KC Light Rail

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Archive for the 'Light Rail Task Force' Category

The Task Force Letter

The Kansas City Post has the letter from some members of the Light Rail Task Force decrying the process and what little political support they've received. Our favorite quote is the reference to members of the Task Force who don't want light rail in the first place. Sad indeed. Even worse is that this task force followed one that expertly managed to hammer out the city's economic development policy (televised meetings, media coverage, regular council updates, etc.). Granted, the Chastain vote, subsequent council repeal, and lawsuits muddied the waters quite a bit… still no excuse for transparency and listening to the group you convened for the sole purpose of providing recommendations.

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Task Force: Linwood or Brush Creek

The Light Rail Task Force dumped a few east side spur options and is moving forward with just two: Linwood Boulevard or Brush Creek (Volker/Emanuel Cleaver II/47th). According to the Star article, the Task Force's work on routing is now done. The City Council agreed with the previous recommendations entirely, so transit watchers will be paying close attention on this last detail to make sure there are no last minute switcheroos ("We want to continue south instead… for the children!").

Buses that run in the Linwood corridor have higher ridership and there are strong redevelopment possibilities at Cherry, Troost, and Prospect; it's also in a historically downtrodden part of the city (see yesterday's USA Today article for a post-MLK recap). Brush Creek would tie in better with the city's massive investment along previously-flood-prone Brush Creek and the dedicated light rail right-of-way along US-71. We've had lots of comments here about which one would be better. Does it matter at this point? If it does, email your council representatives and let them know.

Brush Creek makes sense due to the ROW along US-71, which would allow a future extension along the highway to avoid running in the streets (something for which KC doesn't have a lot of opportunities). Neither corridor has much job density, so it will probably come down to development and expansion capabilities. Existing ridership arguments are valid… but when you're already serving the transit-dependent population along Linwood with frequent bus service, does it make sense to replace it with light rail when a major by-product is adding new riders of choice?

The good thing here is that there is no right answer, just a preferred option that will facilitate concensus. Both corridors have their benefits and both would definitely boost the urban core.


Tonight’s Task Force meeting

The Light Rail Task Force will meet tonight with a full agenda, including evaluation of east side routing options (see PDFs for 18th/Truman, Linwood, and Brush Creek… as well as late-comer Independence). The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at the HNTB office at 715 Kirk Drive.

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Prime Buzz: Task Force ready in August

Prime Buzz briefs us on the status of the Light Rail Task Force (thankfully… while the ATA has seen fit to post meeting recaps, they're months behind) and it looks like they'll be wrapped up by August in time to educate voters for a November election. Most exciting items: station design begins next month and ridership estimates are due in June. If you find station design as intriguing as we do, just Google "light rail station design" and start reading up (especially Phoenix because of the climate considerations). As far as ridership, we're predicting something similar to or slightly higher than Charlotte (about 9K/day in the first year) based on the similarities between the two cities.

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Task Force makes route, technology recommendations

The Star has the full story on the 12-mile recommendation. Here are the basics:

  • Northern terminus: Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway (I-29)
  • Southern terminus: 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard
  • Eastern branch: 18th Street, Linwood Boulevard, or along Brush Creek to Prospect Avenue
  • Technology: Modern streetcar with overhead catenary in dedicated, transit-only lanes
  • Funding: 3/8-cent new sales tax with federal matching funds
  • Stops and precise street alignment will be determined at a later date

Now the Council must make a decision this week on how to proceed with the repeal of the voter-approved plan. It has been sufficiently tarred and feathered, but now that a real replacement exists a simple repeal by the Council should produce little fallout (other than snarky comments from the same five trolls on Prime Buzz). The Council has had plenty of time to think about the options and they've been floating in the media — and out their districts — for just as long. It's time to act.

UPDATE: The ATA has posted the Task Force's recommendations: Citizen Task Force Recommendations on an Alternative Light Rail Plan