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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line


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#1821 InitialD

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:41 PM

This area of Tryon is so scary, they need to add ped bridges across Tryon or else nobody is going to want to use this station.

 

#1822 AuLukey

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 10:04 AM

I really love the UNCC entrance design. Adding a light for the LRT at the grade crossing point would really hurt the already congested traffic flow at this point during midday (while the university classes are changing) and during afternoon rush hour. That said, I would like to see less traffic flowing along this point, but that is already a lost cause. Having an extra light for the LRT to cross Tryon could alter traffic patterns back past the 29/49 connector.

As for the Tryon-Harris intersection. The once proposed traffic circle/park idea of burying Harris is a pipe-dream, but one I would fall in love with. It would improve so many things within this area, most specifically pedestrian safety. Alternately, they could bury Tryon and the LRT line and have the station underground with pedestrian tunnels coming out to each corner. I've seen designs like that in the suburbs of Sydney, AU.

How they would be able to construct either of these scenarios under present traffic conditions, I have no idea. There isn't room to temporarily divert traffic anywhere else. The bridge idea seems like the only feasible way to build this crossing.

Edited by aussie luke, 26 August 2009 - 10:05 AM.


#1823 southslider

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 10:19 AM

Trains crossing NB Tryon at-grade onto campus wouldn't require a signal, just gates, similar to to how trains now cross SB South Blvd between Freeland and Old Pineville. But better than the crossing on South Blvd, there would be a lot more space on N. Tryon for stacking of cars while the gates were down. And that's also essential, if Tryon is expected to carry nearly twice as many cars as South Blvd.

As for Harris & Tryon, the roadway grade-sep would more likely be a SPUI or compact diamond, instead of a circle, so as to minimize R/W impacts. However, since such grade-sep is unfunded, it's unlikely to be done prior to the BLE project. As a result, we may end up with the visual impacts of a LYNX bridge (sim to Woodlawn) over today's at-grade intersection and someday an even more unsightful tri-level grade-sep, where an at-grade Tryon would be in the middle of LYNX overhead and Harris underneath. Ideally, the roadway grade-sep would be constructed in conjunction with the transit project, so as to keep LYNX level with Tryon. And putting something below-grade (as Harris would be) is less of a visual impact. Still, I'm not sure how well crossing gates would work at a SPUI.

Edited by southslider, 27 August 2009 - 10:21 AM.


#1824 dubone

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 11:07 AM

I am intrigued by the concern about the visual impacts of Harris/Tryon intersection. Harris is 8 lanes (including turn lanes) and Tryon is 7 lanes. It is a massive swath of asphalt, so it is already the lowest level of urban aesthetics possible. A LRT bridge doesn't detract from that, it improves it, as it makes you think as you pass by that there is some hope for the area.

#1825 southslider

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 12:37 PM

^Very true, Dubone. Plus, there will not be a station at this wide intersection, or someday tri-level interchange. Rather, there are stations planned at McCullough to the south and JW Clay to the north. As a result, Harris-Tryon remains a pedestrian wasteland increasingly too difficult to fix. If nothing else, you would maybe see better crosswalks and treatments here similar to Woodlawn and South, from which the Woodlawn station is also a far distance.

It's likely too difficult to incent TOD at an interchange anyway. On the Southeast Corridor, there is no Eastway/Wendover station either, but ones either side of it, where development potential is stronger and/or abutting destinations (i.e. Coliseum) are more directly served. Up in the University area, the destinations for a walk-up (no park-and-ride) JW Clay station would likely be the hospital and University Place.

In the end, it seems mostly motorists would be looking at any bridges at this big intersection (or someday interchange). Granted, CMC-University, the Ghazi strip mall, and University Place may all still be concerned about their visibility from Harris and Tryon. But all they need to do then is focus their attention on other Tryon entrances, especially pedestrian-friendly ones north and south of this dead zone near stations. While everyone on Harris will be zipping by faster, hopefully Tryon will utlimately be calmed at its intersections, especially stations. But again, Harris is thankfully not a station.

#1826 tozmervo

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 03:15 PM

I believe CATS/the planners are having some difficulty with the JW Clay station location, so I would not be surprised to see the LRT plans around that area change quite a bit as the planning continues. One would hope that it would be closely coordinated with DOT plans to eliminate the intersection. I think tunneling Harris underneath Tryon ala Connecticut Ave could be a great move.

