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Building a complete light rail system


The new streetcar in Kansas City is a great new beginning for mass transit options in the KC Metro. The development spurned by this line is a great move for Kansas City, but should only be the start. Light rail has been very successful in nearby cities within the region: St Louis; Minneapolis; Chicago. The next main goal needs to be a light rail line (and eventually system) which connects the metro, and not just on the Missouri side. Below is a concept I came up with as an initial rail line for a college project.

Overall Conceptual Map

South of 70



(Bob Specht) #2

Could this be something that grows from the Downtown Streetcar line?

Would be similar to Portland and other cities that concentrate a number of light rail stops (or intersect with a streetcar line) in the downtown area and then widen their stops as they get to less “urban” areas.

(Kevin) #3

I really don’t get this line. It doesn’t connect people to places and it’s missing a lot of details along the line. It also seems unnecessarily expensive

I-29 is the single worst place to take rail through the northland. It would be a massive eminent domain grab or be an elevated line. It actually avoids nearly every population center and all the jobs center with it’s stop placement. One example is it gets within 100 feet of Tiffany Springs and doesn’t have a stop there!

Just the intersection at I-29/169 could be a $250 project. I-29 is 8 lanes wide and it’s already three levels high. 169 south of I-29 is one of the freeway crunch points in the city. there’s homes so close in to the freeway on one side and a major water tower on the other that I don’t see where any earth work could be done to make it wider. This would be an expensive elevated segment above the freeway too.

It would mean a major design of the US 169 to MO 9 intersection or just go over it. it’s 7" too short for modern electric rail.

oh, and you took the line over the old mine at Briarcliff. I hope the fill in work is enough to take the extra weight of this plan. that could be tens of millions in foundation work to get to a usable point

the NKC line is the only really logical one. why a stop at Armour only? there’s 30,000 jobs in NKC and you put the stop as far as possible from most of them.

your routing into downtown is really strange. it would mean building a brand new bridge over I-70, which means going over the existing ramp. so that’s about 20 feet in the air. so you’re recommending shutting down the walnut overpass over I-70?

to get from Walnut to Main the path you take is gone. a hotel is going there.

the park route to 29th isn’t horrible though I don’t like it over going down Main to 31st.

why put a stop at 35th and not Penn Valley CC at 31st?

Broadway makes sense. and I’ll assume you don’t actually want to destroy the JC Nichols Fountain, that it’s really a

I guess you didn’t know about the cemetaries you just cut through near 435.

I don’t see this as the best way to the sports stadiums either. why not follow the existing rail line through to Leed’s Juncton and then cut down the former Rock Island line? would save hundreds of millions over that huge bridge you just put in to get over 435.


This plan was simply a concept to connect certain places, based on light rail I had taken in St Louis in Minneapolis. All of those systems connect airports, high density areas, commercial centers, sports venues, and universities. This was the best way to connect a large number of these items in one line.

(Kevin) #5

St. Louis actually has some key lessons for why not to do this KC plan and how different their environment is that led to theirs working out like this

they follow part of a freight corridor for their line. the entire segment from the central. they also used the existing tunnels downtown and the existing rail level of a bridge to cross their river. to connect the two they follow a freight rail corridor.

their system also connects largely to residential areas in both states. one entire half of the line goes through only under served Illinois residential towns. it also directly connects to not one but three major jobs centers. their path to the airport doesn’t bypass stops in residential areas, it serves some of the poorest suburbs in St. Louis

for KC the best way to the stadiums is to not spend $400 million to get there via the Plaza but to lease freight rail access from the river market, build some rail overpasses and maybe some parallel track. The stadiums are used just 70 days per year (20% of the year) so we need to be cheap on this access. it’s much smarter to use that much money on a commuter line to Lee’s Summit and add 75,000 more potential users to the system

to get to the airport I would go N. Oak to Barry to Ambassador. you connect near to the second creek area with 75,000 residents coming over the next few decades, down two northland commercial corridors major and through the two major northland jobs centers

then south of the river connect one branch down Prospect to Swope Park and another down Broadway to the Plaza.

(Kyle Mc Cullough) #6

Feb 14 2014

Nov 3 2014

Sanders full commuter rail plan

lets get behind him on this one, guys.

(Liam) #7

Jackson a County + KCATA teamed up and have bought track from UP. Also have a nice rendering of a future rail stop at Truman Soorts Complex.

(Bob Specht) #8

Legislature Approves Bonds To Purchase Rock Island Corridor

17.7-Mile Line To Be Developed For Bike Trail & Potentially A Multi-Modal Transportation System

During their meeting Monday, Jackson County Legislators approved issuing up to $52 million in bonds for the county — in partnership with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (ATA) — to purchase the corridor from Union Pacific Railroad. The county and ATA’s immediate plan calls for transforming the Rock Island Corridor into a bicycle trail, with the potential for further redeveloping it later for multi-modal transportation.




(Joe) #9

Was thinking the other day that this project wouldn’t move forward without Mike Sanders advocating for it’s development. It’s great knowing that this plan is moving forward and being planned for regional transportation!