Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Transit Stakeholder Forum – NOV 2

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 1, 2015


IMG_0636Transit Stakeholder Forums are few and far between so be sure to attend this one. Bring your ideas for additional projects to submit for federal funding through MARC.Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

When: November 2, 2015, 4:00- 6:00 p.m.

Where:  Kansas City Design Center, 1018 Baltimore Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

Format: Open house format w/scheduled presentations

 Presentations: 

 4:30 p.m. (Service changes)

 5:00 p.m. (Project priorities & regional fare improvement) 

 Topics:

 Services Changes

KCATA will share proposed service changes coming to several routes.  For more information about these changes, see rider bulletin

 Listing of Project Priorities for the RTCC

Every 2 years the Regional Transit Coordinating Council  develops a list of the most important transit projects in hopes of seeking funding through MARC’s project funding process.  Learn about this process, comment on the projects or suggest new ones. Feedback from the public will be presented to the RTCC at its meeting on November 4th.

 Regional Fare Improvements

Learn about new fare changes taking place that will effect local commuters and paratransit riders.

 Unable to attend the meeting?  Please visit the Transit Stakeholder Forum webpage for information on how to send comments by email or phone.

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Transit Talk OCT 27 – What You Need to Know About the Downtown Streetcar – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 27, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMJoin us for a Transit Talk about the new KC Downtown Streetcar.

Downtown Streetcar uses the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

Downtown Streetcar uses the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

Tom Gerend, Executive Director of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCStreetcar.org) speaks with host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday October 27, 2015 at 6 PM on RadioActive Magazine

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to Podcast 

Our Streetcar being tested in New York

Our Streetcar being tested in New York

The first of four streetcar vehicles is about to arrive in Kansas City. How will the streetcar change our interactions with downtown? What changes are needed to keep everyone safe and enjoy the riding experience? Why is riding it free? What do I do with my bike? Why aren’t wheelchairs tied down? What do I need to know to park my car and ride my bike along the streetcar tracks? These issues and more will be covered on Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine.

Our streetcar will work like this-1. bikes roll on and owners control them (see bike in middle of picture)- 2. wheelchairs roll on, find their designated location and LOCK WHEELS (no tie down). Picture from San Diego Trolley (light rail)

Our streetcar will work like this-1. bikes roll on and owners control them (see bike in middle of picture)- 2. wheelchairs roll on, find their designated location and LOCK WHEELS (no tie down). Picture from San Diego Trolley (light rail)

KCSc_VehicleExteriorGraphics_12-4

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Transit Talk Sept 29 – The Importance of APS and Carpooling – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 29, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWould you cross a busy street blindfolded?  What is the most popular way to reduce cost and pollution on your daily commute?marclogo

Join us for two Transit Talks on RadioActive Magazine

When: Tuesday September 29, 2015 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio 

Listen to Podcast
KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundAccessible_Design_for_the_Blind

  1. What are accessible pedestrian signals (APS) and why do we need them? Host Sheila Styron discusses the life saving technology of accessible pedestrian signals (APS) with Janet Barlow, Accessible Design for the Blind, and Chris Lockey, Kansas City Public Works. If you cannot imagine crossing one of Kansas City’s busy intersections blindfolded, then you won’t want to miss what these two experts have to say!KC_work_trips_by_mode
  2. Is the thought of driving to work by yourself everyday depressing? Are you looking for a way to reduce the cost of commuting? Do you care about air quality and reducing carbon emissions? Host Janet Rogers speaks with Amanda Graor, Air Quality Program Manager at Mid-America Regional Council, about carpooling and the region’s Rideshare program.  Amanda discusses the importance of carpooling in the region (9% of our regional work trips are carpooling), how to use MARC’s Rideshare website, and she tells us who won this years Green Commute Challenge. If you want to learn more or start carpooling call  816-842-RIDE (7433),  use Rideshare Connection at MARC or email rideshare@marc.org

Although Transit Action Network is dedicated to improving transit in the KC region, we are also very practical. If we can’t get to 82% of the jobs by transit, then people have to have an alternative to driving alone.

