(Kansas City, Mo. – July 12, 2012) The Unified Government of Kansas City, Ks./Wyandotte County, (UG) and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will break ground on the Downtown KCK MetroCenter at 7th & Minnesota on Friday, July 20, at 10 a.m. (Rescheduled due to rain.)
This section of downtown Kansas City, Ks., will get a makeover during the next several months. The new transit center will feature improved customer waiting areas, as well as real-time passenger information.
This is part of the transit upgrade coming to Kansas City, Ks., in the summer of 2013. The 101-Minnesota/State Ave. route will become the State Avenue/KCK Connex, featuring two new transit centers, passenger shelters and benches, added bus stop platforms, landscaping, and improved pedestrian connections.
“The groundbreaking event marks the beginning of a new era for public transportation in our county since the inception of The Bus in the 1970’s,” Mayor Joe Reardon says. “This is another example where we’re using state of the art technology and transportation to connect residents with job opportunities while improving the infrastructure of our downtown at the same time.”
The new Connex will begin at the 10th & Main MetroCenter in downtown Kansas City, Mo., travel through downtown Kansas City, Ks., serving the new transit center at 7th & Minnesota, and west along Minnesota and State Ave. to Village West.
The Downtown KCK MetroCenter will serve seven transit routes, and it is expected that more than half of all riders in Kansas City, Ks., will travel to the center. The total ridership for all Metro and Unified Government bus routes is projected to surpass 1.3 million riders this year. This represents a 15 percent increase over 2010.
“More and more people are figuring out that transit is an excellent way to save money and go green,” said KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer. “We are excited to partner with the Unified Government to bring better facilities and a better passenger experience to our transit customers in Kansas City, Ks.”
State Avenue Connex improvements are funded through a $10.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additional funds are provided by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Livability grants and the Unified Government, for a total project investment of $13 million.
Street and sidewalk improvements are expected to be complete in January 2013, with full transit center completion in June 2013.
Ed Linnebur, Downtown Shareholders executive director, said a turtle mascot has been selected to keep those in the area up to date on the steady progress of the construction on the Connex transit line.
“The turtle – who our downtown community named ‘Wayne Dotte’ in the Name the Turtle Campaign – is a symbol of persistence and dependability,” said Linnebur. “The turtle also ties in with the symbol of the Wyandotte Nation. It’s also from the ‘Tortoise and the Hare,’ slow and steady progress is what gets you through to win. We’re out for the win, so we think backing the turtle is the right way to go.”
Signs around the construction area will feature Wayne Dotte with updates on construction progress on the transit center and other improvements.