Task Force: Linwood or Brush Creek

The Light Rail Task Force dumped a few east side spur options and is moving forward with just two: Linwood Boulevard or Brush Creek (Volker/Emanuel Cleaver II/47th). According to the Star article, the Task Force’s work on routing is now done. The City Council agreed with the previous recommendations entirely, so transit watchers will be paying close attention on this last detail to make sure there are no last minute switcheroos (“We want to continue south instead… for the children!”).

Buses that run in the Linwood corridor have higher ridership and there are strong redevelopment possibilities at Cherry, Troost, and Prospect; it’s also in a historically downtrodden part of the city (see yesterday’s USA Today article for a post-MLK recap). Brush Creek would tie in better with the city’s massive investment along previously-flood-prone Brush Creek and the dedicated light rail right-of-way along US-71. We’ve had lots of comments here about which one would be better. Does it matter at this point? If it does, email your council representatives and let them know.

Brush Creek makes sense due to the ROW along US-71, which would allow a future extension along the highway to avoid running in the streets (something for which KC doesn’t have a lot of opportunities). Neither corridor has much job density, so it will probably come down to development and expansion capabilities. Existing ridership arguments are valid… but when you’re already serving the transit-dependent population along Linwood with frequent bus service, does it make sense to replace it with light rail when a major by-product is adding new riders of choice?

The good thing here is that there is no right answer, just a preferred option that will facilitate concensus. Both corridors have their benefits and both would definitely boost the urban core.


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