Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

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Action Alert! KCMO City Manager’s Budget Is Failing The Transit System

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 25, 2013


kcmo_big_logoIn December of 2010, Transit Action Network lead an effort to get Ordinance 100951 passed to restore funding to KCATA  from the 1/2 cent transportation sales tax (officially the “Public Mass Transportation Fund”). Groups representing over 160,000 people, in addition to bus riders, spoke up in support of this ordinance.

Now the City Manger’s submitted budget for FY 2013-14 doesn’t abide by this Ordinance to restore funding to the Metro.

KCATA averages nearly 55,000 daily riders and 2012 ridership was the second highest in 20 years. The transit system is vital to people getting to work and looking for work, yet the City Manager’s budget appears to be ignoring this simple instruction regarding KCATA funding based on the ordinance:

Section 2. That the City Manager is directed to incrementally increase the current appropriation to 95%, beginning with the budget taking effect on May 1, 2011.

The 95% requirement to restore funding to KCATA has to be met by May 2014, yet KCATA is budgeted a smaller percentage (70.5%) in the proposed FY 2013-14 budget than when the ordinance was passed in December 2010 (73.8%).  The dollar amount budgeted for KCATA is the same for FY 2013-14 as FY 2012-13. The City Manager’s KCATA budget is going in the wrong direction! It isn’t fair and it doesn’t match the wishes of the voters or the ordinance passed by the City Council. Why do people have to fight the same battles with public officials over and over again?

1.   Call your council member or Mayor James to insist that Ordinance 100951 be followed and not ignored. Ask that the KCATA funding be moved close to  $29 million (88%) from the Public Mass Transportation Fund, which is appropriate for this step in implementation of the Ordinance, instead of the $23.5 million (70.5%) the City Manager has proposed.

Mayor’s office 816-513-3500 email Mayor@kcmo.org

Council office 816-513-1368

Go to http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/CityCouncilOffice/index.htm

For phone numbers and emails for specific council members

Where is the incremental increase for KCATA?

Where is the incremental increase for KCATA?

2. Attend the budget hearings and insist that the ordinance be implemented correctly.

2013-14 Public Budget Hearings Currently Announced

Saturday, February 2
9am to 11am
Robert J. Mohart Multi-Purpose Center (auditorium)
3200 Wayne, KCMO 64109

Saturday, February 9
9am to 11am
Northland Neighborhoods Inc.
4420 NE Chouteau Trafficway, KCMO 64117

Saturday, February 23
9am to 11am
KCPD South Patrol Division (main entrance)
9701 Marion Park Drive, KCMO 64137

The non-transit uses were supposed to be reduced to allow the KCATA budget to increase. The 1/2 cent transportation sales tax was not supposed to be diverted to non-transit uses when the 3/8 cent transit sales tax was voted in. In fact, the non-transit uses have gone from $4.6 million in the year the ordinance was passed to $6 million for the proposed budget.

KCATA is providing more transit service than the city is paying for by using up its reserve account. Their other choice is to significantly cut service again and no one wants that. The reserve account was used to help out in the recent financial crisis, but this shouldn’t still be happening. There is a serious need for the Ordinance to be implemented and the city should stop dragging its feet, pay its bills and provide the essential transit service the voters want.

In addition, the city has taken the $2 million it committed for the streetcar from this fund. The $2 million for the streetcar is a long-term yearly commitment for the city.

TAN has alerted the City Auditor, Gary White, to this situation. Part of his job is to alert city officials to potential problems that could undermine the public’s trust in City government.” Not abiding by this ordinance certainly falls into that category.

==============================================================================

See our recent article. Our Request to KCMO: Move Transit Funding Closer to Goal in Next Budget  (This article was written using the previous budget numbers)

Links to two 2010 blog posts  A Great Victory For Transit and The Scoop on Kansas City Transit Funding

Public Mass Transportation Fund-Submitted FY 2013-14 Budget from the City Manager’s budget

The full Manager’s Budget can be found online in the City’s Open Data Catalog at http://data.kcmo.org.

Ordinance 100951

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Time To Sign Up – National Smart Growth Conference with a Kansas City Flavor – Feb 7-9

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 2, 2013


NPSG logo

 New Partners Conference

This year, the New Partners Conference makes its way to America’s heartland—Kansas City, Missouri.

New Partners says “Smart-growth development – compact, walkable, and diverse – is attractive to developers, investors, local governments and communities because it offers new opportunities for economic growth that’s also environmentally sustainable. The 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference offers lots of opportunities to learn about smart growth and economic success.”

The 12th annual New Partners conference will explore practical strategies for identifying and overcoming barriers to more sustainable development in the Midwest and the rest of the nation.

The three-day conference program will include more than 90 sessions and close to 400 speakers. The multidisciplinary program includes breakout sessions, workshops and training sessions.  It  features cutting-edge policies and programs, projects, and best practices, as well as strategies and implementation tools that address the challenges of implementing smart growth development principles.

15 optional tours of local model projects

Don’t just talk about smart growth – come to the conference and see it! Beyond the great sessions, New Partners also offers 15 optional tours of local model projects on Thursday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning (Feb 10th) .

On Thursday morning, Feb 7th, KCATA, the FTA, and Transit Action Network present:

Tour 3–Kansas City’s Low-Cost/ High-Benefit BRT – The MAX

MAX brt

Full  Tour List
  • Tour1–Kansas City, Kansas:Melting Pot in“The Dotte”
  • Tour2–What 1893 KC Can Tell Us about Our American Cities Today
  • Tour3–Kansas City’s Low-Cost/ High-Benefit BRT – The MAX
  • Tour4–A Look at Marlborough: A Community Focused on Holistic Solutions
  • Tour5–Green Impact Zone:A Model of  Concentrated Capacity Building
  • Tour6–Global Trade and Local Community: A Tour of Argentine Neighborhoods
  • Tour 7–First Suburban Redevelopment Strategies in the Kansas City Metro
  • Tour8–Development Tools…Historic Preservation, the Arts and Infrastructure
  • Tour9–18th & Vine Jazz District:A Walk through the Past into the Future
  • Tour10–Rain to Recreation:Lenexa’s Strategy for Stormwater Management
  • Tour11–Kansas City Municipal Farm:Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Transformation
  • Tour12–KC Regional Solar Installations
  • Tour13–Kansas City Walk Audit with Walkability Guru Dan Burden
  • Tour14–Smart Growth Can Be Fun:City Market, Food Trucks, Power & Light District, Crossroads
  • Tour15–Distributing Local, Good Food: The Good Natured Family Farms Experience

Local Sessions

­   Regional Equity Network
   Scenario Planning Tools (combines local Envision Tomorrow examples with examples from other regions)
­   How Midwest Cities Use EECBG (includes Dennis Murphy of KCMO)
­   Good Movement (includes KC examples as well as examples from other parts of the country)
­   Managing school closings (includes KCMO as well as other communities outside the metro area)

There are also a number of Midwest sessions that do not necessarily involve the KC region.

