Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Transit Talk Sept 29 – The Importance of APS and Carpooling – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 29, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMWould you cross a busy street blindfolded?  What is the most popular way to reduce cost and pollution on your daily commute?marclogo

Join us for two Transit Talks on RadioActive Magazine

When: Tuesday September 29, 2015 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio 

Live Stream KKFIKCdesignsipadkcbackgroundAccessible_Design_for_the_Blind

  1. What are accessible pedestrian signals (APS) and why do we need them? Host Sheila Styron discusses the life saving technology of accessible pedestrian signals (APS) with Janet Barlow, Accessible Design for the Blind, and Chris Lockey, Kansas City Public Works. If you cannot imagine crossing one of Kansas City’s busy intersections blindfolded, then you won’t want to miss what these two experts have to say!KC_work_trips_by_mode
  2. Is the thought of driving to work by yourself everyday depressing? Are you looking for a way to reduce the cost of commuting? Do you care about air quality and reducing carbon emissions? Host Janet Rogers speaks with Amanda Graor, Air Quality Program Manager at Mid-America Regional Council, about carpooling and the region’s Rideshare program.  Amanda discusses the importance of carpooling in the region (9% of our regional work trips are carpooling), how to use MARC’s Rideshare website, and she tells us who won this years Green Commute Challenge. If you want to learn more or start carpooling call  816-842-RIDE (7433),  use Rideshare Connection at MARC or email

Although Transit Action Network is dedicated to improving transit in the KC region, we are also very practical. If we can’t get to 82% of the jobs by transit, then people have to have an alternative to driving alone.

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TAN Comment on KCMO Draft TOD Policy

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 25, 2015

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKansas City’s Planning Department recently asked for comments on their Draft Transit Oriented Development Policy. LINK to KCMO Draft TOD Policy documents. Below is our comment. 120312-tan-logo21.jpg

Jeffrey Williams, Director of City Planning and Development

Subject: TAN’s comment on Draft TOD Policy

Transit Action Network has reviewed the lengthy Draft Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy and we want to express our appreciation to City Planning for the comprehensive job you have done in putting it together.

We believe strongly that tangible and intangible incentives are more important in spurring development, especially along transit corridors, than the mode of transit, or indeed the existence of transit at all. Indeed this should not be a radical idea for Kansas City Citizens who have just offered over $1 billion in incentives, without a penny for transit, to lure Cerner into redeveloping Bannister Mall and bring in 15,000 jobs. Because incentives are so critical, we emphasize the importance of integrating capital-intensive transit and TOD, especially development incentives. The policy draft catalogued possible incentives very thoroughly and should serve as a good guide for the council in implementing policy.

We understand that one cannot develop a one-size-fits-all TOD policy, and the document has done a good job of explaining how TOD can be sculpted into different urban landscapes. TOD has, however, become a style of urban design and therefore runs the risk of becoming divorced from transit.

There is a huge difference between the cost of a light rail line and low level BRT. These differences impact capacity and expected ridership and should help define the character of TOD districts. That is why transit, development incentives and TOD districts must be integrated.

We see this as primarily an educational document since this policy lacks detail and guidance in some areas sufficient to allow new codes, regulations or ordinances to be written for a TOD district. Actual implementation of the policy awaits the designation of the first TOD district and the attendant political process that will then ensue in codifying specific TOD parameters and financial incentives. It’s hard to think of these policies in the abstract. Not until there are concrete proposals on the table will all the stakeholders come out of the woodwork and “duke it out”.

We would therefore like to see one overlay district designated on a well-developed transit corridor. The Streetcar, Main Street MAX or Troost MAX corridor would all provide such an opportunity. Although we believe the Prospect MAX should have an appropriate TOD overlay, we don’t believe Prospect MAX would be a good place to start, especially since it is several years away.

The city should designate the first TOD overlay district then proceed to draft detailed proposals from there.

Transit Action Network TOD Committee

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Transit Talk Aug 18 – Regional Transit Landscape Is Changing Rapidly – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 17, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMJoin us! Multiple, major changes affecting bus systems and transportation for seniors and people with disabilities will be discussed on Transit Talk as part of RadioActive Magazine.KCATA

Dick Jarrold and Jameson Auten of KCATA discuss the recent changes to regional transit and the impact the changes will make on the community.  Hosted by Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday August 18, 2015 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on Radioactive Magazine

MAX brtListen to the podcastjohnson-county-kansas-logo

Changes include Independence returning to KCATA for transit management, Johnson County passing an increase to property tax to expand The JO and Special Edition, one eligibility form and one call center for ADA trips, Link for Care, Main Street Max birthday, Prospect MAX, bus stop inventory and more.

All TAN radio show are available at TAN RADIO

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Please Review KCMO Draft Transit Oriented Development Policy

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 12, 2015

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKansas City’s Planning Department wants your comments on their recently released Draft Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy.

This document is extremely important for the economic development potential in transit corridors and around transit stations such as Streetcar and Bus Rapid Transit/MAX stations.

Transit Action Network is excited about this document since it is the missing piece in getting successful TOD. Building good transit, by itself, is not enough to get the desired economic development around transit stations and in transit corridors. Good land use policies, transit-friendly zoning codes and an incentive policy for developers are all needed. This TOD policy gets the ball rolling in the right direction.


From the city:

“What is Transit Oriented Development (TOD)?

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is an approach to development that focuses land uses around a transit station or within a transit corridor in order to maximize access to frequent, high-quality transit and the benefits it provides. TOD is characterized by dense, compact development with a mix of uses in a pedestrian-oriented environment.

The Transit-Oriented Development Policy identifies the critical elements of a successful TOD and provides a concise program of initiatives to implement TOD in Kansas City. It is an important first step to ensure public transit investments are accompanied by new development and economic activity.”

 More Info:

For more information about the draft policy and to view the draft documents, please visit our project web page.


