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CATS Long Term Transit Plan - Silver, Red, Airport Lines

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The best thing about the AC&W RR operationally is it branches off right where BLE starts to pick up speed. Plus, it pairs well with a future Airport branch that could follow either NS rail line paralleling Wilkinson reached via Stonewall/Carson or Woodlawn/Tyvola. Basically, service would operate every 5 minutes where the 10-minute Blue Line and Airport-Mint Hill Silver Line overlapped. If the east line came first, it could overlap just between 36th and New Bern, still adding service to South End.

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I'm pretty sure there isn't a wide enough ROW on the ACW for two tracks (especially at Herrin, 37th, Mercury). Now, if they rebuild the tracks (as is planned eventually to seal the corridor) to it arrives to the NCRR before Craighead, maybe... but I wonder there is enough ROW under the Sugar Creek & Plaza bridges for 2-wide tracks

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Just ask yourself one question.

Does ANY state transportation money ever seem to make it to Charlotte?

 

And theres your answer...

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I could see that as good news for the Gateway Station, but not a big difference for the Red Line. Unless part of that money is to build a parallel railroad next to the O-Line, or working out a deal with N-S. I'm still gunning for the Gateway Station, as that will be another major development for Third Ward and Uptown.

 

Just ask yourself one question.

Does ANY state transportation money ever seem to make it to Charlotte?

 

And theres your answer...

 

With the new funding model for transportation projects, I think a lot of that is going to change. Almost all of Charlotte's upcoming major projects have ranked higher than most other places in the state, save for the Triangle. The new system seems to favor data, rather than urban vs. rural. But we'll have to see.

 

Edit: Oh man, was this mentioned already? NCDOT is saying that one of the TIGER grants it was awarded, will help fund terminal projects in NC, like the Gateway Station. Were we just awarded money for the Gateway Station?!

 

https://apps.ncdot.gov/newsreleases/details.aspx?r=10305

Edited by Third Strike

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Stop it.  Stop it now.  You know daggum well that not nothin' is happening with Gateway Station and 1st Ward Park in the same week.

 

$200k towards Gateway...  

That will get 1/2 a report written by an outside consulting firm with redundant/repetitive information that we've all read and gone over for the past 3 years.

IMO, it would be better utilized by re-allocating it to the Cedar yard streetcar project. (Of course that can't and won't happen)

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^ the TIGER grant is NOT $200,000 for Gateway. Its $200,000 to study freight flows (mostly) the entire corridor between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Edited by kermit

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^ the TIGER grant is NOT $200,000 for Gateway. Its $200,000 to study freight flows (mostly) on the corridor between Charlotte and Raleigh.

 

 

Actually it's for transit connection planning:  "NCDOT will also receive $200,000 for the Piedmont Study, a multimodal corridor study to improve transit connections and multimodal linkages along the Carolinian and Piedmont rail lines."  It's classified as a Passenger Rail project by US DOT.

 

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Hahaha. So much for advertising standards to avoid damage to the CATS branding.

Incompetence is hilarious.

post-670-0-33547900-1415915036_thumb.jpg

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I think besides the gold line, a blue line extension to Ballantyne makes the most sense For the city to build next assuming that the city can work public/private with Pineville, Bissels/Ballantyne, and Carolina Place.

I know we've discussed this dozens of times and I'm not trying to resurrect the tired discussion. That's just the best, short and most congested area I can think of where it seems public/private coordination could work.

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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I think besides the gold line, a blue line extension to Ballantyne makes the most sense For the city to build next assuming that the city can work public/private with Pineville, Bissels/Ballantyne, and Carolina Place.

I know we've discussed this dozens of times and I'm not trying to resurrect the tired discussion. That's just the best, short and most congested area I can think of where it seems public/private coordination could work.

 

Agree with this, but it should branch from a station in South End (East/West?) and follow Park Rd on into Ballantyne

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Agree with this, but it should branch from a station in South End (East/West?) and follow Park Rd on into Ballantyne

I think you'd save about 10 miles of rail just extending from the 485 station.

... And avoid 10 miles of parallel light rail.

Edited by MilZ

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It is bizarre that it almost never came up in public discussion relating to the highly congested 485.   It was always just a "build the south 485 widening before the north completion" crap.  

 

A blue line extension to Ballantyne is unbelievably obvious, yet it has never gotten discussion anywhere public outside of Urban Planet.

