Outstanding Plan Award
Kansas City, Missouri is currently building a 2-mile streetcar starter route, which will be the first instance of rail-based public transportation in Kansas City since 1957. Kansas City’s Downtown Streetcar line is anticipated to begin operation in 2015. But before the first tracks were installed, the City of Kansas City, Missouri initiated a planning study to expand the starter route to the adjacent neighborhoods. The planning study, named NextRail KC, merged traditional transportation alternative analysis methods with a community-led conversation about the future of neighborhoods with a streetcar. Kansas City officials have long observed the transformative impact of rail and other fixed-guideway transit on its peer cities, from property value and new development benefits, to the environmental and health benefits of more walking and transit use, to mobility benefits. This study used these and other goals to first prioritize which three corridors from the original eight would become a part of the expanded streetcar system, and then used these same values to optimize the system. Finally, the study presented a path forward to implement the streetcar expansion plan with steps to maximize the investment of the streetcar system.
The Missouri APA Awards Review Jury accolades for this Plan included the observation that the NextRail Plan includes a comprehensive analysis and outreach effort which was most impressive. The overall plan, which was presented in an interesting and engaging fashion, was pulled together with a superb layout. It was truly a model Plan, and well deserving of the 2014 Outstanding Plan Award.