Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

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kcmiz
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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby kcmiz » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:36 am

Has there been any discussion about reconfiguring the Main St. Plaza intersections (Main St/Cleaver Blvd and Brookside Blvd/Volker/Ward Pkwy) as part of Phase 2 streetcar construction?

- Where might Plaza stops be located?
- Current intersection configurations are not pedestrian friendly at all (ie. too wide, too many lanes, better suited for So. JoCo)
- Will streetcar use current bridge over Brush Creek or new bridge?
- Will streetcar use Brookside Blvd south of Volker or align with CC right of way to be better positioned for southward expansion?

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby earthling » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:04 pm

As discussed before if Main/Midtown is getting a road diet, they should reconfigure Bside Blvd to dump into Broadway/JC Nichols instead of Main and encourage 47th traffic to use Gilham and Bway instead of Main. That would likely mean taking out the tennis courts, which could also be converted to a transit center.

Or maybe a roundabout with underground streetcar? A much larger roundabout could be done in place of tennis courts with a transit center in the island and encourage N bound traffic to use Bway/JC Nichols instead of Main. This smaller roundabout was proposed a couple years ago with partially underground streetcar...
https://info.umkc.edu/63rd-st-studio/?p=1333
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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby DaveKCMO » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:14 pm

if anything, the intersection should get smaller (not larger). everyone agrees that no one is well served by the existing intersection that was reconfigured in the 90s (most vehicle movements have an LOS of D or F -- if that's your thing -- and pedestrian crossings are way too long, leading to longer-than-necessary cycle times -- NB MAX if often delayed here during peak). thankfully, the public works people that designed it are long gone.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby Highlander » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:50 pm

earthling wrote:As discussed before if Main/Midtown is getting a road diet, they should reconfigure Bside Blvd to dump into Broadway/JC Nichols instead of Main and encourage 47th traffic to use Gilham and Bway instead of Main. That would likely mean taking out the tennis courts, which could also be converted to a transit center.

Or maybe a roundabout with underground streetcar? A much larger roundabout could be done in place of tennis courts with a transit center in the island and encourage N bound traffic to use Bway/JC Nichols instead of Main. This smaller roundabout was proposed a couple years ago with partially underground streetcar...
https://info.umkc.edu/63rd-st-studio/?p=1333
Image


I like the idea aesthetically (although I would hate losing the tennis courts), but not sure how a roundabout would do at a major intersection in KC. The problem with a roundabout in a busy intersection is that once a continual stream of traffic from one direction is established, it's very difficult to break that momentum and allow other traffic from other directions to pass through the intersection. Most of KC's roundabouts are at less traveled intersections where a yield sign would suffice most of the time. I do like the idea of an underground station which allows passage for pedestrians beneath the busy intersection rather than pedestrians having to exit the train and then negotiate 6 lanes of traffic. I would expect that intersection to be one of the busiest street car stops in the entire city once a system is up and running. One issue with doing anything underground, however, is that it would substantially lengthen the construction time (and probably cost) at a high traffic intersection creating a lot of driver frustration.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby earthling » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:34 pm

If a roundabout occurs in that location whether large (taking out tennis courts) or small (as above), they'd probably need to have many speedbumps to keep traffic at reasonably slow pace with prominent signs noting that it is a pedestrian/streetcar zone. Am not convinced a roundabout is the way to go but it's something to consider, ideally with a transit center/CVS where the tennis courts are or center island of large roundabout. The tennis center could be moved to N end of Mill Creek Park, which isn't regularly used compared to typically busy S end of park. That location is too prime for recreation.

KCMO in general also needs heavy fines for autos not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, especially if this will be a pedestrian oriented roundabout. Some cities have $300 penalty signs for not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. KC direly needs this even if not enforced, as well as much better marked crosswalks where there are no traffic lights.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby aknowledgeableperson » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:09 pm

Unless they could move the tennis courts to another Plaza location seriously doubt they would sacrifice the courts for anything.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby horizons82 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:45 pm

It'll never happen, but it'd be nice if the courts were "relocated" to Penn Valley as part of a larger revitalization of PV. Maybe add a court or two to Mill Creek park to pacify the plaza people.

And for what it's worth, that roundabout idea looks more like a (well done) underclassman student project, than something that engaged with city departments, like a KCDC study.

