Kansas City’s Downtown Streetcar is moving full speed ahead. The two-mile line will run largely on Main Street from the River Market to Union Station. The streetcar will run in existing street lanes, just like other vehicles.
The streetcar route will include 18 stops, spaced roughly two blocks apart. Construction of the line and stops will be completed two to three blocks at a time, and opening day is expected in mid-2015. Utility investigations started, and construction is expected to begin this summer.
KCATA serves as a technical adviser for the city’s compliance with Federal Transit Administration criteria and guidelines, and to the streetcar authority.
To follow the progress of the downtown streetcar, visit http://www.kcstreetcar.org.
In 2008, voters defeated a proposal to fund a light rail line from Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway to Bruce R. Watkins Roadway and 63rd Street. KCATA is completing Phase II of the Alternative Analysis, which will be available on this website when finalized.
Below is information about the project and light rail planning in Kansas City.
The Final Land Use Report [PDF format] analyzes conditions and current plans and policies affecting development patterns within the proposed transit corridor. The report discussed the proposed route in relation to the federal government’s New Starts criteria. The report also includes recommendations based on both this land use analysis and the real estate market analysis, which assesses the future development potential within several market areas.
The project study area is an approximate 12-mile transit corridor between the intersection of I-29 with North Oak Trafficway and US-169 in the northern portion of Kansas City, Missouri to the intersection of 63rd Street and Bruce R. Watkins Drive. The corridor includes the Kansas City metropolitan region’s most concentrated employment and residential areas and many of the region’s significant institutional and cultural attractions.
This technical memorandum [PDF format] provides a land use assessment for the proposed Kansas City 14-mile light rail corridor. When preparing funding recommendations to Congress, the Federal Transit Administration undertakes a formal evaluation of all projects applying for New Starts funding. This technical memorandum explains the conclusions of a land use assessment. It includes a summary and slide show of the findings. The assessment is based on the FTA land use evaluation process and breaks the alignment into eleven discrete Market Areas. In their current conditions, none of the market areas provide a strong case for benefiting greatly from, or supporting, a light rail line. However, many of the market areas are in flux, or could be redeveloped to become more transit oriented.
The North/South Corridor runs from Vivion Road in the Northland to Meyer Boulevard in the south and encompasses many of the region’s most important traffic generators. The Alternatives Analysis is intended to provide decision-makers with the information they require to assess a major investment in transit.
The results of the Alternatives Analysis will serve to inform the ongoing efforts being led by MARC to develop a long-term regional transit solution.
A video shows what light rail in Kansas City may have looked like, including the line proposed in the November 2008 election. The video includes stations and light rail vehicles.Back
MAX Bus Rapid Transit service provides faster, more frequent service, and features the latest technology in the transit industry. MAX uses easy-to-identify vehicles. Its stops are well-lit, with highly visible information markers and newly designed passenger shelters. Information markers feature real-time MAX arrival information so that customers may wait with greater confidence.
Read additional facts on MAX BRT service.
MAX’s popularity expands to Troost, bringing:
Kansas City’s first BRT line, otherwise known as MAX, currently serves River Market, downtown, Crown Center, midtown and the Plaza. Read more about the MAX.
KCATA is studying the possibility of enhanced transit service along Kansas City’s Prospect Ave. corridor from downtown to south Kansas City
For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
The Prospect Corridor is served by KCATA’s second busiest route, 71-Prospect, with about 6,000 passengers on a typical weekday. The transit service enhancement under consideration is the establishment of MAX service, bus rapid transit (BRT). Ridership significantly increased and remains strong on KCATA MAX routes on Main St., launched in 2005, and Troost Ave., which began in 2011.
Information about proposed station locations, possible amenities, benefits and project timelines are available in this document [PDF] and below.
MAX is KCATA’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
KCATA currently has two MAX routes: Main Street MAX Orange Line and Troost MAX Green Line.
Prior studies have identified MAX as the preferred approach to better transit on Prospect Avenue.
This study will determine the feasibility and funding requirements to bring MAX service to Prospect.
