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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:31 PM   #121
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Council could vote soon to put Chastain's latest light-rail proposal on ballot

The Kansas City Council's Finance and Governance Committee on Wednesday advanced an ordinance calling for the council to place transit activist Clay Chastain's latest light-rail proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot[...]
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Old July 23rd, 2016, 10:33 AM   #122
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Old July 28th, 2016, 03:48 PM   #123
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KC City Council to vote on light rail plan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City-City Council is expected to vote Thursday on ballot language for a light rail plan for the city[...]
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 02:17 AM   #124
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Clay Chastain launches Kansas City light-rail campaign

Longtime transit activist Clay Chastain was in Kansas City on Monday to advocate for what he says is his most ambitious light-rail plan ever — a $2 billion, 40-mile system of light-rail trains and electric buses[...]

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It seeks approval for three sales taxes totaling three-quarter cents for 25 years to help build a light-rail system from Kansas City International Airport to the Cerner campus in south Kansas City and from Union Station to the Truman Sports Complex.

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Old August 2nd, 2016, 06:11 AM   #125
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Another vanity project for a urban transit wonk.

In a city that is as spread out as Kansas and with such incredible low ridership numbers an effective TRUE BRT system for that kid of money would serve hundreds of thousands more people, thousands of more jobs, and dozens of more communities. Buses can also get rid of the dreaded "last mile" as they are local routes thru communities and then head onto the BRT Transitway for the longer distance to, usually, downtown.
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 04:52 PM   #126
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Having a "true BRT" fetish is nice, but there's still urban rail all over the world for a reason.

1- Rail is more comfortable, no matter how much padding you will put in BRT seats;
2- Rail has a higher status, therefore attracts more people (a BRT bus is still a bus);
3- Rail is higher capacity and the vehicles can easily be extended if need be. Because of the nature of the system (the actual rails in the ground) you can make vehicles;as long as you want;
4- Rail is more cost-effective in the long run. Less wear and tear, longer vehicles possible without more drivers, cars have an average life of about 25 years vs 12 of a bus, etc.

Let's commend Kansas City for making a few choices that makes them stand out from the rest of the US streetcar boondoggles:

1- The network is not designed around a big loop. The is a small loop in the route, but that's not a big deal if the rest of the system consists of bidirectional corridors;
2- They chose a good vehicle. It's a low-floor (light rail!) vehicle which means that it is easily accessible and stops can be put in pedestrian areas without much intrusion;
3- The system is well marketed and the stops are well designed. It has real time arrival information, digital general information screens, there's a very usefull app, it's completely integrated with regional transit branding

Things they should do in the future:

1- Expand the system. There's major activity centers in the south, it's a no-brainer to not extend it there. I am also a proponent of expanding it into the suburbs. There's even some "empty" old trolley corridors they can re-use;
2- It's a light rail vehicle, it can and should go as fast as one. It might be a streetcar in name and function now, but think of it as a light rail system going into the future. It doesn't need to sit with other traffic and be slow, we have (feeder) buses for that;
4- Give it its own lanes! Well marked, absolute traffic-light priority, preferrably in the center of streets please. Stations would be constructed as islands;
5- Make it the king of your transport network. Local buses should have logical connections to it, the system comes first when designing streets, roads and parking come second (seriously, 97% of all city roads is car and parking domain already)
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Old August 5th, 2016, 12:47 AM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAronymous View Post
...

Let's commend Kansas City for making a few choices that makes them stand out from the rest of the US streetcar boondoggles:

1- The network is not designed around a big loop. The is a small loop in the route, but that's not a big deal if the rest of the system consists of bidirectional corridors;
2- They chose a good vehicle. It's a low-floor (light rail!) vehicle which means that it is easily accessible and stops can be put in pedestrian areas without much intrusion;
3- The system is well marketed and the stops are well designed. It has real time arrival information, digital general information screens, there's a very usefull app, it's completely integrated with regional transit branding

...
Unsurprisingly, it's one of the most successful: a average daily (not weekday) ridership of more than 6˙000 passengers really stands out, even thought they ride for free.
It's a fairly bigger figure than was expected and not only it blows away other system in its class but, if this trend lasts during the year, it will be the fifth heaviest used US light rail/streetcar system per unit length (after Boston MBTA, both San Francisco Muni Metro and cable cars and Minneapolis-St. Paul METRO).
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Old August 8th, 2016, 06:58 PM   #128
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Ridership continues to climb, nearly 7500/day for the month of July. Its jam packed every time I ride.

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Old August 9th, 2016, 01:33 AM   #129
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It's really refreshing to see a well designed and for its limited starter dimensions, also successful US streetcar system. And its bidirectional almost entirely!

