KANSAS CITY, Mo. — KC Streetcar extension construction is underway, and it’s causing a headache for drivers and business owners.
Expected to be fully complete by 2025, crews are currently performing infrastructure and transit improvements to Main Street. Once the streetcar is in, officials say it is difficult to fix issues below the surface.
While drivers and business owners long for relief, the city says these improvements have been needed for quite some time.
“All of this will be done in 2025. We are doing it in sections. You will see towards Union Station, we are already cleared out of that area of those spots there. It’s going to be a couple of months in each little section here, and then it will be clear,” said Kansas City, Missouri, City Manager Brian Platt.
Laura Norris, Ragazza Food & Wine owner, can see the construction right outside her restaurant’s window at 43rd and Main streets.
She says she is excited the streetcar will eventually be right by her business, but current construction has contributed to a five to 10 percent loss of business.
While she notes the percentage could be worse, lost business is challenging nonetheless while navigating increased food prices and labor costs.
“We have 44th Street shut off, we have 43rd in both streets shut off, we have 42nd Street off. It makes it extremely difficult for us to be on this island and trying to serve people,” Norris said. “This is what it takes. It’s very difficult to do deliveries or people that do curbside pick-ups from here.”
Platt says he understands why businesses are upset. He went down to the restaurant on Wednesday to see the construction firsthand.
“We are doing what we can to minimize the traffic impacts,” Platt said. “We want everyone to come out and support these amazing businesses along Main Street. They are doing great, they are hanging in there. We are trying to get rid of all these headaches that would be going on for years, in a very small period of time. It’s a lot of coordination right now.”
In the meantime, Platt says the city is “working on ways to minimize closures and disruptions as much as possible”.
Norris hopes people will not avoid Main Street and instead choose to continue supporting small businesses.
“I hope they would take a little extra effort to look up where to park, to know it’s going to be a little bit tricky. Take the other streets as long as you can, basically, and come find us,” Norris said.
Below is a timeline of the KC Streetcar extension: