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The Waldonian

Light rail in KC is needed for the next step

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In Kansas City the last few years the light rail option has been popping up on the ballots, and it has been shot down each and every time. The citizens dont want change, especially the rich citizens of Johnson County, as shown by the latest stadium upgrade proposal. The Metro Link system in St. Louis is a nice addition and seems to be working well. Kansas City and St. Louis are comporable in size and the citizens of KC most likely dont know how much they would use it. A system reaching out to the suburbs and into the city would be a huge undertaking but it would be well worth it. It would also be a great addition to booming downtown especially when the Sprint Center and KC Live are finished. This is just my opinion and I would like to hear others opinions also.

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I think any city of KC's size should be planning and implementing a Light Rail and possibly commuter rail as well. I think that cities that do this now will pull ahead of cities which don't in the future.

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thats exactly right, and the citizens of KC need to know that. If its working in St. Louis, it will work in KC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Peer cities like Charlotte, Minneapolis, Jacksonville, and Nashville all have transit systems either running or under construction. If these places can do it, I would assume it could happen in KC also.

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thats exactly right, and the citizens of KC need to know that. If its working in St. Louis, it will work in KC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

While I don't disagree that KC should be looking at a rail system in order to be a major player, you can't forget that St. Louis is a significantly more densely populated (and larger) urban area. There is more critical mass to support the need for such a system, as well as more suburban commuters with more traffic congestion to deal with than KC.

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While I don't disagree that KC should be looking at a rail system in order to be a major player, you can't forget that St. Louis is a significantly more densely populated (and larger) urban area.  There is more critical mass to support the need for such a system, as well as more suburban commuters with more traffic congestion to deal with than KC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i seem to recall from my days of growing up in st. peters that the only time anyone in the suburbs used metrolink was to go to a cards game or new years eve at forest park. and they would drive half the way! st. charles county didnt want metrolink to even cross the river! as for the closer suburbs, i doubt many from town and country or kirkwood use the metrolink on any regular basis, but i hope im wrong. obviously a lot of people do use it. im sure by now people have gotten over whatever problem they had with it when it first came on line (dumb suburbanites...).

i honestly think that kc has the critical mass to support some sort of light rail, even if kcmo is less densely populated than st. louis. i would tend to argue that kc is not a smaller metro area, just less a less dense one (overall, anyway. northern kcmo is quite dense, however) kcmo alone is 300 + square miles, and lee's summit is fairly gargantuan as well, in population and area (saint charles city + saint peters = lee's summit). plus the other mo suburbs (blue springs, raytown, etc) and well of course johnson county, ks...

by the way, i think the kansas city vs. saint louis tension on here is rediculious...then again, i was born in saint louis and now live in kc.

des moines is our real enemy! :silly:

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Stl may be more dense, but KC encompases a much larger area. The city of Olathe in Johnson County is one of the fastest growing citys in America, and KC will only become more dense with Johnson County growing like it is.

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^It depends what you're talking about. Yes, the city of Kansas City covers more land area than the City of St. Louis, but the Saint Louis urbanized area (which is really the most relevant measure) covers a greater physical area than Kansas City.

KC Urbanized Area: 701 square miles

STL Urbanized Area: 1,032 square miles

http://www.demographia.com/db-usa-uamet.htm

This is not intended to create a city vs. city fight, but the St. Louis urbanized area is larger in physical area as well as population, and has a higher density than KC. It is not always accurate to say that "if it works there, it will definitely work here." Different factors must be considered because they are different places. That said, I do think KC should take a serious look at some form of rapid transit.

And please, for the sake of credibility and the maturity of the discussion, at least attempt to research your arguments before posting them. Citing hollow statistics like "KC ecompasses a much larger area" only leads to frivolous and useless exchanges.

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I dont care about urban, im talking the whole thing.

More KC facts

The extensive, interlocking system of parks and boulevards set aside by visionary planners in the 1890s prompted writers to call the Kansas City area "Paris on the Plains."

More than 200 fountains in the area earned Kansas City, Missouri, its nickname, "The City of Fountains."

Kansas City is the number 1 inland trade zone in area, and is the second-largest rail center in the United States.

Opened in 1922, the Country Club Plaza was the first shopping area planned for the automobile. Its 12 towers and numerous fountains and artworks were modeled after Seville, Spain.

The distinctive swing sound of Kansas City jazz dates to the mid-1930s, when Count Basie played local clubs.

Kansas City is third in the nation for professional theaters per capita, with performances offered by a dozen companies.

Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, attended art school in Kansas City and experimented with the process of animation in a tiny upstairs studio on 31st Street in Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1920s.

