Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Gladstone’s North Oak Transit Stops – Opportunity Lost?

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 19, 2013

City_of_Gladstone__MissouriThis morning we saw a Tweet from one of KCATA’s people about a new real-time arrival sign at 70th and North Oak.  We hadn’t been up that way in a while, and hadn’t even been aware that these signs were being installed, so we hopped on the next Route 142 – North Oak bus to have a look.

Southbound stop on the west side of North Oak

Southbound stop on the west side of North Oak. It has a shelter and bench, a trash receptacle, and a pedestal that holds the digital sign.

Real-time arrival sign at Southbound Gladstone Route 142 stop, 70th and North Oak. The display is working, it's just that our camera speed is too fast to capture it.

Real-time arrival sign at Southbound Gladstone Route 142 stop, 70th and North Oak. The display is working, it’s just that our camera speed is too fast to capture it.

We found two very nice stops, one of which had a digital real-time arrival sign that was indeed working.

Ironically, the “official” bus stop sign is still attached to a well-worn utility pole just beyond the pedestal, and we’re not sure it will ever become physically attached to the stop.  (It seems that KCATA bus stop signs are never attached to shelters.  We don’t understand why that is.)  We think the color leaves something to be desired (gray is not very noticeable) and we’re always concerned about bus shelter roofs that slope toward the street because that occasional snow and ice build-up is eventually going to slide onto the sidewalk, if not onto someBODY.

There's a crosswalk nearby to cross North Oak, but the call button is about shoulder high and oriented wrong, and thus not ADA compliant.

There’s a crosswalk nearby to cross North Oak, but the call button is about shoulder high and oriented wrong, and thus not ADA compliant.

Northbound Route 142 Gladstone stop at NE 70th Street. Nice, but there's not going to be any shade.

Northbound Route 142 Gladstone stop at NE 70th Street. Nice, but there’s not going to be any shade.

But all in all, it’s nicely done.

Nearby is a crosswalk for getting across North Oak.  It has a call button that you push to get a walk light, but it’s located on the wrong side of the pole.

Moreover, it’s mounted about shoulder height, and there’s a concrete curb at the base of the pole, so it’s probably not ADA compliant.  (This is something for Gladstone to fix, not KCATA.)

Across the street is the northbound Route 142 stop.

It’s nicely designed and landscaped, too, but it looks like there’s not going to be a roof.  Unfortunate.

These stops are part of the TIGER-funded transit improvements in the North  Oak Corridor.  Route 142 is the busiest route in the Northland, carrying nearly 1,000 riders each weekday, and it’s expected to become the Northland’s first bus rapid transit route.  There are 31 round trips each weekday, with fewer trips on Saturdays and Sundays.  That translates to over 180 trips in each direction every week.  Pretty respectable, considering that the Metcalf – Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor in Johnson County (Routes 556/856 and 664) has only 125 trips per week, all of them on weekdays.

But we wonder why these stops are on North Oak rather than closer to Gladstone’s “downtown.” Has Gladstone missed an opportunity by not insisting that Route 142 swing over to North Holmes, a mere quarter-mile to the east?  Yes, that might add a total of about two minutes to the schedule, but it would provide access to the Gladstone’s City Hall, Central Park, Community Center  and Gladstone Office Building.

Maybe there was extensive discussion at a public meeting that we missed.  (We can’t be everywhere.)  Maybe there were some overriding reasons to not serve the heart of Gladstone’s “civic center.”  We just don’t know.

Nevertheless, the new shelters and other bus stop improvements all up and down North Oak (and the rest of the route westward along Barry Road to Boardwalk Square) are a welcome and very positive addition to public transit in the Northland.

Gladstone City Hall, northwest corner of 70th and North Holmes.

Gladstone City Hall, northwest corner of 70th and North Holmes.

Gladstone Central Park, northeast corner of 70th and North Holmes.

Gladstone Central Park, northeast corner of 70th and North Holmes.

 Gladstone Community Center, southeast corner of 70th and North Holmes


Gladstone Community Center, southeast corner of 70th and North Holmes

 Gladstone Office Building, southwest corner of 70th and North Holmes.


Gladstone Office Building, southwest corner of 70th and North Holmes.

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