Transportation updates from the Mid-America Regional Council
Author: MARC Transportation
MARC is the metropolitan planning organization for the bistate Kansas City region. One of our main roles is to provide transportation-planning services for eight counties — Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte in Kansas; and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte in Missouri.
The Beyond the Loop study began in early 2017 to lay the groundwork for future improvements to the Broadway Bridge, renamed the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Memorial Bridge, and the north side of the downtown loop. After an initial public kickoff meeting, study partners drafted a formal statement of purpose and need, and then sought further input from the public and stakeholders on future infrastructure investments and potential design changes. Participants expressed strong support for a new bridge that would strengthen connections to downtown and nearby communities.
Since then, the team has examined a wide range of possibilities suggested by partner agencies and the public, using data analysis and modeling to determine which options are most feasible for the study area. At the upcoming open houses, study partners will present these potential options and seek further public input.
The Broadway/O’Neil Bridge across the Missouri River — also U.S. Highway 169 — is a critical route that is heavily used by travelers in both directions, connecting northland communities to and through downtown Kansas City and providing northbound travelers access to Kansas City airports and northland jobs and amenities. At its south end, the bridge connects with I-70 on the north side of the downtown freeway loop, providing a critical east-west connection between downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The study area encompasses the full downtown loop and stretches north to the intersection of U.S. 169 and I-29. In addition to highways and bridges, the study area includes neighborhoods, industrial districts, railways, the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, and the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.
Have you ever wanted to know how many roadway miles are in the Kansas City region? Or which area county has the most bridges? Maybe how long the average person spends commuting to work?
The updated Kansas City Metro Transportation Snapshot is here to answer those questions and give you an overview of what transportation looks like in our region. You’ll go on a journey through the numbers, first learning statistics about your 2 million metro neighbors, such as their average income and their average household size.
Next you’ll learn a bit about how they get around — how long are their commutes, and how many miles do they travel? What percentage of people drive to work versus work from home? What are the dangers they face on the roadways?
Finish your journey by learning about environmental justice populations and freight values. And how many bridges are there in the metro area, anyway?
The most recent Destination Safe quarterly report on roadway fatalities showed a 41 percent increase compared to the five-year average. The National Traffic Safety Administration estimates 94 percent of roadway crashes are due to human error. This means in many cases, crashes are preventable if people adopt safer driving behaviors.
The Destination Safe Coalition is the Kansas City region’s initiative to prevent transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries. The Coalition is composed of representatives from local, regional, state and federal organizations with an interest in improving the safety of the region’s transportation system. Members are typically involved in some aspect of safety education, law enforcement, engineering or emergency response. The Destination Safe Coalition collaborates with the Kansas and Missouri transportation safety campaigns, and helps put statewide efforts into action on a regional and local level.
The strength of the Coalition is in the partnerships developed to address public education, law enforcement, safer roadway design and quick emergency response. Working together, the Coalition is able to achieve more, and is always looking for new safety partners.
The best way to engage is to attend Leadership Team meetings. The Leadership Team provides a forum to discuss transportation safety challenges and are the governing body of the Coalition. They meet six times a year and the meetings are open to the public.
To become a voting member of the Leadership Team, you must:
Apply to become a member of the Leadership Team with voting rights.
Commit to a minimum of three meetings in the current fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) with an ongoing commitment of two meetings per fiscal year to maintain active member standing.
Work will soon begin on a portion of the Lewis and Clark Viaduct. Temporary closures to allow for the installation of traffic control signage for the reconstruction of the I-70 westbound bridge will take place Feb. 1 through Feb. 4. The full two-year closure will begin on Feb. 4
Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. to Friday, Feb. 2 at 5:00 a.m.:
I-35 northbound will have intermittent lane closures from 17th St. to I-70 (in Missouri) to place overhead sign placards.
Friday, Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. to Monday, Feb. 4 at 5:00 a.m.:
I-70 westbound will be closed from past Admiral Blvd. (in Missouri northeast corner of the downtown loop) to 3rd St. in Kansas City, Kansas to place traffic control for the long-term closure past Broadway. This closure will include all ramps on or off the interstate between those points.
Sunday, Feb. 4 at 5:00 a.m. to a tentative date of Dec. 31, 2019:
I-70 westbound will be closed past Broadway Blvd. (in Missouri northwest corner of the downtown loop) to 3rd St. in Kansas City, Kansas.
Ramps from Broadway Blvd., Beardsley Rd. and I-35 to I-70 westbound (in Missouri) will be closed.
Ramps from I-70 westbound (in Kansas) to Minnesota Ave., Washington Blvd. and Fairfax Trafficway will be closed.
After the traffic control measures over the weekend are complete, Broadway and I-35 southbound will be accessible from I-70 westbound throughout the duration of the two-year construction.
The main detour route will travel around the downtown loop or come up I-35 northbound to use I-670 westbound.
The secondary route will use I-35 southbound to the 27th St. exit.
To detour to Kansas City, Kansas, please use the Central Avenue Exit from I-670 westbound. To facilitate traffic operations using the Central Avenue Exit:
A second lane will be added to the 3rd St./James St. Exit Ramp from I-70.
Temporary signals will be added to the two intersections.
In preparation for the reconstruction, demolition of the Lewis & Clark Viaduct westbound lanes is tentatively scheduled for early March, a date and time are yet to be determined. The public will be able to watch the demolition on KDOT’s Facebook page.
While it is not anticipated that traffic control will change once the project begins, please continue to check the Kansas City Metro page on the KDOT website for more details.
The Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) is an advisory body made up of representatives from Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), local jurisdictions and MARC that comes together to discuss regional transit planning, coordination and implementation of transit priorities. Every year, the RTCC sets an ambitious agenda by adopting a new work plan.