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Transit Talk Aug 18 – Regional Transit Landscape Is Changing Rapidly – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 17, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMJoin us! Multiple, major changes affecting bus systems and transportation for seniors and people with disabilities will be discussed on Transit Talk as part of RadioActive Magazine.KCATA

Dick Jarrold and Jameson Auten of KCATA discuss the recent changes to regional transit and the impact the changes will make on the community.  Hosted by Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday August 18, 2015 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on Radioactive Magazine

MAX brtListen to the podcastjohnson-county-kansas-logo

Changes include Independence returning to KCATA for transit management, Johnson County passing an increase to property tax to expand The JO and Special Edition, one eligibility form and one call center for ADA trips, Link for Care, Main Street Max birthday, Prospect MAX, bus stop inventory and more.

All TAN radio show are available at TAN RADIO

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“Progress on Prospect” Celebration

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 13, 2015


KCATACelebrate the good news with KCATA and Mayor James – Millions of dollars in new public and private investments to re-energize the Prospect community.

When:  5 to 7 p.m., July 15

Where:  Emmanuel Community Center, 3510 Prospect Ave.

Hot 103 JAMZ KPRS-FM will host a live remote from 4 to 6 p.m.KCdesignsipadkcbackground

Hear Kansas City Mayor Sly James at 6 pm, then watch a video showcasing the major projects underway or planned for Prospect Avenue.

List of investments include:

$74 million for the new Leon Mercer Jordan,

 Click to Enlarge Prospect_MAX

Click to Enlarge Prospect_MAX

East Patrol Campus (new police station is scheduled for completion early next year),

$3.6 million Morningstar Missionary Baptist Church’s Youth and Family Life Center at 27th & Prospect,

$12 million Prospect project with a new Linwood Shopping Center development and a new Sun Fresh Market,

and KCATA, in partnership with the city of Kansas City, Mo., is planning a Prospect MAX line.

Don’t miss a chance to celebrate Prospect. The event includes free food and prizes.

KCATA Bulletin for more information.

 

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Transit Talk July 7 – Bicycling and Walking in the KC Region – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 7, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMAre you noticing more bike lanes on the roads?

How are some Kansas City kids earning a free bike?

What is Bike Share?

Is the Kansas City region becoming more walkable?

Eric Rogers and Kristen Jeffers of BikeWalkKC talk about bicycling and walking in the Kansas City region with host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

When: Tuesday, July 7, at 6 pm

Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to the Podcast

Eric is Executive Director of BikeWalkKC and Chairs the Kansas City, MO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Kristen, who recently joined BikeWalkKC as Communications and Membership Manager, is known nationally for her blog, The Black Urbanist.

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Transit Talk June 9 – Solving Our Inability To Get to Jobs by Transit on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 8, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhy can’t we get to 82% of the jobs in the Kansas City region by transit and what are we doing to improve the situation?

In 2012, a nationwide report by The Brookings Institution evaluated 100 cities and the ability to get to work by transit within a 90-minute window. Kansas City came out 94th of 100 and Brookings reported that we could only get to 18% of the jobs in the region within that 90-minute timeframe. So what are we doing about it?

Find out on Transit Talk when we look at the region’s new effort to increase access to jobs by transit.KCATA

When: Tuesday June 9th at 6 pm

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on RadioActive Magazine

Listen to the Podcast

The show starts with an edited clip from a May 14th discussion on KKFI’s Show “Tell Somebody” between Lou Austin, Chairman of 3 Trails Village Community Improvement District (CID) and Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network about equity concerns related to our lack of access to jobs by transit. After that, host Janet Rogers speaks with Karen Clawson, Transportation Planner for Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and Chuck Ferguson, Chief Planning Officer at Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) to discuss how MARC and KCATA are dealing with the situation quantified by Brookings.marclogo

A federal planning grant was received by MARC to help the region deal with this issue.

 Region receives $1.2 million TIGER grant from U.S. DOT

Planning grant will focus on improving transit access to employment centers

Our next Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine is July 7th.

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Open House May 27 – Hickman Mills Transit Center

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 25, 2015


KCATAReview the concept for a new transit center coming to Bannister Rd. & Blue Ridge Blvd. Give KCATA your feedback on the concept and hear more about how this center will make transit connections more convenient and efficient.

When: Wednesday, May 27, 4-6 p.m.

Where: 3-Trails Village Community Improvement District, 5912 E. Bannister Rd. 

KCATA bulletin for more information: Hickman Mills Open House

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Transit Talk April 28 – Transit Vision and Safety With KCATA CEO Joe Reardon and VP Sam Desue

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 27, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMJoe Reardon has been on the job as the new CEO of KCATA for one month. What is his vision for our regional transit system? What direction will he take KCATA?