The Planning Department considered similar policies from multiple cities to craft a policy it feels suits Kansas City. This policy is meant to address different levels of TOD depending on the density and economic potential of a corridor.

Please help evaluate the policy. It will lead to new zoning and development codes, which affect everyone from transit riders, homeowners, apartment/condo dwellers and large and small businesses.

Has the city taken appropriate situations, needs and groups into consideration?  How will this affect you, your group or business? Now is the time to evaluate the policy for completeness and desirability.  Now is the time to make improvements and changes.

You will find the Planning Department has put together a very extensive policy and a lot of time and effort has gone into this document.

Make sure you and your groups are comfortable with these recommendations or suggest improvements.

TAN suggests that you read the city’s questions on the KC Momentum page before reviewing the document. Since this document is long, knowing the questions before hand may help you focus on some of the main issues. Of course, you can comment beyond what the city has asked.

Provide your answers on their KC Momentum site through Aug. 28.

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“Progress on Prospect” Celebration

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 13, 2015

KCATACelebrate the good news with KCATA and Mayor James – Millions of dollars in new public and private investments to re-energize the Prospect community.

When:  5 to 7 p.m., July 15

Where:  Emmanuel Community Center, 3510 Prospect Ave.

Hot 103 JAMZ KPRS-FM will host a live remote from 4 to 6 p.m.KCdesignsipadkcbackground

Hear Kansas City Mayor Sly James at 6 pm, then watch a video showcasing the major projects underway or planned for Prospect Avenue.

List of investments include:

$74 million for the new Leon Mercer Jordan,

 Click to Enlarge Prospect_MAX

Click to Enlarge Prospect_MAX

East Patrol Campus (new police station is scheduled for completion early next year),

$3.6 million Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church’s Youth and Family Life Center at 27th & Prospect,

$12 million Prospect project with a new Linwood Shopping Center development and a new Sun Fresh Market,

and KCATA, in partnership with the city of Kansas City, Mo., is planning a Prospect MAX line.

Don’t miss a chance to celebrate Prospect. The event includes free food and prizes.

KCATA Bulletin for more information.


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Transit Talk July 7 – Bicycling and Walking in the KC Region – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 7, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMAre you noticing more bike lanes on the roads?

How are some Kansas City kids earning a free bike?

What is Bike Share?

Is the Kansas City region becoming more walkable?

Eric Rogers and Kristen Jeffers of BikeWalkKC talk about bicycling and walking in the Kansas City region with host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday, July 7, at 6 pm

Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to the Podcast

Eric is Executive Director of BikeWalkKC and Chairs the Kansas City, MO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Kristen, who recently joined BikeWalkKC as Communications and Membership Manager, is known nationally for her blog, The Black Urbanist.

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On-Line Transit Forum KCMO 2015 Election!

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 9, 2015

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundTransit Action Network regularly holds an on-line transit forum for big elections. This year we are covering the Kansas City election for Mayor and City Council. Transit Action Network does not endorse candidates. All candidates were asked to participate.

We focused on particular policy issues that concerned us the last few years. Due to the large number of candidates, we made a lot of questions YES/NO or short answer. We realize that many politicians don’t like to be pinned down, but they were given an opportunity to expand or clarify any position. They were also provided with documents we referred to in case they were not familiar with the material. We have included those documents here.

Due to the length of the forum, candidate responses are available in Links to printable files. We have alternated colors for ease of reading. Some candidates added comments to their YES or NO response, so be sure to see the comment section to see the full response.

We thank all of the candidates who participated and we look forward to working with the winners.

Please read your candidates positions and be sure to VOTE on June 23rd!

Part One: How important do you think a good transit system is to Kansas City?  

Sly James, Mayor, Website: – I believe we need to tie the city together with a comprehensive transportation system including
dedicated bus lanes and an expanded streetcar line. This is critical to our economic growth as we compete with other cities that have more transportation options, which spur transit oriented development, and move people to jobs safer and faster than we do in Kansas City. Comprehensive transit is critical to our aging population and our citizens with disabilities. It’s time for us to pull ourselves up to the big table of great cities and have a serious approach to our region-wide transportation system. I’m confident that we can fix this decades old problem by working with the new leadership at KCATA to develop new and innovative solutions.

Scott Wagner, 1st At Large, Website: http://Wagner4kc.comGood transit is a common denominator for a host of issues including employment stability, job creation, infill redevelopment and new development.  It creates the opportunity to build density as the availability of transit allows for building more units of retail and housing and less need for parking lots.  As I’ve also worked on homelessness and re-entry issues, transit presents an opportunity to get income challenged populations to jobs, amenities and necessities without having to further invest in cars.  Transit removes barriers.

Dick Davis, 1st Dist., Website:  – Critically important. Good public transit is one of the last hurdles Kansas City must conquer to become nationally and globally competitive. Public transit links workers to jobs, neighborhoods and families to shopping and services, and vacant or underutilized properties to economic development. Electrically-powered transit reduces dependency on the automobile, lessens pollution and helps create a more sustainable environment.

Jason Hodges, 2nd At large, Website: – It is imperative for the success of any city to have good transit. Transit is more than getting people to and from work, it is life style access, school access, elderly access, etc.

Dan Fowler, 2nd Dist, Website: – An efficient integrated transit system is crucial to Kansas City’s progress.

 Katheryn Shields, 4th At Large, Website: http://ShieldsforKC.comA good transit system is very important to Kansas City for several reasons:

  1. We need to link jobs and people;
  2. We need to attract young people to our city;
  3. We need to provide affordable alternatives to the automobile to support the working poor;
  4. We need to take actions that help protect the environment, and reducing the need for automobiles is just one desirable action;
  5. We need to provide transportation alternatives for the elderly and disabled.

