KC Streetcar rolls to 2 Million & $2 Billion milestones

Downtown not only celebrated the first birthday of the KC Streetcar yesterday, but also some major league milestones for performance and economic impact..

Saturday’s party celebrating the first year of operation for the KC Streetcar took on even more prominence with confirmation that a staggering 2 million rides have been reached and the economic development underway in the area has soared past $2 billion.

Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte led a host of supporters who gathered at Union Station to recognize the positive impact KC Streetcar is making in Downtown, the City communications team reported this weekend.

“We’ve said from the start that the streetcar was about more than just transit,’’ Schulte said. “Fixed rail generates economic development, and combined with the city’s investment in smart city technology, we are building a tax base that will benefit residents citywide both now and in the future.”

Kansas City has more than two billion dollars in economic development underway within the boundaries of the KC Streetcar TDD, or Transportation Development District. As of May 2017, this includes more than $2.1 billion in development projects completed, in progress or publicly announced since voters approved the streetcar in December 2012.

The Downtown Council continues to work closely with the City and the Streetcar Authority to track and report the economic impact of the streetcar.

The streetcar has been immensely popular with Downtown business owners, as well as local patrons and tourists who routinely praise the clean, smooth rides and the free Wi-Fi. Original forecasts of 2,700 for average daily rides were blown away by an actual average of 5,500 over the past 12 months.

Planners predicted Kansas City’s system would reach 1 million rides by its first anniversary. However, that mark was reached in October. Ridership naturally dipped in December and January, but April was the third busiest month behind July and August of last year.

A few noteworthy achievements so far include:

  • 97 percent of businesses surveyed along the route credit the streetcar with having a positive impact on their business
  • 2 million rides since May 6, 2016
  • Sales tax receipts in the TDD has grown 58 percent since 2014, outpacing citywide growth of 16 percent for the same period
  • Winner of 2017 American Council of Engineering Companies Award
  • Winner of 2016 Envision Platinum Sustainable Infrastructure Award
  • Winner of 2016 American Institute of Architects KC Community Impact of the Year Award

“Today we hit an amazing milestone, our 2 millionth trip in our first year of service, making the KC Streetcar system one of the most productive streetcar systems in the entire county,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority.  “Even more important than the strong ridership, the system is fueling an economic renaissance in downtown and that is incredibly exciting for all of Kansas City.”

To read more about the KC Streetcar celebration on Saturday and its impact on the City and Downtown, stop by The Kansas City Star.


Research results: KC streetcar is a win for Downtown businesses

Ninety-seven percent of survey respondents credit the streetcar with having a positive impact on their retail business

According to a recent survey of small businesses located on the KC streetcar route, business is good and many are seeing an uptick in both revenue numbers and foot traffic.

In a unique partnership, the City of Kansas City’s Biz Care Office, the Downtown Council and the Streetcar Authority conducted a survey of retail businesses located directly on the streetcar route. This survey was performed during the fall of 2016 and includes data from May through September 2016.  Forty-one small businesses participated in the survey with a sampling from each district along the streetcar route. Businesses ranged from restaurants, retail shops, bars & pubs, and coffee shops.

“Much attention has been paid to new development along the streetcar route,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.  “This was an effort to better understand the impact of streetcar operations on existing businesses, many who have been with us since before construction.”

“The City is committed to working with Downtown businesses to make the most of this important investment,” said John Pajor, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Of those businesses that participated in the survey, 97 percent credited the streetcar with having a positive impact on their business and 80 percent have experienced a positive change in revenue. This revenue percentage aligns with the 83 percent of participants that expressed a positive change in foot traffic.

“We are excited about the benefits the streetcar is bringing to Downtown businesses and look forward to what the future holds,” said Mike Hurd, Director of Marketing of the Downtown Council.

In addition to seven multiple choice questions, there were two questions asked that allowed businesses to elaborate on what streetcar related improvements they’d like to see that would benefit their business.  Of the 26 that responded, nine expressed interest in expanding the streetcar line and six expressed interest in either additional parking or a park & ride lot for transit users.

The KC Streetcar opened to the public on May 6, 2016.  In 2016, the streetcar logged nearly 1.4 million trips with a daily average of 5,830.



KC Streetcar tops 1 million rides in just 5 months

Mayor Sly James gives a thumbs-up to the KC Streetcar, which just topped 1 million riders in its first five months of operations.

Mayor Sly James gives a thumbs-up to the KC Streetcar, which just topped 1 million riders in its first five months of operations.

In just 5 months of service, the Kansas City Streetcar completed its one millionth ride.