Also, just how safe is riding the METRO? Joe and Sam Desue, VP of Bus Operations, will talk about the safety precautions KCATA takes to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable ride, as well as what riders can do in case there is a problem.

Some large transit agencies experience 3 to 4 incidents a day. Of the 16 million transit trips last year on KCATA buses, there were only 95 incidents, so problems are rare.

Listen to podcast

Join host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network to find our more.

When: Tuesday, April 28 at 6 pm

Where: RadioActive Magazine on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Link to KKFI.org for live streaming

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Transit Talk Mar 31 – Prospect MAX, RideKC and Re-Designing Downtown Transit on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 30, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhat happened to Prospect MAX after the streetcar extension vote failed? What is RideKC? Why are we re-designing the flow of transit downtown?MAX brt

Host Janet Rogers speaks with Cindy Baker, KCATA Vice-President of Communications and Dick Jarrold, KCATA Vice President of Regional Planning and Development about these important regional transit issues.

LISTEN TO PODCAST

  • When: Tuesday March 31 at 6 pm
  • Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

  1. Get the latest update on Prospect MAX. Funding for this project was linked with the streetcar extension last year. This project is very important to the east side of Kansas City and needs to go forward without the streetcar. The Prospect BRT Advisory Committee has been reformed and planning continues, but are we getting closer to a Prospect MAX as a stand-alone project? Prospect MAX visuals
  2. RideKC is the new regional logo for all things transit in the whole region. TAN has advocated for a regional brand for years. This new brand is the first major step in creating a regional transit system. Find out about the new regional transit brand. KCATA Board Approves RideKC brand
  3. Downtown is getting a transit make-over. What are the proposed changes and how they will affect you? Downtown Service Improvement Concept

DT_Transit_021115Join us Tuesday at 6pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

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Attend Transit Stakeholder Forum March 19

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 17, 2015


KCATAMARC and KCATA are holding the next Transit Stakeholder Forum on March 19.

When: Thursday, March 19 @ 5–6:30 p.m.
Where: Mid-America Regional Councilmarclogo
600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105

Agenda items:

Review feedback received at the last meeting and online for “the future of SmartMoves”

Goals of the long-range transit vision update and RideKC Workforce Connex, the TIGER VI planning project that proposes to increase the access to employment by transit over the next ten years, will be presented. Forum participants will provide feedback on the direction of this work. Your feedback will be used to develop the final scope of work to be carried out by qualified consultants.

Open dialogue with transit providers about current transit issues that participants would like to address

Please join the conversation!Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

Metro Routes: www.kcata.org
The JO Routes: http://www.jocogov.org/dept/transit/home
“The Transit Stakeholder Forum is a public meeting where you can provide input for the Regional Transit Coordinating Council — a committee that advises MARC, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and local transit partners and jurisdictions on issues such as regional transit planning, priorities, coordination and implementation.”

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Big Expectations For KCATA New CEO

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 18, 2015


KCATAJoe Reardon, a lawyer with McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips and former Mayor of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, was named the new CEO and President of the Kansas City Transportation Authority (KCATA) this afternoon. This position is new and reflects KCATA’s restructuring efforts and its goal to function as the transit authority for the whole region, as it was originally intended. Reardon will have a big impact on the future of KC regional transit.

Special KCATA Board of :Commissioners meeting at Union Station to officially chose new CEO

Special KCATA Board of :Commissioners meeting at Union Station to officially chose new CEO

Reardon has extensive governmental experience and a reputation for getting things done, as noted in the bulletin released by KCATA. Several of his significant achievements revolve around transit, such as introducing Sunday service in KCK and getting a federal TIGER grant to help build the first major transit center in KCK.

He feels he can truly make KCATA a regional entity. He wants to start by listening. He wants to understand the system as it exits today, and listen to the region as a whole and people’s vision to enhance transit, including integrating transit and trails.

A strong supporter for much-needed regional cooperation, Reardon actually teaches an MBA class at Rockhurst University on regionalism. Sounds like he is on the right track.

Robbie Makinen (Chair of KCATA BOC) Joe Reardon (New CEO/President of KCATA), Sam Desue (Acting General Manager)

Robbie Makinen (Chair of KCATA BOC) Joe Reardon (New CEO/President of KCATA), Sam Desue (Acting General Manager)

The previous top KCATA position, General Manager, focused on internal operations, but this new position is focused externally. KCATA has very good people in place internally to handle the everyday workings of the agency, so the CEO can engage the community and public leaders to move transit forward.

