Chastain Tours Light Rail Line
By Maria Carter
Kansas City, MO – Community activist Clay Chastain took city council members and transportation and parks officials on a tour of the voter-approved light rail line. KCUR's Maria Carter went on the tour and has this report.
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Clay Chastain drove a 15 passenger van along the light rail route he designed, pointing out attractions along the way. The line starts in Swope Park, stops in Penn Valley, and takes Broadway downtown before heading across the river and onto the airport. The route would be built on much of the city's parkland including many boulevards and parkways. City Council transportation chair Ed Ford says that could hinder one important aspect of light rail economic development.
Ed Ford: "You know one of the interesting discussions about light rail is the economic development impact. Obviously when you are going through park property you don't have the economic development opportunity you might have with a different route."
Transportation officials had their own concerns, including many steep hills and several turns that could be too sharp. The city hired an engineering firm to complete an alternatives analysis by early next year. That's a study needed to qualify for federal funding