The Kansas City Star reports that planning for possible expansion of the city's streetcar system is underway even though construction has yet to begin on the initial two-mile segment.
Kansas City has allocated $2.5 million to study eight potential routes totalling 20 miles. Another $250,000 will be devoted to a $600,000 study of possible routes crossing the river into North Kansas City.
This year the City hopes to recommend the highest priority segment of up to 10 miles south of the river, then complete an full study of the chosen routes by spring 2014. After that $10 million would be required for engineering and environmental studies. This funding is not yet identified.
The eight potential routes are:
- Main Street from Union Station (the end point of the downtown route) to the Country Club Plaza and the University of Missouri-Kansas City
- Country Club Right of Way (along an old trolley route) from 51st Street to 85th Street and Prospect Avenue
- Independence Avenue
- Southwest Boulevard
- 12th Street to the East Side
- 12th Street to the West Side
- 18th Street to the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District
- 31st Street/Linwood Boulevard
Reaction to public workshops discussing these routes was positive and enthusiastic.
Streetcar Inspired Development
The Kansas City Star also describes the first development project directly attributed to the starter streetcar line. Scott Richardson, managing partner for Linden Street Partners plan an apartment/retail building on a site currently occupied by a parking lot.
"The streetcar is the big thing that drew us, absolutely," Richardson told the Star. "We like the demographics and the economic trends." This project is exactly the type which streetcar advocates expect to see along the route.