KC Light Rail

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

Taking the temperature along the route

The Star provides an excellent snapshot today of how residents and businesses along the 14-mile starter route are feeling.

While the comments run the gamut from excited to suspicious, we encourage all Kansas Citians to trust the federally-mandated process that requires facts to back up any route in exchange for federal funding. Travel times must be competitive (hence the need for eliminating bottlenecks in the street) and ridership estimates must be based on potential (versus just existing riders).

What we find most intriguing is the faulty assumption that light rail will have a more detrimental or divisive effect than the high-volume arteries that already exist along the route. Don't think that's a fair comparison? Ask any neighborhood association why they've lobbied for one-way streets and traffic circles and you'll have the answer.

(Hint: Too many cars are bad for neighborhoods, too.)

6 Comments so far

  1. Eric August 31st, 2008 1:24 pm

    The city still has a lot of work do in promoting the fact that once dramatically expanded transit becomes available, there will be less need to drive to businesses along the route - which means less need for parking.

    People who complain about losing parking or vehicle lanes are usually people who see rail as an intrusion and not something they would actually use. City leaders need to do some evangelizing out in the community, not just on the TV.

  2. midtown joe August 31st, 2008 4:56 pm

    They could start by educating voters on what parking does to the tax base. Much sprawl doesn’t generate enough taxes to cover it’s government services. Filling in the parking lots on Main would provide more tax revenue without building new infrastructure (beyond the cost of light rail, of course).

    In other words, highways increase infrastructure at a higher rate than they increase tax revenues. Fixed guideway transit increases tax revenues at a higher rate than they increase infrastructure.

    Let’s just hope City Hall is smart enough not to give away the store in tax breaks.

  3. northlander August 31st, 2008 9:01 pm

    With less people driving it means less money for roads and transit.

  4. Dave September 1st, 2008 10:12 am

    right. so why bother building any more roads?

  5. Eric September 2nd, 2008 12:42 pm

    While federally-funded state highways rely on gas taxes, city streets (and light rail) are paid for mostly with sales taxes. So less driving doesn’t effect the local money available.

    What does effect the local sales tax revenue available for transportation is buying fewer consumer goods.

  6. matt September 2nd, 2008 10:09 pm

    midtown joe is correct, the easiest way to generate tax revenue (both property and sales) is with good quality mixed use density, which fixed guideway transit will generate.

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