New plans are being discussed to link the 18th and Vine Jazz District with Crossroads and downtown Kansas City attractions.
It’s taken a couple of recent Iowa State University graduates to propose an art-themed park for concerts and other events. It would include bike lanes and a shuttle service, The Kansas City Star reports. It’s an easy and flat bicycle ride on 18th Street between the Jazz District and downtown, but at night it can seem rather daunting because of all of the poorly lighted areas and vacant space.
But making the distance more appealing to people wanting the nightlife should include a streetcar line along 18th Street after the new 2.2-mile downtown starter rail line is running in 2016. The new streetcar line could continue past 18th and Vine streets to Prospect Avenue to tie into the Metro bus service and then go west past the Crossroads to the West Side, creating a new bridge between Kansas City’s rich ethnic communities.
It would also be cool to have Wi-Fi service on the streetcar lines so people could read the newspaper, check email and do other things online.
But for all of that to happen, businesses and people in all of the affected areas would have to get along better and be willing to embrace the ethnic and racial diversity of this community. They’d also have to be open to competing with each other.
Because of this area’s history of segregation, those are two, big, long-standing gulfs that will take more than pretty parks and better transportation to cross.