Special Features of the Conference

  • Technology Fair: An Interactive Demonstration of Public Engagement Tools for Smart Planning
  • New Partners Takes the “Parklet” Indoors!
  • The Doctor Is In – the Midwest: EPA’s Smart Growth Prescriptions to Create Sustainable Communities

Sessions will be at the Kansas City Convention Center, with guest rooms across the street at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown Hotel.

Come join us in this process by making your reservation to attend, today!

Conference Brochure

Conference Website & Registration

Registration Deadline: The registration deadline is Friday, January 18, 2013. Registrations will be accepted after this date if space is available, and a $50 late fee will apply. All walk-ins will also include a $35 “walk in” fee (in addition to the late fee).

The official hotel room rate for the group is $119 (single/double) until January 14, 2013 at 5:00pm CDT. After that date, the group rate is subject to availability and is not guaranteed.

PRE-CONFERENCE Wednesday Workshop

Sustainable Neighborhoods, Thriving Residents: Strategies for Building Equitable Communities
■ February 6 • 1:00-6:30 p.m.

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KC Downtown Streetcar And The Funding Election

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 29, 2012


If you live in the newly created downtown Transportation Development District (TDD) get ready to pick up you next ballot to vote for funding the downtown streetcar. The TDD board decided on another mail-in election, just like the first election.

Click to enlarge TDD

The second election consists of two questions.

The first question is for the 1-cent retail sales tax.

The second question is for special assessments on property:

  • Residential property — 70 cents per $100 of assessed value
  • Property for non-profits — 40 cents per $100 of property assessed between $300,000 and $50 million
  • Commercial property — 48 cents per $100 of assessed value
  • Municipal (city) property — $1.04 per $100 of assessed value
  • Commercial surface parking lots — fee of 15 cents per space per day

You need to vote yes on both questions. Both questions have to pass for a successful outcome.

Important dates and times:

  • August 31 @ 8 am  – Ballot request period starts. Request ballot from Jackson County Courthouse (or print it from the Judge’s Ruling document below)
  • October 2 @ 5 p.m. Deadline to return completed ballot request and proof of voter registration
  • October 30 – Ballots mailed
  • December 11 @ 5 pm – Ballots due at Jackson County Courthouse

Attend Streetcar Neighbors Ballot Application Breakfast this Friday, August 31 at 7 a.m. at LATTeLAND – 12th St.

The TDD Board consists of Mayor Sly James, Port Authority Chair George Wolf, residential property owner Matthew Staub, and commercial property owner Jeff Krum (CFO of Boulevard Brewing Company). Mayor James and Matthew Staub are co-chairs of the TDD Board.

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority, formed on Aug. 3, consists of downtown stakeholders and city appointees. It’s role is contracting streetcar operations and consulting on remaining engineering and construction activities with Public Works.

As soon as the second election is final, the city can issue bonds and start construction. Operation is planned for 2015.

Judge’s Ruling: KC Streetcar Order for Funding Election

The ballot application is Exhibit B of the Judge’s Ruling. Print, fill out and return the ballot request by 5 p.m. on October 2, 2012 along with proof of voter registration to:

Jackson County Court Administrator
Attn: TDD Ballot Application
415 East 12th Street, Third Floor, Room 303
Kansas City, MO 64106

Proof of voter registration can be a current copy of your voter registration card or go to www.kceb.org and print proof of registration using the “Check Your Voter Status” box.

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JCT Releases Revised Proposal for Cuts – Save The JO

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 28, 2012


Johnson County Transit (JCT) has released a Revised JCT Service Reductions Aug 14,2012 report for eliminations and reductions to its transit system.

Summary of the revised proposal:

Eliminate five routes (instead of nine)
Reduce/combine service on the four other routes that were proposed for elimination
Make additional schedule modifications on four other routes based on comments and service efficiencies.

Here are the original 9 routes slated for eliminations with some of our comments. Review the JCT report for additional information. Keep in mind that JCT is still reviewing the routes and could make more changes.

Routes Originally Proposed for Elimination

Three Routes Eliminated Totally
Route 676-P – Paola/Spring Hill/Olathe Eliminating this route and Route 816 will leave these communities and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in Spring Hill and Paola.
Route 810 – DeSoto FlexRide This change will leave this community and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in DeSoto.
Route 816 – Spring Hill Shuttle Eliminating this route and Route 676 will leave this community and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in Spring Hill.
Eliminate 667-R and 669-I and combine with 546-D into one new route
Route 546-D – Johnson/Quivira, Route 677-R – Downtown/Olathe, Route 669-I – KCK/Lenexa/Olathe Eliminate current routes I, R and D but combine them into a new Route 546-D. The new Route 546-D would have only 9 trips instead of the current 16. The northern end would be in KCK. The southern end is usually at 116th and Renner. See the proposed map. One trip extends south to 127th & Mur-Len (Villa St. Francis) to serve 7:00-3:30 workday (currently served by Route 669/I) One trip extends to Ridgeview to serve 8:00-5:00 workday  (currently served by Route 677/R
Keep routes instead of eliminating them; make significant service reductions.
Route 66-E – Nall/Downtown – Reduce from 4 to 2 trips This reduces service between Johnson County and Wyandotte counties. This is the only JO service that goes to KU Med. Routes with only one morning and one evening trip are bound to fail. The national transit-consulting firm Nelson Nygaard recommends at least 6 trips (3 each way) to make a successful commuter route. If they must reduce service, JCT needs to consider other options in order to keep the four trips.
Route 672-M – JoCo/Downtown Midday – Keep but eliminate Metcalf portion of route The route would travel from Mission to OPM on Shawnee Mission Parkway, I-35, and US-69, instead of using Metcalf and 95th. This re-routing should save 10-15 minutes per trip. Transfers to Metcalf destinations can be made via 856 in Mission. South of Oak Park Mall, the route would remain unchanged. Downtown employees who want additional midday flexibility could take MAX to the Plaza and transfer to 856, or to Waldo and transfer to 875.
Route 812 JO Flex– Reduce from 3 days to 2 days This change is better than eliminating the route.

Transit Action Network knows that JCT is trying to combine routes and provide as much transit as possible for its current riders given the budgetary restrictions and instructions from the County Commissioners. We are also aware that unless the County makes significant budget changes, all of these routes and more may be eliminated in 2014.

click to enlarge

Below is the Commission’s transit priority list that JCT is directed to implement over the next two years as a result of a reduction in federal and state funds.

The Board of County Commissioners Transit priorities (in order of importance):

  • Protect the most vulnerable county residents by maintaining Special Edition and SWIFT services.
  • Support TIGER investments by maintaining service on the Metcalf and Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor
  • Maintain I-35 Xpress (Bus on Shoulder Routes)
  • Maintain K-10 Connector
  • Continue Local Services and Local Links

Our concern is the county’s lack of commitment to developing a full service transit system. In terms of transit, Johnson County thinks like a small city instead of a big wealthy county. Blue Springs, Missouri has a population of slightly over 50,000 people. For transit it normally considers an OATS bus for seniors and the disabled and a few commuter express buses as sufficient, although Blue Springs is  working very hard to get commuter rail. Johnson County, with a population of 544,000, has stated a position that supports a similar low level of bus transit, with one exception. They want to keep the new Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway and 75th Street/Quivira CONNEX routes. So do we, but these routes need to be paid for with new county funds instead of transferring funds from the current transit system.  Johnson County accepted a $10.7 million TIGER grant from the federal government for improvements along the M/SMP corridor, and they would have to return the money if they cancelled these routes. Yet the county refuses to add new money to the transit budget to replace the three-year start up money the federal government gave them for operating expenses on these routes.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert complains about the cost per rider and farebox recovery ratio on some of these routes, yet he knows that the main CONNEX service has far worse performance numbers than nearly all of the regular routes they are proposing to eliminate, such as Routes 669-I, 667-E, 672-M and the JO Flex.

