Streetcar plan recommends Main Street to UMKC, Linwood to Prospect routes

The next phase of Kansas City’s streetcar system should be a Main Street route that stops at UMKC, a Linwood Boulevard route that stops at Prospect, and an Independence Avenue route that stops at Benton Boulevard.

Those were among the key recommendations the NextRail KC Advisory Committee accepted yesterday, and which the city council will now consider as part of its streetcar expansion planning.

“The conclusion of this report is that expanding the streetcar system is an infrastructure investment that will positively enhance neighborhoods and reweave the urban fabric in a manner that will forever transform Kansas City,” the report said.

Consultants had been studying a Main Street route beginning at Crown Center with a possible end point at 51st Street, or alternatively going further south to 63rd, 75th or even 85th. After engineering and economic development studies and public input, the planning team headed by BNIM recommended the Main Street line should end at UMKC in this phase of expansion planning.

The most significant opposition to the proposed streetcar expansion centered around the more southern sections of Main Street and specifically around the impact some felt the route might have on the Trolley Track Trail.

The study had also been focused on the advantages and tradeoffs of either Linwood Boulevard or 31st Street as another expansion route. The advisory committee also accepted the recommendation of the consulting team that Linwood offered the best opportunity and should advance for further study.

“A streetcar on Linwood Boulevard would move east-west across every major north-south bus route in the city, creating terrific connections throughout the urban core,” the report said.

The consultants said Linwood offers an opportunity to leverage streetcar investment to “reinvigorate what was once a premier urban corridor.”

The report also recommends coupling funding for a MAX bus line on Prospect, something that residents have long requested, into the streetcar financing package.

Finally, the report recommends cutting back the boundaries of the proposed Transportation Development District or TDD, removing Brookside and Waldo.  The TDD would include a one-cent sales tax within its boundaries.  They also scaled back the area in which property owners would be asked to pay a special assessment from within a half-mile of the streetcar lines to within one-third of a mile.

The entire report is now online.

The city council will hold a joint committee meeting Thursday to consider the report.

(Disclosure: The Midtown KC  Post’s Mary Jo Draper and Joe Lambe were part of the NextRail KC Project team).

The new boundaries of the TDD as proposed by the streetcar expansion project.

The new boundaries of the TDD as proposed by the streetcar expansion project.

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