Can other US cities please take notice?
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Old August 21st, 2016, 12:18 AM   #130
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Push for streetcar expansion to UMKC continues to gain traction

http://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/...-gain-traction
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Old August 21st, 2016, 12:50 AM   #131
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Parking violators learning to get out of KC streetcars’ way

Motorists who would block streetcars: You’re catching on fast.

For the month of July, Kansas City parking control officers wrote up zero parking tickets and called for zero tows related to vehicles in the path of the downtown streetcars, police said[...]
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Old August 21st, 2016, 12:59 AM   #132
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In Kansas City and D.C., Two of the Newest Streetcar Lines Outdo Ridership Expectations

Two of the newest streetcar lines in the U.S. are doing pretty well, according to the numbers.

Washington, D.C., which launched a long-time-coming streetcar line in February, and Kansas City, Mo., which launched its own line in May, have both seen higher-than-expected ridership[...]
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Old August 21st, 2016, 01:00 PM   #133
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Two thousand something sounds a bit meager, above expectations or not. Around 7000 daily riders on the other side feels like a very proper system streetcar system, not a toy line like so many other streetcar lines in the US appear to be.
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Old August 22nd, 2016, 09:29 PM   #134
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Construction begins outside Union Station to improve streetcar stop

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- New construction begins Monday at Union Station, and the project is expected to make it safer for those who use the streetcar[...]
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Old September 3rd, 2016, 02:39 AM   #135
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August 2016 Streetcar ridership: 204,251

6,589/day aveage
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Old September 3rd, 2016, 08:17 AM   #136
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It does seem like he system was well designed instead of these stupid new systems that run on different streets in a convaluted circle.

That said, sating the thing is a success is pushing it. 7000 passengers a day is still pretty lousy considering the damn thing is free. The real question is how many will ride it is it is extended and they have to start charging regular transit fares. Only then will you be able to determine whether this was a sound transit investment or a joyride for tourists.
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Old September 3rd, 2016, 03:41 PM   #137
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The more coverage, the more potential for success there will be. And they say they wouldn't have to start charging fares yet to fund the extension to Country Club Plaza.
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Old September 5th, 2016, 05:18 PM   #138
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Streetcar supporters hold expansion route walking tour

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - KC leaders are ready to start the push for an expanded streetcar route[...]
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Old September 5th, 2016, 07:18 PM   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy2 View Post
It does seem like he system was well designed instead of these stupid new systems that run on different streets in a convaluted circle.

That said, sating the thing is a success is pushing it. 7000 passengers a day is still pretty lousy considering the damn thing is free. The real question is how many will ride it is it is extended and they have to start charging regular transit fares. Only then will you be able to determine whether this was a sound transit investment or a joyride for tourists.
How high up do you anti-rail folks think you can set the bar? Although it's for free, 7˙000 passengers are a truly impressive daily ridership for a 2,2 miles (3,5 km) long line in a medium US city: no sane man could profess they're mostly using it only for the sake of a free travel or as a joyride, unless he believed that Kansas City has become either the house of all the idlers or the tourist destination of all the tram-fan from the whole North America (and in this latter case, I might question his sanity).
No: such a score shows that this line is seen as a viable mobility option and therefore, from a transit perspective, KC streetcar is undoubtedly a huge success, no matter what. The fact, which you strongly underline, that starting to charge regular fares could (who knows?) affect current patronage figures is obviously an important matter, but not decisive; conversely, until the route stay as it is, they even could choose to maintain it free - in the same way those fairly common downtown bus circulators are operated, usually boasting a by far less ridership - since it proves itself capable in increasing accessibility of the served area.
Or maybe are you one of those who think a sound transit investment must repay exercise expenses, or even capital costs, with ticketing? Then, I'm very sorry for smashing these delusions: in the real world, the first case occurs rarely and the second one never.

In the end, the only lousy stuff here is a strong prejudice against trams/LRTs/streetcars: for those who hold it, this damn thing is even worse than other systems because is the “living” proof of deceitfulness for their beliefs about “any streetcar line being useless by definition”.
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Last edited by Yak79; September 5th, 2016 at 10:19 PM. Reason: correction of a little misspelling
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Old September 5th, 2016, 09:05 PM   #140
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Well said. I have to ad that streetcar loops of limited use other than as tourist toy are far too prevalent in the US. But the Kansas streetcar is not one of those lines. There is only one small loop at the ver northern end. Such a thing is not a big deal even if it should get extend eventually as it only affects one stop (or two half stops) among many.

The major downside so far is simply that it doesn't get far enough yet but that is nothing the anti-rail crowd would want to do anything about.
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