Study Examines Streetcar Line into Clay County
KC Streetcar
Photo by Jason Doss (https://www.flickr.com/people/132625184@N08)

A multi-jurisdictional collaboration is launching a study into connecting the existing KC streetcar line with an extension into North Kansas City.

The group of six public entities have selected a consultant team led by Kimley-Horn to update an earlier feasibility study of a streetcar extension over the Missouri River. Those involved include the Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA), the City of North Kansas City, Missouri (NKC), and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation and the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

This study is estimated to be complete by the end of 2022 and estimated to cost $180,000. The Kimley-Horn team is supported by Economic & Planning Systems (EPS), Venice Communications, TranSystems and Hg Consult.

Entitled the NorthRail Streetcar Study, the effort will include the following:

• Study of a preferred river crossing, alignment and stop locations with a focus on the Heart of America Bridge 

• Financial analysis, including capital and operating costs, funding sources and possible federal grant opportunities 

• Community engagement and public involvement

The study will determine a preferred alignment and plan for the extension. Simultaneously, KCSA and partners are working to identify funding to advance the preferred plan towards environmental clearance, design and related construction and operations funding.

The primary study area extends from the existing downtown streetcar line, which now stops in the River Market, across the Missouri River and north to approximately 32nd Avenue in North Kansas City. The study area is bounded on the west by the Armour-Swift-Burlington (ASB) Railroad Bridge and the BNSF railroad right of way and on the east by Charlotte and Swift Streets. 

“The NKC community has been interested in better connections across the river for many years,” explained NKC Mayor Bryant DeLong. “This study will help us establish next steps to achieve our vision for thriving and sustainable development.”

Tom Gerend, Executive Director of the KCSA, said the northward expansion would meet several growing needs. “We are excited to continue the investigation of a potential streetcar extension north to better connect a rapidly growing North Kansas City and Northland,” he said. “These projects take years to prepare, and now is the time to clarify our vision and work to push it forward.”

The cities of North Kansas City and Kansas City conducted a preliminary study of a streetcar route north of the Missouri River in 2014. Information from that preliminary study will also help the new process. The initial study was conducted prior to the opening of the existing downtown streetcar line. Since 2014, the land use and development patterns in NKC have continued to evolve. An extension of the streetcar system into NKC would support major themes in the city’s 2016 Master Plan, be a strategic investment in the future of NKC and provide enhanced multi-modal connectivity across the Missouri River. Another study was launched in November to evaluate transit connections between the KU Health System and Truman Sports Complex.

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