Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

TAN Support for Downtown Streetcar and Streetcar Neighbors

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 18, 2011

Transit Action Network recently sent this letter to the Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis Project Team.

Residents of the Greater Downtown Kansas City area are passionate about improving the state of transit downtown. Evidence for the importance of transit to Downtown residents, and their desire to improve it, is seen in their consistent support for transit ballot initiatives. Transit is also a critical part of realizing the goals of the Greater Downtown Area Plan and extending the benefit of investments already made.

As transit plans have come and gone, disunity between interest groups has weakened previous proposals to the extent that Kansas City continues to sit on the sidelines of the modern transit revolution. However, the latest proposal for a Downtown Streetcar represents a tremendous opportunity to make a significant improvement for Downtown and a lasting contribution to the city’s transit culture.

A group of downtown residents have recently come together to found Streetcar Neighbors to support the deployment of a downtown streetcar.

The downtown streetcar is the most realistic opportunity yet to bring rail transit to Kansas City. TAN would therefore like to express our support for the streetcar project and for the work of Streetcar Neighbors in bringing it about. It is our belief that this plan is feasible, economically sensible and, most importantly, achievable. We would encourage the project team to be innovative and consider any local funding options that can help make the project a reality and to do so as quickly as is prudent, setting aggressive timelines to begin realizing the benefits of this system as soon as possible.

We also endorse the following recommendations of Streetcar Neighbors and downtown neighborhood associations and other downtown organizations:

·         The system should utilize modern streetcar technology, capable of delivering a rider experience comparable to light rail in its speed and comfort.

·         To reduce rider confusion, the route should utilize a single street for both directions of travel, with considerations made for the best solution for the ends of the route.

·         The route should serve the River Market neighborhood on the north and adequately serve Crown Center and Union Station on the south.

Summary:_______________________________

             1. Modern streetcar
            2. Single street
            3. River Market terminus
            4. Include Crown Center / Union Station
            5. Open to local funding options
            6. Support aggressive timeline

Mark McDowell

Chair, TAN Downtown Streetcar Working Group

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