Put Electric Streetcars in Topeka
Many citizens of Topeka want this town to be a haven for new enterprises, private sector employers, entrepreneurs and developers. Topekans want billions of dollars of economic development over the next several years. Citizens want to see their children able to work here, retire here and see their children do the same. We have a plan to accomplish this. It has been proposed to the City Council, Sustainability Board, and the City Transit Authority where it was well received. Similar plans are effecting 95 other US cities, and over the last decade have delivered so much success to numerous of these cities that expansions are being added to those efforts with federal transportation grants such as TIGER and SMALL STARTS contributing tens of millions of dollars to these projects. Although, responses to the presentation have been good, (see the red “News” button on this website), not a single grant application has been filled out since the initial presentation four years ago, and this a frustration to the local citizenry. We therefore must demand stronger leadership in city government to represent to people.
This petition demands the specific plan submitted by the Steel Rails Advocate--a 37-mile street railway system tying in all of Topeka’s best features to one continuous 2.5 hour non interrupted trip (no transfers required to complete the loop) with many themes, "hot spots" and people hangouts along the way. A day pass will allow stops and reboarding.
We will recapture the original Topeka theme “The Boston of the West” as a national marketing image and will attract developers and entrepreneurs to the alignment to invest billions of dollars here to promote this historic, arts and entertainment tourism theme built into the scaffold of the alignment. The billions invested here will occur within the first three years of the official announcement of the plan as a city project endorsed by the Mayor. This development will continue perpetually along the river front historic alignment of the proposed tracks. When the “loop” is finished, millions of dollars in economic development revenue will increase our consumer demand, tax base, and employment opportunity here to the level of once again being a “boom town”. (1890's see "Topeka Streetcar History" button). Many of unemployed Kansans will move here to gain stable employment or to seek entrepreneurial aspirations. These principles are sound and well explained on this website. This plan is specifically the Phase One, either (A) or (B) versions, explained in “Track Strategy” on the site. Please note that the proposal is not about a necessary alternative form of transportation to resolve time, distance, pollution, traffic congestion problems as in other larger cities, its simply not about transportation. We have a bus system that will do that and eventually be 100% green as hydrogen-cell technology drives our city buses. All the wonderful things that happen when electric street cars are incorporated as a tourism lure will be fringe benefits in Topeka, such as the pleasure and excitement of the smooth riding modern and vintage “streetcars” delivering us into many interesting themes (some existent and others will develop) with many parks and people hangouts for all age groups becoming optional stops.
The River Front Zephyr will be for tourism only while vintage streetcars, running in between the Zephyr, will be useful for the general public with more stops, more transfer stations, serving better the general public. Living in Topeka will become a higher art form for all age groups and income categories. This railway system will be the pride and joy of being a Topekan as it once was (see “Topeka Streetcar History” on the site). What a way to show off our town to out-of-town guests when they visit us. We will show them a panorama of all our best features minus our concrete jungles. Riding the streetcars will become a social event. The MAIN benefit will be economic development and reversing a bad trend in Topeka.
TOPEKAN'S HEREBY FORM A PLAN OF ACTION: For the last 75 years, the citizenry of Topeka has watched one of the five most progressive cities in America (1890-1910), Topeka, Kansas, along with its charismatic “Boston of the West” imagery given to us by our fore-fathers (which included CEO’s of the Boston Syndicate in the city of Boston, U.S.A.), dwindle down to bare bones with our disappearing skyline and the most beautiful turn-of-the century buildings of top notch architecture be demolished before our eyes and nobody able to stop this destruction. This trend was launched by the great streetcar railway scandal of the 40’s administered by General Motors and other affiliates to promote piston engine technology and sprawl when they bought up almost all streetcar railway companies in the United States and Canada and tore out the tracks. The great demolishing trend became a trend in Topeka--we became the worlds best experts on demolishing anything of beauty and historic value. We severed our links with all those great forefathers who are buried in our Topeka cemetery.
Now, the people of Topeka are taking their government back. We know that we are the government OF the people, BY the people and our government is FOR the people--not nine people and various social clicks who are convinced that they and they alone make our decisions for us.
OUR SPECIFIC PLAN OF ACTION:
1. Switch back to a strong mayor form of government with a city manager who answers only to the mayor where the mayor makes most all of the decisions with a unicameral council as the legislative branch.
2. Declare an emergency mode of government to run for at least three years (as we did in 1966 as a result of the famous F5 tornado). This emergency mode would suspend certain programs which can “free wheel” for three years. The revenue from economic development will reimburse these “pots” and these “fair weather” programs will be resumed at the end of the three years. This effort will support the goals of funding 200 million dollars over a ten-year plan without effecting the citizenry with increased taxes.
3. Allow the mayor to be Topeka’s “SAVIOR” and implement the Phase One street railway plan specifically as outlined by the Steel Rails Advocate as it voices the will of the citizens of Topeka. An official plan could be delivered by the Mayor before Christmas as the greatest Christmas present ever given citizens by a Mayor.
4. Pass laws to prevent any property owner the right to demolish a building of historical value just because they “own” it. Any land mark that is earmarked to be demolished must be granted by the citizenry first.
5. Save the old Morrell meat building and it’s associated water tower at the north end of Kansas Avenue on Crane Street, which is now owned by Hills Pet Foods (with no plans for the building whatsoever at the present time. A CEO interviewed said the city would like to see Hills demolish the building). The city would purchase the building and surrounding property and restore the building with a new calling, the beauty and pride of our River Front theme and serve as the main River Front Terminal for transportation of all sorts and the headquarters of the Street Railway System and a main terminal for the trolley system.
6. Abort any plans of wasting the taxpayer’s money on projects of no value to economic development--such as “jacking around” with Kansas Avenue downtown (referred to as the Capitol Improvement plan), spending millions on nothing. (These current plans will not comply with the type of redesign of the Avenue that will be the result of steel rails being installed on the Avenue, and most of the design work would have to be done over anyway–a total waste of millions of dollars. This waste must be aborted and we demand it.
7. Redirect existing moneys to apply to the Expo Center trolley demonstration track which would only cost about 4.5 million dollars (see "Track Strategy" button). This will make Topeka a national authority on streetcar technology, having free access to numerous manufacture's electric trolley equipment as they are placed here for demonstration, offering free rides to the general public on various technologies and hybrids of trolley cars as well as attract major conventions nationwide. It would spark an intense interest in an electric railway system in Topeka and educate the general public as well as city officials and engineers about the various technologies.
8. OUR JOB NOW is to require all politicians to support the Phase One track alignment project as it is proposed by the Steel Rails Advocate--EXACTLY--no comprises or routing streetcar rails to raise property values in front certain city officials houses etc. They must support the plan as is, as it is the only plan that will help the working class of people who must be sustained for many generations with financial stability. The plan must support tourism, not flaunt expensive, non historic properties in south Topeka. This would be reserved for Phase Two and Phase Three--totally funded by the Phase One installation--the revenue generating and economic development phase. Anything less will not be good enough, and will NOT be accepted by the general public. WE WILL HAVE THE POWER TO RECALL ANY POLITICIAN WHO, AFTER ELECTED, WILL NOT SUPPORT THE PLAN. AND WE WILL RECALL SUCH POLITICIANS. We’re set up to do just that. Especially if you sign this petition. (see item #7 of “Mission Statement”).
Signing the petition indicates that you have taken the first step--and maybe the final step, to see this plan executed.