Edgemoor reveals preliminary design for new KCI terminal

A new look for KCI: Edgemoor unveils preliminary designs for the new airport terminal to the City Council today.

A two-story fountain anchors the sleek, modern, initial design concepts unveiled to the City Council on Thursday by Edgemoor Infrastructure, the team recently selected as the preferred proposer for the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill (SOM), an internationally-known architecture firm, has incorporated elements that reflect Kansas City’s cultural heritage into the preliminary design. The two-story fountain in the center of the terminal would include technology to project messages and colors on the cascading water to welcome travelers.

SOM’s Derek Moore presented the concepts to the City Council today (Thursday). Following a successful election on Nov. 7, the design team will discuss the concepts and collect feedback from Kansas City residents and airport users through a series of design open houses in each council district during November and December.

Convenience for travelers is a major element of the design as well. The design features close-in parking, and a two-level curbside pick-up and drop-off area which will be faster and more convenient for travelers. Also, waiting areas at each gate will have room for the increased number of passengers on today’s planes.

Edgemoor has also created a website  https://www.kci-edgemoor.com/  and Twitter account @Edgemoordevel to engage with the community and share information about the design and new terminal development project.

Financing for the new terminal will be paid back from airport revenues, and the city will continue to own and operate the airport. More information about the project is available on the city’s website at www.kcmo.gov/newkci.

For more information about the project, contact Chris Hernandez, City Communications Director, 816-513-3474 or chris.hernandez@kcmo.org.

Main Street MAX moving to Grand Blvd. on Oct. 1

RideKC will launch a new route for the Main Street MAX on Sunday, Oct. 1- complete with a free family celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. at Washington Square Park near Crown Center.

Beginning on Sunday, the Main Street MAX route will change in Downtown, and run on Grand from 3rd Street in the River Market to Crown Center.

This change will allow for quicker travel through Downtown, allowing riders to arrive at their destination sooner. The Main Street MAX will no longer run its circuitous route on Wyandotte, Main, Oak, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th streets.

MAX will complement KC Streetcar’s frequent service in Downtown on Main and will continue to connect to the streetcar in River Market. South of Crown Center, the Main Street MAX will not change, serving midtown, Country Club Plaza, Brookside and Waldo.

Family Celebration on Sunday

The free family celebration event will features food trucks, free inflatable games, and music from DJ Soap beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.

There will be plenty of prizes and catch-themed giveaways. KC Streetcar, Mid-America Regional Council and B-Cycle will join RideKC at the party. RideKC will also unveil its second Scavenger Hunt, focused on destinations along Main MAX.

“Customer response to this change has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) CEO and President Robbie Makinen. “Downtown has changed a lot in the 12 years since MAX started. Riders are looking forward to a quicker, easier ride on one of our most popular routes.”

Schedule Changes for Main MAX

Spurred by the route change for the Main Street MAX, the KCATA all times on the route will change, effective Sunday, Oct. 1.

On weekdays during the daytime, Main MAX runs every 10 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 20 minutes south of The Plaza. During weekday evenings, Main MAX runs every 15 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 30 minutes south of The Plaza.

On Saturday during the day, the Main MAX runs every 15 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 30 minutes south of The Plaza. On Saturday evenings and all day on Sunday, Main MAX runs every 30 minutes, with all service traveling between Downtown and Waldo.

New maps and schedules are available at RideKC.org and on board Main MAX buses.

And, for more information in general, visit KCATA.org.

West Terrace Off-Leash Dog Park to open July 29

Downtown KC is about to become the home of Kansas City’s newest off-leash dog park at West Terrace Park, 750 Pennsylvania, and you are invited to join in the fun!

You are and your pup(s) are invited to join KC Parks for grand opening Yappy Hour beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 29.  Grand opening activities will feature pictures with your dog, pup cake, agility course, dog splash pool, canine art, a cash bar, and more. Treat bags will be available for the first 200 dogs in attendance! Parking will be available at 610 Washington St. The gate house will be manned between 4-6 p.m. to provide access to the lot.

Following the grand opening on July 29, the West Terrace Off Leash Dog Park (WTDP) will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

The fully enclosed, 1.5 acre park will provide a great place for you and your dog to play, exercise and socialize.

The members-only park includes benches (each with their own fantastic view of the West Bottoms and the Missouri River), park stairs, a shade pavilion with picnic tables, key fob entry, disposal bags and receptacles and two drinking fountains.

Membership to the WTDP – which will not be required for the July 29 grand opening – will cost $5 annually, and will include one key fob for entry into the park.

Click here to receive complete information about memberships, as well as an application form.

