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Everything posted by MZT

  1. I must have eaten at Roasting Company (next door) a hundred times. I often wondered how Smokehouse stayed open, because there were so few customers in it. Nor did I ever go in, myself. The place just looked so frumpy and worn.
  2. Montford would benefit with a little more attention-grabbing entrances. I'm suprised the shops on it do as well as they have. I think the only reason I'm even aware of what's on it, was from parking in the Ghazi center and wondering what was going on "over there" (sounds from Angry Ale's etc.) At least it succeeds better than the back side of Park Road shopping center. (For those of you aware, that there are indeed more shops behind it.)
  3. I've thought for quite a while that the monthly passes needed a redesign. The 2008 and 2009 ones looked so much the same month-to-month. I figured they'd start alternating colors monthly like many cities do with bus passes - but it looks like they're sticking with the dark green, just making the month of the pass a larger font.
  4. I've never thought of him as the Santa guy... but I know who you're talking about. He gets confused sometimes telling us whether we're on the northbound or southbound train, LOL Two others that are recognizable are the younger sounding driver that cajoles people to "watch out for the doors" in a happy-sounding voice. Another one with a "black" voice is tougher on passengers to "hurry up and get in" - and he'll turn on the exterior megaphone too, and warn people not to smoke on the platform or cross in front of the train.
  5. I think it bears noting that the serious development on the existing corridor has been taking place north of Scaleybark. If the same pattern holds true on the externsion, the development will fill in towards NODA but not much will change beyond that. I own 3 rentals near the Archdale station - and none of my tenants moved there to be close to light rail. They just liked the neighborhood, know people nearby, and preferred being close to South Boulevard for quick access to shopping. I don't think we're yet at the point, where the presence of a rail line affects people's decisions outside of being a few stops from uptown.
  6. I'm surprised it took Circuit City this long to fail. The flies have been circling that chain for 15 years or more. Empty and re-used Circuit City stores are like re-used Pizza Huts... can't mistake'em.
  7. While I was on my train home tonight, they had added another announcement ... Something like "Thank you for riding the LYNX, we hope you enjoyed your trip" both in English and Spanish at every station stop. I thought it was repetitive and annoying. While I may sound like a curmudgeon, I do think a case can be made that when a recorded announcement at each stop is the same, people begin to mentally tune out, and it loses overall effectiveness. Just stick to announcing the stops, please. If they really want to run the thank you blurb, just do it at CTC, and 485.
  8. I can't imagine there being political will to increase parking fees during a recession. City leaders might even consider reducing them, to entice more people to consider driving in from the suburbs. I remember seeing that tried during the 1990s recession in California by some valley towns.
  9. With the exception of the "kink" to get the train onto UNCC (in order to avoid "wetlands"), that looks like a better station alignment than was originally proposed. They're relatively evenly spaced apart and near major intersections.
  10. The county doesn't usually hold tax sales unless the property is abandoned and derelict. If the property is in decent shape, they just let the bills and interest pile up. After all, somebody someday will pay them, and the bills collect interest at a nice rate (12% or 18%, I think). It's just additional expense for the county to process a tax sale, when they can just be patient. I have seen examples of five and six years of tax bills piling up on properties... The tax bills are senior to any mortgage. What tends to happen in most cases is that when tax bills are overdue, the mortgagee isn't being paid either, and will begin foreclosure proceedings. If the property is foreclosed, then the bank owns it - and they'll pay the taxes at some point, in order to clear title for a buyer.
  11. As a daily rider, I don't feel like the trains move too slowly near/in uptown. I do get a little annoyed seeing the train stop at Carson street for nobody to get on or off. Whenever the Simpson's lighting site and TV14 parking lots get redeveloped, I suppose this will change.
  12. This seems to be the mall nobody talks about. But I stopped by there on Saturday. With all the gloomy retail news I was curious to see how that was panning out locally. It was kind of odd. The parking lots were crammed with cars, and some people circling around trying to find spots. But the mall didn't really feel all that full of people. Lines at the food court were short, plenty of places to sit. Maybe it was just lots of individual shoppers, not cars full of families coming? Anyway, this area has changed quite a bit if you have not been by here. It's starting to look like "Pineville North". The construction on 485 really obscures this mall, now. They badly need some signage to tell motorists where to get off 77.
  13. http://www.pbn.com/stories/36260.html With the way things have been going for General Growth, be glad they never started real construction. It'd be "The Park" on a grand scale! At least the site is just cleared land.
