transportation

Julie Denesha / KCUR

There's a new proposal from architecture firm Burns & McDonnell that would use private money to fund construction of a new terminal to replace existing facilities at Kansas City International Airport.

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is launching an app next week to help people with disabilities get a ride. The launch follows a year of development and two months of trials in a partnership with the company Transdev.

Anyone can use the RideKC Freedom app, but it’s specially designed for the more than 300,000 people with disabilities who use the KCATA’s subsidized paratransit services. CEO Robbie Makinen says the Uber-style app is an innovation for the public transit agency. 

Courtesy of the Lee's Summit R-7 School District

Changing bell times could save the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District more than $600,000 next year.

Three late-start elementary schools – Cedar Creek, Lee’s Summit and Trailridge – will start and end 40 minutes earlier next year.

For the first time, the district’s three high schools will all be on the same schedule.

Deputy Supt. Brent Blevins says current bus routes were set when the district was much smaller.

courtesy KCATA

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) describes the Metro Area Express, or MAX, as "light rail on rubber tires." The city's bus rapid transit launched in 2005, and serves residential and commercial corridors along Main Street and Troost Avenue.

File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is hoping the federal government can rescue several critical infrastructure projects that the state can no longer afford.

The Brownback administration recently sent what amounts to a wish list to President Donald Trump for inclusion in his planned infrastructure initiative. It includes the following $240 million in highway and bridge projects delayed or abandoned because of the state’s ongoing budget problems:

Travis Wise / Flickr - CC

Attracting and hanging on to new residents can be a challenge for cities. Today, a November 2016 town hall with urban studies theorist Richard Florida and "suburbanist" Joel Kotkin, on the best of both worlds in the greater KC area.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

In what could be a blow to the road construction industry in Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Tuesday said it will only spend $44 million on new projects in the next fiscal year.

For the past several years KDOT has let about $400 million just on preservation projects, including roads and bridges.

“It’s going to cause us additional concern about the safety and reliability of our roads, getting product to market and also providing jobs for many of the folks who are in the construction business,” says Bob Totten with the Kansas Contractors Association.

MINDDRIVE

Uber's got a plan to get commuters off the ground and into the air. Is it feasible? Also, learn about Kansas City's mentorship program that has students building 3-D printed cars. Then, find out how city leaders from across the country are using massive amounts of open data to build smarter, more efficient city services.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jazz is all about creativity and freedom, but casual listeners can sometimes find deciphering it a chore. Today, we learn How to Listen to Jazz. Then, they say everything's up to date in Kansas City, but are we a "world class" locale? Finally, a winded Brian McTavish presents his Weekend To-Do List.

James Vaughan / Flickr - CC

It's a promise we've heard so many times before: Flying cars! Will a new plan from Uber finally get commuters off the ground? Then, we find out why Robert D. Kaplan expects more and more waves of refugees to sweep the globe.

The year is 2091 and you have a business trip to make to Kansas City. You wake up in the morning, ask the speaker in your wall for a car to be brought to your door to take you there. A car arrives, no driver, naturally, and you set up camp in the back seat with your laptop to prepare for a big meeting. The car, dodging traffic reported along Forest Park Parkway, hops onto I-70 and into a line of other driver-less cars along a solar-paneled highway.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation stepping up oversight of the state’s 360 Community Improvement Districts.

“When residents vote to improve their communities through local taxing districts, they expect those districts to be held accountable and follow the law,” Nixon said Wednesday in Kansas City. “They need a watchdog, and that watchdog needs to have teeth.”

The bill Nixon signed makes that watchdog State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Before, Galloway could only audit a CID if a citizen petition requested it.

U.S. Department of Transportation

Kansas City lost out to Columbus, Ohio, in a bid to become the first Smart City, but it’ll still get help from the U.S. Department of Transportation to turn its ideas into reality.

On Tuesday, as Columbus media reported their city won the $50 million challenge, the DOT said it would back all seven finalists as they build better-connected cities.

