Virtual Animation Released of Future Streetcar Ride from Downtown to UMKC

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A proposed multi-modal streetcar stop by the Country Club Plaza would accommodate both north- and southbound streetcar riders and allow bus transfers. (Rendering by the KC Streetcar Authority)

By Kevin Collison

Planning for the proposed Main Street extension of the streetcar to UMKC calls for a multi-modal stop near the Country Club Plaza that would allow transfers between streetcar and bus riders.

The proposed stop at Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard would serve both southbound and northbound streetcar riders, and connecting bus routes.  Northbound vehicular traffic on Main would use two lanes to accommodate the transit plaza.

The preliminary plan for the Cleaver transit plaza, along with a tentative rendering of a streetcar stop at Armour and Main, were presented at a briefing to the Downtown Council last week by Tom Gerend, Streetcar Authority executive director.

The tentative design of the streetcar stop at Armour Boulevard and Main resembles existing downtown stops. (Rendering by the KC Streetcar Authority)

Gerend also revealed a new animated graphic depicting a birds-eye view of how a streetcar running on the Main Street extension would operate between Union Station and UMKC.

It included demonstrating how the Main Street crossover would work between 45th and Cleaver where the southbound streetcar would shift to the east side of the street for the remaining leg to UMKC.

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

Gerend said the Main Street extension plan has 30 percent of its design work completed and has finished its environmental review.

The full September update report can be found here.

The authority is now seeking funding from the Federal Transit Administration to begin the engineering design phase which Gerend said will hopefully begin early next year.

The big ask from the FTA, the $174 million in federal funding needed to build the estimated $330 million project, can be made anytime after the engineering design work begins, Gerend said.

Those costs for the planned extension have increased since the beginning of the year. The project budget is up 4.2 percent and the federal ask is 14.7 percent greater.

“The rise in the federal grant request is a result of additional FTA imposed contingency and fees that they are tagging onto the project as part of their risk assessment,” Donna Mandelbaum, streetcar spokeswoman, said in an email.

The project has already line up its local funding with the approval by voters living within the Main Street corridor of a Transportation Development District that will levy a property tax surcharge and additional one-cent sales tax.

If the Streetcar Authority receives its federal funding by early 2021, the project will be on track to be completed and running by late 2024.

The Kansas City streetcar, which began operating downtown in May 2016, had its sixth streetcar, #806, delivered last month.

Since it began running, the streetcar has provided more than 7 million rides.

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