Routes originally proposed for elimination Example: Farebox recovery ratio
672-M 17%
669-I 15%
667-E 14%
JO Flex 11%
Major CONNEX Route – protected
556 Metcalf/Plaza 9%
856 Metcalf/Plaza Flex 7%

The disingenuous nature of the Commission’s priorities is very concerning. Providing transit for seniors is at the top of their list, yet eliminating the local service in Spring Hill, Paola and DeSoto will leave their elderly populations stranded once again, since the Special Edition bus doesn’t service those areas.

The county won’t eliminate all of the proposed routes at this point in time or they might be in violation of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act. The Act says if you receive federal funds, you can’t eliminate service to minority and low-income populations in a discriminatory manner. Of the original proposed eliminations, routes 546-D – Johnson/Quivira, 667-E – Nall/ Downtown, and 669-I – KCK/Lenexa/Olathe have significant service to areas with higher percentages of minority and low-income populations. These routes would be eliminated based on the Commission’s directions to JCT.

You still have time to comment to the Commission on the changes being proposed. Final BoCC action is planned for October 18.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us
  3. Chairman: Ed Eilert (913) 715-0500
  4. District 1: Ed Peterson  (913) 715-0431
  5. District 2: Jim Allen  (913) 715-0432
  6. District 3: David Lindstrom (913) 715-0433
  7. District 4: Jason Osterhaus (913) 715-0434
  8. District 5: Michael Ashcraft (913) 715-0435
  9. District 6: Calvin Hayden  (913) 715-0436

JCT Tentative Timeline –

• Joint JCTC/BoCC meeting on August 30, 2012, 11 am, Board of County Commission’s hearing room on the third floor of the County Administration Building in Olathe
• Present final recommendations at JCTC meeting on September 18, 2012
• Submit JCT/JCTC recommendations to BoCC on October 4, 2012.
• Agenda Review: October 11
• Final BoCC Action: October 18
• Final changes posted the week of October 22, 2012
• Changes will begin operation on January 2, 2013

The Johnson County Transportation Council (JCTC) meeting on September 18 will be held at 5:30 pm at Sylvester Powell: 6200 Martway, Mission, KS so that more people can be present to hear the presentation of the final recommendations and hear the discussion.

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Save The JO Video #7 – Seniors Speak Up

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 17, 2012


Route #812 is The JO Flex service in Overland Park. It doesn’t cover a lot of Johnson County but it is a necessity for the people who depend on it. Watch seniors at Santa Fe Towers Apartments speak about their situation and concerns about the proposed elimination of this service.

The JO flex service covers a rectangle from 75th Street on the north, Lamar on the east, 95th  Street on the south and Quivira on the west. The service is limited between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You don’t have to qualify to ride the #812, since it is available to anyone in the service area. Two very large retirement communities are significant users of the route, Overland Towers and Santa Fe Towers Apartments.

The JO Flex is more cost-effective than the new showcase CONNEX route #556 that JCT will retain. The JO Flex has better farebox recovery, cost per rider and ridership per trip than the CONNEX route.

The County Commissioners have said elderly, disabled and low-income populations will have the Special Edition, which is a shared ride program, providing transportation for registered and qualified residents of Johnson County. Usually you can’t call the day before to schedule a ride because the service is already full. The Special Edition only uses buses with a capacity of 10-12 people, where the JO Flex uses larger more comfortable buses. The JO Flex fare is $1, so a trip to the grocery store is $2. The Special Edition fare is $5, so the same trip would cost $10. Switching all of The JO Flex riders over to the more expensive, smaller, over-crowded Special Edition seems like a losing proposition.

Please keep the more affordable Route #812 JO Flex.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

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All About Smog – One More Reason to Save the JO

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 14, 2012


This is a Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources photo from August 13, 2012 from Blue Ridge Mall looking at downtown Kansas City. The KCPT tower, right-middle of the photo, is 3 miles away and the downtown skyline is 8 miles away. On a bad day, you can’t see the tower and on a really bad day even the skyline disappears from view. So what is smog?

The term “smog” was coined at the turn of the century to describe the hazy horizon of industrialized European cities, but around the 1950s, vehicle emissions began to take the place of factories in creating this noxious mixture of “smoke” and “fog”. Smog is a haze we see today during our hot and humid summers. This combination of ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and dust particles is monitored regularly and regulated by the US EPA due to increasing health concerns for sensitive populations like children, the elderly and people with allergies or asthma.

In Kansas City, emergency room visits and hospital admissions increase significantly when ground-level ozone concentrations are high. Ground-level ozone irritates the eyes and nose, causes inflammation, difficulty breathing and even chest pain. It is formed by emissions from vehicles, power plants and other sources mixing with heat and sunlight, which is why summer is the most troublesome for air quality. Poor air quality knows no political boundaries, though, and smog will often creep northward with the warm, south winds of summer.

There is something we can all do to help. With daily work commutes averaging around 20 miles, multiple highway corridors, and abundant parking, it’s easy to see why so many folks in the Kansas City area drive to work. It’s also easy to see how our routines are contributing nearly half of the ozone forming emissions that contribute to poor air quality. Leaving your car at home even twice a week can save over 270 pounds of harmful ozone-forming emissions.

The MidAmerica Regional Council’s RideShare Connection is hosting the Green Commute Challenge now through September 28th to help raise awareness of air quality issues, reduce use of single-occupant vehicles in the peak summer season, and encourage transit use across the metro area through an employer-based contest. Thirty teams have joined from across the Kansas City area and over 900 people are taking the challenge to use alternative transportation.

Between bicycling, riding the bus or carpooling to work, and walking or simply staying in for lunch, the challenge has already reduced emissions by over 250,000 pounds. That’s like taking 14,000 cars off the road for a day. During the 12-week challenge, participants track their trips online and earn points. It’s a great way to see how our individual choices can add up to big benefits and many participants are using public transportation to earn serious points for their teams.

We can all do our part for air quality and using transit is a great way to start. And you don’t have to wait for national fuel efficiency standards or alternative energy sector growth to help! Compared to other household actions, using transit can reduce emissions by more than 10 fold.  A robust public transportation system is one of the very best investments any community can make to minimize emissions and reduce greenhouse gases. Transit can’t beat bicycling or other no-emission commutes, but modern buses are often hybrids using natural gas, biodiesel and other low emission fuels. The KCATA Metro MAX has several hybrid and clean diesel vehicles and both KCATA and The JO will be adding natural gas vehicles to their fleet.

