KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While many can look forward to an expanded streetcar in 2025, businesses along Main Street are asking now for safer, accessible traffic patterns.
One year of construction and an overhaul of infrastructure along Main Street is well underway ahead of the expansion.
A KC Water representative says sewer work is on schedule to reach completion in August 2022.
But, 15 other contractors will have to go in behind them to do the same work.
“If a business makes it on this block, especially the mom-and-pop businesses make it, then it was the grace of God,” said Martez Gardner, owner of Petra de Salon.
He’s been at the salon on 34th and Main Street for six years and has watched the construction outside for more than a year. He says foot traffic and parking have been big issues, forcing him to lose some clients.
“You can’t park on the side streets here, you can’t ever park out there,” Gardner said. “The streetcar, you’ll love it and everything, but you’ll never be able to get that lost revenue back.”
Just a few shops down, Ink Parlor owner Rachael Cross says it’s been a struggle for her clients to actually get inside.
“They’ve closed our sidewalks like people can’t even get to our business,” Cross said. “So we get phone calls and we direct them to go down an alley and through people’s yards to get to parts of the sidewalks that are open. Every single day we come in there’s a different route that you have to take to get to the shop.”
Cross says when someone does find parking, it’s turned into more trouble, to which Gardner's clients can attest.
“Burger King has towed 4 or 5 of our customers,” Gardner said. “Someone was trying to get around the traffic, and it wasn’t clearly denoted where everybody needed to go, and they ran their car down into one of the open pits with wet concrete."
While navigating the roads may be complicated as of late, Cross is hopeful for the future.
"When you get into the zig-zags is where you run into a lot of problems," Cross said. "We are in it for the long haul, we are resilient, you know what I mean? This block is resilient.”
KC Water has several public resources including a project webpage and project hotline: 816-337-1013.