Another Stroll Through Downtown and the Crossroads

Kansas City could learn a lot from Chicago and most other cities, including Wichita and Manhattan.


By Joe Sweeney


I’m often amused to read national rankings of cities so out of whack with reality they boggle the mind of anyone who has ever lived in or visited those cities.

Last month, for instance, a survey by livability.com named Manhattan, Kansas the second most livable city in America, beating out the likes of Santa Cruz, Madison, and Palo Alto. That same month, however, Business Insider named Manhattan the “most boring city in Kansas.” That same survey named Wichita the “most exciting” city in Kansas, perhaps the first time the word “exciting” was used in the same sentence as “Wichita”, but congratulations, nonetheless.

Results like these make me wonder about the sources and methodologies behind these surveys and how they come to fruition. It seems like it would make more sense if someone who actually lived in the city created a survey and nominated his own city for placement on that list.

Readers of this magazine know I’ve spent my life promoting Kansas City. After some recent experiences, I can con-jure up one ranking in which Kansas City has earned the nation’s top spot—“Most Incoherent Cities in America.” These are the cities in which the left hand has the least idea what the right hand is doing.

For years Chicago administrators required much of its public transportation, taxis included, to drive past the city’s places of interest, McCormick Place in particular. This effort has as much to do with promoting Chicago’s convention business and tourism and other assets as it does with moving people, and it works both ways.

I suspect most of our readers would agree that Sprint Center is one of those assets Kansas City would do well to pro-mote. One challenge, of course, is getting people to and fro.

One recent Friday Michelle and I caught a ride from a friend who dropped us off as close to the Power & Light District as we could get. Parking we knew would be more challenge than we needed. Once there, we joined the good folks from Phillips 66 at Cleaver & Cork for a pre-game event and afterwards walked to Sprint Center for the KU-K-State game. 

Michelle and I happened to be going to the Three Dog Night Concert at Ameristar that same night, but we were able to catch most of the game. We hoped to catch a cab back to the Ingram’s office about a mile away where we left our car. 

When exiting Sprint Center, however, we noticed that Grand Boulevard was closed to traffic. We walked across the bridge over I-70 hoping to catch a taxi on the other side. None in sight. We then walked west on Truman Road to Main Street hoping to catch the Streetcar, but the Streetcar apparently doesn’t stop at Truman Road. 

Before I go on I should mention that although I could use the exercise, I’ve had three complete hip replacements in the last two years, including a major reconstructive surgery. Walk-ing distances is a wee bit difficult. Actually a little bit more than a wee bit. I should also say that, for a variety of reasons, we’re not Uber people.

Our walk continued south on Main and towards the next streetcar stop. The doors to the streetcar, remained closed when we arrived and a minute later the vehicle slowly pulled away. I can’t imag-ine the driver not seeing a chunky guy waving his arms and limping at a trot like Chester in the old Gunsmoke series. “Mr. Dillon, wait!”

Mr. Dillon didn’t wait. He left us on the damn platform. The next station was on 18th Street, which would do us no good as our office is halfway between 18th Street and the stop after that, Union Station. At least we subsidize Sweaty and frustrated, we finally walked back to our car and drove away.

On a bright note, I fit in at Ameristar with other chunky elders to see Three Dog Night perform in its 50th year, which by the way was my first concert, and I pray to God, not my last.

As I reflect on this experience, I wondered whether the left-handers who built Power & Light and Sprint Center ever had a water cooler chat with the right-handers who manage KC’s transportation. If they did, it is not at all obvious. 

 

About the author

joesweeneysig

Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher

JSweeney@Ingrams.com

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