By Kevin Collison
The KCATA is planning a major upgrade of bus shelters and amenities at two key downtown intersections as part of its big Prospect MAX project.
About $8 million is being budgeted for the work which is not only intended to better serve bus riders, but improve pedestrian and bicycle access around the stops.
The plan also includes the relocation of the current transit center at 10th and Main to a new site in the East Village area at 12th and Charlotte.
The biggest improvements are planned for transit facilities at the 12th and Grand and Petticoat Lane and Main intersections, but all downtown MAX shelters will be replaced with slimmer versions to open more room on sidewalks for pedestrians.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Richard Jarrold, senior vice president for strategic planning at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. “Twelfth and Grand pedestrian traffic is booming, we’re taking too much of the sidewalk.”
The KCATA is funding the downtown work with part of the $56 million budgeted for the Prospect MAX project.
The authority recently received a $38 million federal grant for the Prospect MAX. It will extend bus rapid transit service from downtown along Prospect to 75th Street.
The 12th and Grand upgrades will use part of the parking lot on the southeast side of the intersection to provide more space for wider sidewalks and landscaping.
The plan also includes diverting the bicycle path on both sides of Grand behind the new transit stations to reduce conflict between cyclists and buses.
Included in the upgraded shelters will be ticket vending machines so riders can purchase tickets in advance, and “smart” kiosks to notify passengers of expected arrival times and other information.
Similar improvements and additional rider services are planned for the cramped bus stop and shelter at Petticoat Lane and Main.
Jarrold said the authority plans to solicit construction bids for the transit stop improvements this summer and the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The transit center at 10th and Main is expected to be relocated to the larger East Village site during that time frame as well.
The work also complements the KCATA’s plan to simplify and consolidate downtown bus routes. It wants to use Grand Boulevard as its north-south spine, and 11th Street and 12th Street for east-west routes.
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