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Anzacosf2010 / Wikimedia Commons

Do you get a thrill of wearing your "I Voted" sticker on Election Day? If so, transit officials hope to make it simpler for you to vote Tuesday in the Kansas City metro.

Some 134,000 people voted early in Johnson County, Kansas, already (Missouri doesn't have early voting.)

But for anyone who couldn't vote early, buses from the major four systems in the region will be free all day Tuesday.

Jarrett Stewart / Flickr-CC

Kansas City officials were disappointed last week when they found out Kansas City will not receive a federal Smart City grant to help pay for enhancements to the planned Prospect MAX rapid bus line.

This is the second time the city was passed over for a Smart City grant

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Virginia resident Clay Chastain has another yet another proposal for Kansas City voters – a $2 billion plan to build light rail from the airport to the Cerner campus in south Kansas City.

“The streetcar expansion isn’t going to help a low income person get to a job,” says Chastain, who’s proposed numerous transit projects since moving away from Kansas City 15 years ago. “We need better transit to help people that need transit.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Collaboration. Open data. Public private partnerships. Streetcars.

These are a handful of reasons local leaders today told Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx  why Kansas City deserves the $40 million the U.S. Department of Transportation will award to one city later this year.

The secretary picked on one of these points after an hour-long  pitch in which officials, community leaders and tech businesses praised the local plan. 

The streetcar, he told them, had Kansas City moving.

courtesy: E.G. Schempf

Letting go of things can be tough, from old letters to baby clothes to extra weight. That’s why two artists are trying to live by example and encourage others to lighten their load.

You could say the Freeing Throwers art project — started by Mo Dickens, a gallery assistant at the Belger Arts Center, and artist Adriane Herman — was sparked by a string of losses, including the death of a beloved pet. 

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

After months (some would say decades) of anticipation, Kansas City will once again have a downtown streetcar line. It opens Friday. You may have heard the buzz and the hype. You might have read about the delays and labor disputes. But now, really, all you care about is this question: when can I ride it? 

What would you do with $50 million?

Kansas City Chief Innovation officer Bob Bennett would incorporate autonomous vehicles into public transportation, enable your car to connect with other vehicles, and create a “smart” Prospect bus line that’s Wi-Fi enabled and can sense what’s going on around it.

Theresa L Wysocki / flickr

Bill Ford Jr., Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, says the “smart mobility revolution” is on the way. He believes it won’t be long before cars drive themselves, roads collect data and self-report, and vehicles enter the service industry as driverless taxis and roving mobile shops.

Ford shared this vision at the Kinetic Transportation Summit Wednesday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City.

Courtesy of KCATA

Kansas Citians will soon be able to request on-demand rides to stops not on the regional bus system.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority announced Thursday it will launch a new shuttle service called Ride KC: Bridj in March.

“We want to be a transit authority, not just a bus company,” says KCATA President and CEO Robbie Makinen. “What that means is offering options and connections. Connect the dots.”

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Every Tuesday and Friday, about a dozen seniors from the Santa Fe Towers Apartments in Overland Park eagerly drop quarters into the fare box of the 812 Flex route bus. 

Many of the passengers are old hats when it comes to public transit. They've got their fare ready well before they get on the bus, and some pull along wheeled baskets to tote around the groceries they'll get from Hy-Vee.

One of the riders on a recent Tuesday was a woman named Carolyn, who asked that only her first name be used. She's used buses to get around Johnson County for the past 7 years.

Kansas City needs an effective public transportation system to build density, but maybe we need density to build said transportation system. As the streetcars prepare to debut next month, we discuss where this system is headed.

Guests:

  • Daniel Serda, InSite Planning, LLC
  • DuRon Netsell, Hyde Park resident
  • Bryan Stalder, Historic Northeast resident
Paul Sableman / Flickr-CC

Just like the millions of people who will make resolutions this week, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is making changes in the new year. 

The transit service will extend its 107 line in Kansas City, Kansas, to connect the transit center on Johnson Drive in Mission to KU Med Center. Riders can also go from there to downtown Kansas City, Missouri, if they choose.

Cindy Baker with the KCATA says officials consider the expansion to be the metro's first truly regional route, and hope KU Med employees take advantage of it.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Joe Reardon is leaving the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, less than a year after he took the regional bus service’s top job.

The former Kansas City, Kansas, mayor is headed to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, where he’ll replace Jim Heeter, who is retiring.

