) — it all peacefully co-existed, open-air streetcar-as-parade-float and all. But wait! Downtowners hatched an idea at a recent workshop to use Walnut between Union Station and the River Market as a transit-only corridor. Intended as a way to sway the conversation away from using Main and Walnut as a pair (northbound trains running on one street; southbound on the other — a remarkably dumb idea, but an official "option" nonetheless), it may take on a life of its own. Regardless, our money's on Grand, but expect to see lots of talk on how Walnut might work.


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