Capping the Loop

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
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Capping the Loop

Postby GRID » Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:35 am

I keep seeing renderings of the park over I-670 between Main and Walnut. I wonder if this is part of any plan or is just an idea? I think it is needed to help connect Downtown to Crown Center and Crossroads. Can you imagine the view from this park? PAC, Arts Center, Ballroom, Arena, and Star Building would all be in plain view, not to mention the skylines of Downtown and Crown Center, wow.

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Plaza over I-670

Postby dangerboy » Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:56 am

I think it's just an idea. I don't think there has been any serious attempt to find the funding for it, nor has the city formally asked MoDOT to consider it.

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Capping the Loop

Postby ShowMeKC » Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:48 am

I've been thinking about the Urban Society's plan for the Loop more recently, and I'm beginning to like one of their ideas.

I think we should take their advice and turn I-35 in the North Loop into an at-grade boulevard. Doing so would give us 100-120ft of space on both sides of the boulevard if it stays at 6 lanes of traffic.

However I do not believe we should eliminate 670/I-70 through the south loop, I believe it should be capped and made into a tunnel, with three types of structures, either a pad for a building(s), a large glass dome to allow natural light, or park space.

It would make 670/I-70 into about a .6 mile tunnel, or even .7 miles

Turning the north loop into an at-grade boulevard would not only give us 100ft additional space on the north and south sides, it would eliminate the on ramps, as well as the cloverleaf that divides the River Market from Columbus Park/Northeast.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby bahua » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:16 am

I think it all sounds great, except that it'll cost more money than the war in Iraq.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby tat2kc » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:39 am

Plus, I don't know of any interstate that is actually a boulevard. I can't imagine the feds converting I-70 into a boulevard.
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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby Tosspot » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:42 am

tat2kc wrote:Plus, I don't know of any interstate that is actually a boulevard. I can't imagine the feds converting I-70 into a boulevard.


I do know of some highway in the Bay Area that was destroyed in an earthquake. It was rebuilt simply as a boulevard type thing and not a highway. Of course, the traffic engineers cried foul, predicting chaos and mayhem, but it actually turned out to be successful in spurring new development.
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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby staubio » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:48 am

If we're going to cap it, it needs to be so things can be built atop.  No point in covering it with a glass cover as all that would do is keep the cars from getting rained on.  It wouldn't improve the connections between neighborhoods at all.

I say eliminate the north loop completely and cap the south.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby ShowMeKC » Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:00 pm

I never said we should make all of it glass, maybe make 1 block glass, next to a park and buildings...

It wouldn't cost billions of dollars to do, and it would just require a ton of dirt to be moved to the north loop.

Also, it isn't like they would be losing a major highway, as you'd still have the south loop, east and west sides of the loop.  All you would accomplish is turning a .8 mile section of 670/I-70 (which also runs through the south loop) into a high speed boulevard. It wouldn't be 50-70 miles per hour, but would be much faster than 20-30 miles per hour, probably about 45mph. If the intersections were timed, you could make it through that .8 mile section in a time frame between 2 and 5 minutes (depending on traffic).
You could also immediately reroute to Main, Grand, Broadway, etc...

We aren't talking about what the feds want or what they'd like, we are doing what will improve Downtown. It would definitely be possible to make this thing at grade and turn it into a boulevard. It also wouldn't be all at once, it should be done a section at a time, as you'd also have to reconstruct roads like Delaware, Broadway etc...

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby DaveKCMO » Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:00 pm

Tosspot wrote:I do know of some highway in the Bay Area that was destroyed in an earthquake. It was rebuilt simply as a boulevard type thing and not a highway. Of course, the traffic engineers cried foul, predicting chaos and mayhem, but it actually turned out to be successful in spurring new development.


the interstate system has been bastardized well beyond it's original scope and purpose by greedy municipalities. instead of simply connecting population centers across state lines, it has been the de facto highway teat for cities look to for destroying their own urban fabric with huge concrete scars.

cap tha bitch! the north loop is ineffectual, at best.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby ShowMeKC » Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:05 pm

Also, as an example as to what has happened to Kansas City (though on a smaller scale), Manhattan was almost gutted horribly by Robert Moses, who wanted to put a superhighway through the area around Greenwich Village. THat would have killed that section of Manhattan, and would have begun killing off surrounding areas with a vacuum effect. It would have also divided Manhattan.

This is on a smaller scale, but we can fix this problem, it will still allow a good flow of traffic, but would eliminate such a dividing factor that discourages further development.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby shinatoo » Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:32 pm

There were even plans to run interstates down both sides of the Mall in DC. AAAAGGGHHHHH.
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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby bahua » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:00 pm

I wouldn't mind moving the north loop to the other side of the river, making it wide, and making that the main through highway for downtown. The river already divides the city. Why not use something like that?

