It is sad that the proposed streetcar in Kansas City won’t reach into Brookside and Waldo.
The trolley trail would be a natural for streetcars and still provide enough space to accommodate walkers, bikers and runners. But an advisory committee on Tuesday responded to vocal opposition from the not-in-my-backyard folks, recommending that the streetcar taxing district not stretch into Brookside or Waldo.
A two-mile streetcar line is set to operate downtown in late 2015. The NextRail KC Advisory Committee recommended three extensions:
• Independence Avenue from downtown east to Benton Boulevard.
• Main Street going south to the University of Missouri-Kansas City near 51st Street.
• Linwood Boulevard east to Prospect Avenue.
The extensions would create more than a “touristy frou-frou” line, a phrase coined by then-Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, which in 1997 killed a light rail plan connecting downtown with the Plaza. The proposed additions would help get riders in minority communities to jobs downtown.
The exclusion of Brookside and Waldo makes those areas appear as if they want to isolate themselves from the new access that the streetcars would provide. Let’s hope the success of the rail system will help spur a demand for inclusion in the future.