KC Light Rail

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State Avenue BRT meeting tomorrow

Three questions beg your input at tomorrow's State Avenue BRT meeting in KCK. We offer reasonable expectations for those who plan to attend.

Where would it run?

Preferably on State Avenue, eh? Unfortunately, the top benefit of a bus is also it's worst enemy: they can go anywhere there are streets. But should they be shoehorned into door-to-door service at the cost of ease of use and visibility? Does simplicity ever trump convenience in bus routing? Not really in KC due to our erratic development patterns.

Regardless, expect ridership estimates to drive route diversions like those made along Main and Troost, although the proposed alignment appears fairly straightforward.

What will it look like?

What you will get: the "BRT lite" imprint established by the Main and Troost BRT lines (normal 40-foot buses, limited traffic signal priority, real-time arrival at most stations, and frequent service.

What you won't get: "light rail on wheels", as is frequently promised (off-board ticketing, level boarding, a comfortable ride, any capacity improvement over an existing bus); more than a 10-20% improvement over the current hour-long travel time (although the current claim is 30 minutes from KCK to Village West). Due to the light traffic loads on the sprawling western portions of State or Parallel Parkway, don't expect dedicated lanes outside of downtown KCK.

How would it be paid for?

Establishing frequent service that people can depend on requires a dedicated operational funding mechanism that can't be raided by elected officials when times get tough (here's why). Limited capital funding ($10 million) is being sought at part of MARC's TIGER stimulus proposal. Total cost is estimated at as much as $35 million for the entire route. Residents should encourage the city to require the purchase of hybrid or natural gas buses, which could offset the impact of increased frequencies.

Meeting details:

4:30 to 6 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009
Eisenhower Rooms A & B
Hilton Garden Inn
520 Minnesota Ave.

1 Comment so far

  1. benkrakh September 2nd, 2009 7:57 pm

    So frustrating how KC puts all of its money towards buses. As soon as I am done with school as KCAI I am moving out of this city. I hope the government of Kansas city knows that they are losing young people from coming/staying in this city because they are not progressive about their transit.Trust thousands of other young people feel the same way. Kansas City will always be seen as a small town unless it gets rail transportation. I guess the people of Kansas City are OK with being considered a 4th rate city.

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