#1827 tozmervo

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 01:09 PM

Overheard on the train: "I think its really great, but its too bad it goes through all these poor areas."



le sigh.

#1828 Spartan

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:44 AM

That's ironic since historically non-poor neighborhoods fight transit investments because it will bring in poor people.

#1829 Charlotte_native

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:32 PM

Overheard on the train: "I think its really great, but its too bad it goes through all these poor areas."



le sigh.

Also ironic because one of the points used by the anti-transit tax anti-choo-choo people during the referendum battle was that it was being built to service the rich and go through rich areas. Never worry about having a debate with just the facts, huh? It was pointed out, though they never acknowledged it, that most of the line actually travels through middle income then low income areas.

#1830 orulz

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 07:40 PM

OK so no news but a random question.

So where the South line runs in the median of South Blvd near Scaleybark, all the cross streets are protected with gates and flashers, effectively giving the light rail signal priority over cars. As far as I can recall, there's nowhere along the entire line where a train ever has to wait for a car. It always has priority.

This plays a role in why the Charlotte light rail has had fewer accidents than, say, the line in Houston for example, which is entirely in the street and has few gates/flashers.

Now, the Blue Line extension will travel a great deal more distance in the median of Tryon. Will street intersections there similarly be protected by gates and flashers, and the trains given signal priority? Or is the Tryon Street right-of-way too narrow to allow this? Some light rail lines with on-street sections do not give the trains priority at intersections. For example, the Baltimore light rail. Through downtown, you spend a great deal of time stopped at red lights and it's actually quite maddening.

#1831 Spartan

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 11:12 PM

The trains will always have priority, but there are many more grade separations over major intersections in the northeast corridor than in the south. Starting at Old Concord Rd the train will be located in the center of North Tryon Street, and the road will have to be shifted to accommodate the two train tracks and the necessary travel lanes. As such, there will be ALOT of ROW purchased to reconstruct the road in the right place. The ROW and grade separations are one of the main reasons this project will be over $1 billion. Rebuilding several miles of N Tryon St will not be cheap.

These trains won't ever be in mixed traffic like Houston or Portland.

#1832 InitialD

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 06:25 AM

The trains will always have priority, but there are many more grade separations over major intersections in the northeast corridor than in the south. Starting at Old Concord Rd the train will be located in the center of North Tryon Street, and the road will have to be shifted to accommodate the two train tracks and the necessary travel lanes. As such, there will be ALOT of ROW purchased to reconstruct the road in the right place. The ROW and grade separations are one of the main reasons this project will be over $1 billion. Rebuilding several miles of N Tryon St will not be cheap.

These trains won't ever be in mixed traffic like Houston or Portland.


One thing I haven't seen so far is how the tracks will work with the planned redesign of (Future University) City Blvd interchange with Hwy 29/49. Flyover planned here? I'm guessing the bridges here are going to be replaced anyway?

#1833 southslider

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:43 AM

^The US-29/NC-49 "weave" is being redesigned to have at-grade, signalized intersections. The BLE will "flyover" both intersections of the newly rebuilt North Tryon at both I-85 connector and University City Blvd. The "University City Blvd." station, however, will be at-grade and located in between these two flyovers at a new signalized intersection, near where Stetson intersects North Tryon today.

#1834 InitialD

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:11 AM

On the BLE transition from Tryon to UNCC:

"Over the past several years, CATS has worked closely with UNC Charlotte officials in the planning and design of the LYNX Blue Line Extension (BLE) light rail project. The BLE project will serve the UNC Charlotte campus with multiple stations, including a station at JW Clay Blvd near the Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) and future football stadium, a station directly on campus along Cameron Blvd near the new Student Union, and a station at Mallard Creek Church Rd where the university is envisioning future university-related development.

