Proposed streetcar expansion meeting to discuss whether tracks will remain on right side or move to middle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Should the new streetcar line stay on the right side of the road – or go right down the middle? That is the big question on the table at Tuesday's public meeting.

If you’ve ever ridden the downtown streetcar or driven downtown, you know the tracks are on the right side of the street. But planners with the Streetcar Extension Project are debating whether it would be best to put any new track they lay down in the center of Main Street.

The KC Streetcar Extension is currently in the development phase.

Under the current plan, three-and-a-half miles of track will be added from Union Station and run past the Plaza all the way to the UMKC campus.

After the last public meeting in April, organizers used public input to decide where to put the eight stops along the route. They still want to know what you think about the location of these stops, but the other big focus of the meeting is to decide where to put the track.

Main Street is five lanes wide. Would putting track down the middle of the street reduce that to just one lane in each direction? Or would there be enough room to keep two lanes of traffic on either side of the streetcar? And how will people get across the street if they get off the streetcar in the middle of the road?

These are all questions streetcar officials will discuss Tuesday, and they say the public's input will help them decide whether to move the streetcar tracks to the center of the street or leave them on the right side of the road.

The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on 40th and Main Street. If you can’t make it, you can leave your feedback at their website, kcstreetcar.org.

Once they are done finalizing this planning stage, they will then apply for federal funding and begin designing this new route. Their goal is to have this new streetcar line up and running five years from now.