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Archive for the 'Events' Category

Sanders to discuss commuter rail at Central Exchange

This is the item to break our months-long silence: Jackson County CEO Mike Sanders will present his Regional Rail Plan to the Central Exchange on Jan. 26. Members attend for free, non-members pay $30. And yes, men are very much welcome to attend.

We haven’t heard a peep out of Sanders since he unveiled his plan to a surprised media way back in October. It was well over a month before any information even appeared on the Jackson County website (don’t let that date stamp fool you). The description for next week’s event still maintains that stimulus money is being sought to pay for construction, even though all stimulus deadlines related to transit have already passed and it’s not a given that a new jobs bill will include transit funding (assuming such a bill even passes, considering the results of this week’s special election in Massachusetts).

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Troost BRT breaks ground

KCATA held a groundbreaking ceremony this morning at 47th and Troost for the new Troost MAX BRT line. Here’s a pic of the formalities, courtesy of MARC.

Service will begin in late 2010. The route map is here.

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Attention WyCo residents: Ask for a transit sales tax!

Tonight, the commissioners and mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, will discuss sales tax options that may be placed on the ballot to address budget shortages. KCK does not have dedicated transit funding like KCMO, and will be experiencing service cuts this year while simultaneously asking for federal capital funding for the State Avenue BRT line.

This is your chance to ask the mayor and commissioners to consider a 1/8- or 1/4-cent sales tax to be dedicated to bus services, eliminating entirely the annual line item that comes from the general fund (which is subject to the whims of the mayor/commission). This sales tax could be used to cover and expand existing routes, as well as the operation of BRT.

Sales Tax Hearing
5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 6
KCK City Hall
701 N. 7th Street
[map]

City Hall is accessible from routes 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107, and 115. See Google Transit for a trip plan.

A public meeting to discuss this year’s recommended service cuts is also this evening:

4-6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 6
Indian Springs Shopping Center, Community Room
4601 State Ave.
[map]

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New Chastain petition drive starts Monday

After a failed attempt at working directly with the Parks Board, Clay Chastain is starting another light rail petition initiative. He will be gathering signatures from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Union Station. Laugh if you must, but Chastain is the only person who’s actually doing something about light rail right now. What better way to keep the city’s feet to the fire than sign the petition again?

No gondolas this time — which we feel was a pretty good idea… ever walked from Union Station to Liberty Memorial? Yeah, didn’t think so — but the electric buses are back, fueled this time by wind turbines on the riverfront. And if you think that’s koo-koo, check out Oklahoma City’s plan again.

And even though the Missouri Court of Appeals struck down Chastain’s legal challenge from the last initiative, he’s still threatening to take that one to the Missouri Supreme Court.

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Take the Car-Free Challenge next week

Stop complaining that we don’t have enough transit around KC and lace up your walking shoes (or get out your bike) for the Car-Free Challenge, which kicks off Saturday and runs through May 15.

When most people think of using transit or some other transportation mode besides a car it’s for your daily work commute — an easy motivator since there’s always frustrating levels of traffic during rush hour. Since our commuting distances in KC are long, however, try non-work trips if you’re a newbie: grocery store, dining out, or any other errand that’s under 5 miles from your home.

If you choose to give transit a try, use Google Transit (also good for walking directions). It’s a life saver and far easier to use than any other online trip planner. KCATA has posted some great How To Ride videos to help you out.

You can also email us if you have any questions that you can’t get answered anywhere else.

Here are a few car-free blogs worth reading:

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Sunday Star Light Rail coverage

Today’s Star is jam-packed with great light rail coverage and a “concensus plan” for a starter line. The only thing we’d change is to make sure the publishers leave this special online section active and not charge the typical archive fee. The timing for boosting the discussion is perfect, since tomorrow is the second public meeting where route options will certainly be discussed.

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More One KC Transit Meetings

MARC has scheduled more One KC Transit meetings through this month and next, including one this week in Independence and next week in Gladstone:

6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25
Puppetry Arts Institute
11025 E. Winner Road [map] [#24]

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30
Gladstone City Hall
7010 N. Holmes St. [map]

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Citizens' Light Rail Task Force meeting recap

By Mark Forsythe
The Kansas City Post

Last night’s meeting was contentious at times, enlightening at others. The meeting formats have consisted of opening remarks, usually by Greg Lever of the RTA or consultant Vicki Noteis, some legislative updates by Councilman Ed Ford, and then some technical points from somebody on the consultant team. Last night’s technical presenter was Ken Kinney of HNTB’s Chicago office.

Vicki Noteis gave an explanation of the 12-mile rule. Many of you have asked me why the starter routes put together in the public workshops were restricted to 12 miles. The simple answer is that the consultant team feels the current voter approved plan’s 1/8 cent sales tax, bonded over 20 years will generate about $300 million. Matched with an additional $300 million from federal funds, $600 million divided by an average of $50 million per mile gives you about 12 miles.

During Mr. Kinney’s comments, several questions were asked. One task force member couldn’t seem to understand why we weren’t creating a regional transit plan and why we had to work on light rail. Another became very agitated when nobody else seemed to agree with him that any light rail route absolutely had to start at KCI. Eventually the interruptions proved to be too much and a third task force member voiced his objections to the constant interruptions so the rest of us could actually learn something.

The final half of the meeting was spent in breakout groups analyzing potential routes. We concentrated on segments located south of downtown. We pored over maps and demographic data and scored each route segment by ridership potential, traffic impact, development potential, fit with the surrounding neighborhoods’ plans, number of activity centers, low-income riders and FTA funding potential.

Next Tuesday’s meeting will revolve around technology: light rail, dedicated right-of-way streetcars, or traditional mixed-traffic streetcars. On Monday, Oct. 29, there will be another public input meeting at the downtown Marriott. There will be two sessions: One at 4:30 p.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m. The public will be asked to provide more input on the routes we will have narrowed down to by then. I’ll post about that meeting again as the date draws near.

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URGENT: Light Rail Public Meetings – 10/29

KCATA will be hosting public meetings on Monday, Oct. 29 at the Downtown Marriott [map] to gather “your input on the ideas and options developed so far.” See the invite for more information.

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One KC Transit Meetings

Lee’s Summit, Roeland Park, downtown and midtown KCMO are all hosting One KC Transit meetings this week. These are the last sessions to be held. Here’s the rundown:

7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15
Lee’s Summit City Hall
220 S.E. Green Street [map]

6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16
KCMO Central Library
14 W. 10th Street [map]

6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17
Roeland Park City Hall
4600 W. 51st Street [map]

11:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 18
MainCor
3215 Main Street, Suite 200 [map]

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