By Bryan Stalder
Northeast News

The route towards a bus rapid transit line along Independence Avenue has taken another step forward.

Members of the Independence Avenue MAX Advisory Committee rode a bus along potential routes for a new Independence Avenue MAX bus on Wednesday, April 4. The goal was to determine where such a line would best serve riders, while also spurring transit oriented development in the Northeast.

On the west end of the route, tour facilitators pointed to a space at the southeast corner of 12th St and Charlotte Ave – which is being developed into the East Village Transit Center – as a potential stop along the Independence Avenue MAX. Other locations being considered are Crown Center (via Grand Ave.) and the River Market (via Columbus Park).

Along the current Independence Avenue bus route, the stop at Wilson Ave. has some of the heaviest ridership, so consideration is being given to improving the site around this stop. In the meantime, Bobbi Baker-Hughes of the Independence Avenue CID pointed out that the shelter at the Wilson Ave. stop has been removed temporarily in an effort to study whether this will reduce loitering; a problem many transit riders cite as an area that could use improvement. 

East of Winner Rd., where the RideKC Route 24 currently turns around, the advisory committee traveled a potential route past Van Horn High School, and through Englewood Plaza en route to Independence Square. The tour facilitators noted that aside from Englewood Plaza, most of the property along this route was developed for residential uses and lacked pedestrian infrastructure that would be necessary to attract high volume ridership. Two other corridors being considered were along Truman Road and 24 Highway; both with greater potential for transit oriented development in commercially-zoned spaces. Much interest was also given to connecting public transportation riders to the Truman Presidential Library.

The advisory committee will continue to review data and studies over the next year, and also take into consideration elements from the recently concluded Independence Avenue Pedestrian study, as well as a BikeWalkKC study set to begin next month. The first of those BikeWalkKC meetings will be held on Thursday, May 10 at 6:00 pm at the Northeast Chamber of Commerce office (2657 Independence Blvd.). These meetings are open to the public.