This is a Planning Study to answer the following questions:
The Study is underway now. There is a second Public Meeting early in March 2014 to review findings gather more feedback. The study will be complete in April 2014, and findings will be submitted to KCATA Board of Commissioners and Kansas City City Council.
If funding is secured:
The Jackson County Commuter Corridors US-71 Transit Study identified MAX on Prospect as the locally preferred alternative for a major transit enhancement in the US 71/Prospect Ave. corridor. MAX service on Prospect would include enhanced passenger stations, electronic real-time bus arrival signs, distinctive new buses and faster, more reliable service.
Study partners include the City of Kansas City, Mo., Jackson County, and the Mid-America Regional Council.
What is Prospect MAX?
Metro Area Express (MAX) – is Bus Rapid Transit service providing faster, more frequent service, featuring the latest technology in the transit industry. MAX uses easy- to-identify vehicles, well-lit specially designed stations with highly visible information markers. The information markers feature real-time electronic signs that display bus arrival information so that customers may wait with greater confidence.
KCATA introduced MAX service on Main Street serving Midtown and the Country Club Plaza in 2005 and followed with Troost MAX in 2011. Both MAX routes have been highly successful.
How is Prospect MAX different from the current Troost or Main Street MAX BRT service?
Prospect BRT will be very similar to those services. Prospect MAX is still in the planning stage and all of the features have not been decided upon.
Where will Prospect MAX run?
The Prospect MAX will run between Downtown and south Kansas City on 12th Street and Prospect Ave. The southern terminus of the route is still to be determined. Capital costs, annual operating costs, anticipated ridership, and community interest are all factors in determining the initial southern terminus of Prospect MAX.
What will Prospect MAX stops/shelters look like?
While they are not yet designed, the KCATA anticipates that Prospect BRT stations will be similar to those on Troost MAX, including lighting and real-time information.
Where will the stops/shelters be located?
The KCATA is working with the community and planners to make those decisions. Stops will be spaced every four-to-six blocks and located at transfer points with other Metro routes and at high ridership generators like Research Medical Center. Frequently Asked Questions Prospect Ave.
How will Prospect MAX and the proposed streetcar system work together?
The two different types of public transportation will link together by having stops near each other at key locations, including Linwood and 12th and Main downtown. MAX and streetcars will work together to provide efficient and effective public transit.
What is the difference between MAX and streetcars?
MAX and the streetcar both provide a premium, high-frequency service with enhanced transit stations. MAX is KCATA’s version of bus rapid transit, proven effective for longer work trips as well as other purposes. MAX service uses buses with the MAX branding theme; Prospect MAX buses will be powered by clean, compressed natural gas (CNG). MAX is faster due to fewer stations and traffic signal priority. Instead of bus stops, MAX has stations with unique shelters and furnishings, lighting, electronic next bus arrival signs and MAX branding.
Streetcars are steel-wheeled electrically powered vehicles that operate along tracks in the street. The streetcar being built in downtown Kansas City is a modern version of the old streetcars that last operated in Kansas City in 1957. The modern streetcars are 60 to 70 feet in length and can hold 100 passengers or more. Streetcars are best suited for higher density areas with many attractions, such as high activity areas, where travelers are making shorter trips.
What will Prospect MAX cost to build?
The project is still in the planning stage, but preliminary estimates are approximately $43 million for the initial capital costs to buy buses and construct stations, and $1 million to $2 million additional per year for operations.
How will Prospect MAX be funded?
The KCATA is partnering with the City of Kansas City, Mo., and the Mid-America Regional Council to pursue a range of funding sources, including the Federal Transit Administration’s “Small Starts, New Starts” program. If the planned Transportation Development District (TDD), proposed by Kansas City, Mo., passes a public vote, Prospect MAX will receive funding for stations and buses. Even if federal funding is secured, significant local funds will be needed for local match and to cover operations.
What if the TDD is not passed?
Currently there are no other funding sources identified. If the TDD public vote does not pass, the KCATA and City will have to seek other sources of funding. Prospect MAX is an important project, and funding from the TDD is the best means to making it a reality.