Does being a transit rider make you an air quality hero? It depends who you ask but there’s no doubt that reducing even a few solitary commuting trips in your car can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change and poor local air quality. Kansas City had 18 Ozone Alert days already in 2012, up from only 9 last year and 4 in 2010. We’ve exceeded ozone concentration standards 16 times this year and we’re setting a pace to top the last 2 years combined for quantifiable poor air quality. Poor air quality affects everyone’s health and it can make doing business more expensive as tighter regulations are enacted to meet basic national standards.

When local budgets get tight and cuts seem imminent, priorities have to be defined to guide the process, but with growing concerns about air quality and the human health impacts a very clear reality in the Kansas City metro area, you have to ask: why is public transportation not a priority in Johnson County? How can eliminating bus routes by 45% (and reducing service on another 45% of routes) serve our collective goals for air quality when it is the first, best way to reduce harmful ozone-causing emissions? We don’t believe cutting bus services voluntarily is in the best interest of Johnson County or the collective community when it comes to air quality issues or the kind of reliable public transportation system the public increasingly demands.

It’s not too late to improve air quality in Kansas City. From alternative fuel blends and hybrid vehicles to using low emissions paint in our homes and native landscaping in our yards, people across the metro are doing so much to reduce harmful greenhouse gases and ground-level ozone in our community. Using transit is one of the most effective things you can do to help ease air pollution and prevent smog from ever forming. The only question is: if you live or work in Johnson County, will you still have the transit option in 2013?

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

http://finances.msn.com/saving-money-advice/6804691

http://www.marc.org/Environment/airQ/pdf/FAQfourpage.pdf

http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/esp/aqm/kccam.htm

http://www.apta.com/gap/letters/2010/Pages/100728_obama.aspx

http://www.marc.org/Environment/airQ/pdf/ozonereports/O3WeeklySummary.pdf

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Oak Park Mall Getaway

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 8, 2012


OK, so maybe you’re not a bona fide Mall Rat. In fact, maybe you have some strong biases against malls. No matter. Visiting a mall once in a while won’t kill you — especially if it’s 105 degrees in the shade.

Here’s a plan for a half-day excursion from Kansas City, Missouri, to Oak Park Mall in nearby Johnson County:

Let’s assume you’re a Metro rider. Take the Metro bus of your choice to Crown Center, arriving there by 1:00 pm any weekday. You can get there via any number of routes: Main Street MAX, 27, 54, 123, 142, 173, etc.

Be sure to get a transfer. (If purchase a ticket or if you are using a Metro monthly pass or a Metro day pass, tell your Metro driver, “I need a transfer to The JO.”)

At 1:05 (or thereabouts), board The JO’s Route 672-M (Midday) bus at the Crown Center Square, across from the fountain.

(You can also board at 10th and Main at 12:58 pm.) Swipe your Metro transfer through the farebox, just as you do on a Metro bus, and settle in for a one-hour ride. You’ll find the JO bus to be clean and comfortable, and the driver courteous and helpful.

After a sprint along I-35 you’ll go south on Roe through Roeland Park, west along Johnson Drive through Mission (take note of The JO’s new Mission Transit Center under construction at 4851 Johnson Drive), south on Metcalf past Downtown Overland Park, and pause at Metcalf South Shopping Center (where you could, if you wanted to, see a movie at Glenwood Arts Theater), and west on 95th Street to Oak Park Mall.

You’ll arrive at Oak Park Mall about 2:02.

Once at OPM you can (1) Shop, (2) Window-shop, or (3) Eat at the food court or one of the other eateries in or near the mall.

Transit Schedule at Oak Park Mall

Eventually, even though you might not want to, you’ll need to go back home. Fortunately The JO has several buses that will take you back to Missouri.

Route 670-L (South Johnson County Express) will get you back to Crown Center in practically no time at all: it leaves the OPM park-and-ride lot at 4:18, 4:49, 5:19, and 5:49, and the return trip takes about 30 minutes. (You can also return via Route 575, which takes you to Waldo or 75th and Troost.) Last buses back to Missouri are the 670 at 5:49 and the 575 at 5:50. After that, your coach has turned into a pumpkin, and you’ll have to call a friend or a taxi — or start walking.

Note: You got to OPM on your Metro transfer. The JO accepts a Metro transfer, but not a Metro monthly pass or day pass. You’ll need to pay a regular fare to The JO to return.  Regular fare is $2.00 for adults, $1.50 for seniors (with any ID that shows your date of birth). Kids 5 and under ride free, and kids 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. If you don’t have a Metro monthly pass or day pass for your onward travel once you return to Missouri, be sure to tell your JO driver “I need a transfer to the Metro.” The Metro accepts The JO transfers.

Easy, right? You’ll have kept cool for an afternoon while experiencing one of the region’s biggest shopping malls, and you’ll have become one of the relatively few transit riders in the region who can say that they’ve ridden The JO.

So what’s keeping you? Give it a try and let us know what great fun you have!

P.S. The 672-M Midday bus is on the Johnson County Transit list of proposed eliminations for 2013.

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Streetcar Ballots Due 5 PM July 31

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 30, 2012


Get your ballots in!!! If you haven’t returned your ballot to vote on creating the Transportation Development District (TDD) for the downtown streetcar, the deadline is quickly approaching.

The ballots are due in Jackson County Courthouse by 5 pm July 31. That does NOT mean postmarked by that time. The ballots must be physically present. The election board is going to count the ballots on Aug 1.

The county had received 405 ballots as of last Thursday night. A significant number of the 555 ballots requested had not been received.

At this point, please do NOT mail your ballot.

Either:

1. hand deliver it to Jackson County Courthouse, 415 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106 or

2. if you need the ballot picked up, message Streetcar Neighbors on Facebook and they will pick it up and deliver the ballot for you.

If you didn’t watch our video the KC Streetcar Stroll in May, you may want to watch it now.

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Public Budget Hearing – Unified Government of Wyandotte County – July 30

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 26, 2012


Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas Departments of Budget and Community Development are holding a public budget hearing.  The purpose of this meeting is to request public comment for the upcoming Unified Government’s revised 2012 and proposed 2013 budgets.

Where: Unified Government Board of Commissioners Chambers
Lobby of the Municipal Office Building
701 N 7th St
Kansas City , KS 66101
 
When: Monday evening, July 30, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.

If you ride the buses in Wyandotte County or are a transit supporter, please attend the hearing and encourage the Commission to continue to expand and improve transit in Wyandotte County.

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Save The JO – Videos #4 and #5 Interviews with Johnson County Commissioners

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 22, 2012


Johnson County Commissioners Eilert and Peterson spoke with Transit Action Network about the eliminations and reductions proposed for January 2013 to The JO.

The commissioners have very different views on:

  • the role of transit in Johnson County
  • how to fund transit
  • how to respond to citizens’ vision for multi-modal transportation, sustainability and a better environment
  • the County’s commitment to the working poor who need The JO to get to work

Can Johnson County afford a small commuter transit system only if it is heavily subsidized by federal and state funds? We wouldn’t expect that to be the case from one of the richest counties in America*. It is the loss of federal and state funds, and the Commission’s current failure to replace those funds, that is causing the severe budget problems that will mainly hit in 2014.

One way to deal with the loss of the federal and state money is to eliminate and reduce most of the transit routes in Johnson County over a couple of years. The other way is to get the money and keep the transit.

