On a sunny Wednesday afternoon in November, people filled a shiny streetcar as it hummed through downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
Most of the 38 blue plastic seats were occupied. Several dozen more people stood. They held onto stainless steel poles, or to loops dangling from bars connected to the ceiling. Office workers talked about their lunch plans. Field-tripping high school students chattered.
Retirees Ona Ashley and her real-bearded Santa Claus husband, Roy Poe, took it all in as they stood in the middle of the crowd. They had driven in from the suburbs to try Kansas City’s new RideKC streetcar. They smiled through their glide through a revived downtown.
“It’s wonderful,” Ashley said.
“We would have loved to have this when we worked downtown,” Poe said.
“It feels,” Ashley said, “like we are progressing.”
Cities across the nation are similarly trying to go back to the future with a streetcar.