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Charlotte-Douglas Airport (CLT) Expansion

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22 minutes ago, JacksonH said:

I WISH it were going to the airport.  As someone who travels to cities with trains from the airport, which I almost always use, I think it may be a mistake for it not to go directly to the airport.  The plans are for the "airport" stop to be on Wilkinson Blvd., rather than at the airport, and then a "conveyance" to take passengers from there to the airport.  I don't know exactly what they mean by conveyance.  Whatever it is, I hope it's a really easy transition from the Silver Line to that conveyance and on to the airport.  Traveling is a big hassle, and people don't want to have to keep switching from one mode of transportation to another, while dragging their luggage along.  You want to be able to get to and from the airport as easily and directly possible.

I think, at best it would be like SFO, but I wonder if buses wouldn't just be enough.  The airport buses seem to work well circulating people for parking, not sure this would ever have enough traffic to justify the expenditure of a train people mover.

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46 minutes ago, JacksonH said:

I WISH it were going to the airport.  As someone who travels to cities with trains from the airport, which I almost always use, I think it may be a mistake for it not to go directly to the airport.  The plans are for the "airport" stop to be on Wilkinson Blvd., rather than at the airport, and then a "conveyance" to take passengers from there to the airport.  I don't know exactly what they mean by conveyance.  Whatever it is, I hope it's a really easy transition from the Silver Line to that conveyance and on to the airport.  Traveling is a big hassle, and people don't want to have to keep switching from one mode of transportation to another, while dragging their luggage along.  You want to be able to get to and from the airport as easily and directly possible.

Yea, I think the airport should take priority over South Park and such. I think that would be a good selling point to international and of state companies and people. 

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I guess I haven't been paying too close attention to the Silver line. Had no idea it was stopping short of the airport. That's really special.


Not so much stopping short, but bypassing the terminal. The airport station will be on Wilkinson Blvd where passengers would connect to the planned airport people mover to shuttle them to the terminal. Kinda similar to the way the light rail works at PHX. Silver line continues past the airport to Belmont. I think it’s a wasted opportunity. A direct connection to the terminal is so much more desirable imo. I’ve heard that the cost/feasibility of crossing back and forth over the freight tracks is part of the reason for this indirect routing but I don’t know how legitimate that concern is. Also not sure how much the airport’s desire to protect parking revenue plays into it.
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9 minutes ago, TCLT said:

Not so much stopping short, but bypassing the terminal. The airport station will be on Wilkinson Blvd where passengers would connect to the planned airport people mover to shuttle them to the terminal. Kinda similar to the way the light rail works at PHX. Silver line continues past the airport to Belmont. I think it’s a wasted opportunity. A direct connection to the terminal is so much more desirable imo. I’ve heard that the cost/feasibility of crossing back and forth over the freight tracks is part of the reason for this indirect routing but I don’t know how legitimate that concern is. Also not sure how much the airport’s desire to protect parking revenue plays into it.

 

You would also have to elevate the route or bury it as you approach the terminal. You might be able to build a station where the current Daily North parking lot is located and then passengers could take a shuttle from there to the terminal. But if you have to transfer anyhow, might as well leave the station on Wilkinson. 

Other than burying the station right up against the terminal, I don't think above ground is an option with the new elevated roadway being constructed and rental car deck / counters taking up all the terminal frontage within walking distance of check in / security. 

Edited by CLT2014
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I always conceived the line coming to the airport elevated between the parking garages, a line in and a line out sort of V shaped, coming in, dropping off, heading to Belmont, and the reverse.  Also, the Belmont leg might be limited to 6 am - 10 am, 4 pm - 7pm with limited service on the off hours.

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2 hours ago, JacksonH said:

How long is all that going to take versus a 15 minute ride in a car?

7 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

An important challenge for running transit to CLT is that the airport is already so close.

The more I think about it the more I agree with this unfortunately. On the one hand, running the train directly to the terminal might be the only way to truly make the light rail a competitive option. But on the other hand it still would really only be competitive  for people who are starting or ending their journey along the silver line (and maybe at close in areas on the blue line if frequencies are increased). Uber/Lyft is about a $15/15 minute ride almost anywhere in center city, so is it really worth dealing with the infrequent schedule and one or more transfers? And any business travelers coming into Charlotte would be able to expense rental cars/parking/taxi rides anyway so you've just lost a good portion of the travelers for whom a transit connection to center city would make sense. So as much as I think running the train directly to the terminal is the right way to do it, maybe the expense it would take just isn't worth it. Plus putting the station at Wilkinson makes the development of an airport gateway district more likely and gives the airport more incentive to develop the people mover to connect the parking decks, rental car center, future hotel, and light rail to the terminal and eliminate most of the need for the airport shuttle buses.

10 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

Providing reliable access to local, daily riders is a far higher priority

I think this is the right conclusion.

 

I wonder what the ridership predictions are for this line, both in total and airport o/d passengers.

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I live near Park Road Center and it is a 15-17$ Lyft/Uber to CLT off-peak. Door to door in 18 minutes.

32 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

An important challenge for running transit to CLT is that the airport is already so close. Ride sharing is so cheap that it will be extremely difficult to compete on a cost basis. DEN is a much further drive, so $2 train fare vs a $40 uber ride is suddenly much more attractive, despite the inherent hassle of luggage on public transit. 

I'm certainly not saying that CLT shouldn't factor into prominent transit access, but I really don't think it should be the tail wagging the dog. Providing reliable access to local, daily riders is a far higher priority IMO. 