Everyone from JCT staff to Commissioner Eilert said they are proposing cuts in 2013 so they don’t have such large cuts in 2014.  Unless Johnson County changes direction, they aren’t done shrinking the transit system. They say they trying to ease in the cuts to lessen the negativity that would result from doing it all at once in 2014.

Timeline for eliminations and reductions:
2012 Service reductions and modifications
2013 Proposed route eliminations (45% of all routes gone) and service reductions (45% of routes modified)
2014 Expect significant additional eliminations and/or reductions based on comments by staff and Commissioner Eilert

 

Please let the Board of County Commissioners know how important The JO is by attending the public hearing. Speakers will be allowed 3 minutes.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing
July 23rd @ 7 pm
Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

If you miss the meeting:

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

 Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message
Deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012.
JO Public Meeting_Proposed Eliminations and Reductions for 2013
START_Final_Report_2011
START_Final_Discussion_2011
Strategic_Plan_Prelim_2011

We have numerous blog articles about this issue starting on June 8th with  Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners

All of our videos are available on our TAN Videos page.

*Wealthiest Counties in The U.S. (Per Capita Income) based upon income tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service’s Individual Master File (IMF). Johnson County is listed as #42 http://www.amerifound.com/wealthiest_counties_in_america.html

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It’s Not Just About 669 – Save The JO!

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 21, 2012


We’ve blogged about Johnson County Transit’s plan to eliminate Route 669.  But there are other essential routes on the chopping block, too. Here are entries that we previously posted on Flickr about three of the other routes that we believe deserve special consideration.  Only lack of time has kept us from posting about some of the other routes as well.

JCT Route 546 – Johnson Drive / Quivira — Save This Bus!

The Route 546 bus pauses at the 6000 Lamar Transit Hub in Mission at 6:14 am to exchange passengers with other routes. This particular bus brought 4 passengers from points in Shawnee and Lenexa. Route 546 previously went all the way to Downtown Kansas City, but it was truncated at 6000 Lamar in January, 2012, to cut costs. Passengers who previously had a single-seat ride to their Downtown destination now have to transfer. As a result, ridership has suffered, and on many days one of these little 12-14 passenger buses is used. In addition, these small buses ride like trucks, and that doesn’t encourage ridership, either. Route 546 is proposed for elimination effective January, 2013.

JCT Route 667 – Nall — Save This Bus!

The first of two inbound morning trips of JCT Route 667 pauses at the 6000 Lamar Transit Hub in Mission at 6:49 am to exchange passengers with other JCT routes. This route is proposed for elimination effective January, 2013. This particular trip served about 13 passengers, 11 of whom boarded at 6000 Lamar or closer to its Downtown Kansas City final destination. Route 667 passes KU Med Center, where only one passenger got off. Low ridership has to be due, in part, to the fact that there is virtually no evidence of this route along the way: only six JO bus stop signs were spotted beyond this point for inbound (i.e., toward KU Med and Kansas City) riders, and none of those are within Wyandotte County where KU Med Center is located. First rule of public transit: Make the service visible.

JCT Route 672 – Midday — Save This Bus!

The Route 672 – Midday bus stops to board passengers at Crown Center at 1:07 pm daily. Originally known as Route M – Midday, this route has long been a mystery. After all, what does “Midday” tell you about where it might take you? Nothing, right? It’s a wonder anybody rides it at all, yet it currently averages about 20 riders per day.

The Midday bus makes one daily round trip from the Great Mall in Olathe to Downtown Kansas City and back. Along the way it serves the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, Harvest Community Church park-and-ride lot on Strang Line Road, Johnson County Community College, Oak Park Mall (and park-and-ride), Metcalf South Shopping Center (and park-and-ride), the 6000 Lamar Transit Hub in Mission, the retail complex in Roeland Park, Central Library and Sprint Arena in Downtown Kansas City, Crown Center (Lego Land, SeaLife, Kaleidoscope, shopping, etc), Union Station (Science City, special exhibits, etc).

Route 672 is the only transit link between Kansas City’s Downtown / Crown Center corridor and Johnson County between 9 am and 3 pm. It’s significance is that when used in combination with one of the morning or afternoon commuter routes, Route 672 makes possible many half-day trips in either direction — to OPM for shopping, to JCCC for a class or cultural event, to Crown Center / Union Station for kid-friendly attractions. It also gives commuters the option of using transit when they plan a half workday. Trouble is, Johnson County Transit has never promoted these uses, or even the fact that Route 672 can be used in combination with the commuter routes. We’ve done that more than once, most recently for half-day trips to Union Station for the dinosaur exhibit two years ago: Take The JO to the Jurassic

Route 672 is proposed for elimination in January, 2013. Because it’s not a commuter route, it doesn’t have a core group of “regulars” to come to its defense. Instead, it serves occasional transit riders who use it for a variety of purposes. Thus, it needs all of us transit proponents to come to its defense if it’s to survive.  (If you’re a regular on one of The JO’s commuter routes, 672 is your backup — even though you might not be aware of it.) Instead of elimination, Route 672 needs a second trip — for example, in from Great Mall, out only as far as OPM or JCCC, then back to Downtown and back out to the Great Mall. That would be less than double the miles, but more than double the value to its current and many potential users. Come on, Johnson County Transit, don’t eliminate Route 672 before you’ve even given it a proper chance to succeed.

Please let the Board of County Commissioners know how important The JO is by attending the public hearing. Speakers will be allowed 3 minutes.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing
July 23rd @ 7 pm
Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

If you miss the meeting:

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

 Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

Deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012.

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Save The JO – Video #3 Comments From the JCT Public Meeting

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 20, 2012


Johnson County Transit held a public meeting on July 11th* to discuss the proposed 2013 eliminations and reductions to 90% of The JO routes. Reductions were made to routes at the beginning of 2012 and, unless something changes in the budget forecasts, additional eliminations are expected in 2014.  Listen to the concerns and stories of some of the participants and responses from Johnson County Transit (JCT) staff. 

Transit in Johnson County is headed in the wrong direction.

Please attend:
Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing
July 23rd @ 7 pm
Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

Show your support to improve and expand The JO and tell your story to the Commissioners. Ask the Commission to support transit,  honor their commitment to replace the federal CMAQ funds for both the Connex and the 75th Street-Quivira routes, and find the necessary dedicated funding for the long-term health of transit in Johnson County.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

 Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

Deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012.

Powerpoint presentation from the public meeting. JO_ Public_Meeting 7_2012

JCT Strategic Plan Strategic Plan 2010

START report START_Final_Report_2011

*Note: The date of the public meeting was July 11, not July 16 as shown in the video.

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Attend The Public Meetings July 9 and 11 — “Save The JO!”

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 8, 2012


Please remember to attend this weeks public meetings with Johnson County Transit (JCT) regarding the severe service eliminations and reductions proposed for January 2013. The final decision on service reductions will be made the beginning of August. You can’t wait to object.

Johnson County has 20 transit routes. They are proposing to eliminate 8 routes and make service modifications to 9 routes.

This issue is important to all JO riders. Your route could be in the next round of cuts.