Reardon said that safety of both rides and drivers is his first concern and KCATA is continuing to take steps to improve safety.

For KCATA to fully realize its goal we see two items that need to be achieved by Reardon.

1. All public transit services need to come under the KCATA management/operation umbrella. Reardon said he would be working on this initiative. Efforts to achieve this goal already started when Johnson County recently returned to KCATA for transit management services. We want to see all Unified Government/KCK and Independence public transit and special transportation services return to KCATA. Reardon feels that further integrating the region is critical and one of his key missions.

2. Increase funding to expand and improve transit service. Reardon said he knows this is a critical issue and something not easily addressed but something we need to spend time and effort on. He feels it speaks to forming the right partnerships and relationships to ensure that revenue sources that are there today continue to be there, find the opportunities where we all agree the system could be better and then look to ways to enhance that.

Transit Action Network believes that succeeding in these two categories is necessary to create a KC regional transit system that is capable of getting people to significantly more than 18% of the jobs in the region in under 90 minutes, which is our current situation.

Ridership is increasing and KCATA had $15.9 million trips in 2014.  Reardon wants to hear from riders about how KCATA can improve the system, what is good about the system, and if KCATA is answering their needs.

We look forward to working with Mr. Reardon.

Additional coverage:

http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article10595201.html

http://m.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2015/02/18/kcata-names-new.html

 

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KCATA Announces New CEO Feb 18

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 17, 2015


The new CEO/President of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will be announced at a special news conference tomorrow. KCATA
  • Where: Chamber Board Room, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, KCMO 64108
  • When: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 @ 12 p.m.
The new CEO will be available to the media directly following the news conference.

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Public Meetings Feb 11 Re-Designing Downtown Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 10, 2015


DT_Transit_021115KCATA is hosting two public meetings on the plan for re-designing downtown transit.  Please attend and comment on the vision and proposed changes.

What: Public Community Meetings (Presentation followed by open house format) See flyer here.

When: Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where: Kansas City Design Center, 1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo.

Time: 11:30am-1pm & 6:30pm

Map of Downtown Concept

Map of Downtown Concept

This proposed service improvement would significantly change how transit flows downtown. The changes are being proposed because the 10th and Main Transit Center is too small to handle the bus and streetcar traffic. Additionally, new developments downtown are impacting travel demands.

KCATA’s Proposed Improvements 

The proposed downtown service improvement concept includes the following interrelated elements:

  • The reconfiguration of downtown routes based on an intersecting trunk route service design, forming Transit Emphasis Corridors (TEC) along Grand Boulevard and 11th and 12th Streets to simplify, accelerate, and improve downtown transit service.
  • Facilitate connections between bus routes and streetcar service.
  • Bus lanes on Grand Boulevard and on 11th and 12th Streets to make service faster and more reliable.
  • The consolidation of regular bus stops into Transit Emphasis Corridor (TEC) Stations to make waiting more comfortable and service faster. TEC Stations would provide facilities and amenities similar to MAX stops.
  • The development of a new East Village transit hub to improve connections and elimination of 10th & Main Transit Center.

More information about this project can be found here including maps of proposed route changes. The proposal includes changing The JO routes downtown and additional changes to Route 51-Ward Parkway.

 

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Changes to Special Transportation – Meetings This Week

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 10, 2015


KCATALast year the Regional Transit Coordinating Council initiated a process to improve Special Transportation in the region for seniors and people with disabilities. The current service is fractured in many ways, including requiring riders to fill out numerous eligibility requirement forms and make numerous calls to get across the region.

This week starts a series of public meetings to discuss some of the proposed changes. If you use Special Transportation services, such as Share-A-Fare, Dial a Ride, Special Edition or IndeAcess, or you are a stakeholder for another reason, then try to attend a meeting to find out what is happening and provide your input.Mobility_AC

Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC)

Where: Mid-America Regional Council MARC, 6th and Broadway, KCMO

When: Wednesday, Feb 11 @9:00 am

The agenda is tight so please read the full task five memorandum prepared by TranSystems. The analysis is very comprehensive and the report explains how service levels may be increased through coordination of services. Task 5 Memo, Coordination Options 12-24-14

If you have any questions or comments contact:

Tyler Means, MARC tmeans@marc.org

Jameson Auten, KCATA jauten@kcata.org

******

In addition, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) is hosting several public meetings this week to discuss proposed changes to the application process for Share-A-Fare paratransit service.