Jolie Justus, 4th Dist., Website: – A good transit system is critical to Kansas City. I support a regional, comprehensive, multi-modal, mass transit system that includes buses, sidewalks, bike lanes, roads/bridges, fixed rail and streetcars. Based on the information available to me at this time, our top transit priorities should involve seamless, regional and reliable transportation for residents to access jobs and basic services. A special priority should be placed on the needs of low-income residents, seniors, students and the disabled. I make all of my decisions on a case-by-case basis, utilizing all available data and input from all potential stakeholders. I will not pledge or commit to supporting any specific plans or policies, but I can commit that transportation services and infrastructure are at the top of my priority list and I will take transit issues into consideration when casting a vote on any policy matter.

 Dennis Anthony, 5th At Large, Website: http://Dennis4kcmo.comSeriously?? We need major improvements to transportation including more eco friendly low emission buses.

Lee Barnes, Jr., 5th At Large, Website: – Public transportation is very important to Kansas City. It is essential because it is one of the most effective ways to move people to jobs. Businesses located near public transportation experience more employee reliability and less absenteeism and turnover. In my opinion, Kansas City’s public transportation system can be enhanced most by developing MAX bus lines along the corridors that are the most traveled such as Prospect and Independence Avenue. I also believe that we should explore the development of a regional transportation system that can move people to jobs in the outer core of the metropolitan area. A regional system can also entice residence from the outlining areas of the Metropolitan area to visit the entertainment districts within the core of the city.

Ken Bacchus, 5th Dist. Website: www.KenBacchus.comA good transit system is very important to Kansas City as it is able to provide options for many individuals and families as they attempt to make important decisions for their livelihood on a daily basis. A good transit system provides multiple options for the users, including a planned bus system with optional day and peak systems, hopefully a dedicates rail system (Streetcar, light rail or heavy commuter rail) appropriate park and ride options and a system with good regional partner governments or a regional taxing authority to create a seamless system. It is very important for the traveling public who cannot or do not wish to own multiple automobiles to have options for mobility. A good transit system reduces carbon monoxide and other emissions into the environment and helps keep our air clean for current and future generations.

Terrence Nash, 6th Dist., Website: – See website

Kevin McManus, 6th Dist., Website: http://Kevin4KC.comThe development and implementation of an affordable and accessible regional transit system is critical both to our city’s future and the quality of life of our residents.   The cost of driving continues to rise, and owning a car is a luxury that many residents simply cannot afford. In addition, many residents who can afford a car also want to use public transit and expect to have access to a transit system from their neighborhoods. For these reasons, our city needs to continue to develop and expand its regional transit system so it can provide residents with a variety of options and multiple modes of transportation, whether by car, bus, rail, bike or foot.

Print version of  Part 1 responses TAN Part 1 KCMO 2015 Election


Part Two Questions: Pedestrian and Special Transportation Issues, and Funding Current Transit Operations

A. Pedestrian issue

1.City Council adopted the Walkability Plan  in 2003 as part of the FOCUS Kansas City Plan. However, the Walkability Plan was never integrated into the Development Code, except for a Walkability Study being triggered when a Traffic Study is required. Therefore, contrary to the intent of the plan, Walkabilty issues are rarely addressed with new developments.

Do you favor implementing recommendations from the Walkability Plan into the Development Code?


B. Special Transportation

2.Demand for special transportation services (like Share-A-Fare) is growing rapidly as demographics change, such as an ageing population. Current service levels may not meet the demand in the medium term.

Do you support the efforts of KCATA, MARC’s Regional Transit Coordinating Council and the MARC’s Mobility Advisory Committee to create a seamless, regional Special Transportation system to better serve the whole community and meet increasing demand?


3. Easter Seals provides multiple resources for issues related to people with disabilities. Last year they released“Effective Snow Removal for Pathways and Transit Stops” (ES_Snow_Removal_Brief), which discusses best practices from other cities for snow and ice removal to insure accessibility for people with disabilities.

Will you support implementing best practices in areas where the city may fall short of these snow removal practices, therefore increasing safety and accessibility in winter for people with disabilities?


C. Funding Current Transit Operations

4. Twice Kansas City voters passed an additional 3/8 percent transit sales tax in addition to the ½ cent transportation sales tax to fund area transit.

However, since 2003, Kansas City has diverted $52 million (sales tax use since 2003) from the ½ cent transportation sales tax to pay for road projects. In the current FY15-16 budget, $6 million is going to roadwork from this revenue source. Failure to provide the sales tax revenue to KCATA has delayed restoration of the 9.5% service cut made in 2009 due to the recession and implementation of improvements such as the Prospect and North Oak MAX lines.

Will you commit to following Ordinance 130796 and pay KCATA “no less than 95% of proceeds derived” from the ½ percent transportation sales tax (Public Mass Transportation Sales Tax), as calculated in the ordinance? This means the KCATA payment would be re-calculated if the actual sales tax revenue is higher than budgeted.


5. Additional comments on the above topics 

  • A. Pedestrian issues
  • B. Special Transportation issues
  • C.Funding Current Transit Operations

Part Two – Questions and Candidates Responses:   TAN Part 2 KCMO 2015 Election


Part Three Questions: Regional Transit, Transit Oriented Development and Streetcar Extensions

D. Regional Transit

6. Which two regional transit issues do you feel are the most important to the region and want Kansas City to take a leadership role?

  • A. Purchase the Rock Island Rail Corridor for use as an extension of the Katy Trail and possible future transit corridor.
  • B.Creation of a seamless coordinated regional Special Transportation system for seniors and people with disabilities
  • C.Creation of a seamless regional bus system that fills the huge regional service gaps that exist.
  • D.Establishing the goal of doubling access to jobs available by transit over the next 10 years
  • E. Building a Commuter Rail system throughout Jackson Count
  • F.Creation of a regional financing mechanism for transit
  • G.Other:____Provide another reason____________

Choices 1.____________ 2._______________

E. Transit Oriented Development

 7. Do you support the creation of designated transit corridors with enhanced transit services (BRT or rail), zoned for mixed-use, higher density development, reduced parking requirements; and designed around “complete-streets” concepts, while offering broad financial incentives for developers?  


