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Kansas City - June 2011

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Kansas City — Rail Routes Revealed

Rail Transit Online, June 2011

The latest version of a downtown rail transit system was released by city planners on June 17.

It shows four possible options for a starter line which could utilize modern streetcars along Baltimore Avenue, Walnut Street, Grand Avenue or Main Street, all of them connecting Union Station with the River Market, a distance of about 2.5 mi. (4 km). The streetcar would act as a circulator, connecting with future commuter rail service terminating at Union Station or farther north on Truman Road. The report is part of a federally-funded Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis, which is also considering expanded bus service and a no-build option.

The study, which is to be completed by year's end, is being conducted by a partnership that includes the city, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (ATA), the Mid-America Regional Council and Jackson County, Missouri. The consultant team is led by HDR and supported by Nelson/Nygaard, Polsinelli Shughart, Patti Banks Associates, HG Consult Inc, Bums & McDonnell and Architectural and Historical Research. In 2004 and 2009 ATA and the city conducted a feasibility study into a downtown streetcar and an alternatives analysis was also conducted in 2008.

A current city planning document says the downtown corridor "...represents the best opportunity for developing a successful starter line which could be a critical building block for more extensive regional transit system improvements." Local voters approved construction of a 27-mi. (43.5 km) light rail system in November 2006 but the scheme was repealed by the city council a year later before any serious planning was completed.


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