  • The Board of County Commissioners Transit priority order is:
    1. Protecting the most vulnerable county residents by holding harmless both the Special Edition and SWIFT services;
    2. Supporting the TIGER investments along the Metcalf Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway corridors by maintaining the Connex service;
    3. I-35 Xpress;
    4. Supporting the K-10 Connector, an express commuter service between Lawrence and Overland Park; and
    5. Supporting Local Link services operating within specific Johnson County cities.

No other routes are safe.

Read our previous posts. Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners and Speak Out Against Proposed JO Service Cuts

Attend Public Hearings held by Johnson County Transit

a.    DATES and TIMES:

  • Monday July 9, 2012, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday July 11, 2012, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

b.    LOCATION: Sylvester Powell Community Center at 6200 Martway in Mission, Kansas. (both hearings)

If you can’t make one of the meetings this week, please contact both Johnson County Transit and the Board of County Commissioners to express your displeasure about the service cuts. If they don’t hear from people, they assume it doesn’t matter if the routes are cut.

Comments to JCT on proposed changes can be made via e-mail, phone, mail

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

Comments for the Board of Commissioners can be made at 913-715-0430 or email the county using the county contact form and choose the category ALL in order to send your message to the whole Board of County Commissioners.

Later in the month: Please Attend the Final FY 2013 Budget public meeting with the Board of County Commissioners

Budgetary issues are the reason for the proposed service reductions.

a. DATE and TIME:  Monday July 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m

b. LOCATION: BoCC meeting room, Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

Posted in Action, Events, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

LIKE Us On Facebook

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 26, 2012


You have a new way to keep in touch with Transit Action Network and keep up with transit issues.

Since we got our nifty avatar for Twitter, we decided it was time to start a Facebook page.

Advantages of Facebook:

  • Our blog articles will be shared on Facebook, which makes them easy to share with your Facebook friends.
  • Facebook is a great platform to discuss transit issues — join in
  • Links to other interesting local and national articles about transit
  • Breaking transit news
  • Event pages for topical issues and events, which provide the transit community an online meeting place (Join our first event page “Save The JO”)
  • Facebook is great to share pictures and videos related to transit
  • It is a fast and easy way for us to share other important or interesting transit topics that might not be on the blog

LIKE us at www.facebook.com/TransitActionNetwork

JOIN our “Save The JO” Event.

Invite your friends. Share what you are doing, including who you have contacted and their response. Share how these proposed cuts would affect you. Post pictures of the people on your bus and tell how these cuts will affect them. Be sure to come to the public meetings. Add your ideas on what to do to save these routes. Organize.

http://www.facebook.com/events/141963052608035/

You still have three other great ways to keep in touch

1. The Transit Action Network website http://TransActionKC.com

  • The TAN website includes our in-depth analysis of local transit issues and our local videos on transit issues
  • In addition, follow a range of transit issues, including national transit issues, transit adventures and transit based travels
  • Sign up to receive an email whenever an article is posted, including a copy of the article. Sign-up in upper left-hand corner of the blog.
  • The emails are easy to forward to your email friends.
  • Post your comments on the blog. Your initial comment is moderated so there might be a delay.

2.  Follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/TransActionKC

  • Alerts about new blog posts
  • Breaking transit news
  • Retweets and links to interesting articles about transit
  • Ideas about where to go using transit in the Kansas City region
  • This and that about what’s going on in the local transit scene

3.  Email us at TransActionKC@gmail.com

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Time To Vote Yes For Streetcar TDD

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 22, 2012


The ballots to form a Transportation Development District (TDD) have been mailed. If you are one of the 555 people who received a ballot, please send it in as soon as possible.

1. Look for an envelope labeled STREETCAR TDD BALLOT ENCLOSED.

2. Open the envelope and fill in the circle next to YES (ballots are optical scan, so heed all instructions!).

3. Seal the ballot in the enclosed blue return envelope.

4. Have ANY notary confirm your signature on the back of the envelope and make sure they stamp it.

5. Mail or hand-deliver the sealed, signed, and notarized envelope back to the Circuit Court Administrator.

Here’s a sample ballot: http://transitkc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/BALLOT.pdf

After formation of the TDD, another vote will set the collection rates later this year. If you registered for a ballot, you should have it by now. Your bank has a Notary Public. If that isn’t convenient, then attend one of the Streetcar Neighbors sessions to get your ballot notarized:

10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 23 @ Mildred’s in the Crossroads (1821 Wyandotte)

12:00 p.m., Sunday, June 24 @ LatteLand in the Loop (1201 Main)

More sessions will be scheduled, so check their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/streetcarneighbors

Ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 31. Results should be available by Aug. 3. A simple majority of ballots cast will form the district. Shortly afterward, a TDD Board will be appointed and will kick off all administrative tasks required by state statute.

The failure to receive a federal TIGER IV grant does not affect this vote. Kansas City had a really aggressive timeline for the streetcar and the feds felt we weren’t far enough along in the process to get a grant.

Two reasons:

– Local funding is not in place (this is the TDD)

– Engineering is not complete (will be completed this year)

TIGER grants are a relatively new method of funding transportation projects. They came out of the stimulus package and Congress likes them enough to have offered this money four times. There may or may not be another round of TIGER grants but if there is, Kansas City could apply again if needed. However, Mayor James said Kansas City is proceeding with the traditional method of funding transit projects. Since the projected cost of this project is $101 million it falls into the FTA Small Starts Program. An Alternatives Analysis is needed to apply for this money. The AA was completed in 2011 and all of that information can now be used to submit an application to the FTA.

The Small Starts Program is the normal way to apply for matching funds from the FTA. The TIGER grant was a new option that would have been faster. Other alternative funding sources may be pursued as well.

Here’s a statement from Mayor James. No one should change their vote, since not getting a TIGER grant is only a temporary setback.

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National Dump The Pump Day June 21

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 20, 2012


Thursday is a day to ride transit and celebrate saving money, reducing pollution and gaining independence from the gas pump.

Take a few minutes to use the Metros “The True Cost of Driving” calculator. This exercise will open your eyes about the cost of having a car.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has a great fact sheet for Dump the Pump day with lots of quick transit facts about how transit saves money, provides economic opportunities, saves fuel, reduces congestion and much more.

According to APTA’s Transit Saving Report, a two-person household can save, on the average, more than $10,000 a year by downsizing to one car.

The JO is celebrating by giving a prize to 10 riders. To enter the drawing, tell them on Facebook  how you dumped the pump.

Have fun tomorrow and join the celebration.

Posted in Action, Events | Leave a Comment »

Speak Out Against Proposed JO Service Cuts

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 19, 2012


“The proposed cuts would eliminate my ability to use the bus and without a car, I’d be entirely reliant on car pooling (to get to work). It’s very disheartening.”  — TAN advocate and JO rider when she saw the proposed cuts.

Johnson County Transit (JCT) has announced proposed service changes for 2013 (2013Change0614DRAFT). They plan to eliminate 8 routes and reduce or modify 9 other routes. There is time to save The JO. This is an  “opportunity” and “challenge” for riders to organize to both save and promote their routes, but be clear that these cuts are real and potentially permanent if they aren’t stopped.  There are public meetings with the Commissioners and Johnson County Transit but if you want to have an impact ACT NOW. Even if you don’t ride The JO but you care about transit in our region, please get involved.

