Streetcar Authority approves feasibility study to determine if streetcar line should be extended to Berkley Riverfront

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- New streetcar expansion talks are underway Friday.

In addition to wanting to lay track from Union Station south to UMKC, the Streetcar Authority is now talking about expanding the line north – to Berkley Riverfront Park.

The Board of Directors have just approved a feasibility study to see if it would benefit the streetcar line and the city to extend the streetcar to the park. Berkley Riverfront has long been underused and underdeveloped due to its location. There’s no easy way to get here.

City officials wonder if adding a quarter-mile of track from downtown would encourage more people to visit the park and use the green space. They believe it could attract businesses to come here and re-develop the land surrounding the park, since the streetcar would bring thousands of people here every day.

The streetcar so far has been a smashing success. The Streetcar Authority recently reported revenue for this year is at $1-million over projection. That money comes from increased sales tax and property tax in the area around the track. Also, the streetcar is averaging more than 6,500 riders a day, which is a lot more people than originally projected.

The Authority is currently looking to possibly buy another streetcar or two to help alleviate overcrowding on the line. They are also discussing possibly extending hours.

As for extending the line north to Berkeley Riverfront Park, the cost of the feasibility study is a quarter of a million dollars. It would take six months to complete.