A carnival at Union Station, First Friday festivities and a movie at City Market will be among the draws for people May 6-7, even as they come downtown principally to ride the new Kansas City streetcar.
Streetcar Authority officials released some details Friday about plans for the grand opening celebration for the $100 million project, and they said more details will be available at www.timetoridekc.org.
The celebration is envisioned as a way for the public to experience the businesses and attractions along the entire 2-mile route from the River Market to Union Station.
It begins at 10 a.m. May 6 outside Union Station with speeches by Mayor Sly James, Federal Transit Administration members and other dignitaries. After VIPs take an inaugural first ride, the public will have a chance to climb on board.
But in an effort to manage anticipated crowds, organizers are asking that people not just get on a streetcar and ride the entire route continuously. Each streetcar only holds about 150 people, so event organizers hope people will ride a short distance, hop off and allow others to hop on.
The rides, both on opening day and thereafter, are free.
A stationary streetcar will be at Union Station so people can also just get on to check it out. A family-friendly carnival will also be at Union Station, while businesses and restaurants along the route will have their own streetcar specials. Other events that same weekend include First Friday, Middle of the Map at the Power & Light entertainment district and a movie in the park at City Market.
For people wanting to get downtown without a car, free bus service is being offered on all local, express and shuttle services that connect to downtown, and there will be additional MAX bus service May 6-7 on Main Street.
Main Street between 20th Street and Pershing Road will be closed to traffic, but Union Station parking and Crown Center parking via Grand Boulevard will be available.
Main Street north of 20th will remain open to traffic, but no street parking will be allowed on Main or on the south side of Fifth Street between Main and Walnut on May 6 and 7.