And, beginning Monday, July 24, membership applications will be accepted and key fobs will be issued at the KC Parks community centers in the greater Downtown area, including:

For more information, visit the WTDP online or contact the Dog Park Manager at 816-513-WOOF (9663).


Grand opening ceremony welcomes Atlas to Downtown

City Manager Troy Schulte, right, was among the first to tour the Atlas residential building during a grand opening ceremony last week. The property features 16 unique living units in the Crossroads.Downtown Council members and stakeholders gathered last week to celebrate the grand opening of Atlas, the latest residential property in Downtown KC, and to welcome prospective tenants and guests.

Atlas Lofts, 1509 Walnut, is a fully restored boutique property artfully blending old world charm and modern amenities. It features 16 superbly appointed, one-of-a-kind units. Nestled on the northern edge of the creative hub of the Crossroads Arts District, Atlas is one block away from the KC Streetcar, a neighbor to Sprint Center, and in easy walking distance to the heart of Downtown.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of Atlas, the latest residential property in Downtown. Participants included principals Jason Swords, Sunflower Development; Jeff Krum. Boulevard Brewing; Jay Tomlinson; Helix Architecture + Design; City Manager Troy Schulte, Crossroads champion Suzie Aron; and Councilwoman Jolie Justus.

More than 60 guests turned out for the Downtown Council’s grand opening ceremonies that included remarks from Jeff Crum, CEO of Boulevard Brewing Co. and a principal in the Atlas project, along with City Manager Troy Schulte, and City Councilwoman Jolie Justus.

The Downtown Council played host to a grand opening celebration of the restored Atlas building at 1509 Walnut last week.

Designed by a noted Kansas City architect in Romanesque Revival style, Atlas was constructed in 1902. It first housed the Grand Avenue Storage Company, then Atlas Storage and Transfer, followed by the Berlau Paper Company, before falling into a period of neglect and decline.

Today, the magnificent structure—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—has finally found its true calling. Every unit in Atlas is unique, each possessing its own exclusive features and a variety of today’s hottest amenities.

A partnership by principals from Sunflower Development, Helix Architecture+Design and Boulevard Brewing came together in 2015 to acquire the property and charted a bold new course, affecting a complete restoration in keeping with the rigorous standards established by the Department of the Interior.

For more information about living and leasing at Atlas, visit atlas-kc.comgo to leasing@atlas-kc.com or call 816-533-5609.

Crossroads to launch Downtown high school at Park U. urban campus

Crossroads Charter Schools will open a Downtown High School at a temporary location on the Park University Downtown campus beginning in fall 2018. (Courtesy of The Star.)

The dream of a Downtown Kansas City high school is about to become a reality.

Earlier this year, Crossroads Charter Schools, a network of three schools in the heart of Downtown Kansas City, Mo., revealed the launch of Crossroads High School. Today, Park University and Crossroads announced a partnership for Crossroads High School to utilize the University’s Downtown Campus Center as its temporary home through July 2019.

This fall, the first class of 30 Crossroads High School freshmen, along with five faculty and staff, will occupy three of the University’s classrooms during the day on the third floor of the Commerce Tower redevelopment at 911 Main Street. Crossroads anticipates 70 more students will be added for the 2018-19 academic year while a permanent high school building is prepared to open in fall 2019. Also, as part of the partnership, Crossroads students will have opportunities to visit the University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., to gain additional exposure to college life.

Crossroads will host an open house for its students and parents on Friday, June 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Park’s Downtown Campus, to provide a sneak peek of the opportunities they will have to engage in the downtown community and its accessibility to the city’s streetcar line, which has a stop outside the building.

“We are excited that Crossroads students will expand their studies in this newly renovated, high-tech, university setting,” said Dean Johnson, executive director of Crossroads Charter Schools.

Crossroads opened its first elementary school in 2013 in an office building in Downtown Kansas City and by 2017 enrolled roughly 570 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in two Downtown locations.

“Park University is excited to work with Crossroads Charter Schools as it expands to provide education to high school age students,” said Kena Wolf, associate vice president for campus center operations at Park. “These students give the University a unique opportunity to partner in creative and innovative ways, and support our mutual desire to bring convenient education opportunities to the downtown community, which Park has provided since 1974.”

Kirsten Brown, a current teacher at Crossroads, will be the founding principal of Crossroads High School. For more information about Crossroads Charter Schools, visit www.crossroadsschoolskc.org/.

To read more about the Crossroads High School announcement, visit The Kansas City Star at http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article152737769.html and The Kansas City Business Journal at http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2017/05/25/crossroads-high-school-temporary-location.html.

