Your Guide to 816 Day

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Your Guide to 816 Day

We love the City of Fountains so much we created a holiday for it. 816 Day is named after our city’s area code and takes place yearly on August 16th. Join the KC Streetcar, along with different shops, restaurants and bars, in celebrating Kansas City’s newest favorite day of the year with concerts and specials. Before you head out - don’t forget to check do816.com/816-day for a full list of 816 Day events.  

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Navigating Basketball Mania in Downtown KC

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Navigating Basketball Mania in Downtown KC

Last year, Kansas City held the most collegiate basketball games in the United States at 57 games in 17 days. Rabid basketball fans descended on KC’s Power and Light District, completing 33,132 Streetcar rides in just two days (March 23-24, 2017). In preparation for the madness and #FanFestKC2018, Visit KC posted, “Where to Eat During NCAA Regionals in KC.” In addition, the College Basketball Experience will be open every day during the month of March.

To kick off the first weekend of March, KC will host 11 MIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship games at Municipal Auditorium. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Next up, the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship will be held at the Sprint Center March 7th-10th. Nine games will be played but this basketball party also includes live entertainment, pep rallies, and the Big 12 Run. Visit KC is hosting a Big 12 Championship Giveaway and they have all the info on these championship festivities, here.

From March 14th-20th, approximately 40,000 fans will turn out to Municipal Auditorium for the 81st Annual NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship. Tickets starting at $20 are still available for this 31-game competition. Special events include a Meet the Players event at Children's Mercy Park on the 13th, St. Patrick’s Family Fun Day on the 17th, and KC Star $5 Night on March 20th.

Lastly, the Sprint Center will host the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Regional. Four of the country’s top Women’s Basketball teams will compete for a chance to go to the championship in Columbus, Ohio. More info and tickets can be found, here

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DNA GO Bond Ideas

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DNA GO Bond Ideas

The city of Kansas City, MO is tentatively planning to ask voters to approve a property tax increase to pay for an $800 million bond issue - GO (General Obligation) Bonds. We've started a rough list of ideas on how to spend that money downtown (within the GDAP boundries)!

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Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance - Show your Support

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Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance - Show your Support

DNA - your voice is needed!  On Thursday, May 26 at 9:30 am in the 26th Floor Council Chambers, the proposed Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Ordinance will be heard before a joint meeting of the Transportation & Infrastructure and Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committees.  This proposed ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Jolie Justus, would give the city more tools to foster quality development along our transit corridors.  

Per the City's website, a TOD Policy is an important first step to ensure public transit investments are accompanied by new development and economic activity for several reasons:

  • It creates a broad framework to incorporate TOD policies and principles into existing plans and future plan updates;
  • It guides more detailed planning and dialogue for specific neighborhoods and station areas.
  • It identifies potential barriers to TOD in existing plans and policies and outlines a corrective course of action;
  • It assists in prioritizing capital investments to maximize benefit and leverage limited resources.
  • It facilitates improved coordination of City agencies and departments to support TOD; and,
  • It identifies potential areas to strategically focus investment and development. Development Policy identifies the critical elements of a successful TOD and provides a concise program of initiatives to implement TOD in Kansas City.

What might the results of the TOD ordinance look like?  Just look at your neighborhood!  Transit-oriented development is people-oriented development, and is the fundamental bedrock of downtown.  Anything that you would walk to, bike to, or take transit to before driving to is an example.  TOD is part of what makes Downtown Downtown.  Even if you are not a regular transit user, you will benefit from the quality development that the ordinance encourages.  

The proposed policy has been developed and reviewed by the City Planning Department, and has been vetted through public outreach and comment.  It is important for residents to speak up and defend the policy, which has gone through due process and not let it be derailed or diminished by special interest groups at the last minute as other past efforts have been.

If you would like to learn more, the city has an informative website set up with links to the actual policy documents:
http://kcmo.gov/planning/todpolicy/

Kansas City has made significant investments in transit over the last decade - most visibly the Streetcar - but also the Ride KC MAX lines, enhanced Ride KC Bus service, and Ride KC Bridj.  Encouraging TOD would help the city leverage these investments and generate a greater return on them, providing a benefit to everyone.

Come to City Hall on Thursday, May 26 at 9:30 am to be seen and be heard!  If you are unable to attend on Thursday, please emailcallTweet, or otherwise reach out to the City Council.  Email sent to "council@kcmo.org" will reach all members.  

The members in Thursday's meeting:

Scott Taylor, Vice Chair (@Scott_TaylorKC)
Jermaine Reed, Vice Chair (@JermaineReed)
Katheryn Shields (@K_J_Shields)
Heather Hall (@Hall1stDistrict)
Dan Fowler
Quinton Lucas (@QuintonLucasKC)
Jolie Justus (@JolieJustus)
Lee Barnes Jr.
Kevin McManus (@McManusKC)

Stay tuned to our Twitter (@DNAKCMO) for more info!

