Podcast

Speaking of Design Ep. 4: Kansas City, Here We Come! Hop Aboard the KC Streetcar

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The people of Kansas City love the new KC Streetcar, and you’ll find the vehicles packed on a beautiful summer day. But the idea of building a modern streetcar faced questions and doubts from business owners and residents in a city without rail transit since the 1950s. To get the concept on the rails, the project team played had to educate, listen and collaborate to design a streetcar the community would support. The result? Today, many of those initial skeptics are singing its praises — in some cases literally.

Featured on this Episode

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Christopher Kinzel

Christopher Kinzel followed his father’s footsteps into traffic engineering. After working for his dad’s consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area to begin his career, Christopher ventured to the Midwest, where he has called Kansas City home for nearly 20 years. Today, he is a traffic and transportation planning section manager and is currently researching how autonomous vehicles will affect transportation networks as part of the new HDR Fellowship Program. 

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Janet Gonzalez

Janet Gonzalez began her career with a different type of design. Before becoming a community planner, she worked in the world of fashion and design at Donna Karan. Since then, she’s made her mark on the transportation industry — named to Mass Transit Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list in 2015. Today, she serves as director for sustainable transportation at HDR, vice-chair for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Sustainability Committee, and a member of the Greenroads Board of Directors. In her free time, she volunteers with Metro Squash, an organization dedicated to after-school, academic support and college counseling for inner city middle- and high-school students on Chicago’s south side. More About Janet

Tom Gerend is the executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. Tom’s background is in city planning, and he’s a proud father of three.

David Johnson is Crossroads Community Association board member and passionate transit advocate. He is a resident of The Crossroads Arts District.

Sarah Darby is the owner of Bloom Baking Company in the City Market. She has enjoyed coming to City Market since her childhood.

Produced by Danny Sullivan and John Tourek. Special thanks to Jack Robertson for co-writing this episode. Additional thanks to Patrick Primm and Angie Ullman.
Music credits: Mr. Cheswick, Kevin Laurence and Mayor Sly James.

About Speaking of Design

There’s a story behind every structure in our world. Speaking of Design brings to life the engineering, architecture and science that create the world around us. The show centers on innovative infrastructure that makes cities more efficient, breathtaking architecture that changes the way we feel about our communities, and restoration of our natural resources to preserve them for future generations. Some of the most distinguished professionals in the industry join Danny Sullivan and John Tourek of HDR to bring you stories and sounds from the world of engineering, architecture and beyond.

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