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Segment 1: Kansas City's transportation stories to watch in 2020

A preview of the transportation issues KCUR will be following this year included the Kansas City, Missouri streetcar, free bus rides for those in the city, equity and mobility in the single-terminal KCI project and that futuristic 30-minute ride from Kansas City to St. Louis via the Hyperloop.

SOM

The KCUR news staff presents the State of Kansas City series as a look ahead to 2020 on topics of importance to the region. Find the State of Kansas City report on other topics in the series as they are published each weekday, Jan. 6–Jan. 20. Follow coverage on these topics at KCUR.org and on 89.3 FM throughout the year.

Kansas City is a city of roads — the metropolitan area has long held claim to the highest number of highway miles per capita, which has made it a city of drivers.

Chris Haxel / KCUR 89.3

For the second straight legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly didn't pass any pro-gun legislation, while one bill backed by anti-gun groups saw a sliver of success.

Does that mean legislators’ stance on guns is shifting? It depends on whom you ask.

Segment 1: Mayoral candidate Jolie Justus shares her plans for Kansas City if elected.

Crime is one of the top concerns Jolie Justus hears when speaking with voters. The mayoral candidate explains why criminal justice reform is in her plans to address the city's crime rate. Justus also discussed her approach to using economic development incentives. 

Hufft

The Kansas City Art Institute kicked off construction on Friday of a new liberal arts building, part of a $30 million campus building program that’s creating a new future for the 134 year-old school.

“This is a pivotal moment in our college’s history,” said Tony Jones, the Nerman Family President of KCAI. “This building will be transformative for our programs.

“It will be the heartbeat of the campus because everyone will be working here.”

Kevin Collison

Downtown Kansas City lost one of its most enthusiastic champions when Jared Miller was struck and killed by a semi-truck late Saturday morning while crossing the North Loop freeway from the River Market.

The eastbound trucker didn’t see the pedestrian until it was too late to avoid striking him, according to Kansas City Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a Facebook post Sunday, his wife Julie Miller said her 34-year-old husband was trying to cross the road after his run when he was hit.

HDR

A planned extension of Kansas City's streetcar line from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City failed to make it into the new federal budget proposal, a setback streetcar officials hope to overcome next year.

The Federal Transit Administration's budget recommendation for the 2020 fiscal year did not include $151.6 million being sought by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority to help fund approximately half the cost of the $316.6 million project.

Public Transit In Kansas City

Mar 27, 2019

Public transit is losing riders across the country, and Kansas City is no exception. In this conversation, we find out what's being done to adapt to the changing transportation needs of Kansas Citians.

Guests:

courtesy HDR

Washington transit officials have rated the Kansas City Streetcar Authority’s $151.6 million federal funding application “medium high,” a vital step toward building the planned extension from downtown to UMKC.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Segment 1: We hear from the man responsible for getting stuff done in Kansas City.

From the future of a downtown ballpark to "pothole management" to streetcar expansion, we talked with the city manager about several big issues on the minds of Kansas Citians. Schulte also addressed caller questions, and says of rising water costs in Kansas City, "we're hopeful we can get a new environmental agreement done for the next 17 years of the plan, and the days of double-digit rate increases are over."

Kevin Collison

The Kansas City streetcar rolled out of 2018 with ridership up 2.6 percent over the previous year and looking for signals early in the new year about its planned expansions to the riverfront and UMKC.

The downtown streetcar attracted 2,114,886 rides last year compared to 2,060,327 in 2017. Overall, more than 5.5 million people have ridden the line since it opened in May 2016.

“The continued growth in ridership is what we hoped,” said Executive Director Tom Gerend. “It’s a reflection of all the activity downtown with new commercial and residential development.”

KC Streetcar Authority

A multimodal plan to extend the streetcar line to the riverfront, including a new concept to build a separate bicycle and pedestrian bridge next to the Grand Boulevard viaduct, continues to roll, but without help from Washington.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City streetcar advocates got a big win Wednesday, when election officials announced that the tax increase to help fund extending the line to the University of Missouri-Kansas City passed.

That means work on the $227 million project can begin in earnest.

Sophia Tulp / KCUR 89.3

After 5 p.m. Tuesday, certain voters in Kansas City, Missouri, won't be able to weigh in on whether to effectively extend the streetcar route to the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.

The ballot, which asks voters to approve a 1 percent sales tax to raise money for the extension, is the last and deciding factor in the three-step process that aims to double the length of the existing route on Main Street.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The team behind a potential southern streetcar expansion has refined the proposed stops. 