Expressway access does not make a downtown.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby ShowMeKC » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:33 pm

Yup, i agree bahua, they don't make a Downtown... However we cannot make our urban core anti-vehicle, and we shouldn't discourage the use of vehicles, or increase commute time.

We should build a highway on the north side of the river, connecting the Broadway Bridge to 210/Armour Road (just east of the grain elevators)

However we should also convert the current highway to a 4-6 lane boulevard, line it with buildings ranging from 3 floors to 12 floors, as well as develop the surrounding area.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby DaveKCMO » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:34 pm

bahua wrote:I wouldn't mind moving the north loop to the other side of the river, making it wide, and making that the main through highway for downtown. The river already divides the city. Why not use something like that?

Expressway access does not make a downtown.


icky... have you been to st. joseph? check out I-229 through their downtown. i'm sure that's how it would have looked had the fed had access to our riverfront.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby ShowMeKC » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:38 pm

Not necessarily Dave... That highway is mostly raised, and it is a large highway cutting through a small town. This would be a highway cutting through a low traveled area, providing more access to not only Downtown, but also to the industrial areas and the airport.

We aren't going to ever have a good waterfront that people are going to visit as long as the Missouri stays muddy, icky, and smelly. All we will have are buildings lining the river, and some park space. This highway can serve as a buffer between the water and NKC, as well as easing traffic flow.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby KCMax » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:40 pm

I'd love the idea of covering the south loop. There are renderings on this forum of a project in Seattle where they plan to cover the highway with basically a large park. We wouldn't have to put a park on top, but I like the idea of connecting the CBD with the Crossroads, particularly with the PAC right there.

Anyone have any cost estimates for that Seattle project?

As far as the North Loop, I'm not sure what can be done about that.  
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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby DaveKCMO » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:58 pm

ShowMeKC wrote:This highway can serve as a buffer between the water and NKC, as well as easing traffic flow.


we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. that muddy river maintains a prominent place in kansas city's history that many people want to see restored.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby ShowMeKC » Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:00 pm

How can we restore the muddy river Dave? It's always been muddy, and how can we stop people from dumping trash, bodies and waste into the river? How can we get NKC to remove the smelly industrial buildings north of the river?
We can't do any of those in the near future, and if you have any ideas, share them... The Missouri can never become what it was in the days of Lewis and Clark without the elimination of part of the airport, industrial areas, etc... Even then, if it was restored to it's pre 1900 state, then it wouldn't allow any water traffic.

The highway being a buffer means it would be a buffer for flooding, in addition to the current levees

Also, what is so wrong with putting a highway there? The only neighborhood it would hurt would be Harlem, and it could be relocated ot just north of Harlem.

We are never going to have a clean and clear river, with the Missouri river, it's just not going to happen. This isn't going to be the Mississippi or anything. People won't be able to fish or swim in it at all... The only purpose for a waterfront area is just to sit and listen to the water, relax, and smell the mud, fish, trash, and industrial smog/smell from north of the river.

And Dave, how are we going to ease traffic if we turn the north loop into a boulevard?
Last edited by ShowMeKC on Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby Gretz » Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:56 pm

I fail to see any reason to spend certainly many tens of millions, likely well over 100 million dollars to downgrade a major expressway and create more congestion than already exists.  For 15 extra yards of real estate on either side of the loop?  It's not like we don't already have massive expanses of surface lots near the north loop that remain undeveloped.  I don't think that the north loop was a particularly good idea and I too would probably rather that this portion of the loop were on the other side of the river, but I don't see that it's a big enough problem that we would need to spend half a billion dollars to take this portion of the loop over the river.  We certainly need that portion of the loop's carrying capacity, as anyone who had to deal with the backups on 35 during the recent months of construction on only the northbound portion can attest to.  Even reverse commuting as I do it cost me 10-20 min every night.  I can only imagine what effects this would have on a normal commute.  Expressway access, it is true, does not make a downtown by itself but it is certainly an important factor that businesses consider when deciding where the most convenient place for their employees to reach is.  Whether we like it or not, most people who work downtown live in the burbs.  Spending an ass-ton of money to make it more difficult for them to get to and from work for them is a terrible idea.

On the other hand I'm not at all opposed to capping the south loop and would suspect that the will to do this may grow over the next few years as the arena/p&l district push property values in this area ever higher.  Though I would imagine building any substantial structures over the highway would require some extreme engineering and expense, it seems like a park would be fairly easy/affordable to put on an eventual cap.

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Re: Capping the Loop

Postby Highlander » Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:20 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. that muddy river maintains a prominent place in kansas city's history that many people want to see restored.


Restored to what?


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