“The Chamber of Commerce is very, very lucky,” said Robbie Makinen, chairman of the KCATA Board of Commissioners. “I would think all that does is raise the transit volume for us. The partnerships we’re going to have together are going to be even better.”

bridj.com

Kansas City soon could be home to something called microtransit.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is negotiating with Bridj, which offers a popup bus service.

Bridj is the bus version of Uber or Lyft. Customers sign up and can use an app to book a bus ride and be picked up within a five-minute walk. Unlike Uber or Lyft, you’re riding a small bus with 10 or so other people.

KCATA CEO Joe Reardon says it another way to connect people to jobs.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Around two dozen community members joined Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) officials and Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed on a tour of Prospect Avenue Wednesday to give feedback on the proposed Prospect MAX bus line.

The $54 million project is currently in its early development phase while the Federal Transit Administration mulls over the ATA's application for federal funds. The ATA asked for $30 million, and the city just passed a resolution pledging matching funds of $12.4 million. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Jackson County is one step closer to the regional transit system that’s long been the vision of County Executive Mike Sanders.

Sanders announced Wednesday the county and the Kansas City Area Transit Authority had reached an agreement to buy the Rock Island Corridor, 17.7 miles of train tracks that stretch from the Truman Sports Complex through Kansas City, Raytown and Lee’s Summit.

“If you’re planning for what you have today, by definition, you’re falling behind the curve,” Sanders said. “Today, Jackson County and this community will not fall behind the curve.”

Courtesy photo / KCATA

Four months into his new job as president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Joe Reardon has several things to brag about, and a few still on the to-do list.

The former mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, appreciates being able to focus on a single mission for a change.

“It's an exciting time, and the first four months have been great. We're singularly focused on connecting people ...  I'm loving every minute of it,” Reardon told Steve Kraske on Up To Date.

His charge is to connect multiple jurisdictions across the metro that have their own public transit system into a single, metro-wide system, under the brand, “Ride KC.”

“When we're out on a day-to-day basis, we don't pay attention to the jurisdictions. And this economy doesn't either, so were trying to develop a system that allows us to really answer to that call,” he said.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

It doesn’t take long to drive a car across the Missouri River.

Depending on traffic, the roughly half-mile trek can take just one minute. But if you don’t have a car, the Missouri River can seem like a much larger obstacle.

According to the U.S. Census, about 84 percent of the Kansas City metro population drives alone to work. That leaves the other 16 percent commuting by other means, like carpooling, public transit, walking, biking or just working from home.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

When Sister Berta Sailor called Kansas City Mayor Sly James' cell phone a couple of weeks ago, he picked up.

The director of the child care and social service agency Operation Breakthrough told the mayor some of her patrons wanted to participate in events marking the one year anniversary of the shootings at Jewish sites in Overland Park — but there was a problem. The march and candlelight vigil were to start at the Jewish Community Center, and she didn’t have a way to get her people there.

HubertK / Flickr-CC

Forget the responsibilities a snow day brings for a moment and embrace your inner child. 

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we want your suggestions for the best sledding hill in KC. Plus, we all grumble about shoveling snow, so what’s the best way to do it? We talk with an expert to get you some tips and recommend the best kind of shovel.

Stephen Rees/Flickr-CC

Public transit is often touted as a better alternative to personal vehicles, but safety concerns have recently plagued the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority buses, after a stabbing and a shooting left a bus driver and passengers seriously injured.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talked with Cynthia Baker, KCATA's director of marketing, about the recent incidents and what the transit authority plans to do to keep buses safe.

Kansas City Buses Will Say Goodbye To Diesel

Apr 26, 2013
KCCG

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority , or ATA, is phasing itself out of the diesel bus business.

kccg

Some of the first aftermath data from two major and back-to-back winter snow storms is filtering out of Kansas City city hall.  Adding two agencies to the Emergency Operations Center was counted as a positive to the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee of the Council.

Those private or quasi-private operations served public transit and distribution of electrical power.

The Ops nerve center stayed open 24 hours in the storm of February 21, another 30 hours during  last week’s heavy, wet snow.  

Robin Cross / KCUR

Kansas City area residents have fought their way out of a second major snowstorm in less than a week. Some areas got upwards of a foot of new snow.

Gas Prices, Weather Help Fill KCATA Seats

Mar 12, 2012
kcata.org

The price of gasoline is a major factor in future popularity of riding a bus in the Kansas City area.   It may take months to measure the effect.