Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Transit Consultant Chosen for Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 7, 2011

April 6. It was announced at the MARC Transit Committee that Parsons Brinckerhoff will be recommended to conduct the Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis in Jackson County. Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) is considered one of the world’s leading planning, engineering, and program and construction management organizations.

PB founder William Barclay Parsons was chief engineer for the original New York City subway.

PB has designed 30,000 miles of heavy and light rail systems, automated guideways, commuter rail and busways.

The PB team consists of Nelson\Nygaard, Olsson Associates and Shockey Consulting. PB has a local office in Lenexa, Kansas.

From MARC’s  Request for Proposal (RFP):

For the purposes of this Alternatives Analysis, the two commuter corridors to be studied run through multiple jurisdictions. The I-70 Commuter Corridor runs from the heart of Kansas City, Mo and extends east paralleling the Kansas City Southern railroad through Independence, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, and Oak Grove in Jackson County and east to Odessa in neighboring Lafayette County. The Rock Island Corridor begins in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, sharing a common corridor segment with the I-70 corridor approximately to the eastern edge of Kansas City, Mo, and then follows the old Rock Island rail corridor through Raytown, Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, and Greenwood in Jackson County and further south to Pleasant Hill in Cass County.  Both corridors run proximal to two heavily-traveled roadways, Interstate I-70 and Highway 350 (Blue Parkway), and through cities experiencing a growing residential population.

Several activity centers, including Downtown Kansas City, MO, Truman Sports Complex, and multiple town centers fall within in these corridors. Downtown Kansas City, Mo is the expected terminus of the various alternatives that will be considered in this Alternative Analysis, therefore this AA is to be closely coordinated and integrated with the Downtown Kansas City, Missouri Corridor Alternatives Analysis. In addition, this AA is to be closely coordinated with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) Second Tier Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the I-70 corridor (I-470 to the Kansas/Missouri state line, including the downtown loop).

Existing transit service in downtown primarily focuses on bringing persons from outlying parts of Kansas City and the region to and from downtown. These commuter services continue to be needed, especially in Jackson County. Previous studies have indicated that the I-70 commuter corridor would greatly benefit from additional service, potentially through additional travel options such as expanded express bus or rail.  The Rock Island corridor is currently served by a commuter express bus on Blue Parkway and cities along this corridor have interest in increasing service to meet growing demand and looking at potential options in the Rock Island Rail alignment.  This rail alignment also connects to Missouri’s statewide Katy Trail in Pleasant Hill, formerly the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, therefore any use of the Rock Island rail alignment would likely include a trail extension into Kansas City, making it a multiuse corridor.

MARC, KCATA, the City of Kansas City, Mo and Jackson County intend to build on previous efforts and complete an Alternatives Analysis for both the I-70 and Rock Island Corridors. The intent will be to use the AA results to secure funding for implementation and potentially apply for federal funds–New Starts, Small Starts, or other federal sources. 

Specific consultant activity will be limited to the I-70 and Rock Island/M-350 corridors within Jackson County and portions of Lafayette and Cass Counties in Missouri. A more specific study corridor will be further defined by the Project Partnership Team with input from the study advisory committee.

The purpose of the study will be to determine the preferred alternative including specific alignments for the option best meeting current and future transportation needs while also helping to shape, support and focus future economic development and revitalization of activity centers for each corridor.

The recommendation will be submitted at the next MARC Board meeting for approval.

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