U.S. Department of Transportation

With $40 million from the Department of Transportation, Kansas City would build on the network Google Fiber brought to town five years ago.

That’s the pitch Mayor Sly James made Thursday before U.S. Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx. Kansas City is one of seven finalists in the Smart Cities Challenge.

“This isn’t about technology,” James said. “It’s not about streets. It’s about people.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

A proposed $227 million extension of Kansas City’s streetcar line could add nearly four miles to the current route.

The Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance – a citizens’ group not affiliated with the city or the KC Streetcar Authority – filed a petition in Jackson County Court Wednesday to fund an expansion of the current line with a new taxing district along Main Street.

“You think about the shops we have here,” UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton said Thursday morning outside the Colonial Shops on 51st Street. “You think about the Plaza. You think about the Nelson art gallery.”

For the first time since 1957, streetcars are once again running in Kansas City, Mo.  Hear from KCUR reporters Laura Zeigler and Cody Newill, riders waiting to take a ride, and one federal official's thoughts on how Kansas City's streetcar plan could serve as a model for other metros. 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City’s streetcar enjoyed a busy opening weekend, with more than 32,000 estimated passengers in the first two days, according to the Kansas City Streetcar Authority's Twitter account.

First-time riders were eager to share their experiences on social media:

Jake Joslyn for KCUR 89.3

In case you blinked, today is April 1, 2046.

The Royals opener is next week. The team is hoping to recreate that glorious season from 31 years ago. So here at KCUR 89.3, we’re looking back three decades to see how much has changed in Kansas City since the last time we were World Series champs.

The biggest turning point for our region happened on July 19, 2035, on Kaw Point Beach. Mayor Alex Gordon signed the Mo-Kan Unified Government charter, creating a single metropolitan area across state line.

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.

Bob Bennett, Chief Innovation Office for Kansas City, Mo, explains some of the proposed ideas that made the city one of seven finalists in the U.S. Department of Transportation's  Smart City Challenge.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Road contractors in Kansas are worried about their future business after the state Department of Transportation announced it was delaying the bids on some April resurfacing projects.

Kansas Contractors Association Vice President Bob Totten says some of his members began to hear about the delays on Monday from KDOT officials. While the projects don't officially go out for bid until next month, contractors typically hear about the projects 45 days before bidding to help them craft the bid or even decide if they want to bid on the project, says Totten.

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.”

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide and transportation.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt StaubBlogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide, campaign contribution limits, REAL ID, and transportation.

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt Staub, Blogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Did Kansas lawmakers know about the state's controversial decision to lift the borrowing limit for the Department of Transportation? 

This PowerPoint slide seems to suggest they did, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle along with transportation insiders whom KCUR has talked to all say they were surprised to see KDOT borrowing at record levels in December. 

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Almost all the stuff we buy spends some time in a truck before it gets to us. So, since store shelves are full and sales are strong this holiday season, you might assume that the trucking industry is doing great.

They're not.

Trucking companies say they are critically short of drivers. Truckers say they’re really just short of pay.

Teaching truckers

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Demographic shifts in the Kansas City metropolitan area tell us the suburbs are becoming more diverse, while downtown has seen an influx of white people. But it doesn't necessarily feel more integrated.

Shambresha Roland, a native Texan who has lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, has found being an African American woman in those majority white communities awkward.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

It’s the kind of story that’s a little hard to believe until you visit the neighborhood.

Just after 8 a.m., a school bus stops on North Freemont Avenue and kids pile on.

They have their backpacks, lunches and homework. It all seems normal.

Except they only live a few blocks from the school and aren't allowed to walk.

It would take Jessica Andrews’ four kids about five minutes to walk to Maplewood Elementary School in the Northland. “We’re really, really close. Why aren't they walking, it’s so close? There’s no sidewalks. It’s not safe for them to walk."

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.

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