During the lunch hour, on Friday, Oct. 7, the KC Streetcar marked its one millionth ride.  As a sign of appreciation, Mayor Sly James, the entire Kansas City Streetcar team, the Downtown Council and other partners are saying “Thank you” to all those that made this milestone possible with a “Thanks a Million, KC!” community celebration on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5-8 p.m. along 14th Street, between Main and Walnut streets, in the Kansas City Power & Light District.  There will be games, giveaways and live music provided by Art in the Loop performer, Amado Espinoza, local funk/rock/soul band The Phantastics and live art provided by J.T. Daniels.

“This milestone is a clear sign of the success of the KC Streetcar,” Mayor James said. “I’m incredibly grateful to the KC Streetcar Authority and its efforts to help make the starter line not only a reality, but a huge success. The KC Streetcar continues to exceed even our wildest expectations and it’s more important than ever that we keep this momentum going.”

Since opening day on May 6, streetcar ridership has steadily increased with a daily average of 6,600 passengers. The previous projected daily ridership average was 2,700. Weekends tend to be the busiest, with the highest ridership day of 15,780 being on July 16, a Saturday.  July saw the highest ridership totals with 233,683 rides during that month. Since May 2016, the Kansas City Streetcar fleet has traveled a combined 64,796 miles.

“The Kansas City community is riding the streetcar in far greater numbers than anyone ever imagined and today we say “thank you” for the amazing support. It is our hope this is just the beginning and a sign of even better things to come,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

Streetcar ridership, otherwise known as Unlinked Passenger Trips, is calculated by Automated Passenger Counters (APC) located over each door of each streetcar. Passengers are counted as they board and exit the streetcars, and the data collected shows which stops are the most used and which hours of the day are the busiest.  The ridership data is downloaded daily and reviewed by a third-party for accuracy. During July, members from the Ride KC team performed thirty manual passenger checks in order to check for accuracy. The conclusion of that activity was that the APC counts are within 1.4% accuracy of the manual counts.

To follow the project of the KC Streetcar,  go online at kcstreetcar.org and on Twitter (@kcstreetcar), Facebook (@kcstreetcar) and Instagram.

KC Streetcar to mark its 1 millionth ride today



Thanks A Million, Kansas City! 

With that theme, the Kansas City Streetcar is expected to crest 1 million rides today – just five months after the two-mile starter route began service exclusively in Downtown KC. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect this afternoon:

WHAT: After 5 months of service, the Kansas City Streetcar will log its one millionth ride.

WHEN: According to trip count estimations, at approximately 12 p.m. today (Friday, October 7, 2016), the KC Streetcar will complete its one millionth ride.

WHO: To mark this milestone, members from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the Downtown Council, the Community Improvement Districts, and the UMKC Athletics Men’s Basketball team will be hand delivering thank you notes to the riders on board the streetcars the afternoon of October 7.

Since May 6, streetcar ridership has steadily increased with daily averages of 6,600 passengers. The projected daily ridership average was 2,700.  Streetcar ridership, otherwise known as Unlinked Passenger Trips, is calculated by Automated Passenger Counters (APC) located over each door of each streetcar. Passengers are counted as they board and exit the streetcars.

WHAT’S NEXT? A public celebration of this milestone is planned for 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Power & Light District. More details to come.

MEDIA: For media interested in interviews, members from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, will be available at 12:00 p.m. at the Power & Light District Northbound stop at 14th and Main Street.

For KC Streetcar inquiries, contact Donna Mandelbaum with the KC Streetcar Authority at 816.627.2526 (office), 816.877.3219 (cell) or by email at dmandelbaum@kcstreetcar.org.

For City of Kansas City inquiries, contact Chris Hernandez, Director of City Communications, at 816.513.3474 (office), 816.787.1507 (cell) or email at Chris.Hernandez@kcmo.org.

The KC Streetcar is also online at kcstreetcar.org and on Twitter (@kcstreetcar), Facebook (@kcstreetcar) and Instagram.

Art on the KC Streetcar Line Touted in KC Star

Art on the Line – a series of 6 artworks temporarily installed on the KC Streetcar route – was highlighted in the Arts & Culture section of the Kansas City Star this weekend.  Art on the Line was one of temporary art installation and performance series produced by Art in the Loop and many partners this summer.

The artworks will remain installed through the end of this month.   Read what the artists themselves and curator, Jessica Borusky,  have to say about the pieces here:    http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article102008997.html

KC Star videographer Shelly Yang created this “ride-along” style video to give you a taste of the art!

Cuban Music Coming to KC Streetcar

Cubanisms.logoJoin us Friday, September 9, for a musical performance at the KC Streetcar River Market West Stop inspired by the current political thaw between Cuba and the United States.  From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Ensemble Iberica will present “Cubanisms”, a continuous acoustic performance of traditional Cuban “son”. The performance includes Ensemble Iberica musicians, Michael McClintock (Cuban tres), Beau Bledsoe (guitar), Jordan Shipley (bass), Brandon Draper (percussion) and Cuban national, Dálida Teresa Pupo Barrios (percussion and documentation).

