Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for September, 2011

First Open House – SEPT 27- Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 22, 2011


The first open house for the JCCCAA will be September 27 at the Ennovation Center, 201 N. Forest, Independence from 4 pm to 7 pm. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and the Parsons Brinckerhoff Project Manager Shawn Dikes will give short presentations at 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm. Be there to see maps of the alternatives under consideration for upgrades to commuter transit service from eastern Jackson County (and beyond) into downtown Kansas City in the I-70 Corridor and the Rock Island corridor.


There are two additional opportunities for public comment. The project boards from the open house will be displayed at key locations in the corridors from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Project partnership and consultant team staff will be on hand to answer questions from 5 to 7 p.m.  These additional meetings will take place according to the following schedule.

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Main vs. Grand? Streetcar vs. Bus? Final Open House!

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 15, 2011


The Partnership Team for the Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis (AA) is getting ready to announce the recommended route (Grand Blvd. or Main St.) and type of service (streetcar or bus) for a downtown starter line from the River Market to Crown Center.  Find out about the purpose of the study  and the decision-making  process used to arrive at these recommendations at the third and final open house. A general strategy to fund construction, operation, and maintenance of the starter line will be presented too.

Third and final public open house

When: Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Where: In the atrium of the Steamboat Arabia Museum (in the River Market)

400 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, Mo.

No formal presentations will be given.

View the news release. http://www.kcsmartmoves.org/news/2011-09-08_dcaa_third_open_house.aspx

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So Many Studies, So Little Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 14, 2011


In September of 2009, Brad Cooper of the KC Star wrote an article titled “KC’s rail dreams prove costly; Area has little to show for its money, but advocates say every study moves city closer to a solution.” Brad writes about Kansas City’s “love-hate relationship with transit that has cost taxpayers nearly $17 million, mostly in federal cash”.

In 2011 the Brookings Institution ranked the Kansas City region as 90th of 100 cities in our ability to get people to work using transit.

After decades of transit studies and a MARC developed regional transit plan called Smart Moves, why do we still have such limited transit service in the region?

Will the two “Alternatives Analysis” studies currently being conducted turn this pattern around?

Janet Rogers, co-founder of Transit Action Network, is convening a Communiversity course to discuss these issues and more on Oct 8. Be there!

From the Communiversity catalog:

Social Concerns Section

8002A
Millions and Millions of Dollars for Transit Studies-Where’s the Transit?
Why does the KC region have transit studies but rarely add any additional transit? What are our chances of getting a downtown streetcar or commuter rail? What happened to Smart Moves? What is an alternatives analysis? What can we do to improve the situation? Get the transit scoop from a co-founder of Transit Action Network and transit advocate for over a decade. Bring $2 to class for handouts. Janet Rogers worked to save the Eastern Jackson County commuter buses and restore KC transit funding.
CONVENER: Janet Rogers
CLASS FEE: $9.00
Sec. A: 1 session(s); Beginning Saturday, October 08, 2011 1:00 PM;
Flarsheim Hall, Rm. 260, 5110 Rockhill Rd., UMKC Campus, KCMO, Rockhill Rd. south of 51st.;
LIMIT: 30

Communiversity Online Class Registration Site.

https://ecomm2.umkc.edu/commu/

Course page  https://ecomm2.umkc.edu/commu/BrowseDetail.aspx?category=social

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KCATA Invites Comments on Proposed 2012 Route Changes

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 13, 2011


KCATA is proposing changes to transit service in Kansas City, Mo. The goal, according to the Metro, is to provide the most efficient service while holding the line on costs and not increasing the their budget.

Route changes for more than 50 routes serving Kansas City, Mo. have been released for public review and comment.  Phased implementation will begin as early as April, 2012.

These proposals are a result of a Comprehensive Service Analysis, or CSA, performed by transit consulting firm Nelson Nygaard of Boston.

We encourage you to review the proposed changes.

There are several ways to comment:

  • Online Form: www.kcata.org/metro2012
  • Mail: KCATA, Planning Dept., 1200 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
  • Phone: 816-346-0300 (leave comment on prerecorded line)
  • Email: metro2012@kcata.org
  • Public Meetings: To be scheduled this fall. Meetings will be announced on the KCATA website, in passenger bulletins and on TAN’s website.

Once comments are received, schedules will be designed to improve reliability, provide more direct service and better match demand.  “One of the goals of the CSA is to make riding transit more attractive by designing service that is more intuitive and rider-friendly,” says a KCATA news release.

For further perspective, view a presentation about the proposed changes made to the KCATA Board of Commissioners in August.  It gives an overview of the CSA process.

Presentation of Proposed Route Changes 2012

TAN is reviewing the proposed changes and will be submitting comments.

