Thursday, September 05, 2019

Clay Chastain Seyz Kansas City Toy Train Streetcar Is Transportation Monster

A word from a longtime friend of the blog, activist and the prolific petitioner in Kansas City history. Check his take on a rail idea back from the dead:

Clay Chastain: City leaders have created a transportation monster

Kansas City's costly, non-maintainable, non-sustainable, non-environmentally-friendly, one-dimensional, parking garage-oriented and discriminating transportation system (against minorities and lower income people) is bankrupting the City, impoverishing many of its residents and dimming its future.

Sobering fact #1. 50% of all Americans now have only $500 or less in savings. Many are transportation poor.
Sobering fact #2. According to a 2019 AAA study, the average cost (excluding environmental destruction) of owning, operating and maintaining an automobile is $11,000.00 per year! (The average transit pass is $1,000.00 per year!)
Sobering fact #3. Pot hole-strewn, bridge-crumbling KC can no longer maintain its overused and vast road system.
Sobering fact #4. KC's alternative to the car (if you can't afford one or can't drive) is an ineffective, stigmatized, polluting and outdated diesel bus system. Only 7% of residents find it useful yet it cost taxpayers $100 million a year. Uber is not the answer either. It clogs roads, is pricey and you rely on a total stranger.
Sobering fact #5. The earth is steaming up fast due to excessive emissions from cars and power plants.

So what is City Hall doing to meet this gargantuan crisis? Extending a novelty slow-moving streetcar line to the Plaza and building more tax-abated and car-oriented glitzy projects complemented by huge concrete parking garages.

Now you know why Clay Chastain feels the need to assist his home town by designing a "Modern Citywide Transit System" that would be attractive to all, reduce transportation costs, lower CO2 emissions, take pressure off our road system and make Kansas City a better place to live.

City Hall just refused to place a valid transit-improving petition on the November ballot. That self-serving action of bad faith killed the hopes of that petition. But, it won't kill our cause. Please sign and support the new petition currently being circulated that will build our City the one thing it is desperately missing....a rapid, modern, citywide, emission-free, free to use and solar-powered public transportation system. It will be the first of its kind in the United States and will transform Kansas City into what it once was - a thriving, livable and transit-oriented City.

KC community activist (and electrical engineer) Clay Chastain.

You decdie . . .


Anonymous said...

Clay is right

Anonymous said...

Yes Clay is right but you can't tell a liberal anything they are even eating their own and that's funny to watch.

Anonymous said...

KCMO has been in the business of creating "monsters", and continues to be.
The P&L District
18th and Vine
THE streetcar
A taxpayer-subsidized-created amusement park downtown.
And now the dreams of a downtown baseball stadium.
All taxpayer-driven and built on a mountain of debt.
Lucas and the current council clowns are just like all the rest.
No appreciation or understanding of actual municipal responsibilities and utterly at the whim of the latest "BIG BIG BRIGHT AND SHINY NEW THING.
What's the latest fad from urban consultants and authors today?

Anonymous said...

"Extending a novelty slow-moving streetcar line to the Plaza" - fair enough, come up with a comprehensive solution (ie street-car, light rail, whatever) for the Metro and do it. Oh yeah, nevermind, no one wants to pay for anything like that.

I guess traffic is just not bad enough yet for people to park and ride.

Anonymous said...

There are 100% electric buses replacing fleets of diesel or gasoline buses in several cities every day. The technology is here, but is Kansas City even looking into that?

Anonymous said...

Clay is a narcissistic gadfly. Somewhere there is a village missing an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Clay might be an idiot but he's been right about more things than anyone on the city council or mayor's office. The street car is a case sinkhole that no one voted for but apparently gets $150 million. I'm okay with the P&L because downtown was shit from the 1970s until like 2010 and it least people are interested in living in downtown now, for better or worse. I'm a midtown guy through and through but it's good seeing downtown not be a ghost town like it was .

Anonymous said...

article says cost of car per year is 11k. Not true. I can lease and insure, pay tax on my new Mercedes benz for about 8k per year.

Anonymous said...