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The current plan is to implement a Bus Rapid Transit line between downtown and the Plaza, and use that as a jumping off point to bigger and more comprehensive plans, such as rail transit. I've even personally heard the chief engineer of the BRT line admittedly say that the Bus Rapid Transit line is partially about changing perceptions among KC'ers that this city can actually get something done, and will then lead to something more comprehensive.

I think with all the momentum in KC right now towards reinvestment in existing infrastructure and infill, we will see some kind of rail plan passed within the next ten years (too long, I know).

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i think its pretty obvious to the casual observer that kc is less dense than stl...

that was one of the first things i noticed when i came out here. i was shocked to see countryside along a two and three lane metro bypass highway...

the fact that kc encompasses such a huge freakin area is only working against developing its density. st. louis had the advantage of becoming developed earlier and becoming developed as an inland port. the development had to be along and accessable to the river. kansas city was shaped more by the train and later the automobile. im glad these two towns are different. i can go to saint louis and see things i'd never see here and vice versa. missouri is lucky to have both towns.

as for the difference in the size of the two urban areas, i think that the urban flight from stl was greater than from kansas city...this could partially account for the difference in "urbanized area" (a larger suburban population). that being said, saint louis had a larger core population when the trend toward suburbanization started.

comparing kc and stl is like comparing apples and oranges.

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One thing that you have to remember about the whole KC area is that it is a big agricultural area for the U.S. Kansas ranks second in the whole U.S. for beef production, and first in wheat, and a lot of that land, especially as you get away from the city and into the suburbs, is valuable farming land important to the economy. Agriculture is the nations largest industry, which assets over $900 billion.

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With the new entertainment district downtown I believe that a small streetcar line that travels through downtown would help greatly. Imagine a connection between Kansas City's convention center, entertainment district, etc all along a streetcar line that is free. I have read that streetcar lines are relatively inexpenive, yet they greatly add to the urban environs. Just as an example Little Rock has a streetcar line.

Regardless of what KC does, I hope for the urban core to do well.

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We just added a rapid buss line named "MAX" that is supposed to make fewer stops or something and go faster. This is not light rail, but a start. You made a good suggestion though. A rail system just connecting all of downtown with the new sprint center and Power and light district would be great.

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We just added a rapid buss line named "MAX" that is supposed to make fewer stops or something and go faster. This is not light rail, but a start. You made a good suggestion though. A rail system just connecting all of downtown with the new sprint center and Power and light district would be great.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I am not very impressed with the new BRT system. The streetcar setup I am interested in is similar to Portlands, in that it uses modern streetcars. Here is a pic.

psu6.jpg

This of course would just be to connect downtown destinations like City Market, The Crossroads, the convention center, and the new entertainment district. I think extending it to Westport, or the plaza would be too much.

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Kansas City has a splendid corridor for light rail -- that of the former Country Club streetcar line. But, every time studies have been made and elections held, Kansas Citians nix it. I suppose "Waldonian" (who writes here) lives in Waldo. This would be a stop, if not the terminal, of a Country Club light rail line. You now have the MAX BRT. I'm but one opinion, but I think this is an over glorified bus. Check out the schedules and compare them to the Route 56 Express and tell me if it was worth a $21 m. investment in way cool shelters and other gimicks. BRT is a hoax or, as a friend calls it, bogus rapid transit.

There is also a study underway in the I-35 corridor in Johnson County. This, too, could be a great light rail corridor but no one (except apparently citizens) wants to bite. I think Johnson County is gunshy about pushing such a proposal because it is a big project that the region should really be behind (but for the politics of KC vs. Johnson County). The ATA (which for all practical purposes does not serve Johnson County) should really be taking the lead here. This line could follow the BNSF line to Olathe or Lenexa, though it would not do much for the Sprint campus. The Sprint campus would be very difficult to serve with light rail. This was obviously one of those classic business decisions in which access, notably public transportation, was not thought about before that huge development was approved or, perhaps because it is near I-435 that was considered all that was needed.

Kansas Citians need to fight for light rail. They need to fight NOW before the Country Club alignment and others are swallowed up by development or trails.

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The "MAX" seems to be quite a success, hopefully this will be a stepping stone towards light rail...

