Metcalf Connex – I-435 and Metcalf
Posted by Transit Action Network on September 24, 2012
Putting bus service on Metcalf — much less a premium service such as Johnson County Transit’s pre-BRT* “Connex” service — is a challenge.
There is no sidewalk on the west side of Metcalf between 107th and 110th. Sidewalks are under construction along other segments of Metcalf (including the east side of Metcalf through this interchange), but there’s no evidence of it here. Not yet, anyway. Moreover, there’s no evidence — not yet, anyway — that there will be a crosswalk with pedestrian signals. This off-ramp has five lanes — three for left turns and two for right. The crossing distance is roughly 90 feet, 22.5 seconds at the 4-feet-per-second standard walking speed used by traffic engineers.
For transit to work there need to be sidewalks along both sides of the transit street. That’s especially true for a BRT route where stops are a half-mile or a mile apart.
In addition, there need to be good sidewalk approaches along cross streets, in addition to links to buildings that front on the transit street itself.
Those are tall orders for a part of our region that was built with moving cars as the number one guiding design principle.
This view looks almost empty but even at 2:51 in the afternoon there’s a LOT of traffic.
And signal cycles are long: two minutes or more. Imagine waiting to cross Metcalf to catch your bus. You see it approaching in the distance, but by the time you get a WALK light and get across the street your bus has already passed. Next bus in 30 minutes, if you’re lucky.
There’s no question that transit improvements being made along Metcalf using the federal TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) grant awarded to JCT in 2009 will make the corridor look more attractive, and will actually raise the visibility of transit on Metcalf. Attractive bus shelters with real-time schedule signs will be placed at stops, and traffic signal priority (TSP) will be installed to help buses get through signalized intersections quicker.
Still, it’s going to be tough to give Metcalf the look and feel of a transit street.
For transit to work there, Metcalf needs to be totally re-conceptualized and rebuilt south of 87th Street.
Overland Park has its work cut out for it.
Site of SB Connex stop at 110th and Metcalf.
Preparation for NB Connex stop at 110th and Metcalf.
*BRT = Bus Rapid Transit’