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5 Questions, 5 Answers with a Downtown Pro

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5 Questions, 5 Answers with a Downtown Pro

 Jason Nivens and family at Kauffman Stadium for a Kansas City Royals Dressed to the Nines game.

Jason Nivens and family at Kauffman Stadium for a Kansas City Royals Dressed to the Nines game.

Jason Nivens has spent the last decade living in various parts of downtown Kansas City.  From his current home on the top of the hill in the West Side, to the Crossroads, Columbus Park and Westport, he’s chosen urban living after being raised in the Kansas suburbs.  Most of his time is spent in the city for work, entertainment and taking his step-daughter to school at the Crossroads Academy.  Here are a few tips from a downtown pro!

1. You lived in suburbia before transferring to a few other states.  What made you choose downtown when you returned in 2004?

After living in downtown Dallas, Midtown Atlanta and for a spell being homeless in Houston (a story for a different blog) I knew that when I moved back to KC I needed to be in the city. There's just something special about being able to walk out to the market, a show, a pub for a beer or a laid back coffee shop which I don't feel exist when you have to "jump in the car" to go somewhere in suburbia. Especially the further out you get in the burbs. I relied on mass transit in those other cities and I wanted to utilize the same in KC, which we do. 

2. After living in several neighborhoods in the downtown area from Columbus Park to Westport, what are your top 5 favorite things about urban living?

  1. Walkability 
  2. The (human) characters
  3. Architecture 
  4. No where near as milquetoast as the burbs
  5. The city lights at night

3. As an avid user of mass transit, what is the best advice you can give a newbie?

Buy a monthly bus pass. Try it out, test which routes & buses will work best for you. Wear headphones and keep a book close, helps keep some of those characters from chatting with you if you don't feel like it. And because we're still improving our mass transit, download the Uber app. It'll come in handy if there's a bus set back. 

4. Enrollment is going on now for the Crossroads Academy.  How long has your step-daughter been a student?  What do you see as the greatest benefit in attending the Crossroads Academy?

Our little bug's been at Crossroads for 2 years now. The greatest benefit is being involved with life in the city. Seeing all the different people who live and work downtown. Meeting people of different races & creeds and understanding we're all in this together so let's work together. 

5. We know downtown Kansas City has changed a lot since 2004, but for someone considering moving here, what would advice or words of wisdom would you provide?

As the late Hunter S. Thompson said, "Buy the ticket, take the ride." You don't know what you don't know and I know everyone of my friends I've made that have moved here from either coast are always impressed with our downtown. The people, the energy, the vibe, and the fun we're having. Not to say you can't have fun in the burbs but we're having way more fun down here! ;) 

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DNA 2015 PIAC Priorities

The following list represents the top infrastructure priorities for the Downtown Neighborhood Association. We look forward to working with other Downtown neighborhoods and organizations to develop a shared list of priorities in accordance with the Greater Downtown Area Plan Implementation process. 

Case Park / West Terrace Park 
The Downtown Neighborhood Association supports the finalization of the KCDC preliminary master plan for Case Park, and a phased approach to implement recommended improvements. With one of the largest contiguous open spaces downtown, unparalleled panoramic views, and directly adjacent residential uses, this space is a unique and important amenity for downtown. However, the DNA believes that this park is not fulfilling its potential as a signature public gathering space that could enhance quality of life and catalyze new activity in the Quality Hill area. 

The preliminary master plan identifies concepts to activate the existing park space, create new dynamic public gathering spaces, and to increase the visibility and integration of the park with the surrounding areas. These student concepts require vetting and professional design. The DNA believes that these improvements will help to enhance Case / West Terrace Park as a downtown amenity and improve quality of life for residents of the west loop. 

Grand Boulevard Improvements 
The Downtown Neighborhood Association supports improvement to Grand Boulevard to achieve the goal of making Grand a premier urban boulevard that includes all of the following components, integrated in a thoughtful and well-designed manner: increased transit service, a safe and comfortable bikeway, green infrastructure, public spaces, and a destination linear park experience. The Downtown Neighborhood Association believes that Grand Boulevard is an important priority for downtown because of its potential to transform the area, attract new residents and businesses, and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. This project is important in part because it links many of the downtown neighborhoods – River Market, Downtown Loop, Crossroads, and Crown Center. 

DNA understands that there is currently a plan being enacted to perform a paint-only road diet on Grand by Public Works. However, there are several other overlapping initiatives for Grand Boulevard, namely the KCATA efforts to create a transit corridor on the street. KCATA is requesting PIAC money in this cycle to enact several improvements in the corridor, so we believe there is a prime opportunity for a synergy between DNA’s goals and KCATA’s goals. DNA implores the City and KCATA to coordinate behind a unified vision for Grand that satisfies the goals of all constituencies, and to move forward with incremental investments in this shared vision. 