Voters who live near the streetcar have yet to decide whether to approve a 1 percent sales tax and special property tax assessment to help fund the $230 million dollar project. Notarized ballots are due to the Jackson County courthouse by 5 p.m. June 12. 

Segment 1: Poetry Editor for The New Yorker was influenced by childhood in Topeka.

Kevin Young's latest collection of poems Brown reminisces about his childhood in Kansas and how figures like Linda Brown, James Brown and John Brown have made an impact on both a historic and personal level.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Streetcar authority chief says, "we're trying everything we can" to fund a lengthening of streetcar corridor.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The future layout of Kansas City's planned streetcar extension from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City is on a map, with proposed stops and alignment on Main Street revealed at a recent public hearing.

For the most part, the eight suggested streetcar stops mirror those in place for the MAX rapid-transit bus route now serving that stretch of Main, according to Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Time is running out for about 30,000 Kansas City, Missouri, voters who are eligible to vote on a southern streetcar extension.

Registered voters who live within the area roughly between the Missouri River and 53rd Street, and State Line Road and Campbell, have until April 3 to apply for a mail-in ballot.

Ballots will be sent to approved voters in May and due back on June 12.

This is the final step in a complicated three-election process that must be completed before any work on an expansion to the University of Missouri-Kansas City can begin.

File Photo / Luke X. Martin KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why female voices are often overlooked by military historians.

Women make up approximately 15 percent of the military, but they still face obstacles different from their male counterparts. Today, we explored the history of women in the military, including the challenges American female service members have faced in recent years.

Exact Partners

Segment 1: How the pressure to be a "perfect" parent can debilitate and damage families.

There's a lot of pressure on parents these days to do whatever they can to create a perfect childhood for their kids, but these expectations can do more harm than good. Today, we explored "Mommy Burnout," and found out how it can impact kids, families and mothers.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, officials will continue to be part of the planning process for a southern streetcar extension, despite a citywide vote prohibiting them from doing so. 

On Aug. 4, 2017, Kansas City residents passed an ordinance, brought to the city through an initiative petition, that prohibits city officials from moving forward with any streetcar extension without first gaining citywide voter approval. That included any planning or preparation for construction. 

The vote complicated a process that was already underway to extend the current streetcar south to UMKC. 

Courtesy Exact Partners

The 11-story former Netherlands Hotel is slated to be redeveloped into 110 apartments, part of a Main Street development surge linked to the planned streetcar extension.

The decrepit Netherlands at 3835 Main and its neighbor, the former Monarch Storage building at 3829 Main, are part of a more than $30 million redevelopment plan being pursued by Exact Partners.

ataelw / Flickr - CC

In August, Kansas City voters made any future streetcar expansions a little more complicated. Nevertheless, the Streetcar AuthorityKCATA and Port KC are convinced they can come up with $32 million to extend service from River Market to Berkley Riverfront Park.

David Johnson and Pat Duff
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The effort to extend the Kansas City streetcar line scored a victory Saturday as voters elected a slate endorsed by expansion advocates to a new board of directors.

According to unofficial results, some 2,636 out of about 35,000 potential voters cast ballots Saturday, choosing among 19 candidates for the board of the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD), which was formed in a special mail-in election this summer.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

There's an important election happening in Kansas City this weekend that will directly affect the future of southern streetcar extension. If you didn't know about it until now, you're probably not alone. 

It's the second step in a complicated, three-election process that must be completed before any work on expansion can begin. 

Port KC

A proposed $30 million extension of the downtown streetcar to Kansas City's Berkley Riverfront could substantially boost development opportunities and allow people to live and visit there without cars, according to the leader of Port KC.

And Port KC, which receives a big part of its revenues from a long-term lease agreement with the Isle of Capri casino, plans to find ways to help fund the streetcar expansion “with or without” federal funding.

Courtesy photo / facebook

Steve Glorioso, a political operative known and respected by officials and movers and shakers of every political stripe, died Thursday night, according to The Kansas City Star.  He was 70 years old.

Mayor Sly James said Glorioso was dedicated to improving Kansas City throughout his long career.

Tory Garcia / Courtesy of Kemet Coleman

The Phantastics describe themselves as “dance floor activators.”

For the last six years, they’ve been activating local dance floors with songs that meld rap, jazz, gospel, funk and more.

“We definitely try to incorporate as many genres as possible to create not chaos, but a winding river of music,” rapper Kemet Coleman told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Searching for a place to park is just a fact of life in Kansas City. Or is it? A look at how parking — or lack thereof — shapes daily life in KC, from Westport to the City Market.

Guests:

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