8. Besides the present downtown streetcar corridor, which one or two transit corridors do you support being rezoned for Transit Oriented Development along the lines suggested above.

  1. ______________ 2.______________

G. Streetcar Extensions

9a. Do you support extending the streetcar to the Plaza/UMKC Area?


9b.The main reasons for your answer: pick two from the appropriate column







10 Funding a streetcar extension: The city takes over $2 million yearly from the city-wide ½ cent transportation sales tax, which normally funds the bus system, to pay for the Downtown Streetcar. That amounts to $50 million toward the 24-year bond re-payment, or about half of the base cost of the Downtown Streetcar.

Would you accept a streetcar extension financing plan that takes additional money from the bus system out of the ½ cent transportation sales tax?  


11. Additional comments on the above topics 

  • A. Regional Transit initiatives
  • B. Transit Oriented Development
  • C. Kansas City streetcar extensions.

Part Three –  Questions and Candidates Responses: TAN Part 3 KCMO 2015 Election

Transit Action Network hopes that this On-line Transit Forum has been helpful.


Background for new transit advocates:

  1. In FY14-15, the KCATA payment from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax was not re-calculated from the budgeted amount even though there was a 13% increase in sales tax revenue. Based on the Submitted Budget for FY15-16, that amounted to $4 million being diverted from KCATA last fiscal year.
  2. The $2.1 million annual transfer from the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax to the Streetcar Fund previously went to the bus system. Per the city treasurer, approximately $830,000 of this transfer is related to the property tax on city owned property in the Downtown Transportation Development District (TDD). The additional yearly $1.2 million is a contribution the city gives the streetcar and is not based on city owned properties.
  3. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) policy does not support federal funds being used for rail if the local bus system is harmed in order to build a rail system. As a result, current Kansas City officials have said that the service levels for the bus system will be maintained so the bus system is not harmed by taking $2.1 million yearly away from the buses.

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Transit Talk June 9 – Solving Our Inability To Get to Jobs by Transit on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 8, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMWhy can’t we get to 82% of the jobs in the Kansas City region by transit and what are we doing to improve the situation?

In 2012, a nationwide report by The Brookings Institution evaluated 100 cities and the ability to get to work by transit within a 90-minute window. Kansas City came out 94th of 100 and Brookings reported that we could only get to 18% of the jobs in the region within that 90-minute timeframe. So what are we doing about it?

Find out on Transit Talk when we look at the region’s new effort to increase access to jobs by transit.KCATA

When: Tuesday June 9th at 6 pm

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on RadioActive Magazine

Listen to the Podcast

The show starts with an edited clip from a May 14th discussion on KKFI’s Show “Tell Somebody” between Lou Austin, Chairman of 3 Trails Village Community Improvement District (CID) and Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network about equity concerns related to our lack of access to jobs by transit. After that, host Janet Rogers speaks with Karen Clawson, Transportation Planner for Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and Chuck Ferguson, Chief Planning Officer at Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) to discuss how MARC and KCATA are dealing with the situation quantified by Brookings.marclogo

A federal planning grant was received by MARC to help the region deal with this issue.

 Region receives $1.2 million TIGER grant from U.S. DOT

Planning grant will focus on improving transit access to employment centers

Our next Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine is July 7th.

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Open House May 27 – Hickman Mills Transit Center

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 25, 2015

KCATAReview the concept for a new transit center coming to Bannister Rd. & Blue Ridge Blvd. Give KCATA your feedback on the concept and hear more about how this center will make transit connections more convenient and efficient.

When: Wednesday, May 27, 4-6 p.m.

Where: 3-Trails Village Community Improvement District, 5912 E. Bannister Rd. 

KCATA bulletin for more information: Hickman Mills Open House

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Transit Talk May 14 Transit Equity Issues In Our KC Region – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 13, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMLou Austin, Chairman of 3 Trails Village CID, and Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network discuss Transit Equity issues in the Kansas City region.

When: Thursday, May 14 from 9 am -10 am

Where: ”Tell Somebody” on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to the Podcast. Transit Talk is the last 15 minutes. Starts at 44:54

RadioActive Magazine hosts are filling in for Tom Klammer this week with a magazine show. TAN’s Transit Talk is one of the segments.

We discuss areas of concern over Mid-America Regional Council’s Long-Term Transportation Plan, Transportation Outlook 2040, which covers equity, transit access to jobs, and Environmental Justice issues.

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Transit Updates – Day Pass, RideKC and Real-Time Information

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 30, 2015


  1. Starting May 1, a Regional Transit Day Pass will take effect. For $3 you can ride local buses on all four transit systems. This pass includes all the non-Commuter Express buses in the region. All UGT and IndeBus routes, Max, non-commuter express routes on the METRO and 3 routes on the JO, which includes #575/#875 75th St-Quivira, #556/#856 Metcalf Plaza CONNEX and #672 Downtown Midday.  In addition, the 3 day visitor pass will be available on the same routes. More info: KCATA Bulletin 
  2. The regional transit website is operating although it is still in development. Bookmark this site, because it will become the go to site for regional trip planning in the near future.
  3. KCATA partnered with Google to provide real-time transit information to its riders. Metro and MAX real-time departures on Google Maps ( and Google Maps for Mobile. More info: KCATA Bulletin

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Transit Talk April 28 – Transit Vision and Safety With KCATA CEO Joe Reardon and VP Sam Desue

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 27, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMJoe Reardon has been on the job as the new CEO of KCATA for one month. What is his vision for our regional transit system? What direction will he take KCATA?

Also, just how safe is riding the METRO? Joe and Sam Desue, VP of Bus Operations, will talk about the safety precautions KCATA takes to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable ride, as well as what riders can do in case there is a problem.

Some large transit agencies experience 3 to 4 incidents a day. Of the 16 million transit trips last year on KCATA buses, there were only 95 incidents, so problems are rare.

