Modern streetcar on display at Union Station - KCTV5

Modern streetcar on display at Union Station

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Mayor Sly James and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders were the first to board a modern streetcar in front of Union Station on Tuesday morning.

The modern streetcar is being considered as one option for a possible expanded regional transit system to connect residents to entertainment and business districts. It would be a two-mile line that would stretch from the River Market area toward Union Station.

The costs are estimated between $60 million to $100 million.

The Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance sponsored the event to help build momentum for the Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis and to give people a sneak peek at a modern streetcar.

The Downtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis focuses on transit options in a two-mile starter line running from the River Market on the north, through the Central Business District and the Crossroads areas to Union Station and Crown Center on the south.

"The modern streetcar alternative would provide the impetus for a much larger system and complement other initiatives currently being planned or implemented throughout the region," said Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance chairman Kite Singleton in a news release.

The idea of streetcars in Kansas City by 2015 has its supporters and detractors.

"We need something easy to get to parts around in town," said Devon Mauk.

Kansas City resident Robert Pyle said he would like to see areas besides downtown get railed-based transportation.

One issue is whether the line would run in between Sprint Center and the Kansas City Power and Light entertainment district.

AEG, which manages the arena for Kansas City, has concerns about extensive construction in front of the facility.

Shani Tate, spokeswoman for the Sprint Center, said 85 percent of arena visitors use the Grand Boulevard entrance.

"We're on a tight footprint of 8.5 acres to operate an arena," Tate said. "We're looking at exploring (alternative routes) and the impact to attract and retain shows and events."

Singleton said this proposal is different from others in the past.

"It's a less expensive. It is works in traffic. You don't have to have a reserved right of way," he said. "It doesn't encumber traffic."

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