During the first phase of preliminary engineering, CATS has worked with the university to design the alignment into the university’s campus to minimize the impact to the campus environment while providing a direct, efficient connection to the proposed station location along Cameron Blvd. CATS is also coordinating with the university’s update to its Campus Master Plan. As a result of this coordination, the university requested that CATS shift the alignment onto campus north to maximize the developable property on the CRI campus. CATS determined that this shift is feasible and would also eliminate the grade separation at the UNCC Research Dr. Light rail is now proposed to cross this intersection at-grade, then drop below the existing street elevation and cross under the northbound travel lanes of N. Tryon St. As the project moves forward, CATS will continue to coordinate with UNC Charlotte to develop a design that is integrated with the campus and provides convenient connections for students, faculty, and visitors."

Also, another small rendering of the tunnel under north bound lanes of Tryon: http://www.charmeck....umFall09Web.pdf

Edited by InitialD, 08 September 2009 - 09:12 AM.


#1835 tozmervo

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 10:38 PM

The August Ridership report:

"Ridership across all services decreased -12.2% for the month of August 2009 as compared to August 2008. All service categories decreased with regular bus routes down -11.2%, regional expresses down 30%, neighborhood shuttle down 20% and the LYNX Blue line down 12.7%. The Human Services Transportation category was up 8.4% for the month. System-wide the average daily ridership was over 80,700 per weekday and the LYNX system averaging over 14,600 weekday riders.

Analysis:
CATS continued to experience the negative effects of the recession across all service categories. Fuel prices were 40% higher in August 2008 as the region experienced the highest fuel costs at over $4.00 per gallon and fuel shortages. Layoffs conducted by many uptown and regional employers during the past 6 months, continue to have a negative effect on express and other routes ridership. LYNX weekday ridership maintained an average of over 14,500 while Saturday ridership dropped, mainly due to fewer pre-season home games this year. Route eliminations conducted since last year attributed to 1% of the drop in ridership YTD. Although ridership is down, the YTD results remain 19% higher than the first two months of Fiscal year 2008. Calendar days had no effect on results since August 2008 and 2009 had the same number of week and weekend days."

It was also noted in the meeting minutes that system-wide ridership is still 24% above ridership in 2007, I'm sure owing largely to LYNX.

#1836 Spartan

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 04:32 PM

CATS also made a lot of service cuts in terms of frequency. I wonder how much this impacts people's decision to ride transit? If the bus only comes every half hour it might deter choice riders.

#1837 dubone

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 06:14 PM

http://www.charmeck....090929BLEPM.pdf

I was out of town, but did anyone get to go to the series of BLE meetings last week? Here is the link to the presentation.

They are basically using both the 2016 date and the 2019 completion date, with the latter being the budget constrained date if the tax proceeds don't recover between now and then. With the inflation adjustments from that delay, the costs now go up another 200 million to $1.336 Billion.

This is also the first I have seen that they will add another maintenance yard for the BLE, and they plan to use the land freed up by the truck yards in Optimist Park. So there will be a whole lot more rails with the rail yard staying and the maintenance and storage yards there.

They will move the 27th Station to 25th Street south of the creek. That puts Parkwood and 25th quite close together. I hope there isn't a future update that they'll eliminate one of them. They are only 5 blocks apart and one side of their service area is dead land with the yards there.

The 36th Street station at NoDa will be moved to south of 36th to better coordinate with the high speed rail project and, as we already knew will be grade separated.

I believe they have changed the plan for a trench for the LRT and are now going at grade and then dipping to go under Tryon while entering UNCC campus.

They are updating the ridership projections and will get a new FTA rating review at that point.

#1838 Spartan

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 06:43 PM

I wouldn't be surprised to see 25th St Station value engineered out.

#1839 New Name

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:30 PM

I wouldn't be surprised to see 25th St Station value engineered out.



I think they should ditch 25th. Build Parkwood. And eventually build one at/near 12th Street (hopefully to change the use of 11th and 12th Street from merely feeder roads for I-277).

#1840 southslider

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:42 AM

The spacing of Parkwood and 25th is greater than any two of the three stations serving South End. Maybe this area will develop into a comparable "North End" (yes, I know that name is already being used over by Double Oaks). And since 25th is a center-platform station, it's likely not that easy to eliminate completely from the design.

More likely, there will still be a foundation built for a future platform, but it may not be completed on opening day, especially if its surroundings aren't yet changing. But if the area is at least transitioning by opening day, with just a few projects or even one significant project, I say open the station. That wouldn't be too much different from how New Bern currently feels with 3030 South sitting by itself.




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