$21 m. for it seems rediculous though.

hopefully someday i'll be able to seriously support a concerted effort for light rail. im finishing up my second BA in environ. studies right now at umkc.

generally speaking, i feel like there are elected officials indirectly or directly sabotaging or dragging their feet on anything progressive in this town. i think that on a citizen to citizen level though, this town (midtown, downtown kansas city, mo) is gaining momentum as far as the level of education and conciousness is concerned. i think that once a large groundswell of support arises, this town is going to start getting things accomplished. people need to get off their a** though :rolleyes:

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Kansas City has a splendid corridor for light rail -- that of the former Country Club streetcar line.  But, every time studies have been made and elections held, Kansas Citians nix it.  I suppose "Waldonian" (who writes here) lives in Waldo.  This would be a stop, if not the terminal, of a Country Club light rail line.  You now have the MAX BRT.  I'm but one opinion, but I think this is an over glorified bus.  Check out the schedules and compare them to the Route 56 Express and tell me if it was worth a $21 m. investment in way cool shelters and other gimicks.  BRT is a hoax or, as a friend calls it, bogus rapid transit.

There is also a study underway in the I-35 corridor in Johnson County.  This, too, could be a great light rail corridor but no one (except apparently citizens) wants to bite.  I think Johnson County is gunshy about pushing such a proposal because it is a big project that the region should really be behind (but for the politics of KC vs. Johnson County).  The ATA (which for all practical purposes does not serve Johnson County) should really be taking the lead here.  This line could follow the BNSF line to Olathe or Lenexa, though it would not do much for the Sprint campus.  The Sprint campus would be very difficult to serve with light rail.  This was obviously one of those classic  business decisions in which access, notably public transportation, was not thought about before that huge development was approved or, perhaps because it is near I-435 that was considered all that was needed.

Kansas Citians need to fight for light rail.  They need to fight NOW before the Country Club alignment and others are swallowed up by development or trails.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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What is the status of any current proposition? where do we stand as of now, does anyone know? Is there a grassroots campaign to gather signatures, do you think it would work? hmm...

OH QUESTIONS.

I wonder how one could argue for the next vote to be for only Jackson County or preferably KCMO, not North Kansas City. We need to make sure the first step is something like a starter line, so certain people dont go all crazy and tout it as a waste of money, etc...

I guess I can't understand why people wouldnt want a starter line in kansas city. i guess i dont understand why some members of the business community are opposed to it. from my perspective, light rail is initially seen as a godsend by urban core dwellers and (at least at first) a novelty by suuburbanities (who in turn infuse more money into the urban core) and slowly coming around to use it for daily activities. I was one of those suburbanites who, growing up in the suburbs of st louis, thought that the metro link was "neat-o."

Im going to go look at that country club right of way, but i think its pretty much off limits for something like light rail, after being turned into a park and trail...just my guess..

im going to jump on the MAX today, cause im takng amtrak to warrensburg. should be interesting.

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I think KC should def do it, and as a future KC resident i'd support it. Just as long as they don't do what they did here in Buffalo and make the USA's largest pedestrian mall around the downtown portion of light rail. It killed downtown retail and there is some talk of taking the light rail out, but more likely just return vehicles to the road with the rail.

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Another good reason for light rail is a huge evacuation, like what we say in New Orleans. Ofcourse we wouldnt have to be evacuated for that reason, but the New Mardrid fault line could cause serious problems, maybe not as much here, but definently in St. Louis. Kansas City is one of the best cities in the Country for the automobile because of the many wide boulevards and such, but this would still help.

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Kansas City is one of the best cities in the Country for the automobile because of the many wide boulevards and such, but this would still help.

Indeed, and the city needs to stop kowtowing to the wet-dreams of the traffic engineers. City planning in Kansas City is, for all intents and purposes, straitjacketed in the now-obsolete notion that traffic engineers should be given free reign to move cars as fast as possible through what is supposed to be the urban center.

Don't get me wrong, boulevards are nice when complemented by a cohesive built environment anchoring them, but besides Ward Parkway and its manses, it seems to me that few examples exist in our city of what would be fine boulevards, instead in reality they serve as mere suburban collector roads.

Anyway, Waldonian, have you checked out http://www.kcskyscrapers.com/newforum/index.php ?? It's a good board for lots of development news and urban news and even general Kansas City topics, in case you are interested.

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Kansas City would definitely benefit from any sort of mass transit system. The light rail system in St. Louis has been very well received and utilized (not only great for the daily commute, it is also great to avoid ridiculous traffic when heading downtown from evening events). Good luck getting your system - it is worth the fight.

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I think KC should def do it, and as a future KC resident i'd support it. Just as long as they don't do what they did here in Buffalo and make the USA's largest pedestrian mall around the downtown portion of light rail. It killed downtown retail and there is some talk of taking the light rail out, but more likely just return vehicles to the road with the rail.

There is no talk of taking out any light rail in Buffalo. They are talkiing about returning cars to the ped mall along with the trains. There is talk of extensions to the outer harbor, to Tonawanda, Amherst and to the Airport. The outer harbor is highly likely once development is well underway in that area.

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