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Friday, August 09, 2013


I was on the way to the library when I saw they were finally having the grand opening for the bus stop that's had 7th & Minnesota shut down for the past couple of years. It's kind of hard to understand why such a simple set of pavement would close an intersection for so long, but it did.

Basically, it's a bus turnaround a lot like one in downtown KCMO. Reading the signs, I couldn't detect any bus routes that weren't familiar, and a few questions to a transit worker confirmed this: it's just a bus stop. A couple of routes will actually be dropping stops a block or two away to stop here, so people may have another block or two walk to catch their usual 101, 106, 107, etc.

A block or two extra is actually kind of a big deal to elderly and disabled transit passengers, and I can tell you from taking the bus here and there, elderly and disabled passengers are represented in numbers above their percentages in the general population. So as far as I can tell, what they've done here is spend quite a bit of money to put lipstick on the pig that is Kansas City's mass transit while actually degrading service.

It makes me wonder if the people in charge of this stuff have ever visited a city like Chicago or New York that actually has a transit system ordinary people can use as a reliable source of transportation. Forget street cars, light rail, we're such a sprawling, suburban oriented city those things are ecological as well as economical disasters. Rubber on pavement is the only transit that makes even marginal sense in Kansas City.

I took the bus to the library last trip because I hadn't been cleared to drive following my surgery, and for all the people I hear claim the buses run empty all over town, I couldn't get a seat at first and almost popped my sternum plates holding on to a pole for the first leg of the trip. But to get people with other options to take the bus, you're going to have to come more than every half hour or hour, and you're going to have to run more than a couple of routes because most folks won't walk six blocks to a store or appointment. And for a bus stop project like this one to make sense, you'd have to have at least a park & ride lot on hand, and there isn't one (nor any room for one nearby).

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