EDIT: just realized the site explicitly states its a studio class.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby earthling » Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:50 pm

aknowledgeableperson wrote:Unless they could move the tennis courts to another Plaza location seriously doubt they would sacrifice the courts for anything.


Tennis players per day: A few dozen and less during winter?
Potential streetcar daily riders going by Plaza: Likely 5K+, maybe 10K+ peaks (it will likely be one of busiest stops along entire line)

That location is too prime for a few select people using it. It needs to function as a transit center with neighborhood amenities like a CVS and a gateway for Plaza/Downtown visitors using streetcar. At this point losing the courts would not be a sacrifice, it would be a foolish continuing misuse of a primo spot. But unfortunately decisions are often made by people who do not live a pedestrian/transit lifestyle and simply don't 'get it'. N end of Mill Creek Park is perfect for courts.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby Highlander » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:22 pm

earthling wrote:
aknowledgeableperson wrote:Unless they could move the tennis courts to another Plaza location seriously doubt they would sacrifice the courts for anything.


Tennis players per day: A few dozen and less during winter?
Potential streetcar daily riders going by Plaza: Likely 5K+, maybe 10K+ peaks (it will likely be one of busiest stops along entire line)

That location is too prime for a few select people using it. It needs to function as a transit center with neighborhood amenities like a CVS and a gateway for Plaza/Downtown visitors using streetcar. At this point losing the courts would not be a sacrifice, it would be a foolish continuing misuse of a primo spot. But unfortunately decisions are often made by people who do not live a pedestrian/transit lifestyle and simply don't 'get it'. N end of Mill Creek Park is perfect for courts.


You do realize those are private courts belonging to a private club? They are obviously profitable enough to pay the rent and property taxes. I think it's a fine use of the property - the Plaza is an upscale shopping center, tennis is a somewhat upscale sport. Mill Creek is a public park and a putting an exclusive private club on an inclusive public park would be an even greater misuse of land. There is plenty of room to maneuver on the east side of the plaza without taking out the tennis courts which would would be an expensive solution - they won't come cheap.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby Highlander » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:34 pm

earthling wrote:KCMO in general also needs heavy fines for autos not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, especially if this will be a pedestrian oriented roundabout. Some cities have $300 penalty signs for not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. KC direly needs this even if not enforced, as well as much better marked crosswalks where there are no traffic lights.


Every time I come back to KC, I am shocked (although I should not be) by the way drivers absolutely ignore crosswalks, even in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. In the interior roads of the plaza, drivers will sometimes be oblivious to pedestrians in crosswalks, on 47th, pedestrians are routinely ignored. It would certainly help if KC would actually paint the crosswalks on a regular basis so drivers could actually see them but even with that, too many drivers think stopping is optional. I lived in Norway for several years and the fine for not stopping at a crosswalk with pedestrians waiting to cross was over $1000 US dollars. Everybody stopped. Always. Such signs need to be posted throughout KC on crosswalks and then the law needs to be enforced with vigor.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby DaveKCMO » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:38 pm

public works has certainly chilled on painting higher visibility crosswalks. they've also been forced to backtrack on ped buttons (which started downtown, then pulled back, then tried on the plaza, then pulled back). pushing to get them implemented as part of prospect MAX, as well.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby flyingember » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:03 pm

Highlander wrote:
Every time I come back to KC, I am shocked (although I should not be) by the way drivers absolutely ignore crosswalks, even in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. In the interior roads of the plaza, drivers will sometimes be oblivious to pedestrians in crosswalks, on 47th, pedestrians are routinely ignored. It would certainly help if KC would actually paint the crosswalks on a regular basis so drivers could actually see them but even with that, too many drivers think stopping is optional.

The plaza is bad because it’s poorly designed for shared use. It was designed to let someone park near a business in a time of MUCH less car ownership and now is known for lots of walking around and lots of parking garages

Look at it from a car driver’s view. Wide streets thirty feet wide striped for two lanes mostly with four way stops. Means people take a long time to cross. 47th is part of the US route system for cross country through traffic and it feels like this. And with the heavy walking use and frequent ped ignoring of cars this means cars “have to” be aggressive to get though intersections. So it’s not well designed for car use with current levels.

You can also see that the plaza area functions decently fine with streets closed for the art show and turns much of the inside of the district into ped only. People find alternatives.