Listeners/passengers will be taught traditional “coros” (repeated participatory choruses) and given percussion instruments to play such as the Cuban clave or bongos.

Ensemble Ibérica performs the music of Ibéria (Spain and Portugal) and the colonial Americas while educating the public about Iberian cultural influence. Programs explore diverse time periods, styles and locations including the Spanish baroque, Portuguese fado and Argentine tango. The Ensemble features extraordinary musicians from classical, jazz and folk traditions both locally and from around the world.

This performance is free and open to the public and is part of the 2016 Art in the Loop Project: Connect brought to you by the Art in the Loop Foundation with the support of the Downtown Council, Downtown Community Improvement DistrictCity of Kansas City, Missouri, KC Streetcar Authority, Missouri Arts Council, Neighborhood Trust and Development Fund, ArtsKC and many corporate sponsors.

What’s That Sound? KC Streetcar Performance Planned for Friday, 9/2

On Friday, September 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Mnemosyne Quartet will employ the power of sound to transport Kansas City streetcar passengers beyond the boundaries of the line to favorite Kansas City destinations, such as: The Zoo, Union Station, and The Kansas Speedway. For those passengers brave enough to participate, Mnemosyne encourages the streaming of our digital content, via your handheld device.  The experience begins at the 14th street stop going north.   

Transient Harmony is a sound installation and performance that will encompass the streetcar line between 9th and 14th street. Members of the quartet will travel with passengers presenting live music, while a newly created mobile app will allow the quartet to connect with downtown tourists, workers and residents both on and off the streetcar. While live performance will occur only along the streetcar line, you will be able to experience the unification of Kansas City’s urban soundscape through the app.

In addition to electronic music, Transient Harmony will feature Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, and Baritone Saxophone performers.

To stream: Download Mixlr on your cell phone and search for MnemosyneQuartet

Where’s the Streetcar? Download the App to Find Out

Perhaps you work or live in a building near Main Street.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stroll out to the streetcar stop just as the streetcar arrives?  Well, now you can. Simply download the KCityPost app by Smart City Media onto your smartphone and off you go!

This app provides streetcar information including safety videos, route map, hours of operation, streetcar location information and arrival estimates. Want to know where the streetcars are? Simply click on the streetcar logo in the upper right-hand corner to access the real-time map.

The app also provides hyper-local information for the events happening downtown and the activities around your geographic location. This information uses data from GPS units installed inside the streetcars. KCityPost is available for iOS and Android phones.

APPLE iOS STORE: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kcitypost/id1101126135?mt=8
GOOGLE PLAY STORE: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smartmedia.citypostr

Want more options?

Visit KC Streetcar’s page for other tracking apps: http://kcstreetcar.org/route/streetcar-tracker/

Art in the Loop: Eggshells and Connections

Join Art in the Loop and the Downtown Council for two unique art performances in Downtown Kansas City:

Walking on Eggshells

Performed by Alison Moyna Greene
11:30am and 12:30 pm, Thursday, August 18, 2016
Oppenstein Brother Memorial Park, 12th & Walnut

Alison Greene will present “Walking on Eggshells” a  performance on Thursday, August 18, between 11:30 and 1:30, in Oppenstein Park, at 12th & Walnut in Downtown Kansas City.

“Walking on Eggshells” is a metaphor that is often used when describing a feeling of being trapped by another’s will and when our voice is silenced.  The installation and performance of Greene’s artwork flips the meaning of this metaphor and presents a perspective where walking on the eggshells, as hard and painful or slow as it may be, is the purpose; to transform an uncomfortable feeling into a liberating one of self-compassion and divine expression.

Alison Moyna Greene is a multidisciplinary artist currently living and working in Kansas City Missouri.  Alison received her Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2006 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2003.

Food will be available for purchase from local food trucks, Cheeesy Pop’s (http://cheeesypops.com/) and Pie Hole (http://www.pieholekc.com/).


Presented by Jon Michael Johnson and SITU INC.
11:30am and 12:30 pm, Friday, August 19, 2016
Starts at Union Station Streetcar Stop

CONNECTIONS is a site-specific performance piece.   This mostly improvised event, as presented by Jon Michael Johnson and SITU INC., will follow one passenger as he boards the streetcar at Union Station.  He will be connected with someone new at each stop as the streetcar progresses through the route.  Will it be someone too different, someone too much the same, someone laughing,  crying,  spying,  hiding, someone lost — or found?
The theater of life will play out on the enclosed “stage” of the streetcar.  Each interaction should give us a glimpse into how we connect with those around us, and by extension, the community at large.  As the streetcar makes its way around the route and back to Union Station, CONNECTIONS will be an opportunity to tell a few tales — some tall, some with a spark of truth — and with the telling and a little luck, maybe we can create a “connection” or two.
Make a connection on Friday, August 19 at 11:30am and again at 12:30pm, starting and ending at the Union Station Streetcar stop.

