Smart Growth America, FTA Grant Offers Guidance

Date:April 26, 2016
Smart Growth America, FTA Grant Offers Guidance

So much is happening on Prospect Avenue already.

A new police station. A new youth and family life center. A new shopping center.

Millions of dollars worth of investment. And so much more can happen on Prospect with a new federal program that will aid Kansas City.

The Federal Transit Administration, partnering with Smart Growth America, has picked Kansas City as one of a select group of nine communities for special technical assistance for building transit-oriented development projects that blend transportation, retail and residential uses.

When done effectively, these types of developments connect transit to housing, job centers and entertainment venues that include shopping, dining and nightlife.

The program stands to specifically help the Prospect Avenue corridor where the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is planning a new $50 million MAX bus rapid transit line, similar to the MAX lines that already operate on Main Street and Troost Avenue.

“The over-arching goal is to capitalize on the development that’s taking place along Prospect and linking that to transit-oriented development,” said Kansas City planner Angela Eley.

Detail of artwork outside the Kansas City Missouri Police East Patrol Division, 2640 Prospect. 

The city is looking for ways to build housing density and encourage commercial development along Prospect so they both hook into the proposed bus rapid transit service, which is currently included in President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017.

The KCATA wants the proposed MAX service for Prospect to be more than just another bus route. With its new economic development arm, the Authority wants to find ways to attract development in areas where there’s high bus ridership, such as Prospect.

The technical assistance is “going to help us in our goal of transforming the corridor,” said Dick Jarrold, the KCATA’s vice president of regional planning and development.

“Development is new for us as an agency,” Jarrold said. “We’re excited about working with the city in partnership on Prospect, but we’re also looking forward to learning about how this is done in other places around the country in corridors like Prospect.”

The Authority’s new economic development team is looking for sites where development can be integrated with transit. One possible location is at the new Linwood Shopping Center development that will include a new Sun Fresh Market on Prospect between 31st and Linwood.

KCATA planners hope the upgraded shopping center might feature a mobility center that brings together different modes of transportation, whether it’s the proposed Prospect MAX line, paratransit service, the new Bridj microtransit offering, carpooling or bike stations.

While there are many options for new development along Prospect that could be mixed with transit, other possibilities include 75th and Prospect, and 63rd and Prospect.

“It’s important for us to have this workshop and have this technical assistance because there is a lot of different development taking place along Prospect,” Eley said. “We need to figure out how to continue with the momentum.”