Streetcar Planning Process Involvement

This opportunity is part of two Catalyst Projects:
Catalyst Projects > Green Infrastructure > Streetcar Planning Process Involvement
Catalyst Projects
 > Marlborough Village Commercial Revitalization > Streetcar Planning Process Involvement

Marlborough was an early suburb of Kansas City and was promoted by the T.B. Potter Realty Company as a beautiful garden spot just outside the city that was linked by an electric streetcar. This easy access to affordable transportation originally stimulated the development of this small town. Businesses along Troost and Prospect came next, and then the expansion of schools. Likewise, the town of Dodson, a small industrial community, was linked by rail to Westport since the 1880’s. JC Nichols electrified the old steam line to Dodson in 1906.

With roots growing from access to fixed public transportation lines, it is important that Marlborough community members invest time and energy advocating for the return of this catalyst to development. One look at the dense network of streetcar lines  aligning with Kansas City’s Parks and Boulevards from 1926 shows the true potential of connecting neighborhoods, landmarks, and assets of our great city.

The eight (8) corridors assessed for the next phase of Streetcar implementation include: Independence Avenue, 12th Street west, 12th Street east, Southwest Boulevard, 18th Street, 31st Street/Linwood Boulevard, Main Street (extension), and Country Club Right-of-Way from Main to the Dodson Industrial District. Learn the basics about why a streetcar is important to Kansas City here.

Three corridors have been recommended and ratified by the City Council. They are Independence Avenue, 31st Street or Linwood Boulevard, and Main Street from the starter line at Union Station to some distance south of the Plaza (likely 75th Street).

Some people have questioned the usefulness of a streetcar vehicle (which moves slowly), assuming that the destination from any terminus (e.g. 85th and Prospect), is Downtown. There is little understanding that, while a streetcar may not be the ideal mode for commuting long distances, it could serve as a circulator between South Kansas City neighborhoods, connecting Marlborough to Waldo, Brookside, and the Plaza.

One way to promote the importance of the streetcar coming to South Kansas City neighborhoods is to participate in the ideas forum. Another is to write to your mayor and council members expressing your support:

Mayor James
City Hall, 29th floor
414 E. 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone:  816-513-3500
Fax: 816-513-3518

Councilwoman Cindy Circo
City Hall, 22nd floor • 414 E. 12th St. • Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone:  816-513-6519 • Fax: 816-513-1612
Assistant: Travis Levitt •

Councilman Michael Brooks
City Hall, 22nd floor • 414 E. 12th St. • Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone:  816-513-6521 • Fax: 816-513-1612
Assistant: Tonia Titus •

Additional information to implement this opportunity below:


Implementation pathway:

  1. Coalition Board to delegate advocacy efforts.
  2. Distribute notification of the next public meeting January 13-January 17 and plan to have at least two representatives from each neighborhood. Even if the Country Club Line is not prioritized, stay engaged and attend the Main Street Line meetings to weigh in on the importance of including southeast Kansas City neighborhoods. See website for locations and times.
  3. Report back to the Board monthly on Streetcar planning progress.
  4. Coordinate with the Streetcar planning process, the Prospect MAX planning process, the new Cerner Development, and Oxford on the Blue development to garner data and cement partnerships that will be helpful in:
    1. Advancing the market assessment for Marlborough Village
    2. Applying for funding for pedestrian and bicycle improvements
    3. Attracting interested developers to repurpose Marlborough School
    4. Attracting new homeowners and businesses to invest in Marlborough

Champions and their roles:

Brenda Thomas has been involved in the streetcar meetings and has been a long-time partner in conversations about regional rail. Diane Hershberger is a steering committee member for the Prospect MAX and served on the Mobility work group for the Catalyst Plan. Also, Mobility work group volunteer, Lou Austin (Three Trails CID), is a vocal proponent for commuter rail and is working with the streetcar process on creative problem-solving to achieve linkages to the future Cerner campus at Bannister Mall and the proposed Oxford on the Blue campus.

Partner organizations:

Next Rail KC: Streetcar Plan (underway, through March 2014)

BNIM: Streetcar planning lead, KC architecture and planning firm, Contact Vincent Gauthier

HDR Inc.: Streetcar market and feasibility assessment, KC engineering firm, Contact Christopher Kinzel

HNTB: Streetcar engineering assessment, and Prospect MAX planning, KC engineering firm, Contacts Brian Comer (planning) and John Dobies (ridership)

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), Contact Danny O’Connor

Prospect MAX plan (underway)

Three Trails CID, Lou Austin

Oxford on the Blue, Whitney Kerr

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