Northeast Loop Connectivity Project 
The Downtown Neighborhood Association supports efforts to realize the potential of Admiral Boulevard by transforming it into a Complete Street with bike lanes, forming the spine of a network that links Downtown, Columbus Park, Paseo West and the Northeast. We also seek to convert Admiral, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Streets to two-way streets to improve local circulation and the installation of pedestrian way-finding signs to encourage exploration of these downtown-adjacent neighborhoods and to welcome residents of those neighborhoods into 
downtown.

We believe that this project has the potential to make progress on the five goals outlined in the Greater Downtown Area Plan: 

1. Double the Population – The Northeast Loop area features entire blocks ready for new mixed-use development. Putting the multi-modal infrastructure in place now to make this a desirable area for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users will be seen as an asset by developers and a benefit to residents. 
2. Increase Employment – Adding new density in this area would provide future residents with walkable access to the Government District, numerous bus routes and a future streetcar route. 
3. Create a Walkable Downtown - 6th and Charlotte Streets form the primary pedestrian connection between Downtown and Columbus Park, yet lack proper pedestrian infrastructure. Several new developments underway in Columbus Park will increase the population of that neighborhood and create demand for a quality walking route into Downtown. 
4. Retain & Promote Safe, Authentic Neighborhoods - The Northeast Loop area features connections to Columbus Park via Charlotte Street and to Paseo West via Admiral, 8th, 9th, and 10th Streets. Continuing on Admiral Blvd leads one to the Historic Old Northeast area of the city. Giving downtown residents an inviting connection to these resurgent areas would be beneficial to all neighborhoods involved. 
5. Promote Sustainability - The gentle grade of eastbound Admiral, its excess capacity, and connections to existing bike routes on both Grand & Woodland make it a logical choice for a bike route between the neighborhoods listed above. A quality bike route would encourage people to use this sustainable mode of transportation to travel between these areas. By simplifying transit routing through two-way street conversions, transit becomes more attractive to people who might otherwise drive. 

Recognizing that PIAC funds are finite each year and this is an ambitious project, we have laid out the following phases to allow the City to begin making upgrades immediately while scheduling later phases for following years when they are more feasible for financial or policy reasons. 

Phase 1 – Enhance the Bike KC Network: Sign Admiral Boulevard as the official bike route between Downtown and the Northeast. Reconfigure traffic lanes between Locust and Woodland to include bike lanes. Add bike facilities to 6th Street between Grand and Charlotte until Admiral Blvd can be converted to two-way between Locust and Grand. Install one or more bike share stations in the project area. 
Phase 2 – Inform & Entice Pedestrians with Walkability Improvements: Improve pedestrian connectivity between Downtown and Columbus Park by closing the sidewalk gap on 6th
Street in the block west of Charlotte. Add underpass lighting to I-70 over Charlotte to create an attractive link between Downtown and Columbus Park. Add pedestrian way-finding signs to the area. 
Phase 3 – Finish the Conversion of Admiral to a Complete Street: Add bike lanes along the remainder of the corridor. Improve pedestrian crossings along Admiral, specifically along the north side of the intersection with Oak & Locust. Convert to two-way between Locust and Grand. 
Phase 4 – No More One-Ways: DNA understands that it is the intention of KCMO Public Works to delay any further two-way conversions until after the completion of the downtown streetcar line. Once that project is complete, Admiral Blvd, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Streets should be converted to two-way streets. 

Quality Hill Lighting Improvements 
The Downtown Neighborhood Association supports the repair, upgrading and expansion of street lighting in the historic Quality Hill neighborhood. 

Reconstruction of Walnut Street Through City Market
DNA supports the reconstruction of Walnut Street as a city street through City Market in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We believe re-establishment of a through, bi-directional route for all traffic will enhance access to the Market on weekdays and conform to the goals laid out by the Greater Downtown Area Plan. We understand the need to close the interior of the Market to traffic on weekends, but believe the addition of through traffic during weekdays will enhance the visibility and viability of businesses located in the interior market buildings.

Reconstructing Walnut will mend a hole in our city's street grid; northbound travel is impossible between Grand and Wyandotte - a gap of four blocks. Southbound travel is only possible on one street in that stretch. This creates more traffic on Third and Fifth streets as drivers are forced to make longer trips to either through street. Walnut offers a direct route between Second Street and the heart of Downtown. Allowing Walnut to function as intended would remove traffic from Grand (allowing for more efficient streetcar and bus operations) and Wyandotte (making way for possible future bike lanes). The street grid is the circulatory system of a city and this project will be a key boost to its health.

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