UMKC Streetcar Extension Report Suggests Stops and Alignment

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A planned extension of the streetcar along Main Street would connect the Country Club Plaza with downtown. (Image from Bob Specht)

By Kevin Collison

The future layout of the planned streetcar extension from downtown to UMKC is on the map with its proposed stops and alignment on Main Street reviewed at a recent public hearing.

For the most part, the eight suggested streetcar stops mirror those in place for the MAX rapid-transit bus route now serving that stretch of Main, according to Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

The stops would be at 27th Street, Linwood, Amour Boulevard, 39th Street, 43rd Street, 45th Street, Emmanuel Cleaver II Boulevard and 51st Street by UMKC.

A major apartment redevelopment already is in the works near the proposed 39th Street stop.

The eight stops proposed for the streetcar extension would closely mirror the current MAX bus rapid-transit stops.

Gerend said a briefing at Community Christian Church last week on the streetcar extension was attended by about 130 people and provided valuable feedback to the authority. The report can be found here.

People can also submit questions and feedback to the Streetcar Authority here.

A follow-up session is scheduled for June 5 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 11 E. 40th St., from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at which final recommendations are expected.

“We had a great turnout and people are excited about the next step for the streetcar,” Gerend said. “The feeling was ‘let’s just build it already.’

“The recommendations were an initial starting point and we’ll be conducting additional analysis and input over the next month while we fine tune list of recommended locations.”

Much work however, remains before a streetcar line could be operating by 2023 along Main between its current southern terminus at Union Station and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Last week was the deadline for people living in the streetcar transportation development district to obtain mail-in ballots for an election that would authorize the TDD board to collect local revenues for the $230 million project.

There were 5,044 applications received and those ballots will be mailed by the Circuit Court Administrator’s office on May 1. They must be notarized and returned to the court office no later then 5 p.m. on June 12.

If voters approve local funding, the streetcar authority is expected to apply for $100 million in federal funding this fall. No local revenues would be collected without the federal funding in place.

Besides a discussion about the potential stops, the hearing last week also looked at where the streetcar tracks would be located on Main. One option is to run the tracks down the middle lanes, the other is on the outer lanes.

Gerend said there was slight edge for outside in those two sections between Union Station and Cleaver Boulevard but that it was close, and both options are attractive for different reasons.

The middle lanes would be faster and less likely to be obstructed by parked cars, the outer lanes would have better pedestrian access.

The last section of the planned streetcar route would follow the existing Country Club right-of-way along Brookside Boulevard and end at a new apartment project near UMKC.

At Cleaver Boulevard, the route would shift to the former Country Club streetcar right-of-way along Brookside Boulevard.

The last stop near the UMKC campus would be located next to the Brookside 51 project, a 170-unit apartment building and Whole Foods grocery store.

The streetcar authority said the Country Club right-of-way plan would allow Brookside Boulevard to continue its current configuration and would not close that stretch of the Trolley Trail.

The biggest topic of discussion at the public hearing was the proposed Linwood stop, and the stops proposed for 43rd and 45th streets, Gerend said. Union Hill residents urged the streetcar stop be placed closer to their neighborhood at 31st Street rather than Linwood.

There also was a concern the 43rd and 45th street stops would be too close together. The proposed 43rd Street stop is close to St. Luke’s Hospital and has a high ridership on the MAX line. The 45th Street stop is near several hotels and the headquarters of American Century.

There is one significant shift to the current MAX stop lineup suggested for the streetcar route. The current stop serving the Federal Reserve Bank at 29th Street would be moved to 27th Street to better serve Crown Center.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like a stop at 31st Street would be mandatory. It’s a major point for transfer to east-west bus service, and the Linwood stop would just be too far away to serve this purpose.

    • agree completely. They are saying that Linwood better meets with the 31 bus line. I thought the 31 line ran east and west on 31st?

  2. Yes, the 31 bus runs on 31st Street. So I’m not sure how Linwood would align better. That intersection at Linwood is a disaster for pedestrians–and while 31st Street isn’t great, it’s a whole lot better than Linwood. Unfortunately.

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