TransitKC

Archive for the 'SmartMoves' Category

Troost BRT construction to start in August

Troost Station Prototype

The Star served up an update earlier this week on the Troost bus rapid transit project (Green Line), ghettoized in the weekly “Neighborhoods” print section (which is practically MIA online).

Kansas City’s second “BRT Lite” (regular buses, no off-board ticketing or level boarding, limited lane dedication and signal priority, super low cost) route will augment the existing #25 fixed route service that nets the highest ridership in the city. The project is fairly straightforward, save for the unfortunate coincidence of having to cross Parks Department property at Brush Creek; now that funding has been secured for the replacement of that bridge, construction on the line can proceed.

Peak headways will match the current #25 and Main Street MAX (Yellow Line), but travel times compared to #25 will improve due to the limited number of stops. The two MAX routes will overlap at some stops inside the downtown loop (12th & Grand, for example), so the LED signage on the front will indicate to which route a bus is assigned; unfortunately, the KCATA did not correct the situation where the Main Street MAX line does not directly serve the 10th & Main transit center. Service is expected to begin in Fall 2010.

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MARC issues stimulus recommendations

MARC has issued its list [PDF] of recommended surface transportation projects to be funded by the stimulus plan (ARRA). Of interest to the transit community:

Kansas

  • State Avenue Improvements, Unified Government of Wyandotte County ($5,000,000) – Will directly support the future State Avenue BRT route, which itself is unfunded (or is it, Senator Brownback?).
  • Operation Green Light System Enhancement, MARC ($1,000,000) – Synchronizes traffic signals across municipalities, improving travel times for buses.

Missouri

  • Troost Bridge Replacement, Kansas City ($8,000,000) – Required for implementation of Troost BRT service.
  • Operation Green Light System Enhancement, MARC ($3,700,000) – See above.
  • Regional Transit (Smart Moves) Implementation Plan, MARC ($261,250) – Planning for the Smart Moves BRT system.
  • Traffic Control Center Phase 1, Kansas City ($750,000) – While Phase 1 is just for “rebuilding and rehabilitation of the current Traffic Operations building”, once completed the center could improve bus or light rail travel times (if they were prioritized, of course).

The rest of the list is for roads and bridges that are too far flung to make a dent in our anemic transit situation. A different set of projects specifically directed at mass transit has yet to be released.

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Council approves Troost BRT

The KCMO city council approved funding for the Troost BRT corridor. ATA officials estimated service would begin in summer 2010 (originally this year).

The route will generally follow the existing #25 [map] local route on Troost Avenue between Three Trails/Bannister and Hospital Hill, but with ATA’s MAX branding: new buses (including a few hybrids), fewer stops, real-time arrival/departure displays, and modern shelters with LED lighting. Some stops would be shared with the existing Main Street MAX line; the routes will be differentiated by the color of the displays on the bus (orange for Main, green for Troost). The local #25 service will continue to operate.

Since the ATA is in the middle of a financial double-whammy — service cuts and fare increases — it’s not clear whether frequency promises made last spring can be kept, but expect peak service to at least match the Main Street route when it begins. Coincidentally, this project also made the ATA’s stimulus wish list, even though the Feds have already delivered their match of the $30 million price tag.

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Regional transit meeting tonight

Ready for some detail on the new and improved SmartMoves? Your chance is tonight in Riverside. MARC is hosting a community input meeting on the proposal at:

7-8:30 p.m.
Riverside City Hall
2950 NW Vivion Road
Riverside, MO [map]

The site is not transit accessible after 7 p.m., so please plan accordingly.

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Regional update… unbelievable progress?

It’s almost too good to be true: Could we be voting on a regional transit plan by spring? Prime Buzz has the update. Take note that the next regional discussion (8:30 a.m. Friday) will have time set aside for public comment.

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Troost BRT meetings this week

Troost BRT is back on the public’s radar this week as the ATA is seeking input on “station locations, station configurations, integration into surrounding neighborhoods, opportunities for station enhancements.” Unfortunately, these public meetings have been scheduled during the work day, so plan for a long lunch!

North Zone (Downtown and North of 31st Street)
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tuesday, March 11
HNTB Office
715 Kirk Drive, Room 434
[map]

Central Zone (31st Street to 75th Street)
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Monday, March 10
YMCA
7000 Troost Ave.
[map]

South Zone (South of 75th to the Three Trails Redevelopment Area)
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, March 13
Mazuma Credit Union
9300 Troost
[map]

UPDATE: Evening meetings will be held in early April for those who can’t make this week’s sessions. Stay tuned…

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SmartMoves update summary posted

MARC has released a summary and notes from all 25 SmartMoves update sessions held late last year for about 300 participants. The results are not very surprising to us: the highest priority corridors are the ones with the most congestion (I-35, I-70, I-29) and least political will to provide a real alternative (commuter rail, not “freeway flyer” buses).