Founded in 1875 in Parkville, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, Park University is a nonprofit, private institution that is a national leader in higher education. In 2000, Park achieved university status and now serves 17,000 students annually at 40 campus centers in 21 states and online, including campus centers in Parkville, Independence and Downtown Kansas City, Mo.; Austin and El Paso, Texas; Barstow and Victorville, Calif.; and 33 military installations across the country. www.park.edu

Crossroads Charter Schools, which opened in Downtown Kansas City, Mo., in 2012, prepares and inspires students to build a better tomorrow by providing an academically rigorous K-12 education in a creative, collaborative, community-focused environment. Crossroads Academy – Central Street, is a K-8 school at 10th and Central, and Crossroads Academy – Quality Hill, is a K-3 school at 11th and Washington. www.crossroadsschoolskc.org


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.


Woof! Mission accomplished at River Market dog park

The River Market Off Leash Area is open at 5th & Locust from sunrise to sunset daily.

The River Market Off Leash Area is open at 5th & Locust from sunrise to sunset daily.

Downtown KC’s newest dog-friendly space – the River Market Off Leash Area (RMOLA) at 5th & Locust – is inviting local pups (and their faithful owners) to take off the leash and run free!

The new RMOLA is a product of the River Market Community Improvement District (RMCID) and the River Market Community Association (RMCA). They have advocated for the new fence, off-leash area in the River Market. The RMCID manages and maintains the OLA on property which is leased from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

“The River Market OLA provides a place where people and their well-behaved dogs can socialize and exercise in a clean, safe environment, without endangering or disturbing people, property or wildlife,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the RMCID and chairman of RMCA.

The OLA is open from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free.

“Thank you to all the generous supporters who contributed and helped make this much needed amenity happen.,” Rowlands said. “The fence is up, dog stations are stocked, and benches and trash receptacles installed. Come down and enjoy your RMOLA today.”

And, be sure to join the RMOLA Facebook page and post your favorite photos of your pooch(es) socializing and blowing off some steam.

Open letter – on First Friday – by the Mayor

An open letter on the arts and ArtsKC by Mayor Sly James.

An open letter on the arts and ArtsKC by Mayor Sly James.

Last fall, I wrote An Open Letter to America addressing the many assets Kansas City has to offer. It came on the heels of our Kansas City Royals playoff run, but it wasn’t about baseball. Instead, the letter was intended to draw attention to our elevated profile across the U.S. and to highlight all the ways in which Kansas City is winning.

The Kansas City Arts Community is a large part of our rising profile – and rightfully so. Our Arts are incredibly vibrant and we are being recognized as a leader in many disciplines including fashion, theater, jazz, song and dance – just to name a few! In fact, we are one of only a handful of cities across the country that have all four of the major arts – opera, repertory theater, symphony & ballet. As we continue to build our reputation as a world-class city, the Arts are truly making us shine.

This Friday (today) our regional arts council, ArtsKC , will launch their annual digital giving campaign – #timetogive. This important campaign is essential to the vibrancy and vitality of Kansas City’s world-renowned arts scene.  By contributing to the ArtsKC Fund, you are funding grants to artists, arts organizations, and arts programs from all over the region.

Accessibility to the arts should be open to everyone and ArtsKC does that by funding grants that support transportation and education programming in diverse and underserved communities, and by working with organizations to provide free events throughout our five-county region.

I love this City and I find more reasons to appreciate & celebrate it every day. As we continue to see our name landing on Top 10 lists, our Arts will continue to propel us straight to the top. I hope you’ll consider making a contribution – yes, right now – consider it a significant investment in your City.


Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri

Power & Light District unveils plans for Two Light luxury apartments

The Kansas City Power & Light District announced plans last night for the 24-story, 300-unit, $105 million Two Light luxury apartments.  This marks The Cordish Companies' second market-rate, high-rise apartment building in history of Downtown Kansas City. It will create 1,500 full-time construction Jobs and produce an economic Impact of $45 million.

The Kansas City Power & Light District announced plans last night for the 24-story, 300-unit, $105 million Two Light luxury apartments. This marks The Cordish Companies’ second market-rate, high-rise apartment building in history of Downtown Kansas City.


The City of Kansas City and The Cordish Companies announced plans Thursday for the eagerly-awaited $105 million, 300 unit Two Light Luxury Apartments, the second of four planned luxury high-rise apartment buildings in the Power & Light District and yet another substantial investment along the soon-to-be-complete streetcar line.

Two Light brings the total of streetcar-related investment in Downtown to more than $1.1 billion and brings the total of market-rate new construction Downtown apartments announced since the beginning of construction of both the streetcar and One Light Luxury Apartments to more than 3,300.