Customers and stakeholders are invited to attend one of the following meetings to learn more about the new process:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 10, 12-2 p.m., UGT State Ave. MetroCenter, 47th and State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 10, 4-6 p.m., The Whole Person, 3710 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 11, 1-2:30 p.m., KCATA Breen Building (SAF Advisory Committee Mtg.), 1200 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo. (One presentation during the meeting.)
  • Thursday, Feb. 12, 3-5 p.m., St. Luke’s Barry Medical Park Building, 5844 N.W. Barry Rd., Ground Floor – South Conf. Room, Kansas City, Mo.

For more information read the KCATA bulletin http://www.kcata.org/news/safapplication

 

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Congratulations! Robbie Makinen Elected KCATA Chair Again

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 18, 2014


KCATAAt the end of the KCATA Board of Commissioners meeting yesterday, the Board elected Robbie Makinen as Chair for another year. It is really unprecedented to have so many consecutive terms but it shows the Board’s support for Makinen to finish leading the organization through its biggest changes ever.

MakinenC - Version 2

The agency made huge progress re-organizing this year and already completed a deal to manage the Johnson County transit services again after a 30-year break. That deal was sealed yesterday at the beginning of the Board meeting.

The re-structuring of KCATA isn’t complete though. For instance, the agency is still in the process of hiring a new CEO and Makinen is actively engaged in getting the right person. We wonder if he will throw his hat into the ring.

Radio Interview: Transit Talk Nov 18 – Interview with Robbie Makinen on KKFI 90.1FM

Related articles: Big Win for Seamless Transit – The JO Returns to KCATA 

A New Vision for KCATA

 

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Big Win for Seamless Transit – The JO Returns to KCATA

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 17, 2014


The Chair of KCATA Board of Commissioners,  Robbie Makinen, and Ed Eilert, Chair of the Johnson County Commission, took part in a signing ceremony transferring management of Johnson County’s transit to the KCATA.

Johnson County Commissioner Ed Eilert and KCATA Chair Robbie Makinen

Johnson County Commissioner Ed Eilert and KCATA Chair Robbie Makinen

After 30 years KCATA will manage the transit operations for Johnson County Transit again, which includes both The JO and the Special Edition (Johnson County service for seniors and people with disabilities). The signing of the inter-local Cooperative Agreement took place at the beginning of the KCATA monthly board meeting today. KCATA will take full responsibility for management on February 1, 2015, so this is a transition period.

To make this historic change happen Makinen said the “ATA needed to establish confidence and credibility within this region and with the re-structure that is the message they wanted to send.” Makinen lead the effort to re-organize the KCATA with the purpose of REALLY being the area transportation authority and managing (or both managing and operating) all of the public transit in the region as intended when the two states signed the bi-state compact creating the agency.

Commissioner Steve Klika

Commissioner Steve Klika

Steve Klika, Johnson County Commissioner, the County’s appointee to the KCATA Board and a major player in getting this agreement accomplished in record speed of six months, talked about his commitment to this goal for a long time. He joked that his personal effort toward Johnson County Transit was to figure out how to “turn the lights out, close the doors and turn the keys over to a regional entity”, which happened today. Klika said, “We have to understand that this is a big deal. It is starting to lead a path to the regionalization of transit.” He also acknowledged that there are funding issues to deal with going forward.

When asked about the benefit to riders, Commissioner Eilert felt the benefits are going to be “the ability to offer additional connections for transit services across the metro area and a major benefit is the ability of ATA to coordinate those efforts”. He said that Johnson County ‘s struggle has been to create ridership and they hope that ATA’s abilities will lead to an increase in riders.

Signing ceremony at the KCATA Board of Commissioners Dec 17, 2014

Signing ceremony at the KCATA Board of Commissioners Dec 17, 2014

Highlights of the agreement:

  • 2-year term with an annual base cost of $475,000 with a 3% annual cost escalator
  • Johnson County retains all final decisions relating to service policy and budget
  • KCATA staff will coordinate through the County’s Transit Liaison on management and administrative activities

In addition, KCATA has agreed to implement priority placement for Johnson County Transit staff affected by this agreement through March. 2015.

The KCATA Board of Commissioners authorized staff to enter into the inter-local agreement with Johnson County to provide transit management and administrative services for $430,000 in 2015 and $489,250 in 2016.