  14. One thing that has been shown (repeatedly and over years) - is that reporters in Charlotte are quite willing to write puff pieces attempting dispel rumors about projects in jeapardy. Regardless of "intent" or "interest" ... I would say this is going to remain vacant land for another 5 years or more.
  15. Honestly I see most of this as a wash. CATS stumbled out of the gate, but so do a lot of large infrastructure projects. We haven't bet set back deeply. The Federal agencies will be seeing new appointments over the next 4 years and some of the bitter taste will recede. Obama campaigned in Charlotte personally and won N.C. by a narrow margin. Yes there will be more competition for whatever Washington can offer, but I don't see our region as one that will be brushed aside easily.
  16. I wondered if this thread had lit up again. We're inching ever closer to the moderator's prediction of a billion dollars. As for the fare-skippers, I have seen two inspectors get on a train at once and check from both ends. Sometimes they get on at 7th street and wait until Stonewall to begin. CATS probably isn't worried about people getting free rides between Stonewall and Seventh. After all, the Gold Rush is free inside 277, (and weren't the regular busses free inside it for a time?)
  17. NC's more lenient city expansion brings it's own problems. My mother worked for a city planning department in N.C. and had stories to tell me about developers walking with with subdivision plans, egging the city to extend services there. Sometimes it didn't make much sense for the city financially to be leapfrogging, but they'd do it because the city council felt that it's important to "keep growing". Maintaining that extended infrastructure results in higher taxes a few decades down the road, but the builders "made theirs" and are outta the picture. Sometimes the city would mandate that the builders construct more of the initial infrastructure, but of course it's always minimum possible spec, and does not last as long - so the improvements needed get borne by future tax payers too. There probably should be some middle ground between NC and SC's approaches to annexation.
  18. For anyone that hasn't been to this side of town in a while, you may be very let down if you drive along Sharon Amity, Central, or Albemarle now. The number of empty store fronts, weedy lots, and check cashing places just keeps creeping up. Even driving east past WT Harris on Albemarle is discouraging - it seems nice at first, since it's mostly greenscape. Old homes on large lots... but look closer and you realize they are turning into rentals. Fraying shutters, cars parked in the grass, bent gutters, overgrown shrubs and boarded-up windows on these properties. Bleah. If this keeps up, we will be discussing east side in similar terms to Freedom Blvd or Graham avenue in a few more years. The mall itself looks pretty pitiful. Maybe 3 rows of cars parked in front on a Sunday afternoon.
  19. Normally the dual trains alternate with singles. I often let a single go by, and wait for the next one. It's only 7 minutes during rush hour, what the hey. (There does seem to be an exception to this around 4:30 to 5:00 when they put more doubles in sequence to handle rush hour.)
  20. Some of the stations are going to be tough to expand for 3 trains. Stonewall comes to mind. Maybe they won't do it at every station... Stonewall is pretty lightly used.
  21. So, how much money would the MTC ask the Feds for, in order to complete the blue line? 50% of it... 300 million or so? Paulson is asking the Congress to approve a 700 billion dollar bailout. That is 1167 fully funded blue lines at 600 million each. Every state could get 23 of them. Instead, that money will be buying out vinyl village ghost towns and empty shopping centers.
  22. Sometimes Sears outlets are small... Charlotte could support two. I lived off South Blvd / Archdale for a while and did not consider Eastland "close".
  23. I predict it won't change for 20 years or more. North Carolina still has "dry" counties and liquor-by-the-drink still fails sometimes when a county puts it up for a vote. I've always thought state lotteries were stupid, but look how long that battle took - to get one the of the stingiest lotteries in the USA. We don't have a legislature that likes to tinker with the status quo.
  24. Walking several blocks in Sacramento, Los Angeles or San Diego never seemed unusual to me in order to find cheap parallel parking on the streets. If your car is old, you are more inclined to give it a chance. It's not such an unusual thing. Definately watch the posted "# of hours" signs, though.
  25. It's just a busy area. You have traffic shooting off 277, and it's a 4 lane road, and a short block to boot. It probably won't be long before left-turn escapes are needed, to enter the parking from Charlottetowne. I already mentally think of the left lanes as turning lanes now, because of the likelyhood someone will want to stop there and wait in the road. The right lane is safer as a "through" lane even if you're going west and want to turn south onto Kenilworth.
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