1.    Contact the County Commissioners

  1. Although there are public hearings later in July, the Final Fiscal Year 2013 Budget discussions for the Commissioners are July 2-3, so contact them before that (continue to contact them after July 3rd)
  2. Tell them why The JO is important to you
  3. Ask them to make a long-term commitment to improving and expanding public transit in Johnson County
  4. Ask them to maintain, not cut, The JO service in 2013, since they are not cutting the funding in 2013
  5. Contact them at the phone numbers shown below or visit their website at http://bocc.jocogov.org/ and send an email.
  6. If you can, contact them again for a status report
Chairman: Ed Eilert (913) 715-0500
District 1: Ed Peterson  (913) 715- 0431
District 2: Jim Allen  (913) 715-0432
District 3: David Lindstrom (913) 715-0433
District 4: Jason Osterhaus (913) 715-0434
District 5: Michael Ashcraft (913) 715-0435
District 6: Calvin Hayden  (913) 715-0436
 

 2.    Use Social Media to contact both Johnson County Commissioners and JCT

  1. http://www.facebook.com/JohnsonCountyGovernment
  2. http://www.facebook.com/JoCoTheJO
  3. http://twitter.com/JohnsonCountyKS
  4. http://twitter.com/JoCoTheJO
  5. Let them know what you think about the proposed transit cuts
  6. Ask them to improve and expand public transit, not shrink it!

3.    Comments to JCT on proposed changes can be made via e-mail, phone, mail

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

 4.    Contact your mayor or councilperson in Johnson County

  1. Tell your local officials how important The JO is to you.
  2. Ask your city officials to contact the County Commissioners and JCT to maintain, improve and expand The JO

5.    Organize your bus

  1. Sign a petition to save your bus and deliver it to Johnson County Commissioners and a copy to JCT
  2. Attend the public meetings as a group with signs and an organized presentation

6.    Write letters to the Editor of the KC Star

  1. http://www.kansascity.com/letters/
  2. Mail to The Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO. 64108.
  3. Letters can be up to 200 words

7.    Attend Public Hearings to be held by Johnson County Transit

a.    DATES and TIMES:

  • Monday July 9, 2012, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday July 11, 2012, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

b.    LOCATION: Sylvester Powell Community Center at 6200 Martway in Mission, Kansas. (both hearings)

  1. Ask them not to make service cuts this year, since the budget doesn’t require it. These are “voluntary” cuts at this point. Don’t make major service cuts that aren’t absolutely necessary.
  2. Ask them to do a better job advertising the service. Several routes have poor ridership because no one knows they exist. Example: Route 667 is underused. Except for the new map/schedule poster at 6000 Lamar, the only visible evidence of this route is when one of the buses goes past.

8. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Attend the Final FY 2013 Budget public meeting with the Board of County Commissioners

a. DATE and TIME:  Monday July 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m

b. LOCATION: BoCC meeting room, Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

  1. Ask them to maintain The JO service level
  2. Ask them to expand and improve transit
  3. Tell them how important The JO is to people. (Without this public input, County budget cuts will be enacted for 2014 and beyond to match the reduced service levels.)

We previously described The JO’s budget problems (Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners ). The 2013 budget being proposed has enough money for JCT to basically keep current service levels. Johnson County Transit (JCT) is cutting The JO service in 2013 because they’ve been told  that the money won’t be there in future years. At this point, these service reductions are mainly “voluntary”. Once the service is cut it will be much harder to get it back. We need to convince the Commissioners that one of the richest counties in the country needs to adequately fund public transit.

It will take public outcry to budge the County Commissioners and get them to reassure JCT that they will have ongoing funding to maintain service levels. The JO cuts are in response to direction from the Commissioners about the future.

A better solution involves the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners making a commitment to transit which improves and expands The JO. At present, The JO is primarily a commuter service into downtown Kansas City, but that service needs to expand to serve jobs, shopping, entertainment, education, medical and other activities within the county. Johnson County has been highly successful at attracting jobs, but it is almost impossible to get to most of those jobs by public transit. Johnson County’s lack of transit service is the main reason our region came out 90th of 100 cities in our ability to get to jobs using public transit in a 2011 Brookings Institution Report (How Our Region Should Respond to the Brookings Report). In addition to people who currently use The JO to get to work in Downtown Kansas City, more and more of the workers in Johnson County need this service to get to work.

Proposed service cuts for January 2013.

Routes Proposed for Elimination

  • Route 546/D – Johnson-Quivira
  • Route 667/E – Nall-Downtown
  • Route 669/I – KCK-Lenexa-Olathe
  • Route 672/M – JoCo-Downtown Midday
  • Route 676/P – Paola-Spring Hill-Olathe
  • Route 677/R – Downtown-Olathe
  • Route 810 – De Soto FlexRide
  • Route 816 – Spring Hill Shuttle

Routes Proposed for Service Modification and/or Reduction

  • Route 556 – Metcalf-Plaza: Modify route timing due to Transit Signal Priority; modify the 95th & Metcalf bus stop; modify service south of 119th Street.
  • Route 575 – 75th Street-Quivira: Eliminate five trips, reduce service frequency to 60 minutes during peak hours.
  • Route 660 – Antioch-Downtown: Eliminate earliest p.m. southbound trip; extend all trips to K-7 & Santa Fe.
  • Route 661 – Olathe Xpress: Adjust 5:55 a.m. northbound trip to start at 6:00 a.m.
  • Route 664 – Metcalf-Downtown: Eliminate two trips and adjust service to operate every 30 minutes, with “reverse commute” service every 60 minutes.
  • Route 670/L – Gardner-OP Xpress: Reduce “reverse commute” service and eliminate one southbound p.m. trip.
  • Route 673/N – South OP Xpress: Eliminate last southbound p.m. trip; add early southbound p.m. trip to reduce overcrowding.
  • Route 856 – Metcalf-Plaza Flex: Eliminate midday service south of 119th Street.
  • Route 875 – 75th Street-Quivira Flex: Consolidate the schedule to reduce travel time and allow less slack time for flex trips; adjust service frequency.

Additional information from the Johnson County Transportation Council meeting packet:

  • The Connex routes are being reduced with a goal to reduce service by $400,000 to ‘stretch’ the CMAQ funds through 2013. With the relocation of Wright Business College at 103rd and Metcalf, JCT had a 13% increase in ridership on the Connex routes during the first few weeks of the school term.
  • While not listed at this time, staff is also reviewing the impact of service reductions and/or elimination of the Route 812 – JO FLEX (operating within the City of Overland Park). At this point, staff’s primary concern is that Special Edition will be severely impacted by JO FLEX riders displaced by a potential reduction or elimination of the service.

Additional important JCT dates

  • July 30 – Deadline for submitting public input
  • July 30 – August 3 – JCT staff evaluate public input and prepare final service recommendations based on the estimated/proposed FY 2013 transit budget
  • August 9 – BOCC adopts FY 2013 Budget
  • August 14 – JCT staff presents final recommendations to JCTC at Council Meeting

Please contact your commissioners!!!