Listen to podcast

Join host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network to find our more.

When: Tuesday, April 28 at 6 pm

Where: RadioActive Magazine on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Link to for live streaming

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Transit Talk Mar 31 – Prospect MAX, RideKC and Re-Designing Downtown Transit on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 30, 2015

KKFI 90.1 FMWhat happened to Prospect MAX after the streetcar extension vote failed? What is RideKC? Why are we re-designing the flow of transit downtown?MAX brt

Host Janet Rogers speaks with Cindy Baker, KCATA Vice-President of Communications and Dick Jarrold, KCATA Vice President of Regional Planning and Development about these important regional transit issues.


  • When: Tuesday March 31 at 6 pm
  • Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

  1. Get the latest update on Prospect MAX. Funding for this project was linked with the streetcar extension last year. This project is very important to the east side of Kansas City and needs to go forward without the streetcar. The Prospect BRT Advisory Committee has been reformed and planning continues, but are we getting closer to a Prospect MAX as a stand-alone project? Prospect MAX visuals
  2. RideKC is the new regional logo for all things transit in the whole region. TAN has advocated for a regional brand for years. This new brand is the first major step in creating a regional transit system. Find out about the new regional transit brand. KCATA Board Approves RideKC brand
  3. Downtown is getting a transit make-over. What are the proposed changes and how they will affect you? Downtown Service Improvement Concept

DT_Transit_021115Join us Tuesday at 6pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

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Lots of Changes Needed To The KCMO Transit Budget!

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 25, 2015

Kansas_City_STARMike Hendricks’ article in the KC STAR last Saturday about the city’s new “Rumor” page, shows that the city is so desperate to divert the bus money that it will mis-represent a city ordinance to spin its position. The city does not want to re-calculate the bus payment from the ½ percent sales tax on the proceeds for the year. Hendricks, like anyone else, can read the ordinance and see the bus funding is not based on a year old estimate, which is wrong by $4M, but on the proceeds for the year.

We want to clarify that this issue is not about KCATA, but the city’s integrity and honesty in how it deals with voters, taxpayer’s money and obeying city law.  We should not need an ordinance for the city to honor its promise to voters to build a bigger better bus system. The city’s promise provided the bus system with 7/8 percent sales tax, if voters agreed to pay an additional 3/8 percent to supplement the 1/2 percent sales tax. However, we got the city to pass the ordinance when it was caught diverting large sums of money away from the bus system. It seems the city is struggling to break that habit, even with a city law. Taxpayers don’t like bait and switch especially when it concerns their hard-earned cash. If KCATA doesn’t get the money, then we don’t get the bus service we were promised. We are paying the 7/8 percent in sales taxes but the city isn’t giving all the money to the bus system.

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundSince the city council is voting March 26th on the new budget, let’s look at all the problems we are aware of in both this year’s actual expenditures and the Submitted Budget. Get the Submitted Budget FY15-16

Public Mass Transportation Fund (1/2 percent sales tax) PAGE 382

Fiscal year 2014-2015 actual expenditures

1. We want the budget department to calculate the final payments for the bus system for this fiscal year based on the formula in Ordinance 130796 for the actual PROCEEDS for this year. The payments are not based on the budget, which was estimated a year ago and ended up being significantly underestimated. Revenue going up an unexpected 13% is great, and if the budget department had budgeted correctly last year, KCATA would already be receiving the correct amount. Based on the year-end estimated figures and the ordinance formula for net receipts, KCATA should receive over $29 million this year but the report shows they are only going to receive $25 million. KCATA is only receiving 81% of the net receipts and 68% of the gross receipts. That is a long way from the 95% of net receipts stated in the ordinance. The city should not disobey the law or change it to avoid paying the bus system the appropriate amount of money.

We are concerned about facts, and this is not a rumor. The city has not dealt with why they aren’t re-calculating the payment to the bus system for FY14-15.  They talk about doing the adopted budget right last year, which is irrelevant now, or they talk about the Submitted Budget for next year, or they talk about the 3/8 percent sales tax when this problem is with the 1/2 percent sales tax. So far there is total avoidance of the real issue.

This fiscal year isn’t over until April 30th and it takes the city about 2 months to close the books. During that time it is easy and a normal accounting procedure to make these types of adjustments for the payment to KCATA based the net sales tax proceeds generated for this year.

2. The ordinance says the downtown streetcar subsidy “shall not exceed $2,039,000” The city is transferring $2,068,000 to the streetcar. This amount is wrong and should be corrected.

At this point Kansas City is not honoring its promise to voters, distributing the sales tax as taxpayers believe their taxes are being spent, or obeying the law as passed in Ordinance 130796.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 Submitted Budget

1. Obviously there will be significant changes to the amounts budgeted for Public Works and the transfer to the General Fund for Street Maintenance if corrections are made to Fiscal Year 2014-2015. Nevertheless, we have to deal with what is currently on the report.

  • We have several concerns about the $2 million transfer to the General Fund.
    • According to state law this money can only be used on transportation projects. When money is transferred to the General Fund it loses its audit trail as transportation money.
    • The budget director says this money is transferred to the Street Maintenance Fund. There is a transfer from General Fund to Street Maintenance for $15.7 million, so the state mandated requirement appears lost for the $2 million. This transfer should have been made directly from the Public Mass Transportation Fund to Street Maintenance Fund page 387. The budget shouldn’t be a scavenger hunt for the money. This two-step transaction looks like the city is trying to hide the fact that additional money from the bus funding is going to street maintenance. Of course, this money probably shouldn’t come out of the bus funding to start with.
  • The budget director said this $2 million for Street Maintenance is for street re-paving, including re-paving the streets for the streetcar work. Obviously the streets need to be re-paved along the streetcar construction line, but this re-paving should be charged to the Streetcar Fund, page 387 in the budget, and not the Public Mass Transportation Fund, which funds the buses. Basic Accounting 101 requires billing to the correct account for the work done. The correct account should be charged.

