View Full Version : NFT: KC's light rail

08-02-2001, 12:38 PM
Will it pass?
I hope so. I'm voting for it.

Streetcars returning to Kansas City!! Neato!!

08-02-2001, 12:39 PM
Where is the primary rail going to be. Overland Park, KS to downtown or to where?

Is there a web-site that has more infomation pertaining to this.

Lightning Rod
08-02-2001, 12:43 PM
The proposed route I've seen at least to start begins around 65th and Troust-ish and goes though DT through NKC up to Gladstone.

I like the idea but wonder if the rewards would justify the cost.

08-02-2001, 12:45 PM
I see nothing wrong with
1. reducing traffic
2. Stimulating the economy in declining areas
3. Imroving air quality/pollution
4. Giving the muggers a place to congregate ;)

I know this project would have "growing pains" and the "not my back yard" issues, but from an urban development standpoint, this can do nothing but help KC.

~studied some urban planning in college.

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 12:48 PM
I think it's ridiculous to spend 750 million+ on this and I will vote against it.

I just don't see what this will do to improve the community. We have what I'm told is a pretty good bus system (I don't use it, so I don't know personally...) and traffic isn't a problem anyway. I've never had to wait more than 15 minutes anywhere at any time of the day (and I live IN the Grandview Triangle). There's no traffic jams, and compared to other urban areas, our rush hour is a joke (that's a good thing). There's some construction in a few places, but that's not a permanent fixture (or at least it shouldn't be).

This idea just doesn't make sense. If it was part of some major development, say spending a billion to revitalize downtown (and I'm not talking about a stadium, although I support that idea as part of an overall plan) I'd be all for it. But building light rail just to have it is idiotic. I guess I could ride it to downtown to look at the...urr, nothing is down there, so nevermind that. Maybe I could ride back at forth from the Airport to south KC, watching the scenery. And all the cars flying by.

This idea makes even less sense to me than spending 60 million to build an aquarium (it's coming...) and I think that idea is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard in my entire life.

Just my humble opinion.

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 12:52 PM
And let me reiterate, just in case my last post was taken the wrong way:

I'm all for community development. I love the idea. But there needs to be an overall plan for it. Ideas like Union Station, an Aquarium and now this, light rail, are not the way to go in my opinion. We need some forward-thinking people to develop an overall plan for community development, not the sorts of things I've seen so far since I moved here a little over two years ago.

Make light rail part of an overall plan for development. On its own it's pointless.

Again, JMHO.

08-02-2001, 01:01 PM

You have some valid points....and as a non-resident of KC its easy for me to sit in my chair and say its a good thing.

I look at it from a broader persective. kind of the "if you build it, they will come". In Urban developement and "city location..ie. where are cities built?" you see common themes in successful cities. Most were built along 1.Rivers 2. Rail 3. Hwy or major road intersections. Areas that contain the best combination of these with natural resources are successful...many towns that weren't folded.

The outside perspective I have is that (assuming the rail goes to the airport) it gives travelers access to downtown and other areas. If the rail will bring people to areas, services and business to provide for those people would be required.....stimulating the economy, providing jobs and revitalizing the areas.....in theory.

Other improvements like the Aqarium, Union station and whatever else comes along would only be "attractions" to draw in people. I know that the light rail in Chicago is well used.

~just an opinion.

08-02-2001, 01:02 PM
Before I left KC, they still hadnt decided what to do with Union Station circa 1995. I thought a casino would have been perfect. Especially so close to Crown Center and the hotels, etc.

Anyone remember how long it took to get the highway 71 constructed that went through midtown? If I remember it took about 30 years to get off the drawing board. It was just starting to open up when I left KC.

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 01:15 PM
People already have access to those areas, Iowanian. Like I said, the traffic here is nothing for an urban area, and we have a pretty solid bus system.

The thing is this: building the light rail now is premature, and again, IMHO it doesn't make sense by itself. Thinking it will bring in anything makes about as much sense as thinking a ballpark downtown will revitalize it if nothing else is done.

We do things the wrong way here. We build Union Station, a one-time attraction for all intents and purposes, and think it will help development. It's a mammoth flop.

We're going to build an aquarium. Another one-time attraction. I'll tell you right now, it will be a mammoth flop. Ten years ago? Sure. But it's an old idea that dozens of cities all over the country have tried. It won't do anything for downtown and it'll be closed within a decade.

I don't want a "build it and they'll come". I don't believe that will work. I want a multi-stage plan that is creative and intelligent, not continued one-shot deals that fizzle and die. That's a waste of funds. What destinations do we have for light rail at this time? KCI. The sports complex. The plaza. That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. There's no reason to go downtown, people have easy access now and virtually noone is there - it's like a ghost town.

