June 7, 2011
Sherri McIntyre, Kansas City, Mo., Assistant City Manager for Infrastructure, firstname.lastname@example.org, 816/513-1408
Tom Gerend, Mid-America Regional Council Assistant Transportation Director, email@example.com, 816/701-8303
Dick Jarrold, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Senior Director of System Development and Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org, 816/346-0356
Open house scheduled for Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis
The Partnership Team consisting of the city of Kansas City, Mo.; the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA); Mid-America Regional Council (MARC); and Jackson County, Mo. is holding a public open house to discuss downtown alignment alternatives for a possible starter line for an expanded regional public transportation system. The open house will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in Helzberg Auditorium at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library (14 W. 10th Street) in Kansas City, Mo. Short, identical presentations will be given at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
The open house will allow area residents, businesses and transit riders to review project exhibits and provide comment. Representatives from the Partnership Team, along with consultant team members, will be on hand to answer questions and discuss issues and/or concerns. The display materials will include the process and schedule for the Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis (AA), the draft of a Purpose and Need statement for the AA, and the initial set of proposed alternatives for detailed analysis for the downtown starter line.
The Downtown Corridor AA that is currently underway will conclude at the end of this year. Funded by a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant, the Downtown Corridor AA will identify the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for a downtown fixed guideway transit solution, and a viable plan to fund the construction, operation, and maintenance of the line as a first step toward implementation. The Downtown Corridor AA focuses on transit options in a narrow two-mile corridor running from the River Market on the north, through the Central Business District and the Crossroads areas to Union Station and Crown Center on the south. The study area was approved by Kansas City Council resolution for the FTA grant application as a corridor that will better connect our major activity and employment centers, and elevate the quality and function of our regional transit system.
Previous study efforts examined the feasibility of downtown light rail or streetcar transit services but did not succeed in securing voter approval for a reasonable, single starter project or a feasible financial plan to pay for capital, operations and maintenance. This AA will build on previous efforts, including MARC's regional Smart Moves transit plan and ongoing regional rail planning, and will ultimately select both the type of transit for downtown, as well as the route it should follow.
The recent renaissance occurring in downtown Kansas City will serve to maximize the opportunities for success of a downtown fixed-guideway transit solution. "Going downtown" is once again becoming an event like it was in the early 20th century when people could go to work, to dinner, to see a show, or experience any number of Kansas City's tourist draws. The AA will compare modern streetcars to an expanded bus service/Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and "no-build" alternatives, leading to the identification of the LPA.
The preferred alternative will be financed by sources other than the existing dedicated transit sales taxes, and without sacrificing existing transit services. An important component of the Downtown Corridor AA is development of a reasonable capital and operations financing plan to secure funding to implement the LPA. The financing plan may potentially be used to apply for federal funds through New Starts, Small Starts, or other federal programs. Creative leveraging of private funding options, public/private partnership options, and federal grant opportunities will be explored. Ultimately, the preferred financing strategy will be one with great local support—voted on not through a city-wide initiative, but by targeted partners willing to invest in strengthening the downtown Kansas City economy through this project.
The consultant team for the Downtown Corridor AA is led by HDR, and supported by Nelson/Nygaard; Polsinelli Shughart; Patti Banks Associates; HG Consult, Inc; Burns & McDonnell; and Architectural and Historical Research. The project schedule is aggressive, with the goal of making recommendations by fall and concluding with the Final AA Report in January 2012. Because of the diverse target audiences who will participate in the planning process, the Partnership Team will work diligently to engage many stakeholder groups and the general public to obtain their input at key project milestones.
Everyone will have an opportunity to be informed and weigh in during the June 21 public open house at the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Visit MARC's Smart Moves website at www.kcsmartmoves.org for materials and updates on the Downtown Corridor AA, as well as other regional studies.
The Central Library parking garage is located directly west of the Central Library building on the northwest corner of 10th & Baltimore. The cost to park Monday through Friday in the Library parking garage is free for the first hour with validation from library staff. Cost is $1 every 20 minutes (or portion thereof) after the first validated hour with a maximum charge per day of $8. Parking after 5 p.m. on weekdays in the garage is $2. Metro bus service is also available. Please log on to www.kcata.org to access schedules serving the 10th & Main MetroCenter, or call the Regional Call Center at 816/221-0660.
Please notify the Mid-America Regional Council at (816) 474-4240 at least 48 hours in advance if you require special accommodations to attend this meeting (i.e., qualified interpreter, large print, reader, hearing assistance). We will make every effort to meet reasonable requests. MARC programs do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color or national origin, according to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For more information or to obtain a Title VI Complaint Form, see www.marc.org/transportation/title_vi.htm, or call 816-474-4240.
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