These performances are free and open to the public and are part of the 2016 Art in the Loop Project: Connect brought to you by the Art in the Loop Foundation with the support of the Downtown Council, Downtown Community Improvement District,  City of Kansas City, Missouri, KC Streetcar Authority, Missouri Arts Council, Neighborhood Trust and Development Fund, ArtsKC and many corporate sponsors.

River Market scores big with grocery store + corporate HQ

The River Market is going to welcome a new grocery store, Nature's Own Market, according to today's announcement by Iconic Development.

The River Market is going to welcome a new grocery store, Nature’s Own Health Food Market, to 414 Oak St., according to today’s announcement by Iconic Development.

The KC Streetcar continues to spur economic development along its line, and news out of the River Market is the latest evidence of the recent boon throughout Downtown.

Chris Sally with Iconic Development today announced the first retail and office tenants at his latest mixed use project at 414 Oak St., two blocks away from two streetcar stops.  The building was part of the former historic Muehlebach / Schlitz Brewery complex, and will include:

  • Nature’s Own Health Food Market will open its second grocery location, and will fill a void for convenient neighborhood grocery in the River Market.
  • Offices for Structurflex, one of the world’s leading designers and suppliers of tensile canopies and membranes, who is tripling its existing office space and establishing its North American headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.

“The success of the streetcar continues to have impact on the development in River Market.  The explosion of apartment and new residences has created a need for neighborhood services and boutique office development,” said Sean O’Byrne, vice president of Business Development for the Downtown Council.

“We’ve always maintained that the streetcar is more than just a transportation project but is also an important piece to a bigger puzzle,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.  “The Downtown streetcar is creating energy and revitalization in under-used properties from the River Market area to the Crossroads District. We are celebrating new restaurants, new residential units and new businesses in the heart of our city. ”

Retail Tenant: Nature’s Own Heath Market is opening a second location; the first store is located at 43rd and Main Street.  They will be taking the entire retail side of the mixed use project and will have a large outdoor brick patio between the historic freight buildings.  This is great news for residents and employees of downtown.

Nature’s Own Market, a full line grocery store offering high quality, organic and natural foods at competitive prices, will be opening a new location this September in the River Market. The transformation of the historic Schlitz Brewery located at 5th & Oak will create a unique shopping opportunity in the River Market for those seeking convenience and value on products without artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

Open daily with convenient hours, the Market will offer a wide selection of grab-and-go foods that are prepared by many of the outstanding restaurants throughout the city.  Grocery items will range from nutrition bars to baking supplies, household items, gluten free options, a variety of locally brewed packaged beer and wine as well as a large assortment of kombucha (bottled and on-tap) and cold pressed juices.

The Market will offer a variety of dairy items as well as organic and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, many of which will be sourced from local family farms. For those seeking non-dairy or shelf-stable alternatives, several options will be made available.  The frozen section will consist of favorites such as pizza and ice cream as well as chicken, beef, pork and seafood from animals raised without antibiotics and added hormones

The aisles will also be full of hundreds of top quality vitamins, herbs, and supplements to meet the health and wellbeing needs of our ever growing health conscious society.  A full line of body care items will also be available.  The bulk foods section will contain various bins of flours, sugars, grains, seeds and nuts as well as locally roasted coffee and freshly ground peanut and almond butter.

Office Tenant:  Bart Dreiling, president of Structurflex’s American Operations, said the new offices will serve as their North American Headquarters and will also handle additional expansion into Latin America.  The Missouri Department of Economic Development assisted the company with its expansion of three new jobs and $180,000 investment through the Missouri Works Program.

Structurflex is currently undertaking multiple projects throughout the United States including work on the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit system, a large canopy for the Ward Parkway Mall expansion, ETFE membrane structures at the NIKE Headquarters and is now being awarded a major project at a professional sports facility.  Structurflex also specializes in textile façade systems, often used for cladding the exteriors of parking garages or used to reduce solar gain into buildings.

“The Muehlebach District, (east side of River Market) along with the West side of Columbus Park is on the cusp of transforming into a dense walkable urban neighborhood with all the amenities such as restaurants, retail businesses, cultural events, and even the ability to walk to work,” O’Byrne said.

For more information on today’s announce, check out The Kansas City Business Journal.