If we're going to do this, do it right. Light rail on it's own ain't doing it right. Light rail, a new arena (w/ NBA franchise, it's possible), a new ballpark for the Royals, the performing arts center, a museum, hell even keep the idiotic aquarium if you think it's a good idea. Go for the gusto.

Now, I'm no city planner, obviously, and I haven't put a great deal of thought into what could be built there, but you get the drift: you have to give people a reason to go downtown. Just because the train goes there isn't reason enough. Find a way to draw the people, and the businesses will follow.

Voila! Downtown is on the way to recovery.

Keep nickle-and-diming like this, and we'll continue to help the suburbs grow.

And I guess some folks like that, I know a lot of people think of downtown areas as a wretched hive of scum and villainy. I don't. I think we could make Kansas City a greater place than it is already.

Mark M
08-02-2001, 01:35 PM
The system that is being proposed is a terrible way to set it up, IMO.

The rail needs to do two things:

1. Get people from where they live to where they work. This doesn't really provide for that. If I could drive/walk/run say three blocks from my house in NE Independence and get within two to three blocks of where I work in Mission, rather than drive the 35 miles myself, I'd take the thing every single day. Unfortuantely, this plan really doesn't do this.

2. Get people from where they stay (i.e. hotels) to where they would want to go (i.e. the Nelson, Worlds of Fun, et al).

You do #1, and #2 will just fall in line. And if enough people actually lived and or worked downtown, then "revitalization" wouldn't even be an issue. Without people living in the area, nothing will ever get done. Get people to work there, shop there and live there, and many problems could be solved.

But, KC is a suburban lovers wet dream ... and I don't see that changing any time soon. :(

~~Loves to ride the rails ... if the rails actually lead somewhere.

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 01:36 PM
Here's sort of a timeline of what I'd like to see: 2002 secure an NBA franchise by promising a new arena (it worked for Memphis...). There have been recent discussions about this already between the city and the NBA, by the way, and one official has stated that it's possible something could happen within a number of months if KC actively went for it. I am not an NBA fan at all, but I think this would be a good move.

Also in 2002 begin Arrowhead stadium renovation, and do a small amount of work on Kaufman stadium. 2003 begin construction of light-rail system, with first line being from the airport to the downtown arena/stadium area. 2005 open new arena. 2006 begin construction of new Royals stadium. Continue development of light rail. 2010 open new stadium, Kaufman Field at Crown Stadium or something like that... Begin conversion of old Kaufman into dual soccer facility/outdoor concert venue.

Obviously I'm a sports fan... ;)

Then again, I believe a downtown "complex" (of sorts) with an arena and a stadium, as well as a development of the rail system, would draw people to the area. It would bring businesses back, as well.

It would also cost billions.

Then again, light rail is costing 3/4 of a billion...

But the point is, we can have an overall plan, but we don't have to do everything at once. We also don't have to do everything one at a time. I like light rail, as a concept, I just don't like the current execution.

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 01:38 PM
Good points, Mark.

08-02-2001, 01:39 PM
I think we see some things in the same way....

Basic planning pricipals says that you put infrastructure in place and then business and industry will come to the area(assuming its good location, plan, utilities available etc.....The interesections of I35 and I70, the Missouri River(barge shipping etc..) and rail access made KC a valid urban location.

Omaha has an aquarium that is very successful....and cool fwiw.

I would hope that the light rail would be constructed in a way that people could use it to commute to the downtown business district. Travelers would have easy access to transportation to other parts of the city and hopefully can get close to the stadium on game day...As a consumer, I'm all for an option that doesn't involve $25 for parking.

I aggree that a general scope and plan for attractions in the areas are necessary for a valid revitalization plan...if you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there.

08-02-2001, 02:31 PM
The buses here are not that great. They don't run on time that well. If you're not a very tight schedule, you can make due. Still doesn't address the pollution issue though. I know when I ride my bicycle around town and a bus goes by, the air quality definitely decreases. I think many of KC's buses are fairly old and not that fuel efficient or emission controlled.

As far as traffic is concerned, it's only bad during rush hour in Midtown or Downtown, and on I-70. But it gets pretty nutty for about 90 mins. The light rail would help with commuters, so it would probably alleviate some of that. The whole traffic thing is only going to worsen over the coming years. They've almost connected 71 Hwy with I-70, but it might be too little too late. There still isn't an efficient way to and from the Midtown/Westport area. 71 is way on the east side of town.