 

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42 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

An important challenge for running transit to CLT is that the airport is already so close. Ride sharing is so cheap that it will be extremely difficult to compete on a cost basis. DEN is a much further drive, so $2 train fare vs a $40 uber ride is suddenly much more attractive, despite the inherent hassle of luggage on public transit. 

I'm certainly not saying that CLT shouldn't factor into prominent transit access, but I really don't think it should be the tail wagging the dog. Providing reliable access to local, daily riders is a far higher priority IMO. 

I agree with all of this and I have seen tons of data which shows that airports are not great traffic generators for transit in cities that have good connections.

Having said that, a good airport-transit connection is REALLY important for the type of growth that Charlotte is trying to attract. If you look at the last few big scores Atlanta has made (Mercedes comes to mind) most of them have touted airport transit access as a big part of their decision. While this connection is more critical in Atlanta due to their traffic, I would remind all of us that the airport transit connection is a headline item that knowledge firms look at. They don't really give a crap about how long it takes, and they may not even use it, but they really want to know that connection is there.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, kermit said:

I agree with all of this and I have seen tons of data which shows that airports are not great traffic generators for transit in cities that have good connections.

Having said that, a good airport-transit connection is REALLY important for the type of growth that Charlotte is trying to attract. If you look at the last few big scores Atlanta has made (Mercedes comes to mind) most of them have touted airport transit access as a big part of their decision. While this connection is more critical in Atlanta due to their traffic, I would remind all of us that the airport transit connection is a headline item that knowledge firms look at. They don't really give a crap about how long it takes, and they may not even use it, but they really want to know that connection is there.

 

 

When the old control tower comes down, why not have a station there.  Then it's just a short walk to the terminal.

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On 9/22/2019 at 12:44 PM, Miesian Corners said:

The power lines in the image with the "CLT" are a nice touch. I'm glad they're at least being honest.

Besides the power line, the entire sculpture thingy looks exceptional.  Maybe one day I'll be able to see it. 

Edited by Ric0_0

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12 hours ago, Matthew.Brendan said:

I guess I haven't been paying too close attention to the Silver line. Had no idea it was stopping short of the airport. That's really special.

Isn't that were the people mover will go? 

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The thinking on the Wilkinson site for the station is that is where the Airport North development will be focused, to allow for  hotels, meeting space, offices, etc. to be built there, adjacent to the airport and be transit supporting.   This development will also give the route points to help it get funded, even though of course it will be mainly built due to the airport.  But those developments will help spur visitors staying at the airport without a car to hop on the rail to down town for restaurant and other meeting options. 

 

My guess and hope would be considering all options for moving around on the airport grounds, as they need to also consider their parking customers  in addition to the rest.   I like the very long fast-moving travelator / moving sidewalk systems they have in some airports to move long distance, without the need to wait for a train or shuttle.  But if they do a people mover, I suspect they will eventually shift to a looping route to drop at the new A and Main or various stops closer to the individual terminal entrances.  The central spine will be hard to reserve for this purpose. 

But for now, the master plan still has the people mover down the central spine, as it was last planned in the 2010 master plan.  I'm guessing they will refresh that master plan and will start to review how to include the A Extension entrance and other new considerations. 

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So can someone help me understand 'people mover'?  Like a moving walkway, like flat escalator? Or like a tram?

Its a long way from Wilkinson to the airport terminal?

 

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6 minutes ago, t_money said:

So can someone help me understand 'people mover'?  Like a moving walkway, like flat escalator? Or like a tram?

Its a long way from Wilkinson to the airport terminal?

 

Think subway. CLT does need a better way to connect remote lots and (before long) to other terminals.

While it seems ridiculous to spend 100s of millions on a stand alone, small area, transit system, it makes political sense. The airport has plenty of money for this and it would be a decent investment. Using airport cash for CATS transit would raise a bunch of eyebrows among the folks who attempted to steal the airport a few years ago. At least the people mover will allow CATS to run a speedier route to Belmont.

 

image.thumb.png.0c02917e5afe19c7ae71ae9acc55a84f.png

 

 

Edited by kermit
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8 hours ago, dubone said:

The thinking on the Wilkinson site for the station is that is where the Airport North development will be focused, to allow for  hotels, meeting space, offices, etc. to be built there, adjacent to the airport and be transit supporting.   This development will also give the route points to help it get funded, even though of course it will be mainly built due to the airport.  But those developments will help spur visitors staying at the airport without a car to hop on the rail to down town for restaurant and other meeting options. 

IIRC, isn't the plan to replace the Long Term Lots with closer in decks?  That would allow more to be built south of Wilkinson too.  If all goes right, this could be a pretty hot area outside the central core.  I think that is worth more than kneecapping the Belmont/Gastonia possibility by ending the line at the airport.

56 minutes ago, kermit said:

Think subway. CLT does need a better way to connect remote lots and (before long) to other terminals.

While it seems ridiculous to spend 100s of millions on a stand alone, small area, transit system, it makes political sense. The airport has plenty of money for this and it would be a decent investment. Using airport cash for CATS transit would raise a bunch of eyebrows among the folks who attempted to steal the airport a few years ago. At least the people mover will allow CATS to run a speedier route to Belmont.

 

image.thumb.png.0c02917e5afe19c7ae71ae9acc55a84f.png

 

 

It just strikes me how similar in layout SFO and CLT are.  Not that the line to SFO doesn't present its own issues, but  a people mover will eventually make sense at CLT regardless as it builds out.

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