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'I don't know about putting it down 39th Street': KC Streetcar plans to expand

KC Streetcar plans to expand East-West, first look at traffic study
Posted at 7:25 AM, Nov 09, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Main Street under construction to expand the KC Streetcar down to UMKC’s campus, the Kansas City Area Transit Authority is already looking ahead to the next expansion plans.

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Thursday, KCATA will hold a virtual public meeting to share feedback from a nearly two-year-long traffic study on the proposed route along 39th Street and Linwood Boulevard between Rainbow Boulevard and Van Brunt Boulevard. That would potentially connect the city from The University of Kansas Health System to the Truman Sports Complex, going across state lines.

For business owner Joe Burnham, he still is unsure about a streetcar going in front of his skateboard shop. He co-owns Burning Spider Stoke Company on West 39th Street.

"My main concern is as a business owner, is the ability for my customers to get to my store. And then also, you know, part of my business is in a neighborhood obviously, so how is this going to affect my neighborhood or are customers going to be able to get to me easier,” said Burnham.

It isn’t all bad for Burnham. While he does worry about the safety of his customers in the skate community, he also recognizes this would connect the city further and “slow down” patrons.

"The best part about the streetcars no matter where they go, in my opinion, is less cars on the street. Less cars on the road in the city means I am less likely to get ran over even if there is a big rail down the middle of it,” said Burnham.

If you want to voice your comments about the streetcar expansion and give input on potential stops, you need to register aheadof time. The meeting starts at noon and goes until 1:00 PM.

This is the first time the public will have the chance to comment on the expansion. But it is just the start of the process.

“The next step is really finding out the feasibility, taking that feedback from the community and putting that into the study and then figuring out how much does this cost and what is the funding strategy for a system quite like this,” said Donna Mandelbaum, communications director for the KC Streetcar Authority.

As for the Main Street construction, Mandelbaum said the project is more than 60% complete and on track to be done in 2025.