The study team will first establish a baseline traffic count and map traffic patterns of the existing bridge, highway and road network.
With input from residents, stakeholders, neighborhood groups, governments and transportation officials, study participants will define, map and model a series of long-term alternatives.
Initial cost estimates will be developed for each alternative to help compare and evaluate future choices.
The study team will also produce a set of reasonable near-term improvement alternatives that could be implemented over time using a phased approach. These improvements will attempt to preserve future long-term options for the project.
At the beginning of a major study like Beyond The Loop, a "Purpose and Need" document is required to clearly identify the criteria by which any proposed alternatives will be judged. This is a "living" document and may be updated throughout the study as additional data, analysis, and public input is collected and completed.
In 2015, MARC formally adopted their metropolitan transportation plan for greater Kansas City - Transportation Outlook 2040. The updated transportation plan provides a policy framework for the investment of federal, state, and local funds based on anticipated needs and regional goals and objectives.
The regional transportation vision established in the plan and carried forward into this PEL study is:
A safe, balanced, multi-modal transportation system that is coordinated with land-use planning, supports equitable access to opportunities, and protects the environment.
From that transportation vision and in-line with the overarching transportation objectives of the region, the Beyond the Loop PEL study needs have been identiﬁed and include:
On two days in the fall of 2016 the project team sent helicopters above Kansas City's Downtown Loop. High-definition video was taken to track traffic movements into and out of the Loop. The data, taken once in the morning rush hour and once in the evening rush hour, helps the team to understand how traffic moves through the Loop, where it turns and travels. For those passing through the Loop, the data cannot tell us where each vehicle's starting origin or final destination was, but it does give the team an idea of how residents, commuters, businesses, and freight use the Loop. This data is a snapshot in time that - along with other data - will help to ensure the projects traffic models accurately reflect current movements in the Loop. As we begin to look at alternatives, this data will help to better understand what effect each alternative may have on traffic movements around the Loop and throughout the region.
We also know good ideas can come from anywhere. Below is a link to the single-day, morning and evening-peak hour traffic data captured last fall. A few notes on the online tool:
The online data visualization dashboard can be found here >> (You can find the data layers by clicking the orange circle at the bottom of the page-the default is to show "Total Traffic Counts").
This data visualization works best with Google Chrome or Firefox browsers.
Beyond the Loop held a scenario planning workshop to kick off the project. Nearly 160 community stakeholders and members of the public gathered at the Downtown Library to participate and share their thoughts on the future of the region. Participants came from downtown, Kansas City, Kansas and the Northland and contributed to the project both in small groups and with live polling. The information gathered will assist the project team as it drafts "Purpose and Need" and begins to identify alternatives that will help the region achieve the future it desires.
Will the study recommend one strategy over the others?
No. The focus of this study is to identify a series of feasible alternatives. While there is no limit to the number of alternatives that can be suggested, the study will help narrow these options using in-depth analysis and modeling.
What does PEL mean?
The Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) process was established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to provide a more efficient process of evaluating a full range of transportation concepts and identifying preferred improvements. This process allows early planning decisions to be carried forward and speed up future National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) activities.
The NEPA process is how FHWA determines if a project is eligible for federal funding. A NEPA study examines safety, engineering, neighborhood and community impacts before recommending a preferred alternative to move forward. The PEL study will give the region a head start on the NEPA process that will be required later.
Alternatives studied as part of the PEL process do not have to be financially constrained — that is, it’s not necessary to spell out exactly where the money for future improvements will come from in a PEL study. The PEL process also allows for a longer time horizon to eventually move to project funding and construction.
Baseline traffic counts, mapping, and analysis are underway.
Initial alternatives are identified and modeled.
Results of modeling are presented to public for refinement and comment.
Final set of alternatives are modeled, cost estimated, and analyzed. Final document is prepared.
Final document is available for public comment and prepared for submittal.