It would be great if MARC were out front on the light rail issue explaining to people that what KCMO is proposing for a starter line is actually a big chunk of the Red Line (Vivion Road to UMKC). They could also easily explain that the regional approach that Funkhouser is proposing is just a variation on SmartMoves as a whole (bi-state legislation, cross-metro services). Instead, participants are left wondering how this update fits into Kansas City’s transit puzzle and who’s really in charge.

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SmartMoves workshop recap

This blogger made tracks to the Central Library last night for MARC’s SmartMoves workshop. I’d guess there were a little over 50 people. Attendees were asked to help identify key corridors for transit in the region. We were broken into smaller groups of about 8 and seated around a large map. My group was somewhat well-distributed with residents from the Northland, Downtown, East-central city, South Plaza and Shawnee.

Our group’s discussion facilitators asked us what criteria transit should focus on when selecting a route. Popular criteria at our table included commuting, getting to recreation destinations (like stadiums), tourism (airport to hotels to cultural attractions), access to other transit lines / reducing the number of transfers to reach one’s destination, and human services / security (hospital access, evacuation).

Our facilitator then asked us to use those criteria to draw lines along corridors on the large map of the metro in front of us. We could each draw two lines, and by about the fourth person, everyone’s lines were on the map.

Our map looked like a trimmed-down SmartMoves map of olde, with corridors identified as I-35 from Liberty to Olathe (by far the most popular route at our table), I-70 from Blue Springs to the Speedway, KCI Airport to Belton, and Downtown to the Plaza. Most agreed a rail solution was preferred, but didn’t think we’d see it initially due to cost; they seemed okay with buses.

Several people suggested their second route not be a corridor but more of a local circulator in areas like College Boulevard to the Grandview Triangle, Shawnee Mission Parkway, or Barry Road. The argument was after you park, ride and get off, you then have to get the last few miles to your door.

Other points brought up:

  • Connect the local universities
  • Will the Fed’s really like us laying down Light Rail tracks in the same corridor they just gave us millions to add two pseudo-BRT lines?

Up next: MARC talks to elected officials for funding. I was told these officials have said in the past that they haven’t heard from their constituents that there’s a need for this kind of transit — too bad I recognized only one of them there — Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. If this is important to you then let your local and state officials know.

Look for updates from MARC in spring 2008.

More info: http://www.marc.org/kcsmartmoves/

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SmartMoves update meeting tonight

The second meeting for MARC’s SmartMoves update is tonight at the Central Library. Originally scheduled for last Monday, the downtown meeting was moved due to inclement weather. The other session was held as scheduled last Tuesday in downtown KCK.

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Housekeeping

No big news on KC light rail planning, but here are some other recent transit-related tidbits:

  • KCATA has updated their trip planner: it’s now MacOS friendly. Think you can’t take the bus to work? Better check again!
  • Last night, KCPT and By The People held a follow-up to the Oct. 20 transit forum. This event was not televised, but this time we were chosen to participate. We’ll post the final report here once we receive it. The original forum will be re-broadcast on Jan. 4.
  • MARC is also hosting a follow-up to their SmartMoves workshops that were held in various parts of the metro throughout the fall. This time there are only two sessions — Dec. 10 and 12 — and they’re both accessible via public transit. RSVPs are recommended.
  • Mayor Funkhouser will be on KCUR’s Up To Date Wednesday and light rail will be a topic. Air time is 11:00 a.m. CDT and the call-in number is 816-235-2888. Also available as a live stream and podcast.
  • MoDOT announced the winning design/build team for the new Paseo Bridge — soon to be “a landmark cable-stay Missouri River bridge expandable to eight lanes and capable of accommodating a future bicycle/pedestrian facility once connectivity is established” — on Nov. 14. While it won’t accommodate light rail and will open by 2011, be on the lookout for a new river crossing upstream that will be part of the revised light rail plan from KCATA and HNTB. The Heart of America and ASB bridges are out of the picture. We’re guessing that will make Grand Avenue the south shore landing point and Swift Avenue in North Kansas City the north shore landing point.
  • Bike racks have been installed along 12th Street as part of the downtown streetscape improvements in that corridor. If you’ve got more than a few blocks to walk to the bus stop near your home, remember that every city bus has a fold-down bike rack on the front. Instructions and pics are here. Word has it that bike racks are also coming soon to the Power & Light District as a last-minute addition. City bike parking rules are here.
  • Charlotte’s new light rail line is attracting solid numbers now that fares are being collected. The next light rail newbie, Phoenix, has started testing their new line — which is on-time and on-budget; it’s due to open in December 2008. New Haven is seriously talking streetcars, and there is chatter that Savannah will be launching a streetcar circulator next year. In the bad news column, St. Louis Metro lost its lawsuit against the contractors who built the “Cross County” light rail extension to Clayton.
  • Expanding Amtrak service to Oklahoma is the topic this Saturday as the Northern Flyer Alliance holds a public meeting at Union Station to build grassroots support for plugging a big hole in Amtrak’s national network. Only 200 rail miles separates Newton, Kansas, from Oklahoma City, and Wichita (the largest city in Kansas) is not currently served.
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