Monday, November 3, 2008

My perspective on the light rail issue

There are many arguments for and against the latest light rail
proposal, and although I support the concept of using trains
to move people around Kansas City, I'm voting no on
Tuesday's proposal. I'd like to present one of the reasons
for that here -- a reason based in what I learned from the Red
Bridge experience:

About a year ago, The Friends of Red Bridge presented a plan
for Red Bridge Road to the governing board of the K.C. Parks
Department. The FoRB plan would cost a fraction of the City's
plan, and yet improve safety, the local economy, the
environment, and livability by far more. It was completely

The process used to come up with the City's light rail
proposal on Tuesday's ballot was similar in important ways to
the Red Bridge Road study: it seemed the outcome was
predetermined, and innovative ideas that are working elsewhere
were not allowed.

In the light rail discussion, that innovative idea is the
modern street car, a less costly and lighter-weight vehicle
that would also deliver better economic revitalization than
the larger light rail trains.

In an article at, you will learn that a south Kansas City
resident and member of the Citizen's Light Rail Task Force
said that while the Task Force's mission was to conduct an
"alternatives analysis" of all aspects of the rail transit
plan, the consultants never discussed street cars as an
alternative to light rail.

"Garbage in, garbage out" as they say. Should we validate a
flawed process that is biased toward a system that is so
expensive, yet promises diminished benefits?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kansas City doesn't need light rail.

#1 -- It costs too much.

#2 -- KC really doesn't have a traffic problem.

#3 -- Global warming and all that stuff is a hoax.