This agreement is the first major action to utilize the functions of the recently re-organized KCATA. Earlier in the year KCATA created separate departments for the KCATA relating to transit service

  1. KCATA Managed AND Operated bus service,
    1. the METRO,
    2. The METRO buses are driven by full and part-time KCATA employees; public transit bus drivers who belong to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
  2. KCATA Managed but NOT Operated transit service
    1. Manage existing Share-A-Fare service for seniors and people with disabilities, for the areas served by the METRO
      1. Operated by a private contractor
    2. New function: Manage (not operate) transit service for Johnson County.
      1. The JO and the Special Edition buses will continue to be operated by a private operator.
      2. In Johnson County, the operator doesn’t own the buses or set the routes or the schedules. They provide part-time drivers to operate The JO and Special Edition buses. The JO currently runs 42 commuter buses during peak service hours, which is considered a small service. Riders will not see any difference in the operations to start.

KCATA management will replace management functions previously performed by Johnson County Transit (JCT), a department of Johnson County. The personnel changes will result in approximately $455,000 savings for Johnson County.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAdditional savings are expected in the future since KCATA’s size provides greater purchasing power in capital acquisitions, such as buses, and operation costs, such as fuel. We also expect to see cost savings due to improvements to connections.

Users of the Johnson County services will still see familiar JCT faces at KCATA. Chuck Ferguson is now the KCATA Director of Planning. Shawn Strate is currently splitting his time between the two organizations, but he is now a Transit Planner at KCATA. There are several back office people from JCT that have moved to KCATA. Alice Amrein and Chris Lowe are staying at Johnson County. Amrein will be the liaison between the County and KCATA.

Riders shouldn’t expect immediate benefits or changes. There will be a transition period where KCATA learns all about The JO and Special Edition. KCATA has to evaluate the best way to integrate the services. Eliminating duplications or inefficiencies in service will take some time, but we hope the improvements are sooner rather than later and we will monitor the progress.

 In the short-term we hope to see better communications such as more schedules posted at bus stops for the JO and hopefully the electronic information boards working properly at the Mission Transit Center.

Once the full extent of the cost savings is evident KCATA should recommend more service. The Johnson County commissioners have committed to using the cost savings to improve and expand transit and not to divert the money for other purposes.

There are independent activities led by the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) that will have an impact in 2015. A regional fare study is already being conducted as well as a study to create a single eligibility procedure in the region to use special transportation.

Transit Action Network sees this agreement as a big leap forward toward the seamless transit system we want to function in the region and we want to thank everyone involved in making this agreement happen.

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Mobility Advisory Committee Meets Dec 10

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 9, 2014


The Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC) works to improve mobility for individuals with disabilities and seniors. It is a sub-committee of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC). Mobility_AC

Next meeting:

  • When: Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 9:30 am
  • Where: KCATA, Breen Board Room, 1200 E. 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

This meeting will evaluate and prioritize projects requesting funding (FTA Section 5310). The committee’s priorities will help the Regional Transit Coordinating Council form a funding recommendation.

The agenda, list of projects to be prioritized, and project summaries are available on the MAC website. Projects totally more than $6 million  have been requested, so prioritizing them is very important for determining which projects are actually funded.  The meeting is open to the public.

 

 

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Transit Talk Nov 18 – Interview with Robbie Makinen on KKFI 90.1FM

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 17, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMWhy is the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) re-organizing? Why has Johnson County chosen KCATA to manage their buses again after 30 years? What is the new Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) and how is it getting more money for transit and streamlining the regional paratransit services for people with disabilities? How will all these changes affect the community and transit riders?  KCATA

Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network interviews Robbie Makinen, the main architect of these transit changes, on RadioActive Magazine.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 @ 6 PM
Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

 Listen to the podcast

makinenRobbie Makinen is Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for KCATA and co-chair of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, (RTCC) a new transit council lead by KCATA and Mid America Regional Council. (His paying job is Director of Governmental Affairs at Jackson County).