Will property owners on Prospect have to pay additional property taxes?
No. The TDD property tax assessment is only for properties within a half-mile of the streetcar lines. Property owners near Prospect Ave. will not be subject to a property tax assessment, except near Linwood where the streetcar line is planned to cross Prospect.
When will Prospect MAX be operational?
Depending on when funding is secured, Prospect MAX could be operating by 2018.
KCATA is planning to improve transit service along Kansas City’s Prospect Ave. corridor from downtown to south Kansas City with a MAX line.
Customers and citizens who are not able to attend the March 18 meeting about Prospect MAX can submit feedback to KCATA. To share your thoughts about a new Prospect MAX line, please fill out the form below or contact us via mail, phone or email.
Mail: KCATA, Planning Dept., 1200 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: 816-346-0300 (leave comment on prerecorded line)
The following images were presented at the March 2014 public meeting regarding Prospect MAX.
Click on a picture for a larger view.
KCATA and Unified Government Transit have secured federal TIGER funding to improve the existing Minnesota/State Avenue transit corridor. The improvements will be made along the transit route that begins at the 10th & Main MetroCenter in downtown Kansas City, Mo., travels through Downtown Kansas City, Ks., and ends at Village West at 109th and Parallel Parkway in Wyandotte County . The route will serve activity centers and neighborhoods along State and Minnesota avenues. State Avenue Connex will be complete in 2013.
Effective transit connects employment centers, educational facilities, neighborhoods and shopping and entertainment areas. As a major east-west route through the Kansas City metropolitan area, State Avenue links Kansas City’s revitalized urban core with new development occurring farther west. With two new transit centers providing regional connections, State Avenue Connex supports the regional vision for enhanced and expanded regional transit in Kansas City. State Avenue Connex will improve transit facilities and continue to provide access to jobs, support economic development, and provide efficient transportation.
What’s Included with the Improvements
State Avenue Connex will include new transit centers at 7th and Minnesota Avenue and at 47th and State Avenue (Indian Springs). Both transit centers will be custom-built with improved passenger waiting areas and amenities such as real-time passenger information. Other State Avenue corridor Connex stop improvements include:
KCATA, UGT, business leaders, neighborhoods, elected officials, the general public, other stakeholders, and a consultant design team are working together to develop State Avenue Connex. The preliminary design process began in the spring of 2011, and final design will be complete by winter 2011-2012. Construction began in Summer 2012 and finish in 2013. The process involves:
A Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is funding the State Avenue Connex bus enhancements. The grant awarded last year included $10.5 million for the design and implementation of these physical enhancements along the corridor. State Avenue Connex is an intermediate step to a MAX Bus Rapid Transit Line.
View a Fact Sheet about the State Avenue project. [PDF]
TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) is a discretionary grant program of the U.S. Department of Transportation funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In 2010, the Kansas City region was awarded, on a competitive basis, $50 million in TIGER funding to make transportation infrastructure improvements along several regional transit corridors and in the Green Impact Zone in Kansas City, Mo.
To track the progress on these projects visit the TIGER Tracker.
TIGER funds will be used to rehabilitate the infrastructure in the Green Impact Zone, focusing on better transit stop amenities, traffic-signal improvements, street resurfacing and sidewalk replacement, Troost Avenue pedestrian bridge, and other neighborhood improvements.
Approximately $1.42 million in TIGER funds will be used for Missouri corridors transit improvements (North Oak Trafficway and U.S. 24 and U.S. 40 corridors in eastern Jackson County). The project consists of improving bus stops and increasing pedestrian access to and from these bus stops.
A total of $10.3 million of the $50 million TIGER grant awarded to the Kansas City region was allocated to the State Avenue corridor. TIGER grant funds in the east-west State Avenue corridor in Kansas City, Kan., will support existing transit services through improved stops, shelters, pedestrian connections and building two new transit centers.
The two new transit centers for the State Avenue corridor will be located at the corner of 7th Street and Minnesota Avenue and at the corner of 47th Street and State Avenue. These facilities will bring dedicated transit centers to downtown Kansas City, Kan. to facilitate transit connections and transfers.