This particular light rail bill is a sort of first stage plan. They basically want to build a straight line from 85th and State line through Midtown, Downtown, and NCK. You guys in the 'burbs are even considered in the intial phase. Contrary to popular opinion on this board, there are quite a few people living and working along this route. I see 'em all the time.
Phase 2 is to go to the airport and points West and East. This leads to phase 3, the re-vitalizing of these areas, esp. Downtown. Wouldn't it be great to have a Downtown ballpark again? I like the "if you build it, they will come mentality", but I'd like to see it go to the Airport as quickly as possible. This helps with visitors, and frankly should be in the first phase. I'm going to vote yes because although the price tag is high right now, it ain't gettin' any cheaper. And, because I'm tired of the rhetoric and tired of waiting. This one comes close enough to what I'd like to see get done.

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 02:52 PM
redhed, I live on Bannister road right off of I-435 at the very edge of the Grandview triangle. I wouldn't call that a suburb, exactly, even if it isn't midtown. I love where I live because it's central to everything, 30 minutes tops to almost anywhere I want to go in the entire KC Metro, north, south, east or west.

The very worst rush hour traffic I've met anywhere in town is at construction sites. On I-70, 435 or anywhere else, I've never been in a standstill for more than 30 minutes, even with construction (except for Chiefs games...).

08-02-2001, 05:02 PM
I hear the triangle is pretty hairy during the rush too. Aren't they supposed to have a major road building project there? I think I have heard that somewhere.

I envision a day when people will be able to fly into KCI or the Downtown airport, hop on a streetcar and go catch a game in the Downtown stadium. Or go down to the Plaza and see some lights or have a nice meal. Then hop on a streetcar over to Westport and hear a great band and get totally hammered all the while not drinking and driving...

keg in kc
08-02-2001, 05:12 PM
Yeah, there's construction all over the place here. The traffic gets a little hairy on the triangle, at least hairy for KC, but that's really not that hairy. People around here seem to get p!ssed when they have to slow below 80 for 15 seconds. I got used to (sort of got used to - I always hated it) driving the beltway around Washington, DC because my fiance's from there, and let me tell you, the worst day here is still ten times better than the best day there...

I envision what you envision, too. The problem is they're only planning the rail and not any of the rest of it.

08-02-2001, 09:02 PM
Keg - Around DC is just terrible, I don't think I will ever drive around there again, at least if I can help it.

I have found the triangle pretty weak unless there is an accident, then it moves a little too slow. I normally have more trouble at 435 and Metcalf and that is nor that bad either.

As for the light rail, currently I'm against it. Now if KC was doing something new, hi-tech with it, then you might be able to talk me into it. I believe that it will have to hit all the major areas, airport, raceway, truman sports complex and whatever else there is to see around here, plus hit the hotels. It would probably even help in KC eventually getting a super bowl if people could go from the airport, to all the sites they want to see, to the game and back again.

Iowa - The Omaha zoo is one of the best in the US from what I have heard, in fact I have heard many people say that it is better then the San Diego Zoo, some of those people are even from San Diego. I have not been to KC's zoo for over a decade, but I still doubt that it is anywhere near as good as Omaha's, even excluding the aquarium.

08-02-2001, 09:08 PM
How can a transit rail be attractive to increase business if it doesn't even go near the airport? Who designed this idea, Clay Chastain?

08-02-2001, 09:14 PM
is first rate. The have a great rain forest exhibit, and the aquarium is very good. I loved the penguins and the walk through (under) tank.

It's right by Rosenblatt stadium.

A really nice zoo. I was there about four years ago and had a great time.

08-02-2001, 09:15 PM
Redhed - To bad there is nothing else in Omaha to see...

08-02-2001, 09:18 PM
morph, the old market is nice.

After that, it gets a lil' thin. Especially if you don't gamble.

Chiefs Pantalones
08-02-2001, 09:18 PM

the zoo


oops! scratch that!

thats what I get for not reading all the replys:D

08-02-2001, 09:44 PM
Redhed - The old market is not that impressive, a few bars, a few nice restaraunts, a few not so nice, and a few used stuff stores with vintage clothing and the like. Of course after living up there it is one of the few gathering places, but not that impressive.

08-03-2001, 12:25 PM
I've only been to the old market to eat dinner a coupla times. I've never even been there during the daytime. Like you said, a coupla nice restaurants, a few avg ones. I don't know if I'd like going there all the time, though.

I've got a friend that moved to KC from Omaha, and he says basically the same thing you do: not much to do there.