Don't call it "light rail.” A new plan would use "modern streetcars" and calls for only a two mile starter line downtown.
Transportation planners say they have a new idea for downtown transit- how about modern street cars rather than light rail.
Modern streetcar (Photo courtesy of KC Smart Moves)
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Transportation planners say they have a
new idea for downtown transit- how about modern street cars rather than light rail.
There's an open house Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to unveil the idea and to get public feedback.
The session is at the downtown library at 10th and Baltimore.
Two identical, short, informational talks will be delivered at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Planners say they've learned from the past failures to get light rail going in Kansas City.
So now they're talking about only a two mile starter line.
The proposal would link the Union Station-Crown Center area to the downtown core and River Market area.
The idea is to use a "modern streetcar" which is a more permanent than a bus, but smaller and less expensive than light rail.
Some downtown commuters are willing to listen to the new idea.
Tony Ogden, who works downtown, says with the cost of parking, he thinks many workers would support the streetcar line.
It's also different than light rail because streetcars run on rails built into the regular street.
Sreetcars mix with traffic, rather than needing a separate lane.
Stops would be similar to the Max bus stops.
So far, there's no set route.
Sherri McIntyre is a KCMO assistant city manager who is helping gather public feedback to help make a recommendation to the city council later this year.
"It's a smaller scale project, it's more affordable, " said McIntyre.
Funding would come from a sales or property tax that would only be levied only in the downtown corridor that would be served by the starter line.
McIntyre says that downtown area has consistently voted in favor of transportation issues.
Taxing only that corridor would avoid asking for a city-wide vote or a citywide tax.... which have failed every time except one when voting on light rail.