2. Using the ordinance formula for net receipts, the amount budgeted for KCATA is too low by $350,000 in the Submitted Budget.  The formula should be calculated correctly, with transparency, each year. Any attempts to do otherwise will only be seen as an attempt to subvert the ordinance. KCATA can receive at least 95% of the adjusted receipts, but not less. If the proceeds are more next year, then the payment needs to be adjusted upwards. This amount needs to be corrected.

The City Manager has said that the budgeted amount will be the minimum KCATA will receive. That is why he has a reserve in the account. We agree with that process but the reserve should only be about $1.5 million.

3. The ordinance says the streetcar shall receive no more than $2,039,000, but the budget has $2,069,000. The ordinance clearly states a fixed maximum amount, so this line item needs to be corrected.

KCATA Sales Tax Fund (3/8 percent sales tax) PAGE 368

Fiscal year 2015-2016

This Fund handles the 3/8 percent sales tax and the receipts are dedicated 100% to KCATA by voters. We appreciate that the city is going to transfer the excess money that has accumulated in this account to KCATA. It is about $3 million.

We will know the outcome of the budget deliberations tomorrow, Thursday March 26.

Previous posts on this topic:

KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem includes a list of the amounts of money diverted from the bus system since 2003.

Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN? includes calculations of bus payments based on the ordinance

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Attend Transit Stakeholder Forum March 19

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 17, 2015

KCATAMARC and KCATA are holding the next Transit Stakeholder Forum on March 19.

When: Thursday, March 19 @ 5–6:30 p.m.
Where: Mid-America Regional Councilmarclogo
600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105

Agenda items:

Review feedback received at the last meeting and online for “the future of SmartMoves”

Goals of the long-range transit vision update and RideKC Workforce Connex, the TIGER VI planning project that proposes to increase the access to employment by transit over the next ten years, will be presented. Forum participants will provide feedback on the direction of this work. Your feedback will be used to develop the final scope of work to be carried out by qualified consultants.

Open dialogue with transit providers about current transit issues that participants would like to address

Please join the conversation!Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

Metro Routes:
The JO Routes:
“The Transit Stakeholder Forum is a public meeting where you can provide input for the Regional Transit Coordinating Council — a committee that advises MARC, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and local transit partners and jurisdictions on issues such as regional transit planning, priorities, coordination and implementation.”

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KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 14, 2015


KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKSHB41 TV Lexi Sutter’s investigative reporting on the bus funding for the current fiscal year makes the right points, but the city keeps talking about the next budget instead of this year.

Why won’t Kansas City give the buses 95% of the proceeds from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax for 2014-2015? The city says it used the Ordinance 130796 formula correctly in last year’s budget. But the buses get 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax, not the estimated budget! The estimated budget, which projected revenue a year ago, ended up being 13% too low and amounts to over a $4.2 million difference. The city isn’t explaining why they haven’t re-calculated the bus money using the correct number. Assuming the city calculates the correct amount for this year, then KCATA will receive sufficient payment to fully cover the cost of the bus service and it won’t have to use its reserve account to maintain the bus system this year. In the submitted budget, KCATA won’t have to use its reserves next year either.

Read Ordinance 130796

Please contact the City Council and the Mayor and tell them that you voted to pay higher sales taxes for a bigger and better bus system. You want your sales taxes spent as they promised.

The final Finance Committee meeting on the budget is at 8:30 am next Wednesday, the 18th, 10th floor, City Hall. You can also send an email or call the City Council and Mayor

Here are the basic points to be made.
1 This current fiscal year, 2014-2015, the city needs to honor its commitment to voters and taxpayers and obey ordinance 130796, and give the buses 95% of the actual proceeds from the Public Mass Transportation Sales Tax, as calculated in the ordinance.
2 The ordinance does NOT limit the bus money to the estimated budget amount from last year, that is WRONG and everyone knows it. Calculate the right amount based on the actual tax receipts.
3 Not adjusting to the actual dollars is a violation of the law.
4 The budgeted revenue for 2014-2015 was 13% too low. The buses shouldn’t suffer because the budget was terribly wrong. If the budget department had estimated the correct amount last year, then the buses would be getting the right amount of money to start with. So they should get the additional money NOW. It is normal to adjust to the actual dollars
5 Stop trying to ignore this violation of the law by changing the subject to the submitted budget for next year, 2015-2016.

Ask any official you talk to or email if they will commit to making sure the bus system gets the correct amount of money this year based on the ordinance. You can find the email addresses and phone numbers for the city officials at

These numbers do not include the 2% Administrative fee or TIF

These numbers do not include the 2% Administrative fee or TIF

We wish the city would stop playing games with taxpayers money. People desperately need a bigger and better bus system and a large majority of people voted for extra taxes to get just that. The first vote for the additional 3/8 percent sales tax was in 2003.  Here is a chart of how much money has been used for purposes other than the buses from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax since that first vote, despite promises from the city. The bus system is not receiving 7/8 percent in sales taxes.

It is a very sad comment on city government that we felt an ordinance was needed to get the city to honor its commitments to voters. It shouldn’t be needed but you can see for yourself what they have been doing. This was the first year the full 95% of the sales tax was supposed to kick in and the city is still trying to get out of it by keeping $6 million to give away next year.

See our previous post with more detail.  Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?


