Bus stop near Kauffman Stadium named one of America’s sorriest

Kansas City “advanced” to the finals of a Sorriest Bus Stop in America tournament sponsored by a news site that covers transportation and livable communities.

The site, Streetsblog, asked readers to submit “forlorn bus stops to call attention to the daily indignities and dangers that bus riders have to put up with.” A stretch of the Blue Ridge Cutoff near the Truman Sports Complex was nominated by Streetsblog reader Brian Curran, who included this summary of his experience:

On top of being next to what’s effectively a highway, the stop is very poorly lit and next to impossible to find after a game (or for any other reason, with the lack of a sign). The nearest crosswalk is up at East Red Coat Drive. Coming to a game on the bus in the other direction, police had to stop traffic so my family could cross the 4+ lanes of cars, and then we had to walk across a giant parking lot and a few grassy areas to get to the stadium.

Curran, 30, is a Boston resident who visited Kansas City with his mother and sister last year. The main purpose of the trip was to check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Curran tells The Pitch.

Curran and his relatives did not rent a car, a brave choice given Kansas City’s limited public transportation system. They took the No. 47 bus to a Royals game after eating at Gates on Main Street. Once they stepped off the bus, they had to surmount the challenges the stadium complex presents to anyone who arrives in anything other than a private automobile. “They clearly didn’t really think about anybody taking public transportation to attend anything that’s happening at the stadium,” Curran says.

Officials at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority acknowledge that the bus stops near the stadiums are deficient. “The real challenge is the pedestrian environment, i.e. sidewalks,” KCATA spokeswoman Cindy Baker says in an email. “Even a better bus stop (which there should be, agreed) needs the support of pedestrian access.”

Baker says the KCATA has had discussions with the city about building sidewalks at the sports complex, but there are no immediate plans. Sean Demory, a spokesman for the city’s public works department, says the city applied last year for federal funding to improve pedestrian access at transit stops. The request was not funded.

Jackson County owns the land on the stadium side of the Blue Ridge Cutoff. In 2006, the county, the Chiefs and the Royals agreed to new leases that asked taxpayers to provide $475 million for stadium renovations. The county officials who worked on the deal did not think to make sidewalks and other pedestrian-minded improvements part of the bargain, however. As a result, people who take public transportation to the games have experiences like the one Curran described. (The teams keep most of the parking money and are presumably happy to see as many cars and trucks as the stadium lots can handle.)

As for the sorriest bus stop tournament, Kansas City’s entry met a bus stop in Silver Spring, Maryland, in the finals. Streetsblog’s readers decided that the Silver Spring bus stop was the easy winner.

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