Many of the changes look really good to us.  Here are some of our initial impressions:

  • Providing service to KCI between 5:30 am and 11:00 pm, seven days a week, will be a great improvement.  Seven-day service to the airport is of enormous symbolic importance.
  • We didn’t see indication that Main Street MAX would be straightened through Downtown, or that Plaza-only trips would be extended to 51st Street in order to better serve UMKC and the Plaza Library.
  • Elimination of Route 57 means there will be no local stops on Main between the Plaza and Downtown.  That might be a problem.
  • Service changes proposed for the area west of Main Street appear complicated and deserve careful review.
  • Service changes proposed for the Northland are, likewise, complicated and deserve careful review.
  • It’s a small thing, but we especially like the emphasis on “clockface headways.”  This means buses would be scheduled to come past each stop at regular intervals — every 10, 15, 20, 30, or 60 minutes.  Thus, for example, you’d be able to count on a bus at 17 and 47 minutes past the hour.  (Night service at the 10th and Main Transit Center already works this way — after 6:30 pm, buses on 10 or more routes depart shortly after 10 and 40 minutes past the hour.)

One last very important point:  Proposed route changes may make transit a little less convenient for some people, but it’s also likely that the change will make transit a more viable option for even more people.  That’s what’s really important.

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New ID Card Puts Transit in UMKC Student Pockets

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 10, 2011


After years of discussion, UMKC students now enjoy public transit as part of their activity fee.

UMKC students who are currently enrolled and have a NEW “One Card” student ID have full access to MAX and other Metro bus routes.  Students just “swipe” their One Card through the farebox and ride in style.

Students voted last spring that all students would pay an additional $14 per term to get full access to the KCATA transit system. What’s more, the spring term card is good all summer, so the cost is only $28 dollars a year.

UMKC  is served by both Troost MAX and Main Street MAX, routes that have the highest level of service in the entire region. It’s less than a month into the program and already students are using their cards nearly 1,000 times a day, far more than projected.

To TAN’s surprise and pleasure, KCATA included access to its premium express routes from the suburbs. The Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Liberty routes are normally $3 each way, but the pass is also valid on these KCATA routes.

KCATA has posted a UMKC New Rider Starter Kit  on it’s website. The best part though is the link to a YouTube video the students made about the new service. We should all have that much energy! We do have that much enthusiasm for transit and the possibilities and options it provides: savings for students, plus a boost in ridership for The Metro.

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Commuter Corridors Advisory Group Has First Meeting

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 8, 2011


The first meeting of the Jackson County Commuter Corridor Alternatives Analysis Stakeholder Advisory Panel was held on August 31. Project manager Shawn Dikes of Parsons Brinckerhoff said the study team is “starting from scratch,” and that they are not here to validate some pre-determined solution.  TAN advocates Janet Rogers and Mark McDowell are on the panel.

The study team offered a wider range of options than a lot of people expected: several bus alternatives; streetcar or light rail on a couple of alignments; and several “commuter rail” alignments that had not previously been seen in public. Dikes admitted, however, that they chose to eliminate such options as subways, monorails, and gondolas.  (That got a laugh.)

By consensus the group eliminated a commuter rail route that would terminate at the north edge of the river market.

Dikes reminded the panel that FTA funding for rail projects that are doing well in an AA are currently receiving a maximum of 50 % of the capital costs to build the system. Asking for less money increases a project’s chances of being federally funded.

Whether a suitable so-called “common line” can be found westward from near the sports complex into downtown Kansas City may turn out to be the critical question for commuter rail. At the meeting, TAN expressed concern that one of the routes would go through a disadvantaged community in the vicinity of 18th and Topping. Project work has to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Disadvantaged communities affected by the project have to be included in the planning process and the project cannot adversely affect the community. Lawsuits have been field against rail projects in other cities related to this issue.  MARC is already discussing these issues with community leaders.

Dikes said that the FTA would not fund rail that hurts bus service.  The rail service in this study would likely differ enough from express bus routes, that the express buses could not be eliminated in order to help pay for rail.

Transit Action Network posted some concerns a couple of weeks ago about the commuter rail concept as developed in last year’s corridor study: https://transactionkc.com/2011/08/16/consultants-face-big-challenge-studying-regional-rapid-rail/

The consultant team has drafted a “Purpose and Need” statement and is currently developing an executive summary.

According to the FTA: “(A) study “purpose and need” establishes the problems that must be addressed in the analysis; serves as the basis for the development of project goals, objectives, and evaluation measures; and provides a framework for determining which alternatives should be considered as reasonable options in a given corridor. … This information provides the context for performing the analysis and for identifying the measures against which alternatives strategies will be evaluated. It also serves as an introduction for decision makers, stakeholders, and the general public to the study area and its transportation problems and needs.”

The FTA goes on to say that “the purpose and need statement serves as the cornerstone for the alternatives analysis.” The statement should not point to one solution, but be as concise as possible, focusing on the primary transportation issues addressed in the alternatives analysis.

The first public meeting on the alternatives analysis will be from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on September 27, 2011 at the Ennovation Center, 201 N. Forest Avenue, Independence, Mo. The focus of the meeting will be on the purpose and need for the project and the range of alternatives being considered. Four public meetings are planned. Details will follow as they become available.

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