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Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 20, 2015

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundGood and bad transit news exists in the KCMO budget submitted for 2015-2016, but the bottom line is that over $4.2 million in sales tax revenue that should go to KCATA in the current fiscal year, 2014-2015, is being diverted to Public Works in the Submitted Budget for 2015-2016. Public Mass Transportation Fund_2015-2016

Since 2010 Kansas City ordinances say starting in 2014 the city would give KCATA at least 95% of the proceeds from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax (Public Mass Transportation Fund) less 2% Administrative fee, TIF and, more recently, $2,039,000 for the downtown streetcar. To us, if KCATA gets a minimum of 95% that means Public Works can only get a maximum of 5%. Any additional money has to go to KCATA. Current ordinance 130796  (KCATA has instituted cost savings)KCATA

Our request to the city council as it deliberates the budget is, “Please enforce transit ordinance 130796 this year, 2014-2015. When sales tax revenue increases over the budgeted amount, then KCATA’s pass thorough payment should be adjusted using the actual proceeds. KCATA should be receiving the windfall from the increase in sales tax revenue. If the original budget number for sales tax revenue had been closer to the actual amount, then KCATA would be getting this money. So why not now? Instead the city manager thinks that Public Works should get the difference. That doesn’t even make sense. Please, don’t let more than $4 million be diverted from transit.”

Transit Action Network plans to testify at both public hearings. Please consider letting the council know what you think about this diversion of transit money to Public Works.

Public Meetings:

  •  Saturday, Feb. 21 | 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Regional Police Academy, 6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road
  •  Saturday, Feb. 28 | 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd Street

This time last year, the 2014-2015 Budget looked fine, no problem. KCATA was being allocated an appropriate amount of money based on the calculation in the ordinance.

This week we got a look at how the City Manager is actually using the sales tax receipts. In the Submitted Budget there is another column – the Estimated actual revenue and expenditures for 2014-2015.1_2_cent_PMT_2014-2016

This Estimated column shows Kansas City ½ cent sales tax Public Mass Transportation Fund, on page 382 of the Submitted Budget, has finally made a good recovery from the recession. Instead of the budgeted amount of $32.8 million in receipts, the city is now estimating it will receive $36.5 million this year. That is great. Kansas City hasn’t been able to collect enough sales tax since 2009 to pay for the current level of transit service.

However, we don’t see any increase in KCATA funding to reflect the windfall. In fact, the estimated final amount is $808,000 less than originally budgeted. This is so unfair and wrong!

Re-calculating the KCATA funding using the new sales tax revenue amount, KCATA should get $29.1 million, but it is only estimated to get $24.9, which is $4.2 million less than it should receive based on the ordinance.

So while KCATA funding is slashed, the city is giving Public Works $1.36 million more than its 5% this year and $4.7 million over its 5% next year.PMT_2015_2016_xlsx

The city is currently expecting to finish 2014-2015 with a revenue increase of $3.7 million over budget in this fund.

In 2014-2015, after the re-calculation for the ordinance, the city is:

  1. giving Public Works an additional $1.4 million over its calculated maximum
  2. giving KCATA $4.2 million less than it should receive
  3. ending the year with $6 million in the ending balance. There should never be a big remainder in this account. That is evidence the money is not being distributed to KCATA at 95% of the receipts. An appropriate ending balance for this account is closer to $1.5 million

In 2015-2016 the city is:

  1. budgeting the same sales tax revenue as estimated for 2014-2015.
  2. giving Public Works an additional $4.7 million over the 5% calculation (this is the money they diverted from KCATA by hoarding it in 2014-2015)
  3. Public Works is getting $6.2 million out of this fund, when it calculates a maximum of $1.5 million.
  4. KCATA is getting $350,000 less than required by the formula.

So how does this happen? The city manager and TAN read this ordinance very differently.

TAN – KCATA receiving 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax means just that. Budgets are estimates of what the city thinks is going to happen. When it gets actual numbers the amount gets adjusted based on the ordinance. That is normal.

City Manager reply to TAN on Wednesday: The amount calculated for the budget is a fixed number and he won’t re-calculate it. Any additional money that comes in allows him to direct it to Public Works.

We find that position almost unbelievable. His position is if the city does a really bad guess on the budget revenue number, like this year, then KCATA has to suffer and all the additional sales tax generated by the people is available for Public Works. Is he really going to stand by that?

We think the city manager’s contorted reading of this ordinance fundamentally wrong. Even his reasoning implies that if the budget projection for sales tax revenue was close to being right, then KCATA would have gotten all this money. So why shouldn’t KCATA receive it now? If the budget department is way off on the sales tax revenue estimate, KCATA shouldn’t suffer and Public Works shouldn’t get the windfall.

The city council made it clear by the ordinance that this money is meant to support transit. The 5% for Public Works is traditional because Public Works does services that are beneficial to the transit such as snow removal.

This money is not meant to be a slush fund for Public Works. Repeated diversions of transit funds by blatantly ignoring ordinances makes us wonder if that isn’t the best term to describe what goes on in this constant battle to maintain transit funding. Transit advocates shouldn’t have to keep having this same fight.

When the media and other people complain that transit isn’t as good as they think it should be, maybe they should look at the city for diverting so many millions of dollars since 2003 from the of ½ cent Public Mass Transportation Fund and giving it to Public Works instead of using it to provide transit service.

Why does this matter?

  1. We need to establish the correct use of the calculation in the ordinance because otherwise when there is more revenue than budgeted, the city manager will continue to divert the money to Public Works instead of using it to improve transit.
  2.  Improve the state of our transit system:
  • 2014-2015- KCMO is finally raising enough sales tax to cover the current service level, but it is not paying its bill. Every year since 2009 KCATA dipped into its reserve account (city money held for an emergency, like we had in 2009) to pay the difference between what the City gives them and what the transit service actually costs. Why wouldn’t the $4.2 million automatically go to fully pay the city’s bill and stop KCATA from depleting its reserve account?
  •  2015-2016- KCMO funding will barely cover the cost of the transit service, but that is still great since that is the first time it happened since 2009.
  •  In 2009, transit service was cut 9.5% due to the recession. That service level has never been restored. We are limping along with far less service.
  •  Prospect Max – We need about $9 million for the local match (20% of $43 million) to build this line, then we need an additional $500,000 per year to run a MAX line instead of the current route which costs $5 million. (Prospect MAX will be $5,500,000 yearly to operate) If the current local service continues at some level, even more money is needed.
  •  Since Independence Ave and 31st St/Linwood are such great transit corridors that the city believes they deserve a streetcar, they should at least be upgraded to MAX lines.
  • We need to increase frequency on routes to increase ridership and make this a functional transit service. Routes with 1 hour or 30 minute frequencies will never be well used.