Robbie shares his passion for a better transit system and his personal experiences using paratransit. He discusses the importance of re-organizing KCATA to transform it into the transportation authority it was originally meant to be, and the accomplishments of the year old RTCC.Transit_Coordinating_Council-2

Major RTCC accomplishments in first year

  • Coordinated Funding Requests and Allocations (STP, CMAQ) – A Big Win! This allocation of federal money includes the largest share of federal Surface Transportation Program dollars that transit has ever received in this region – The $10 million allocated to Jackson County toward the purchase of the Rock Island corridor came out of this process. (The county still needs another $50 million for that purchase.)
  • Regular dialogue between the transit agencies at both the staff and policy level about transit issues –seamless transit issues are a major focus of these discussions. Read TAN’s seamless transit document from 2011. Seamless Transit In the Kansas City Region We are pleased the coordinating council is working on these items and we expect to see many of these issues resolved in the short to mid-term.
  • Regional Trip Planner – A Big Win! Riders can now use Google’s trip planner for trips on any of the transit systems.
  • Interim regional pass program – A landmark agreement between the four transit agencies; the JCT 31 day pass is functioning as an interim regional pass. We don’t believe this interim solution will attract many additional users due to the high cost of the JCT monthly pass (Standard JO 31 day pass $75.60, Metro 31 day regular and express pass $50), but it is a significant cooperation agreement between the transit agencies.
  • Regional Branding and Website (In Progress) “RIDEKC” will be rolled out to the region soon. The Downtown Streetcar has already released its version of the logo.
  • Regional Map (In Progress) – the map will tie into the regional branding and website work Interactive Regional Transit Map
  • Regional Travel Training (Paratransit related)
  • Regional Paratransit Eligibility Process (In Progress as part of Mobility Management Strategies)
  • Project to coordinate paratransit services between the transit agencies (In Progress)
  • Fare Elasticity Model (complete) This model will help the transit agencies understand the impact on ridership caused by raising fares.
  • Regional Fare Study (In Progress) Identify an appropriate (we hope fair) fare structure for the region.

Recent article about Robbie Makinen by Mike Hendricks of the KC Star.

KCATA information: The KCATA Board of Commissioners meets monthly, on Wednesdays, in the Breen Administration Building, 1200 E. 18th Street, Kansas City, Mo., 64108. Meetings begin at 12:00 p.m. The next meeting is Nov 19.

KCATA board meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcome. Sign up before the meeting starts for a 3 minute comment slot.

Board of Commissioners, meeting dates, agendas and actions http://www.kcata.org/about_kcata/entries/board_of_commissioners

RTCC information: Their meeting locations alternate between KCATA and MARC. They are usually the first  Tuesday of the month, but check the website. Next meeting: January 6, 2014  at  9:00 a.m, KCATA, Breen Building.

RTCC meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcome. Sign up before the meeting starts for a 3 minute comment slot. http://www.marc.org/Transportation/Committees/Transportation-Committees/Transit-Coordinating-Council

Previous TAN article RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit

Link to previous Transit Talk radio shows

The next Transit Talk on RadioActive magazine is January 6, 2015 at 6 pm.

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Transit Talk Oct 14 – A Dose of Reality – KKFI 90.1FM‏

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 13, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FM

Why does the Kansas City region fail to qualify for significant federal dollars for most large rail projects, including going to the airport? Why can’t Kansas City pay for most big rail projects by itself? What should we do to change the situation?

A Dose of Reality: Challenges in paying for rail transit in the Kansas City region.

When: Tuesday October 14, 2014 @ 6 PM
Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine on 90.1 FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio
Listen to the podcast of the show

Janet Rogers, co-founder of Transit Action Network talks with Mark McDowell, a specialist in Finance, a long-term transit advocate who works closely with Transit Action Network, and founding member and past Chair of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, and Dick Jarrold, Vice-President of Regional Planning and Development at KCATA and former Regional Engineer for the Federal Transit Administration during the design and construction of the initial St. Louis MetroLink project.

Background:

Kansas City encounters two major areas of difficulty in paying for rail projects (NOT including voters reluctance to pass elections for funding these projects)

A. Qualifying for Federal matching dollars.

Most cities use federal dollars to help pay for very expensive rail projects.

New Starts –This grant program is the major source of federal funding for rail transit projects. The federal match for rail has shrunken from a norm of 80% down to 50% or less due to lack of federal funding and competition from numerous cities building and expanding rail systems.

  • To qualify for funding, the program requires projects to receive at least an overall medium rating in the FTA evaluation process.
  • According to Shawn Dykes, transit consultant with Parsons Brinckeroff, the most important number in the  project justification analysis for federal funding is cost-effectiveness or annual cost per rider. The FTA is not funding any projects that don’t rate at least medium in Cost Effectiveness. Currently that requires an annual cost/rider number of less than $10 per rider (or trip).

