The Jackson County US 71 Transit Study, an Alternatives Analysis, started in June and is the third transit corridor to be studied as the County works to complete a transit package to put before voters. Completion is scheduled for the end of the year.
There have been two Stakeholder meetings (Janet Rogers and Mark McDowell both represent TAN) and a public meeting. Until a final decision has been made for locally preferred alternatives in the three corridors, nothing can go forward.
The US 71 corridor originates in downtown Kansas City, Missouri and extends south of the downtown area, terminating in Belton, Missouri. The corridor generally parallels U.S. 71 crossing Kansas City (MO), Grandview and Belton and is being evaluated as a potential addition to the Jackson County Commuter Corridors Alternatives Analysis, a transit study that has been in progress since 2011, which consists of the I-70 corridor and the Rock Island corridor.
This corridor is very congested and portions of US 71 between 51st and 75th are particularly slow. Current transit service on U.S. 71 and parallel service on Prospect provide transit access for the area, but scheduled travel times are almost double the travel time of the automobile.
The US 71 corridor study is benefiting from the work already done in the other corridors. This study is considering Express Buses, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), streetcars and commuter rail. Just a reminder that the commuter rail is not electrified light rail. It is a diesel vehicle, Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), which operates on existing freight lines or new tracks.
The project team, Jackson County, MARC, KCATA and Kansas City, Missouri and the consulting team, Parsons Brinckerhoff, are all the same as the previous study.
The study is in Phase I, which provides the purpose and needs statement and does an initial evaluation of the alternatives to decide which ones will go through to Phase II.
The first two alternatives advance automatically to Phase II
1. NO Build – do nothing plus
- all capital improvements identified in the fiscally constrained MARC 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) that will be implemented by 2035.
- the existing bus network augmented with the recommendations listed in the KCATA Comprehensive Service Analysis Key Corridor Network.
2. TSM (Transportation Systems Management)
Everything in No Build plus
- capital improvements and bus network enhancements.
- an expansion of KC Scout Intelligent Transportation Systems.
- New park and ride lots
- Capital bus enhancements on U.S. 71 (such as bus on shoulder), which will be identified and evaluated as part of Tier 2.
- New intermodal transfer point in vicinity of Hillcrest and Bannister Road.
- Seven U.S. 71 / Prospect BRT station pairs.
- Extension of local bus service along Prospect to Bannister Road and Blue Ridge.
- Extension of Express Bus service (Route #471) from current terminus Point at U.S. 71 & Red · Bridge Road to U.S. 71 & M-150. The extended service would serve park and ride lots at U.S.
- 71/M-150 and at Truman Corners Shopping Center. Number of trips would be increased from 5 AM and 5 PM to 8 AM and 8 PM.
Three additional alternatives to be evaluated for advancement to Phase II
Alternative 1: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
- Two alignments are anticipated for the BRT alternative–a Commuter BRT on U.S. 71 and an Urban BRT on Prospect.
- US 71 Commuter BRT connects M-150 in Grandview with the 10th and Main Transit Center.
- Prospect Urban BRT connects Bannister Road in south KC with the 10th and Main Transit Center.
Alternative 2: Enhanced Streetcar Alternative
The enhanced streetcar would serve a third phase of the KC streetcar system (phase II would be to the Plaza). The streetcar would travel on the west side of US 71 and ends at M-150. A feeder bus network would also be a part of this alignment.
We expect the streetcar alternative to be eliminated because it is so expensive and probably wouldn’t qualify for federal funds to help us pay for it. We expect the projected ridership to be too low to make the line cost-effective by FTA standards. If it is advanced to Phase II it will be because the partners want to do the cost and ridership analysis for future reference.
Alternative 3: Diesel Multiple Unit Alternative
The alignment for the DMU Commuter Service South Line runs from the Jackson County Line to Leeds Junction. South of Leeds Junction the rail travels with limited stops on KCS track to its destination near M-150 in Grandview. North of Leeds Junction, it shares a common line with the Rock Island Corridor alternative, and farther north those lines combine with the I-70 corridor into downtown. The two possible alignments for the DMU Commuter Service Common Line into downtown run from:
a. Leeds Junction to the River Market
b. Leeds Junction to Union Station via the Trench
The DMU alignment crosses nearly 80 bridge structures. About 20 of those would require improvement of some kind, up to and including replacement.
The stations along this alignment are limited due to various complications, including physical challenges and the lack of population and employment density.
The U.S 71 corridor has a large low-income population. The ability to provide improved access to work opportunities is an important goal of the enhanced transit system.
There will be additional public involvement as the study progresses.
US71 – combined alternatives – Click to Enlarge
US71 – BRT -Click to Enlarge
US71 – Streetcar- Click to Enlarge
US71 – DMU – Click to Enlarge
For more detail, review the information from the public open house materials and fill out the comment form.