Much of the work plan this year focuses on the implementation of the newly adopted Smart Moves 3.0 Regional Transit and Mobility Plan. (Haven’t seen the plan yet? Check it out at kcsmartmoves.org.) MARC, KCATA, and area transit partners will work toward finding new solutions to job access challenges, expanding RideKC Freedom On-Demand service into additional areas within the region, as well as advancing mobility hub planning and Bus Rapid Transit corridor studies for Independence Avenue and North Oak Trafficway.
In addition, the RTCC work plan focuses on continuing to make the bus easier for riders to access. This includes expanding real-time trip planning and tracking information for the whole region, pilot testing off-vehicle ticket vending machines, and making the mobile ticketing app that is currently in pilot testing a permanent feature.
This year, there is an emphasis on funding in the work plan. In coordination with MARC’s 2018 Call for Projects, the RTCC will assemble a list of priority projects that will help to advance transit and mobility in the region. RTCC will confirm the list at its meeting on March 14, 2018. RTCC will then communicate this list of priorities to MARC’s planning and programming committees as they weigh in on which regional projects to prioritize and ultimately fund.
How will you support transit in 2018? That’s the question we asked RTCC members and other meeting attendees in January. See their responses below!
“Successfully transition ADA eligibility from paper applications to in-person assessments for all regions.”
“Better transportation to and within Liberty.”
“Do my best in helping to facilitate implementation of Riverfront and Main Street extensions of the Kansas City Streetcar.”
“Seek flexible and affordable opportunities to empower mobility-challenged suburbanites.”
“Develop models for Transportation Management Associations for the region to facilitate job access to regional employment centers.”
“Spread the streetcar gospel.”
“Ride public transit services, at least once per week.”
“Support megaregional travel across agency boundaries. Connecting KCMO to other major metros.”
“I resolve to be ultra-fiscally responsible when designing and implementing transit related programs and services.”
“I will plan a trip online (that includes at least one transfer) and will use the RideKC app to pay for the trip.”
“Partner with the Chamber to move their Big 5 transportation initiative forward.”
“Convene conversations with smaller communities.”
“Look under every rock for money.”
“Make a big ask for regional money.”
“Free transit service for all!”
“Improve the process to connect potential riders to service providers (on-demand services). Note: Update Link for Care and connect to RideKC Freedom.”
“Advocate for regional transit funding/collaboration with friends, family and colleagues to help build consensus.”
“Connections/rides/buses – more connections to employers in Clay Co. and Johnson Co. More conducive to shift work and closer to business hubs. Why not connections to Olathe and Lee’s Summit?”
“Don’t talk about transit without talking about land use.”
“Work on and support the streetcar extension.”
“Support and help assist in Prospect MAX completion and autonomous transit.”
“Ride the bus!”
“Continue to educate the public about the importance of transit, elevate the conversation regionally and help move regional funding conversation forward.”
The RideshareKC website provides a quick way for commuters to find easy alternatives to driving alone. Commuters go there to connect with carpool and vanpool partners, find transit routes and bike paths, locate nearby park-and-ride lots and, if they want, log their commute trips.
The site also provides a wealth of data the RideshareKC staff can use to improve services. Anonymous data from the commute profiles in the database helps us learn more about where our participants live and work and how they travel.
Commuter trip origin by ZIP code
The map below shows where RideshareKC commuters begin their trips, by ZIP code. Darker colors indicate more points of origin. The data shows large clusters in several suburban locations — along I-35 in northeast Johnson County, especially near Olathe; in the northland between I-29 and Highway 169; and further west where a large island of commuters is centered around Lawrence, Kansas. Note that there is also a heavy concentration of trip origins in more urbanized areas, including the downtown and midtown areas of Kansas City, Missouri. Click to zoom in on a larger version of the map.
Commuter workplace destinations by ZIP code
Notice that workplace destinations are most highly concentrated in a few large activity centers — the KCMO central business district, the areas around KU Medical Center and UMKC and in northeast Johnson County along Interstates 35 and 435. These locations have high concentrations of employers. Click to zoom in on a larger version of the map.
Connecting the dots
The final map shows individual commutes. Green dots indicate origin and red dots indication destinations. The shortest lines represent walking and cycling commutes or short trips on the bus. The longer lines — for example those between the outer ring suburbs and the city center — represent either people riding together in carpools and vanpools or trips on one of the long distance express buses. Most commute profiles are “suburb-to-city-center,” but some represent a reverse “city-center-to-suburb” or a “suburb-to-suburb” commute. Although these maps do not show the times of day for these commuters, most work regular weekday office hours. Click on the map for a larger version.
It is important to note that this commute pattern does not exactly reflect the overall distribution of work trips in the Greater Kansas City region. This data is limited to registered users in our RideshareKC database. However, it does show the locations and corridors where carpooling, vanpooling and transit are the most attractive to commuters. Do you see your commute drawn here? Then there is a good chance you can find a carpool partner or other alternative to driving alone. Visit RideshareKC.org to learn more about using alternative transportation.
The Mid-America Regional Council has begun work on a new long-range Regional Transportation Plan for Greater Kansas City — RTP 2050. This plan will serve as a blueprint for federal transportation investments and improvements for the next 30 years. The plan will cover all modes of surface transportation, including streets and highways, public transportation, biking and walking and goods movement, as well as important issues like equity, safety, security and the environment.
RTP 2050 must reflect the values and vision of the community. Throughout the planning process, there will be many ways for transportation stakeholders and members of the community to share their thoughts on different aspects of the plan.
Use the hashtag #GoKC2050 to share your ideas and photos on social media.