KC Streetcar enjoyed a banner May: Ridership and expansion plans surged

streetccStreetcar advocates enjoyed a banner month of May. Let’s count the victories.

— As announced Friday, May’s ridership was 210,207.

That’s the second highest monthly count since downtown service began May 6, 2016. The largest number of passengers was 233,683 in July 2016.

We also can finally start to (almost) compare year-to-year numbers. May 2016 ridership was 169,275, or a rate of around 195,000 for a full month. That would be under what May 2017 saw.

— More than 6,000 ballot applications were turned in from people wanting to vote later this year on a proposed transportation development district. Eventually, voters could be asked to financially support a line that would go south from Union Station along Main Street to near┬áthe University of Missouri-Kansas City.

— Streetcar supporters held a meeting in late May to boost talk of a short expansion north from the City Market area to Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park.

— Finally, May 6 was the first anniversary for the streetcar, which carried its 2 millionth passenger shortly before that day — far faster than anyone had predicted.

Hurdles to building a bigger and better system remain, of course. As I noted last month, there are legitimate reasons not to get too cocky about things.

The northward and southward expansion proposals still need to be fully approved. Federal money for the southward extension especially could be difficult to get in the Trump administration.

Still, streetcar advocates correctly can keep crowing about all the positive stories that surround the 2.2-mile downtown line, including expanded economic development.