Streetcar 803 leaving Union Station, northbound
|Owner||City of Kansas City, Missouri|
|Locale||Kansas City, Missouri, USA|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||16|
|Began operation||May 6, 2016|
|Operator(s)||Kansas City Streetcar Authority|
|Number of vehicles||6 CAF Urbos 3 model 100|
|System length||2.2 mi (3.5 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V overhead line|
The KC Streetcar, formally branded as the RideKC Streetcar, is a streetcar system in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Construction began in May 2014. The system opened for service on May 6, 2016. The KC Streetcar is free to ride, as it is funded by a Transportation development district. As of August 31, 2019, the streetcar has a daily average ridership of 6,448 daily riders, logging over 7 million riders since opening.
Route and stops
The downtown streetcar runs along a 2.2-mile-long (3.5 km) route between the River Market and Union Station, running through the central business district and the Crossroads, mostly along Main Street. It makes stops about every two blocks. and has 16 designed stops along the route. Along the way it connects directly with Amtrak, local and commuter RIDE KC bus services (including a direct route to Kansas City International Airport), and several B-cycle bike-share kiosks.
Proponents tout this initial linear segment as one of the simplest and straightest modern streetcar routes in the United States. All platforms offer level boarding and real-time arrival information.
|Stop||In the area|
|Proposed Riverfront||Berkley Riverfront Park, Riverfront Heritage Trail|
|City Market (5th/Walnut)||River Market, City Market (south), Arabia Steamboat Museum|
|River Market North (3rd/Grand)||River Market, B-cycle, City Market (northeast), Town of KS bridge, Ride KC 3rd and Grand MetroCenter|
|River Market West (Delaware)||River Market, City Market Park|
|North Loop (7th/Main)||Garment District|
|Library (9th/Main)||Financial District, Library District, Central Library, B-cycle, Commerce Tower, Ride KC 10th and Main MetroCenter|
|MetroCenter (12th/Main)||One Kansas City Place, Town Pavilion, City Center Square, Ride KC Bus and MAX transfer, Power & Light District (north end), Barney Allis Plaza|
|Power & Light (14th/Main)||Power & Light District (south end), Kansas City Convention Center (north end), Municipal Auditorium, Sprint Center, Power & Light tower, One Light, Two Light (future)|
|Kauffman Center (16th/Main)||Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Convention Center (south end), Crossroads Arts District, New convention hotel (future)|
|Crossroads (19th/Main)||Crossroads Arts District, Freight House, Freight House Pedestrian Bridge|
|Union Station||Amtrak, B-cycle, Crown Center, Penn Valley Park, Pershing Square, Washington Square Park, The Link, Liberty Memorial and National WW1 Museum, National Archives, Freight House Pedestrian Bridge (via The Link), Crown Center hotels|
|Proposed 27th & Main||Crown Center, Penn Valley Park, Liberty Memorial and National WW1 Museum, Union Cemetery, Federal Reserve Bank|
|Proposed 31st & Main||Penn Valley Park, Metropolitan Community College, B-cycle, KCTV Tower, Linwood Square Shopping Center|
|Proposed Armour Blvd & Main||B-cycle, Foreign Language Academy|
|Proposed 39th & Main||Westport, Westport High School, Gillham Park, Eagle Scout Memorial Fountain, B-cycle|
|Proposed 43rd & Main||Westport, St. Luke's Hospital, Mill Creek Park|
|Proposed 45th & Main||Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City Art Institute|
|Proposed Cleaver Blvd & Main||Country Club Plaza, B-cycle, Plaza Tennis Center, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Frank A. Theis Park, Mill Creek Park, Community Christian Church|
|Proposed 51st and Brookside||UMKC, B-cycle, National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, Trolley Track Trail|
The streetcar is operated by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, a not-for-profit corporation that is funded by local taxes. The authority was incorporated in August 2012 after voters approved creation of the Kansas City Downtown Transportation Development District, a special taxing district that funds construction and operation of a two-mile route through downtown Kansas City. Legal claims against the district and its taxation power were dismissed in August 2013. The streetcar began construction in May 2014, was completed in fall 2015, and began carrying passengers in service on May 6, 2016.
The Streetcar Authority's 13 directors, a mix of public officials, business people, and transit advocates, were appointed by the City Council and Port Authority in late 2012 and met for the first time as an officially sanctioned body in early 2013. The authority's oversight of the streetcar's operation and maintenance is modeled on that of the Portland Streetcar. The city council has the power to appoint some of the authority's directors and retains ownership over the system.
Day-to-day operations and maintenance of the system is handled by Herzog Transit Services Inc., under joint contract to the Streetcar Authority and the City of Kansas City. The contract was signed in October 2015.
Planning and construction
In December 2012, the city council awarded a contract to HDR, Inc. to complete a final design for the downtown streetcar line. HDR had previously performed preliminary engineering work. In October 2013, the mayor announced that the system will use 100% low-floor Urbos 3 streetcars made by the American subsidiary of Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) in Elmira Heights, New York. Pre-construction work, utility-relocation work in preparation for the project, began in late 2013, and construction of the line began in May 2014. Construction was completed in late 2015 and testing was performed from December 2015 to May 2016.
The projected cost of the Downtown Streetcar was $102 million. The majority of funds came from Special Obligation Bonds of the City of Kansas City, Missouri totaling $63,955,000. Construction bonds and operating costs were repaid by a special assessment and one-cent sales tax collected inside a transportation development district approved by voters in 2012. Both levies are assessed only within the taxing district, which encompasses downtown neighborhoods along the streetcar route. Additional funding included a utility contribution and two federal grants totaling $17.1 million. The project received another $20 million federal grant, through the TIGER program, in August 2013. Passengers ride free of charge, as operating costs are covered by the TDD. Total construction costs were $250,000 under budget and operations costs started out under budget.
The streetcars are numbered 801–805, following the numbering set up by the original Kansas City Public Service Company numbering system. Car 801 arrived in Kansas City on November 2, 2015. Testing began on November 6. Cars 802 through 804 later arrived between December and April.
Operations on KC Streetcar began on May 6, 2016 at approximately 11 AM. The total opening Friday and Saturday ridership was over 27,000 riders, with the trains traveling 650 miles. The weekend celebration for the streetcars opening included music, a free carnival, fireworks and coordinated specials at businesses. Bus service and bike share service was free to correspond with the launch.
Expansion planning began in 2014. Two studies covered one line north, crossing the Missouri River and eight lines heading east, west and south from downtown. A ballot item in August 2014 to add three new rail lines and an improved bus line failed at the ballot 40%–60%. A grassroots effort to revisit expansion using the same legal structure as the starter line, is being funded by the private sector. In August 2017, voters approved the formation of a TDD that would help to fund the extension of the streetcar south. This would extend the line for 3.75 miles from Union Station towards the University of Missouri-Kansas City, along Main Street. The extension is expected to cost around $227 million, and would open in around 2023. In March 2019, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) rated the project a "medium high" in receiving $151.6 million in federal funding.
In August 2017, the KC Port Authority announced plans to extend the line north from the River Market towards the Missouri River. This proposed extension would run for 3/4 mile to Berkley Riverfront Park, and would be funded by the KC Port Authority, as well as by federal TIGER funding. If funding is agreed, this extension would open in 2020–2021, with construction costing $32 million. One additional streetcar would be required for this additional service.
- Light rail in the United States
- Streetcars in North America
- Streetcars in Kansas City (historical)
- List of streetcar systems in the United States (historical)
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In December, Residents of Kansas City approved the construction of a two-mile, downtown streetcar line after a mail-in election.
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