By Kevin Collison
The new East Village Transit Center at 12th and Charlotte, the final installment in a $56 million service improvement program by the KC Transportation Authority, is scheduled to open for its first bus riders on Aug. 2.
KCATA officials believe the new $5 million facility will be a substantial improvement over the current downtown transit center at 10th and Main, and also should help attract more private investment at a site near a potential location of a downtown ballpark.
“This not only is a state-of-the art building, but it opens the rest of the block to transit-oriented development,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president and CEO.
“It starts to open up the East Village as a whole.”
The roughly eight-block East Village redevelopment area northeast of City Hall has been contemplated for major investment for 15 years. The roughly 15-acre is mostly controlled by VanTrust Real Estate.
Ideas ranging from a federal office building to a mixed-use residential and commercial district have been discussed over the years, and lately its been considered a prime ballpark location should the Royals choose to move downtown.
But for now, the new transit center promises a much more comfortable experience for downtown bus riders. The opening of the lobby however, has been delayed due to Covid-19 public health concerns.
The facility will be the hub for more than a half-dozen bus routes as well as the Prospect and Troost MAX bus rapid transit lines. The KCATA released a time-lapse video of its construction which you can see here.
Dick Jarrold, KCATA vice president, said the new facility will allow riders to wait inside during bad weather days and monitor electronic messaging to know when their bus arrives. It’s connected to sheltered, outdoor concourses for the various routes serving it.
It also will allow MAX riders direct transfers to buses, currently a connection that requires a two-block walk. The building will be well-lit and secure at night, and also will provide bus drivers an opportunity to take a break and use the private, staff restrooms on site.
The transit center is part of a larger transit upgrade project funding by the KCATA, city and Federal Transit Administration that includes new bus stops at 11th and Grand, 12th and Grand, and 11th and Main, and the new, 10-mile Prospect MAX route and station.
As for the existing 10th and Main transit center, Makinen said its future reuse is still being discussed.
“We’d like to have some green space with a fountain, a park-like setting,” he said, adding the authority also would be open to using some of the site for a transit-oriented development.
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