Under the watch of Sly James, the following projects were passed.
1. Toy Train extension- against the will of the voting population.
2. Linwood Grocery- $15 million initial cost and will never cash flow- the city will be stuck funding a huge annual shortfall for years.
3. MLK Street renaming- This will most likely be overturned with a general vote. The City has replaced the Paseo signs and I doubt they kept the old Paseo signs.
4. Expansion of 18th and Vine funding, Jazz Museum etc. Garbage.

Here are the things which got bypassed:
1. Road maintenance was deferred.
2. Police force was not expanded regardless of the expansion of Crime in the city.
3. Trash pick-up around the city was terminated to save $2 million.

Anonymous said...

I would literally commit suicide, if I had to ride public transportation. My car is my sanctuary. Even if the commute sucks.

Anonymous said...

4 and 5 are not facts. All of this is going to goway with driverless automated cars.
Automated cars you will subscibe to service not own a car.
No parking needed
more efficient use of fuel.
No more busses and toy trains rolling around with 10% rider ship.
The ghetto is already using this model. They just call an ambulance then ask to go to hospital that is near or on the way to where they want to go. When the rider gets close to destentation they just ask to get off ambulance. TAx payer funded BTW.
KC poli geed.

Cee Bee said...

Clay is critiquing the streetcar, but he has unworkable rail fantasies of his own. He was wrong about buses. Some here in KC use natural gas.
The future belongs to network dispatched, very flexible, and increasing automated vehicles.

Clay said...

To Cee Bee from Clay.

You had some intelligent facts to contribute. Thank you. But allow me to respond. (1) Unlike the streetcar, my "rail fantasy" is not so because it will take the streetcar, which people enjoy for its clean, quiet and smooth ride, and upgrade it into a more useful and rapid system running in its own dedicated lane with signal priority, etc. (2) KC does have "some" natural gas-powered buses, but they are still inferior to the all-electric bus system I am proposing. (3) There will be a place in the future for "network dispatched, very flexible and increasing automated vehicles" as you pointed out. However, keep in mind that they will still be predominantly one person-oriented vehicles. "Mass Transit" has the advantage of carrying hundreds of people at a time on one articulated vehicle. In a dense city it will be problematic to dispatch the number of automated cars you propose. It would be wall to wall automated single-passenger vehicles.
My petition to modernize KC's transit system includes.. "Little Light Rail," "Virtual Rail" (rail / bus train) and mini-electric shuttle buses which can all be autonomous (driver less).
The best most successful future City-oriented transportation systems will be a balanced blend of both what you and I are talking about.

Anonymous said...

10:57 - it does say "operate" as well, which would be gas costs, so probably pretty close give or take.

Anonymous said...

It is humorous to see the ATA go through contortions to not come to the conclusions that every major tech company already has in that Autonomous Shuttles are going to take over most of the transit role.

When the people who are supposed to be leading a theme are instead purposefully undercutting it, well then you have the present situation.

Good thing the ATA is a lot smarter than Google, Elon Musk, Amazon and a dozen other world leading tech companies. What geniuses.

NicK said...

Would this dude stick a pistol in his mouth already? put himself out of our misery

Cee Bee said...

To Clay.
Thanks for your response. Please hit me back at
There is probably little I can do at this point to convince you otherwise, but new rail systems are horribly expensive, inefficient, and inflexible. Upgrading and maintaining an existing rail system can sometimes be a good use of government transportation dollars, but not always.

It is too soon for electric buses. Until the efficiency improves and price of batteries are driven down, natural gas buses are more cost effective. I would love to see the next gen buses be smaller and more purpose oriented. Does it make sense for ALL buses to be handicap accessible with bike racks when only a small fraction uses such things? Let those who need special services hail the appropriate vehicle per use.

You may think that in the future, single rider autonomous vehicles will clog the streets, but I think you are overlooking some things. If fewer people own cars, there will be more room on the roads, because fewer on street parking places will be necessary. Many people might choose to ride with some strangers for a price reduction. Uber is already doing it with UberPool. If even a fraction of commuters were to move from driving themselves only to riding with just one other person, congestion would improve.

In any case I think we can both agree that the Kansas City streetcar was a bad decision.

NicK's Mom said...

5:23 - Thats a GREAT IDEA! - you go first!