“The announcement of Two Light builds on the momentum that is driving a lot of what is great about Kansas City these days,” Mayor Sly James said. “Clearly, KC Streetcar, an influx of technology businesses, greater appreciation of the arts in the city and much more are all making a difference. Two Light is a frosty addition to the trend.”

Two Light will be located on North Truman Road, between Walnut Street and Grand Avenue in the heart of the Power & Light District and across the street from the Sprint Center. It will rise 24 stories, with a 6-story garage including 499 parking spaces, a luxury amenity deck with infinity pool, bar, demonstration kitchen and theater room directly above the garage and 18 floors of studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and penthouse apartments. Select penthouse units will be two stories and include their own private terraces.

The apartments will include quartz countertops, luxury flooring and cabinetry, tile bathrooms and state-of-the-art appliances. Like its sister building One Light, Two Light will feature floor-to-ceiling windows in every living room and bedroom.  The first floor of the building will include 15,000 sq. ft. of office space and 3,100 sq. ft. retail space.

Two Light will create more than 1,500 full-time jobs and will bring another 450 full-time residents Downtown, with a 25-year tax benefit to the City of more than $45 million. It will also bring a 2nd tower crane to the Power & Light District and a 4th to Downtown, emblematic of Kansas City’s accelerating growth and a symbol to developers nationwide.

“The importance of the continued residential renaissance in Downtown cannot be understated,” said Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council of Kansas City.  “One Light and Two Light are setting the new standard for luxury urban living in our region.

“Two Light will have an amenity package second-to-none, and it will build upon and leverage our prior investments in revitalizing Downtown by adding much-needed density.”

Construction on Two Light, which is only the second market-rate, new construction high-rise apartment building in the history of downtown (One Light was the first) is expected to begin in early 2016 and complete in early 2018.

Downtown Kansas City has been on quite a roll recently as a result of a variety of factors including the residential development explosion, the impending completion of the streetcar, nationally televised watch parties for the World Cup and the Royals’ World Series run, the recent opening of one of the region’s best department stores at Halls Crown Center, the announcement of Techweek Kansas City in 2015 and a growing litany of other positive developments.  The country has taken notice, with Kansas City seemingly on every national hot list for places to visit and millennials to move.

The announcement of Two Light represents another positive milestone for the Power & Light District, which recently topped 90 percent occupancy while welcoming new tenants Onelife Fitness, Visit KC, Cleaver & Cork and Yard House. One Light Luxury Apartments is now seven months from completion, with unprecedented pre-leasing velocity. Move-ins are scheduled to begin in November.

The early success of One Light along with the symbolic import to other developers of new construction high-rise development has led to a flurry of announcements of other neighboring apartment projects; bringing an influx of nationally renowned multifamily developers and many hundreds of millions of dollars into the Kansas City market.  The announcement of a second high-rise apartment building will accelerate that momentum.

“Kansas City is a great American city that can compete on its merits with cities like Nashville, Portland, Austin and Dallas,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Kansas City Power & Light District. “We are extremely excited to put another crane up Downtown and to offer Kansas Citians another option, just one short block from the streetcar line, to experience the quintessential urban lifestyle.  We greatly appreciate the City’s support and vision as we work together to take Kansas City to the next level.”

Licensing program ushers in streetcar apparel

All-new KC Streetcar apparel will makes its debut on Friday.

All-new KC Streetcar apparel will makes its debut on Friday.

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) officially launches its Community Licensing Program this week and welcomes RAYGUN (1803 Baltimore Ave.) as the first vendor of officially licensed KC Streetcar apparel.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with RAYGUN and other Downtown businesses to creatively and jointly promote the coming streetcar. This community program leverages and supports our amazing local talent and is a clear win-win for all involved,” said Tom Gerend, KCSA Executive Director.

The KC Streetcar Community Licensing Program provides the opportunity for local businesses and artists to license the KC Streetcar brand free of charge to create and sell KC Streetcar products. The Community Licensing Program also provides an additional creative outlet for Kansas Citians.

“When we were looking to expand RAYGUN into Kansas City back in 2013, the proposed streetcar project was one of the things that attracted us to the Crossroads district,” RAYGUN’s owner Mike Draper explained. “Rail projects not only look nice and welcome use, they also convey a sense of permanence for people looking to invest in an area. We’re happy to see the streetcar coming and happy to be a part of it.”

RAYGUN’s KC Streetcar t-shirt will be available for purchase at their Crossroads store beginning on Friday, a/k/a, First Friday.

Additional information on the KC Streetcar Community Merchandising Program can be found under the “Media” tab on streetcar website, www.kcstreetcar.org. The KC Streetcar is a modern system currently under construction in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. It is anticipated to open to the public in early 2016.


