KC Streetcar reveals plans to expand into Berkley Riverfront Park


Michael Bushnell

Northeast News

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority hosted a public open house Thursday, Jan. 24, at The Union in Berkley River Front Park to reveal expansion plans that include a route to near 51st and Main Street as well as a planned route that extends to Berkley Riverfront Park. The meeting focused specifically on the Berkley Riverfront Park extension.

Donna Mandelbaum of KC Streetcar Authority explained the proposal behind expanding streetcar to the River Front. The project did not receive federal funding and cannot move forward until another way to pay the $30M price tag to extend the streetcar can be found.


The meeting comes almost a year after a federal grant request was denied to the Streetcar Authority for the extension, but proponents of the new plan are hoping the meeting could sway the matter.

The Riverfront extension would run along the present Grand Viaduct that turns to the east and becomes Front Street in the park. The rendering here shows bicycle and pedestrian lanes added as an outrigger to the viaduct with vehicle and streetcar traffic occupying the present traffic lanes.

Two new developments in Berkley Park have been completed within the last year. The Union, an upscale apartment building that was completed in May is already at 46 percent occupancy according to Chris St. Vincent, a Leasing Agent with the property. He stated that number continues to grow.


“We’re still seeing move-ins through the winter despite the inclement weather we’ve been having,” St. Vincent said. “Winter is traditionally a down period for leasing, but residents are excited about the possibility of the streetcar connection at our front door. We’re excited about the potential for growth and the connection it brings.”

Another new development is the Bar K off leash dog-park that was completed in August. Bunny the Newshound profiled Bar K in a May 9th article entitled “A Dog Gone Good Time.”

The park has been extremely popular with residents and the bar/restaurant/dog park concept continues to draw new clientele from the River Market and Downtown area. According to Port KC sources, two additional tracts in the area are slated for development.


According Mandlebaum, a new funding strategy with Port KC could allow funds to come from both public Transportation Development District (TDD) funds as well as private funding that have been pledged for the riverfront extension.

“We feel good about the progress and we’re excited to showcase the new bicycle and pedestrian modifications to the plan in tonight’s meeting,” she said. “I think we’ll finally get a great connection to our riverfront with this project. Downtown won’t feel quite so disconnected when this is completed.”

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