And moving Brookside Blvd to realign with Broadway would just add a ton of cars at a super busy pedestrian crossing at the park and would make safety and access worse when we should be reducing car numbers next to a popular park.

If anything, It would seem like we need to be providing alternatives to driving and parking and start closing plaza garages. The streetcar from the north should be just the first piece of this.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby KCtoBrooklyn » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:24 pm

earthling wrote: Tennis players per day: A few dozen and less during winter?
Potential streetcar daily riders going by Plaza: Likely 5K+, maybe 10K+ peaks (it will likely be one of busiest stops along entire line)

That location is too prime for a few select people using it. It needs to function as a transit center with neighborhood amenities like a CVS and a gateway for Plaza/Downtown visitors using streetcar.


I completely agree. Once there is a streetcar stop there, that may be the most prime/valuable real estate in all of KC. The tennis courts are such a waste of that space, getting such little use.

It may be the best chance to put some neighborhood amenities on the Plaza. A drug store would be nice, a Trader Joe's or another smaller format grocery would be terrific.

Highlander wrote:You do realize those are private courts belonging to a private club?


The land belongs to the city. I have no idea what the lease situation is, but I hope it is something the city can get out of. Even if it was still kept by the city and used for some other public space/amenity, it would be a higher use than the tennis courts.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby aknowledgeableperson » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:53 am

From what I remember the tennis courts are on land that is dedicated park land. The Parks Dept controls how the land is used.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby kcjak » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:19 am

I like the idea of a roundabout, but something would need to be done with the intersection at JC Nichols/47th - it routinely backs up for WB traffic all the way to Main.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby flyingember » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:28 am

The tennis center is marked as a park. So it would likely need a citywide vote to change the use.

Here's their website. The facility is used by the college team of special note. It's open 8 months of the year
http://plazatenniscenter.com/main/about-us/

Taking the hours, if you figure they *could* be open 8am-10pm 7 days a week and, in theory, enclose it for 12 month service.
They're open around 45% of the hours they could be open to maximized hours. If I exclude Dec-Feb, it's open 60% of the time it could be.

For comparison, there's shops in the city market only open slightly more hours over the year. The tennis center is open approx 2400 hours and both Yoki and Carrolo's are open approx 2500 hours.

So the facility gets pretty good use. It's as valuable in it's current use as the city market.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby earthling » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:34 am

kcjak wrote:I like the idea of a roundabout, but something would need to be done with the intersection at JC Nichols/47th - it routinely backs up for WB traffic all the way to Main.


The roundabout could be large enough to include that, wrapping around current tennis center (replacing/restructuring with transit center in island). But if going there, needs low speed limit with maybe speed bumps. Roundabouts with traffic signals also exist when there are pedestrians involved. Flashing red signals could also be use for onramping, to keep pace slow. If done right it could solve the current clusterfuck... or could make things worse. Too many road diets across the board could make thing worse too.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby DaveKCMO » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:47 am

No concession shall be for a longer term than twenty years. No concession shall be granted for any purpose not within the objects for which such parks, squares, grounds or buildings are held by the city; and in every license, lease or concession the board shall reserve the right to enter at all times into and upon the premises so demised, and any breach of any license or lease entered into under this section, or any violation of the provisions of this section, shall be sufficient ground for the termination of the lease at the option of the Board.


there are plenty of options that could add street life to cleaver, main, or nichols without selling off the tennis court land. a restaurant that serves the tennis courts (and the public) is one option -- or simply better transparency in the structure that is there today. an outdoor roller skating/ice skating rink like this temporary one next to the high line would also be an excellent (active) adaptation:

https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011 ... r-skaters/

hell, we could put a community center there and that would be an improvement over the walled-off tennis courts (although do we really need any more community centers?).

that being said, we should sell off the land and develop it (respecting the plaza bowl, etc etc). there's a massive well-used park across the street and plenty of open space along brush creek in both directions.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby aknowledgeableperson » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:07 am

"we should sell off the land"

As dedicated parkland it would take a vote of the people to allow.

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Re: Phase 2 streetcar to UMKC

Postby DaveKCMO » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:10 am

aknowledgeableperson wrote:"we should sell off the land"

As dedicated parkland it would take a vote of the people to allow.


no one is disputing that.


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