Crossroads Academy: Enroll students by March 31

Do you have school age children and live Downtown?  Then you may be interested to know that the Crossroads Academy of Kansas City, located at 1011 Central in Downtown Kansas city, is enrolling grades K-8 for the 2015-2016 school year. Open enrollment lottery deadline is March 31.

Applications can be found at www.crossroadsacademykc.org. All enrolling families must live within the KCMO public schools boundaries. Of these families, those that live or work in the Greater Downtown Area receive priority in our admissions lottery.

Crossroads Academy of Kansas City is a tuition-free charter school located in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Their mission is to prepare students to excel in high school by providing an academically rigorous K-8 education. The school opened in 2012 with 190 students in grades K-5 and will eventually grow to serve 370 students in grades K-8. Their mission is to develop graduates who are scholarly, culturally literate and service- oriented individuals who will pursue their dreams relentlessly and have a positive impact on their family, their community and the world.

Immersed in the civic, artistic, financial and historic heart of Kansas City, Crossroads Academy embraces the exceptional learning opportunities of our urban setting.

City considers a ‘road diet’ for Grand Boulevard

At seven lanes across at its widest, Grand Boulevard is Kansas City’s fattest Downtown thoroughfare, according to a story in The Kansas City Star on Thursday.

Now it’s about to go on a “road diet” that could become a model for other broad city streets that operate under capacity.

Road diet is urban-planner speak for squeezing motor vehicle traffic into fewer lanes, dedicating more asphalt to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Kansas City planners are proposing to slim down Grand Boulevard next year — and it would just require a new paint job. The road will go from five traffic lanes to three and will add bike lanes.


The Star’s report continued:

In the case of Grand, which stretches 2 miles from the River Market to Crown Center, city planners are proposing a drastic slimming sometime next year.

No new construction would be required. All it would take is a relatively inexpensive paint job to reduce the number of traffic lanes from five to three — one going each way, north and south, with a shared turn lane between them.

Except at bus stops and intersections, on-street parking would remain on both sides south of Truman Road, with bikes lanes added between the parked cars and the traffic lanes.

For safety, a 2- to 3-foot, zebra-striped buffer would add some distance between each bike lane and the cars, buses and trucks rolling by.

You might think this would lead to rush-hour gridlock. But city planners say Grand has way more capacity than the amount of traffic it carries. Only where traffic turns to get on Interstate 70 does it bunch up.

Many other streets in and beyond downtown also have more capacity than traffic. Which means Grand might not be the only wide street to see traffic lane markings altered in the years ahead.

A committee headed by City Councilman Russ Johnson will consider a resolution next week ordering a citywide road-diet analysis. Its goal: to see how many undivided four-lane streets could be converted to three lanes.

“Compared to most other major American cities,” Johnson said, “Kansas City is the least congested.”

Putting other roads on diets might help city leaders make good on their commitments in the BikeKC plan to add many more miles of bike lanes.

That might also improve traffic safety by slowing traffic to posted speed limits.

“With these wide streets, you basically get a drag-racing effect,” said Eric Bunch, co-founder of the advocacy group BikeWalkKC. “You just drive fast from red light to red light.”

Grand’s heyday

Like many Downtown streets, Grand was designed to handle lots more traffic than it sees today. While downtown remains a major employment center, that’s less so than during its heyday.

It’s been decades, likewise, since Downtown was a retail hub. One by one, the department stores that once drew thousands of customers closed or moved to the suburbs.

The upshot is that, even with the influx of new residents and entertainment options Downtown, there’s overcapacity.

“The streets used to be crowded,” said John Laney, a former city development director and past chairman of the Downtown Council. “We have way less traffic than the streets were designed for.”

In acknowledgment of that, the city has converted some one-way streets Downtown to two-way. Street lights have been replaced with stop signs at some intersections, and diagonal parking was added on some streets in the Crossroads.

Elsewhere, Kansas City has been building new three-lane streets in areas where four lanes would have been the norm a decade ago. So far, that’s worked out, Johnson says.

Grand would be the first major, undivided arterial in the city converted to three lanes.

Local advocates of “complete streets,” which are designed for multiple modes of transportation — not just cars, trucks and buses — are enthused about the project, funded with a $724,000 federal grant.

“I think the road diet is a huge first step,” said Thomas Morefield, a planner at a local architectural firm who lives Downtown and has been pushing for such a change.

In 2012, he helped organize a one-day demonstration of how a three-lane Grand Boulevard might operate during a busy First Friday celebration in the Crossroads Arts District.

Click here to read The Star’s complete story on the Grand road diet