Troost MAX travels from downtown to the Crossroads district, Hospital Hill and south along Troost to Bannister. Troost MAX offers local service south of 75th Street. Other major destinations include the East Village development (currently under construction), Discovery Center, UMKC Hospital Hill and Main Campus, Rockhurst University, The Landing, Truman Medical Center, and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Park and Rides are located at 31st & Troost, 95th & Troost, and the Bannister & Hillcrest area. Trail Connections are a vital part of Troost MAX: a future trail between Troost & Bannister will connect to the Trolley Track Trail near 87th & Garfield.
MAX stations are well-lit and feature a distinctive, easily identifiable information marker, and a specially designed passenger shelter. The stations are clearly marked and named, featuring easy-to-understand route maps and real-time transit information. Riders have instant and constantly updated access to the exact arrival time through GPS technology and real-time signs at MAX stations.
For the first time, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority has commissioned original public art at prominent locations along Troost MAX. Artists drew upon community input and local history to create interesting and compelling works.
31st & Troost, “Catalyst,” Matt Dehaemers
This large-scale incorporates linguistic history in the structure’s design. Dehaemers designed the structure to resemble a tree, playing off one origin of the word “Troost,” which can mean tree. The motion of the structure results in a creation that is constantly in flux, much like the history of Troost. Dehaemers recently completed Seven Sentinels at the city’s vehicle impound facility. Nationally, he has been recognized by the Public Art Network’s Year in Review for four years in a row starting in 2004, and again in 2009. See a video of the sculpture in motion.
39th & Troost, “Unite," Jefrë
The Catholic Key covered the March 2011 dedication of Unite. Jefrë created a sculpture that draws on the image of hands coming together, evoking a joining together or way to cross a divide. The artist worked with area children, gathering drawings of what the children want to be when they grow up. These drawings of doctors, firefighters, engineers and other vocations are incorporated into the sculpture. Jefrë is an internationally acclaimed emerging public artist based in Miami who has received numerous awards for his innovative designs. After ten years working with international design firms, Jefrë launched his own couture public art studio in 2008 with a focus on environmental art, green roofs, boutique plazas, parks, and public art master plans. In his first year, he has been selected for six national blind public art competitions in New Orleans, Washington D.C., Toledo, Palm Beach, Orlando, and Philadelphia.
75th & Troost, “Every Day I Have the Blues,” David Dahlquist
The installation chosen for the 75th & Troost MetroStation is a tribute to Kansas City’s rich jazz history. The sculpture is an oversized piano structure with LED lighting. It is a powerful red epoxy painted steel and aluminum structure. The open, cantilevered framework suggests the raised lid of a grand piano; pedestrians can actually walk under the structure on a walkway or sit on benches resembling the piano’s keyboard. David B. Dahlquist is a nationally-recognized public artist and teacher. He is the Creative Director of RDG Dahlquist Art Studio, a comprehensive design and fabrication facility within RDG Planning & Design, specializing in the integration of artwork within building architecture and the landscape.
The Troost Bridge
The new bridge over Brush Creek is a project of the City of Kansas City, Mo. On the pedestrian walkway of the bridge, a series of polished stainless steel of panels reflect light throughout the pedestrian walkways on the bridge. The panels will evoke the movement of the water flowing under the bridge, as well as the motion of the pedestrian, bicycle and transit traffic across the bridge. See drawings of the bridge: View from the pedestrian walkway Side view of the Troost Bridge at daytime View of the reflective glass wall at nighttime Side view of the Troost Bridge at nighttime
Troost MAX incorporates green features and technologies. The MAX fleet includes five hybrid electric buses. Hybrid buses operate on battery power from start-up until a speed of 25 mph at which time a diesel engine supplies power and recharges the batteries. This action reduces nitrous oxide emissions and increases fuel economy by 10%-20%. Other green features at select stations and park-and-rides include:
Rain gardens at stations
Solar-powered lighted bollards
Capital federal funds were used for planning, construction, vehicles, stations, and technology:
Local entities provided a required 20% match: