Downtown Streetcar system gets an image

KCSA_Logo_FINAL_1The streetcar name and brand will be “KC Streetcar,” simple enough for what will be a not-too-flashy downtown streetcar system.

The brand is not only simple but “intuitive and universal, giving Kansas City a place among the best transit systems in the world,” said Tom Trabon, Kansas City Streetcar Authority board chairman.

The press release Thursday also called KC Streetcar “an original brand icon, word mark, favicon, design system and color palette.”

It seems simple can stretch into profound, after much study

The KC name was recommended by Willoughby Design Inc., after a review of names and identities of transit systems like those in Paris, London and Amsterdam.

The common factor it found among them: “simple, functional, universal, intuitive and cohesive.”

The Kansas City name will also fit with the chosen interior streetcar colors of cobalt blue and silver and with the cars’ outside palette of pearl, silver and graphite, the press release states.

The streetcar brand is also designed to integrate with proposed regional branding to tie together all transit in greater Kansas City, it states.

One Comment

  1. Brad says:

    I don’t even know where to begin or end my criticism of this whole debacle. I am all for light rail.. if DONE PROPERLY. It needs to be discussed here in relation to the entire Main St corridor. This city and it’s officials again and again always get the formula for these things DEAD WRONG. I will leave alone my criticism for the funding mechanism they tried to pull to get street car through to the Plaza. If they want the support of the residences on either side of this commercial corridor, then the FIRST THING that needs to pass would be a STRICT ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD for the structures allowed along it, because as it stands, most residences have an adversarial view of the commercial corridors, which do things only through the visor of quick money, and do little to support the stability and liveability of the adjacent neighborhoods. The city can add all the trees it wants along Main, which, by the way, I do think beautify the corridor (although completely inappropriate species of trees to plant along a narrow parklane against building foundations) And let’s not forget the tricked up, yet still cheap-looking unpainted aluminum Cobra lighting, but no decent businesses will come in and build nice structures like an Applebees or Houston’s as long as we continue to see the visual free-for-all that is allotted to the owner of every building along Main. We as Kansas Citians may be used to its look, but an aunt of mine who has the habit of speaking her mind was in from out of state last year. As we drove from the Plaza through Main in the area which has received the improvements made, which, by the way, is 2 blocks off my home on 35th St, she looked around and commented that this stretch of road was a hard core slum. I laughed, thinking I wished she could have seen it a year back, because it is better than before. The sad part is it could have been so much more with the same amount of money, had the infrastructure improvements related in some way visually to the best original structures surviving down Main. Adding the street cars to this formula and expecting the residences to pay for something that is been heavily promoted by big developers? Well, then these developers need to build properly in a fashion that will reharmonize this street… First thing: form must marry function. Form: A streetcar should appeal to nostalgia, familiarity and comfort. I have ridden the San Francisco lines, and not only do they get you somewhere quickly, the look of the cars brings back a simpler time and a way of life that appeals to so many of us today that seems to be slipping away. I used to ride the Amtrak trains from Chicago as a little boy to Union Station. As a child, I remember those trains as gross. It was like riding in the inside of a Starkist Tuna can. And the color of those interiors; silver and cobalt blue. Cold and austere. The outside of those trains lacked the sleek style of the earlier Zephr trains of the 1920’s. I have seen the new street car design interior and exterior, my opinion; the same. And how this look relates to the best architecture that exists on the Main Street corridor, which is pre-war? Got me. WIth all the “improvement” along Main from 34th to 47th, the street still looks disjointed, like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is this street to be traditional as its roots would have it? Or Jetsons modern, as some of the newer architecture is pulling. Its reminds me of a Tuscan living room with a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. They don’t work together. And this corridor visually doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be either; discordant architecture and now add to this a streetcar which (as it will not have its own dedicated lanes) will not have the advantage of moving unimpeded through city traffic. So this vehicle is simply a bus stuck in tracks without the advantage of being able to change lanes or make turns. I know street cars have worked in other cities and its the psychology of the idea that makes it successful. To some extent, I still agree, but if the form doesn’t follow a very strong function (which as streetcar vs. dedicated lane light rail, it woefully lacks) then this money will be spent on something that could be viewed in several years hence as a trend. The Power and Light district isn’t paying for itself at all, yet we were promised it would be viewed as an exciting draw for the locals as well as the convention crowd. 2008 changed that. If we can’t get a strong functional advantage of dedicated-lane light rail, then the now-novelty of this new form of city transportation will someday be viewed as a less-than-functional bus with no more glam.

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