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Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 8, 2012


Johnson County Transit, The JO, faces the very real possibility of significant budget cuts in the next few years. As a result The JO plans to begin cutting service next year. This will involve eliminating some routes and reducing frequency on others. Details should be available next week.

Please contact your Johnson County Commissioner and also Commission Chairman Ed Eilert and tell them how important The JO transit service is to you and why they should not just keep it but expand it.  Ridership increased 13% last year and has gone up over 12% since the beginning of this year. It doesn’t make sense to cut transit service in difficult economic times while ridership is increasing. Now is the time to increase transit funding, not cut it.

Contact them at the phone numbers shown below or visit the Johnson County website and send an email.

Chairman: Ed Eilert (913) 715-0500
District 1: Ed Peterson  (913) 715-0431
District 2: Jim Allen  (913) 715-0432
District 3: David Lindstrom (913) 715-0433
District 4: Jason Osterhaus (913) 715-0434
District 5: Michael Ashcraft (913) 715-0435
District 6: Calvin Hayden  (913) 715-0436

If you send an email, consider also sending a photo of the riders on your bus. Send it to us too. transactionkc@gmail.com

There has been a lot of newspaper coverage recently about the budget problems Johnson County Transit is facing. In the short-term, the County is doing the right thing by continuing the current budget levels for 2013. However, the County is not committed to maintaining this level of funding or service for the long-term, so Johnson County Transit is being given time to shrink the transit service over a couple of years beginning in 2013.

Unfortunately, many Johnson County Commissioners view commuter transit as a luxury rather than a basic public service. Other major metropolitan areas in America know that a good transit system is a necessity. While the popular image is Johnson County moves only by car, that picture is changing as the cost of driving continues to rise and Johnson County attracts more workers who need transit.

Commissioners rarely hear from the transit riders. Commuters are usually so busy with work and other responsibilities that they take the transit service for granted, expecting it to be there. However, Commissioners often feel that if you don’t speak up you must not exist and/or your needs must not be real. The Board of County Commissioners determines the transit budget for Johnson County Transit.  Decreasing the budget decreases transit service.

Johnson County Transit (JCT) and its governing board, Johnson County Transportation Council (JCTC), have worked diligently with the Commissioners and the County Manager the past couple of months to avert a 25-30% cut in service next January. Nevertheless service cuts are coming. The JO faces a multi-year budget crisis, and it reminds us that transit is not secure in Johnson County.

The JO faces budget cuts from three directions.

1.  The county initially proposed budget cuts of $700,000 from the 2012 level for 2013 – 2014. We have since been told that County support for transit will remain constant in 2013 – no county budget cuts are proposed at this point. Reductions are still in the works for future years. Therefore, JCT will start reducing service in anticipation of future budget cuts.

2.   Federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds and other federal grants will begin to expire in mid-2013. These grants have been used to increase service on the Metcalf / Shawnee Mission Parkway route (556/856) and to initiate the 75th Street route (575/875).  The county is allowing JCT to use its county reserve account to make up for these costs in 2013 and 2014, but it’s essential that the county pick up those costs in the future. CMAQ grants were provided as seed money contingent on a County commitment to assume the cost upon expiration.  Remind the commissioners of their commitment.

3.   A potential loss of $500,000 from the State budget has been pushed back to 2014. This potential loss is related to a re-allocation of state funds among transit agencies.*  If the State doesn’t remedy this situation, then the County should replace these funds rather than force excessive cutbacks in service.

In addition to working with the Commissioners, JCT is appealing to Lawrence Transit and KU to start paying a share of the popular 710-K-10 route.

JCT and JCTC can’t do everything though. They need riders to impress on the Commissioners the importance of transit.

Transit riders and friends of transit should attend the public hearing on the County budget on July 23rd and speak up about the need for transit. Please join us there.

Public Hearing: July 23rd at 7 PM.
Johnson County Administration Building
111 S. Cherry
Olathe, KS 66061
 

*Kansas uses a formula, which includes ridership numbers, to distribute State transit funds. Lawrence Transit started working cooperatively with the KU transit service. As a result, the KU ridership would be included in the State formula for allocation of transit funds to Lawrence Transit. It is anticipated that this large increase in ridership would result in Lawrence Transit receiving a substantially larger portion of the state funds. If this happens, it would cause a re-distribution of State transit funds away from all the other transit agencies.

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Watch the “KC Streetcar Stroll” Video, Attend the Public Meetings & Request Your Streetcar Ballot

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 12, 2012


Kansas City conducted a “Streetcar Stroll” from the River Market to Union Station on May 9th.  About 35 participants were divided into small groups to walk the proposed 2.2 mile route with a guide to describe the proposed station areas and explain the proposed operating method for the streetcar. Video: Part 1 – Interviews with participants. Part 2 – Descriptions of the stations and the operations.

The city is holding three public meetings to explain the streetcar operation and answer questions. Kansas City wants voters in the proposed Transportation Development District (TDD) to understand the project.

TDD Map – Click to Enlarge

The public meetings are from 4-7 p.m with brief presentations at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

Tuesday, May 15, Helzburg Auditorium, Central Library, 14 W. 10th Street

Wednesday, May 16, Atrium, Steamboat Arabia Museum, 400 Grand Boulevard

Thursday, May 17, Arthur Stilwell Room, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road

The initial ballot to create the TDD is a mail-in ballot, but you MUST request a ballot by May 22. No Request=No Ballot. So if you live in the proposed TDD, request your ballot today! Ballot requests will be available at the public meetings. Remind your transit friends in the proposed TDD to submit their ballot request.

1. Print the ballot application at http://www.16thcircuit.org/streetcar

2. Print your registration status kceb.org (Use the check your voter status box at the top of the page. This document is used to validate you request.)

3. Send (hand-deliver, fax, mail) both documents to the court address (or fax number) on the application.

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Get Your Streetcar Ballots!!!!

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 30, 2012


Click to Enlarge

If you are a registered voter in the area designated for the downtown Transportation Development District  (TDD) you can order your ballot to vote to create the district starting today, Monday April 30. This is a mail-in ballot election.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell ruled on Friday that the district would be legal and the proposed financing plan is does not produce an undue burden on property owners. The plan is not unjust or unreasonable.

Request your ballot now!

Applications for a ballot are available as follows:

  • Download from http://www.16thcircuit.org/streetcar/
  • Pick up at the Jackson County Courthouse, 415 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106, Third Floor, Room 303, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays

You will not receive a ballot unless

  • you submit a valid application in accordance with the instructions on the application, and
  • your application is received by the Circuit Court Administrator’s office before 5:00 p.m. CDT on May 22, 2012

Ballots will be mailed on June 19, 2012, to those with a timely and valid application. Ballots will be due for return no later than 5 p.m. on July 31, 2012 in accordance with instructions on the ballot.

See the Full Court Notice Case Number: 1216-CV02419

The result of the Federal Tiger Grant application for $25 million is expected this summer. We sincerely hope to get that money.

Tell all your transit friends in the TDD to request a ballot.

After the voters create the district, a second election is scheduled for the fall to vote for the financing plan.

After that, Streetcar here we come!!!

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