There is more, but you get the picture.

We have a second issue with the Submitted Budget but on another account: the 3/8-cent KCATA Sales Tax on page 368 of the budget. The city manager is holding over $3 million in that account at year-end. Since this sales tax is 100% dedicated to KCATA for transit, we can’t see any reason why the ending balance should be more than $500,000. Why is the city keeping so much money? KCATA_Sales_Tax_Fund_2015-2106


The City Manager and TAN agree on what happens if the budget amount is too high and the actual sales tax revenue is less. Under that situation, the city should use the money it held in reserve to maintain the budgeted amount as a minimum payment. Since KCATA can receive at least 95% of the sales tax, it can get a higher percentage, so the budgeted amount should be the minimum KCATA receives, Once those funds are exhausted, that would constitute a funding emergency, like the recession in 2009, and KCATA could use its reserve account to maintain service levels.



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Big Expectations For KCATA New CEO

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 18, 2015

KCATAJoe Reardon, a lawyer with McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips and former Mayor of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, was named the new CEO and President of the Kansas City Transportation Authority (KCATA) this afternoon. This position is new and reflects KCATA’s restructuring efforts and its goal to function as the transit authority for the whole region, as it was originally intended. Reardon will have a big impact on the future of KC regional transit.

Special KCATA Board of :Commissioners meeting at Union Station to officially chose new CEO

Special KCATA Board of :Commissioners meeting at Union Station to officially chose new CEO

Reardon has extensive governmental experience and a reputation for getting things done, as noted in the bulletin released by KCATA. Several of his significant achievements revolve around transit, such as introducing Sunday service in KCK and getting a federal TIGER grant to help build the first major transit center in KCK.

He feels he can truly make KCATA a regional entity. He wants to start by listening. He wants to understand the system as it exits today, and listen to the region as a whole and people’s vision to enhance transit, including integrating transit and trails.

A strong supporter for much-needed regional cooperation, Reardon actually teaches an MBA class at Rockhurst University on regionalism. Sounds like he is on the right track.

Robbie Makinen (Chair of KCATA BOC) Joe Reardon (New CEO/President of KCATA), Sam Desue (Acting General Manager)

Robbie Makinen (Chair of KCATA BOC) Joe Reardon (New CEO/President of KCATA), Sam Desue (Acting General Manager)

The previous top KCATA position, General Manager, focused on internal operations, but this new position is focused externally. KCATA has very good people in place internally to handle the everyday workings of the agency, so the CEO can engage the community and public leaders to move transit forward.

Reardon said that safety of both rides and drivers is his first concern and KCATA is continuing to take steps to improve safety.

For KCATA to fully realize its goal we see two items that need to be achieved by Reardon.

1. All public transit services need to come under the KCATA management/operation umbrella. Reardon said he would be working on this initiative. Efforts to achieve this goal already started when Johnson County recently returned to KCATA for transit management services. We want to see all Unified Government/KCK and Independence public transit and special transportation services return to KCATA. Reardon feels that further integrating the region is critical and one of his key missions.

2. Increase funding to expand and improve transit service. Reardon said he knows this is a critical issue and something not easily addressed but something we need to spend time and effort on. He feels it speaks to forming the right partnerships and relationships to ensure that revenue sources that are there today continue to be there, find the opportunities where we all agree the system could be better and then look to ways to enhance that.

Transit Action Network believes that succeeding in these two categories is necessary to create a KC regional transit system that is capable of getting people to significantly more than 18% of the jobs in the region in under 90 minutes, which is our current situation.

Ridership is increasing and KCATA had $15.9 million trips in 2014.  Reardon wants to hear from riders about how KCATA can improve the system, what is good about the system, and if KCATA is answering their needs.

We look forward to working with Mr. Reardon.

Additional coverage:


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KCATA Announces New CEO Feb 18

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 17, 2015

The new CEO/President of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will be announced at a special news conference tomorrow. KCATA
  • Where: Chamber Board Room, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, KCMO 64108
  • When: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 @ 12 p.m.
The new CEO will be available to the media directly following the news conference.

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Public Meetings Feb 11 Re-Designing Downtown Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 10, 2015

DT_Transit_021115KCATA is hosting two public meetings on the plan for re-designing downtown transit.  Please attend and comment on the vision and proposed changes.

What: Public Community Meetings (Presentation followed by open house format) See flyer here.

When: Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where: Kansas City Design Center, 1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo.

Time: 11:30am-1pm & 6:30pm

Map of Downtown Concept

Map of Downtown Concept

This proposed service improvement would significantly change how transit flows downtown. The changes are being proposed because the 10th and Main Transit Center is too small to handle the bus and streetcar traffic. Additionally, new developments downtown are impacting travel demands.

KCATA’s Proposed Improvements 

The proposed downtown service improvement concept includes the following interrelated elements:

  • The reconfiguration of downtown routes based on an intersecting trunk route service design, forming Transit Emphasis Corridors (TEC) along Grand Boulevard and 11th and 12th Streets to simplify, accelerate, and improve downtown transit service.
  • Facilitate connections between bus routes and streetcar service.
  • Bus lanes on Grand Boulevard and on 11th and 12th Streets to make service faster and more reliable.
  • The consolidation of regular bus stops into Transit Emphasis Corridor (TEC) Stations to make waiting more comfortable and service faster. TEC Stations would provide facilities and amenities similar to MAX stops.
  • The development of a new East Village transit hub to improve connections and elimination of 10th & Main Transit Center.

More information about this project can be found here including maps of proposed route changes. The proposal includes changing The JO routes downtown and additional changes to Route 51-Ward Parkway.


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