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Since costs for building streetcars (about $50 million per mile) or light rail (about $60-$70 million per mile) are relatively consistent around the country, the difference in cost-effectiveness for projects is mainly related to the ridership numbers.

Population Densityridership numbers are strongly related to the population density around a proposed rail project. Lack of density in the whole city is immaterial – the evaluation is only concerned about the population within 1 mile of the proposed track.

  • The Kansas City region has good population density in several transit corridors, such as: downtown corridor from River Market to the Plaza, along Independence Ave, 31st Street/Linwood, Prospect Ave, and State Avenue in KCK.
  • There are no well-established high-density transit corridors in Eastern Jackson County or to the airport (No transit corridor has really even been developed to the airport). Therefore, studies show very poor ridership projections for these areas.
  • Calculating projected ridership numbers starts with the current bus ridership in the transit corridor. Neither Eastern Jackson County nor any path to the airport has significant bus ridership to create a good base for rail ridership projections. Getting large ridership numbers between the airport and downtown depends on large numbers of daily riders, like commuters, not the occasional bump from 5 to 10 large conventions.
  • Commuter rail from Eastern Jackson County into Kansas City or light rail to the airport do not qualify for the FTA medium rating for cost-effectiveness (cost/rider under $10) and therefore fail the first hurdle in receiving federal New Starts funding.

TIGER Grant– Kansas City has done very well receiving TIGER grants, another source of federal funding. However, they are limited to about $20 million dollars. This amount is great for small projects like the two-mile downtown streetcar, but it doesn’t have a significant impact on a billion dollar project like light rail to the airport.

B. Generating local revenue for rail projects

Rail projects are very expensive. Most cities can’t pay for large projects themselves and need a federal match. Small starter lines, like the Downtown Streetcar, are often paid for locally.

Kansas City has a very hard time getting any rail projects approved by voters. Even if the voters approve a rail project, Kansas City struggles to generate enough money to pay for the project.

Building a rail line is just like building a new house.  You have to borrow the money and pay off a house mortgage or in the case of rail, pay off bonds.

You can only build a house that you can afford to pay off the monthly mortgage. If you only make $30,000 a year, you aren’t going to build a $400,000 house. You can’t afford the monthly/yearly payment.

Building rail has the same cash flow problem. The city borrows the money and issues bonds, then they have to be able to pay the yearly bond payments, usually though tax collections.

Revenue Capacity Kansas City’s revenue generation is  too low in many cases to meet the bond payments for large rail projects, even if the feds pay half the project cost.  The streetcar expansion project required half the money from federal grants, yet the proposed Transportation Development District would not generate all of the money for the other half. If the proposal had passed, the city had to close the funding gap through other methods or shorten the routes.  

What about paying for light rail to the airport? Kansas City definitely can’t pay for light rail to the airport at this point in time.

Light rail to the airport: 17 miles at the low-end of cost, $60 million per mile, is $1.020 billion – plus add the cost of upgrading or building a new bridge and yearly operating and maintenance costs. Depending on the terms of the bond issue the yearly bond payment may easily range from $70 million to $90 million.

A city-wide 3/8 percent sales tax, like the sum of the two ballot measures on the Nov 4 ballot, will only generate about $27 million annually. Kansas City can’t pay for light rail to the airport by itself and the route won’t qualify for New Starts federal funding at this point. The cost/rider number to the airport is way over $10 per person. (high cost/low ridership)

Using a TDD for local funding:

In a Transportation Development District, the people who benefit from the transit are the ones voting. The district is usually smaller than a city-wide vote so the tax rates will be significantly higher in order to generate enough money to pay for rail. This model was successful for the Downtown Streetcar.

A Step in the Right Direction:

In order to qualify for federal matching funds, we need to develop high-density, mixed use corridors with great bus service. In order to do so the City needs to highly incentivize projects in those corridors. Create great mixed use, higher density, transit corridors that attract people and business, then let them grow so that ridership will qualify for federal matching dollars and they will have the revenue density necessary to fund rail projects.

When there are large rail studies, petition initiatives or votes for rail projects, people need to ask about the FTA cost-effectiveness number and the overall rating for receiving federal New Starts funding.  This is the first hurdle to getting significant federal matching funds. If the project won’t come close to even qualifying for New Starts funding, ask if we can we pay for it ourselves with sales and property taxes and then ask if we want to.

Our next RadioActive Magazine Transit Talk is November 18th at 6 pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

 

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Rail, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »