KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby Highlander » Thu May 29, 2008 2:51 pm

GRID wrote:Well, I am already getting some solid feedback, here is the letter I wrote...
Commuter rail in KC is simply a waste of time and money. It won’t move enough people, it won’t create any sort of redevelopment opportunities and the KC area just isn’t large enough or congested enough to warrant commuter rail. KC has plenty of railroad right of ways, but they don’t enter the urban core in a way that makes it worthwhile. We need to use this right of way “combined with” building new right of way to create a first class rail transit system.


I do not know if I agree with this part.  Living in Europe, I see commuter rail working very well in cities much smaller than KC.  Every city over here is a rail hub and the work force for the city is collected from all the surrounding communities via what is essentially commuter rail (regularly scheduled passenger service).  While in Zurich (smaller than KC), I stayed in a town well outside of the city and commuted to the city via train.  Given parking and congestion and my unwillingness to rent a car, it was the only way to go.  Building light rail to serve the myriad of communities on KC's periphery would be prohibitively expense.

My company had an office in suburban London and I travelled out there on what is essentially commuter rail frequently.  In about 15-20 miles, the train made about 6-7 stops at stations in suburban cities along the way.  The right-of-way was not along commercial/residential streets but through areas much like the RR tracks in KC traverse.  It took anywhere between 30-40 minutes to get into the city of London depending on the time of the day.  I really do not see this being a problem as long as the service is frequent enough.  Time and convenience are of course important but there's one thing you seem to be forgetting; good public transportation can allow a family to reduce the number of cars they need from 2 to 1.  Here in the UK, I put up with a lot of inconvenience for the savings offered by having only one car.     

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby DaveKCMO » Thu May 29, 2008 3:54 pm

rxlexi wrote:yeah go get 'em Grid.  I agree with just about every aspect of your plan, and I only wish someone such as yourself was involved in Funk's regional planning.  I'm sure there are many intelligent, passionate folks behind our light-rail efforts, but you (and DaveKCMO, from what it sounds like) really need to be a part of this process.  I would love to see half of what you're discussing implemented, and kudos on the thoughtful communication and colorful, readable maps!


thanks! i attended all but one of the downtown workshops, as well as the initial workshop when the corridor was defined. i like to think that i'm working within the process, as well talking about it externally.

but, alas, i got no maps skillz. :(

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby KCMax » Fri May 30, 2008 12:17 pm

Highlander wrote:I do not know if I agree with this part.  Living in Europe, I see commuter rail working very well in cities much smaller than KC. 


I do not think you can compare European culture with American, let alone Kansas City culture. The gas prices are much different, cities are situated much differently, and the culture is much different.
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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby shaffe » Fri May 30, 2008 12:34 pm

so are you going to share with us some of your feedback, grid?

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby Highlander » Fri May 30, 2008 1:41 pm

KCMax wrote:I do not think you can compare European culture with American, let alone Kansas City culture. The gas prices are much different, cities are situated much differently, and the culture is much different.


There are differences and similarities.  In Europe, there is much more hassle and expense with driving and parking, that's the big difference and the suburban cities are all pretty dense themselves.  Whether it would work or not in KC depends on the level of service.  If the trains are too infrequent to allow for flexibility and too slow, it won't be able to compete.  As far as speed is concerned, the more tortuious route that commuter rail would follow would be balanced by fewer stops en route.  The cost would be less because a large outlay of capital would not be needed as in the case of light rail. 

In Europe and in the US, the basic theme of people living in one town wanting to get to another remains the same.  While the obvious inconveniences relative to a car are going to be a problem in the US, commuter rail may allow a family to cut down on the number of cars they own and that would be a huge savings.     

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby enough » Sat May 31, 2008 2:23 pm

commuter rail for kansas city -- at least on the missouri side -- is just not cost-effective.  the biggest barrier is covering the final six or seven miles into the center city. 

the mayor's proposal puts 56 percent of the miles and 36 percent of the dollars into commuter rail, which would likely not carry more than 2-3 percent of regional transit riders.  i have to wonder if the polling that he cites in support of his proposal conveyed that fact.

thinking long-term is critical, and i applaud grid's proposal.  we also need to be thinking about how we respond in the near term. 

buses aren't sexy, but they are far more cost-effective than rail, and the service can be put in place much quicker.  people who rely on transit every day are far more interested in transit *service* and far less interested in whether that service rides on rails.

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby ldai_phs » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:26 am

With the areas population expected to grow by some 600K in the next 20 years, increased public support for rail projects, and recent strong support for the airport, is now the time to revisit a legitimate light rail plan. Not a Chadtain Proposal. But an actual starter line. Peer cities like Nashville are building systems. Others are expanding existing systems.
In my unofficial polling, I’ve generally seen strong support for such a project. If we can show how the city is growing, how the city needs to grow, and what our peer cities are doing. I totally think that a starter system could pass(maybe not tomorrow or next year, but sometime in the next 5-7 years)

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby flyingember » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:27 pm

We have light rail. It's running downtown right now. This is an important distinction when we look at what we can do.

I like to use Houston because it has similarities and differences to KC
The red line has longer trains, have dedicated lanes and mostly wider stop spacing.
But the red line downtown has the same stop spacing as our streetcar.
They also have trains running mixed in traffic on the purple/green common segment downtown

To me the best system isn't to build a second system but to build a hybrid system and not worry about the name and work on speeding up what we have today.

Segments like Wornall and N. Oak absolutely need to be light rail styled. But there's no reason it shouldn't be part of the streetcar system to where someone could hop on the train near Ward Parkway Center and ride it towards Zona Rosa or vice versa.

About the only place I can see value in parallel track is to build additional lines N-S between Brush Creek and the river to provide options. A route that connects to the government district, Hospital Hill down Oak and Troost could be well placed

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Re: KC area Transit master plan LIGHT RAIL OR BUST!

Postby ldai_phs » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:54 pm

flyingember wrote:We have light rail. It's running downtown right now. This is an important distinction when we look at what we can do.

I like to use Houston because it has similarities and differences to KC
The red line has longer trains, have dedicated lanes and mostly wider stop spacing.
But the red line downtown has the same stop spacing as our streetcar.
They also have trains running mixed in traffic on the purple/green common segment downtown

To me the best system isn't to build a second system but to build a hybrid system and not worry about the name and work on speeding up what we have today.

Segments like Wornall and N. Oak absolutely need to be light rail styled. But there's no reason it shouldn't be part of the streetcar system to where someone could hop on the train near Ward Parkway Center and ride it towards Zona Rosa or vice versa.

About the only place I can see value in parallel track is to build additional lines N-S between Brush Creek and the river to provide options. A route that connects to the government district, Hospital Hill down Oak and Troost could be well placed


Something like Houston so that we can put together what we have already with new lines would be the goal. But, a more city/County wide approach will be needed to accelerate the build out. And I think the support may be there or is getting there


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