Mayor Sly James unveiled the look of Kansas City’s modern downtown streetcar to the First Friday crowd this evening. “First Fridays is the perfect outlet to introduce the community to this vehicle because both so positively impact our downtown,” said Mayor James. “I appreciate Better Block KC’s efforts to bring the streetcar landscape to life. This milestone is yet another step down the road we need to travel to get the streetcar moving downtown.”
The streetcar is a URBOS 3 Platform Vehicle, built by CAF (images attached), manufactured by an American workforce at a facility in Elmira, New York. The color of the local streetcar vehicle will be determined by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. The vehicle will be ADA compliant and each car will have the ability to carry approximately 148 passengers. The manufacturer has extensive rail transit infrastructure experience in both the United States and abroad. “This vehicle is innovative, cutting-edge, and frosty, just like Kansas City,” said Mayor James. “Downtown has undergone an undeniable transformation in the past few years and the streetcar will take that to another level.”
The color of the local streetcar vehicle will be determined by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Councilman Russ Johnson, attended the unveiling to thank those who played a part in bringing this next stage of public transportation to downtown. “There are a lot of reasons why this is a great project, but it’s our community partners, such as Better Block KC, who are really making the streetcar a success,” he commented.
The unveiling took place in coordination with Better Block KC’s Main Street Takeover. This year’s Better Block KC project featured a flexible streetscapes project with components including a full scale streetcar shelter, mock streetcar vehicle, flexible streetscape, bike-up bar, food vendors and storefronts, a “Made in KC” open air market, and a local film showcase. Partners in the Main Street Takeover are U.S. Green Building Council Central Plains Chapter, AIA-KC, HDR, Kansas City Design Center, LocalStart.org, CinemaKC, Crossroads Community Association, Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance, and TransformKC. “With the coming of the Kansas City streetcar we saw a great opportunity to build on the success of the inaugural year of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s better block on Grand Blvd by incorporating a mock-up of the streetcar starter route on Main,” said Chris Snyder, who is involved with U.S. Green Building Council Central Plains Chapter and is also the project manager for this year’s Better Block KC project. More information on Better Block KC can be found online at http://betterblockkc.tumblr.com/, https://www.facebook.com/BetterBlockKc, and https://twitter.com/betterblockkc.
Nationally, Better Block aims to assist cities around the country that are looking for tools to help redevelop communities that enable multi-modal transportation while increasing economic development, and reducing carbon emissions.
The downtown streetcar will be operational by fall 2015 and the public can monitor its progress at http://www.kcstreetcar.org/.