 

 

The routing itself could be found through a standard transit study.   The Park Road idea would be almost instantly removed because it is too redundant with current Blue Line and would cannibalize ridership.   Extending the current Blue Line is almost certainly the way it would happen, with the initial section to Pineville just being the revival of the original design.  Then they can study the best route into the business center of Ballantyne:  

  • Edge of 485 right of way  (Most efficient route)
  • Median of a widened Lancaster Hwy
  • Going through the Carolina Place parking lots and the CMU poop-factory land
 

 

  

 

Really, CATS's long term plans are a joke at this point.  Those plans are almost 10 years old, before Youtube and Facebook existed :shok: .   Just a reminder on how all the other projects are basically dead in the water as currently designed:

 

Red Line:

  • Long known to have too low of ridership to meet the feasibility threshold for federal funds
  • Task Force to find local funds has been put on indefinite hold after the consultant report this year
  • Norfolk-Southern requiring separate parallel tracks means we have a line with costs closer to a light rail line
  • Express Lanes now planned means that express buses will be guaranteed a free-moving lane making rail hard to compete for time.  
  • The Red Line is dead until the point that population density is high enough for acceptable ridership levels

Silver Line:

  • BRT was always hated as a concept, but Express lanes with Express buses are virtually the same result but received far better by the community
  • NCDOT and the city are now pursuing an Express lane approach line 77 to convert and widen the rest of US74 to 485.
    • Reserving and building the lanes as transit-only is far outside the transit budget as it was also outside the far larger road budget)
  • The concept of converting the Independence land use to TOD has been consistently panned by both the community and consultants studies
  • The ridership numbers for the Southeast the corridor is not going to on US74.  

 

West Line:

  • Never had good ridership numbers, so it was always dead last for prioritization
  • Studies showed that streetcar on Wilkinson can't even compete for time with the Sprinter bus because of the lack of congestion
  • The momentum is to keep enhancing the Sprinter service

 

Gold Line Phase III:

  • Extending the streetcar on Central Ave and Beatties Ford has high ridership expectations, but does not provide any time savings over the current bus routes
  • Streetcar is hated as a concept by the community at large
  • Long streetcar lines have time reliability issues 
  • Politics have cause CATS's leadership to abandon the project, leaving the city to take it up as an economic development project
  • This is actually the most feasible project, but the route and design should be reviewed
    • Dedicated transit lanes to make it more like a light rail line
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I'd say that seeing as how SouthPark is becoming a second urban area for Charlotte, LRT is increasingly needed for the area, especially when you consider how bad the traffic is there today. I would probably move the SouthPark station closer to Sharon Road, and rename it SouthPark/Sharon, all while adding a station near Barclay Downs or Piedmont Town Center.

 

I fail to see how they would built LRT to SouthPark though. There isn't enough room for a new LRT right-of-way, and I don't think the NIMBYs would like to see the line be elevated on aerial structures. I would have to say that going underground is the only way, at least near the mall and the Barclay Downs area.

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I'd say that seeing as how SouthPark is becoming a second urban area for Charlotte, LRT is increasingly needed for the area, especially when you consider how bad the traffic is there today. I would probably move the SouthPark station closer to Sharon Road, and rename it SouthPark/Sharon, all while adding a station near Barclay Downs or Piedmont Town Center.

I fail to see how they would built LRT to SouthPark though. There isn't enough room for a new LRT right-of-way, and I don't think the NIMBYs would like to see the line be elevated on aerial structures. I would have to say that going underground is the only way, at least near the mall and the Barclay Downs area.

Yeah. That's not a realistic near term (10 years) goal that the community can rally around. I Think enhanced bus service would do SouthPark well.

We cant just sit on our hands and let 30 years go by before we start another line. We need to add infrastructure. Let's just use a common sense approach on what is feasible and realistic to build next.

We should also have a vision plan in place for certain corridors when we widen roads to build them with transit lines in mind. Just because it's not realistic to build it now doesnt mean we shouldn't lay the foundation for in the future.

I just don't think light rail to SouthPark is anywhere near as realistic as an extension to Ballantyne and Ballantyne makes sense. I'm sure there is plenty of reverse commuters would would love it, it would ease congestion, it seems logistically easier and cheaper to build than SouthPark, it would connect all the way to University City. I think a blue line Spanning from Ballantyne to University would be huge for the entire region. If I lived in Concord and worked in Ballantyne, I could just take a park and ride in University and take it to work. I would NOT take blue line and a bus connection to Ballantyne. Just seems like a hassle at that point.

I just wish we could just have a serious revision. Crazy to think the vision plan is older than Facebook & Youtube

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^ agreed that Btyne is going to be tough to retrofit for transit due to last mile problems.

Southpark just makes sense due to its size and its better (i say that with a chuckle) pedestrian configuration. ROW problems to SP might be overblown as well. Tyvola is wide enough to loose two lanes for LRT tracks. Alternatively there is a high tension powerline easement which runs from Woodlawn and South blvd down to Tyvola and Park, it then runs parallel to Fairview (to the south) over to Sharon. Ther is precident for LRT sharing space in powerline easements (Dallas and (IIRC) St Louis).

Edited by kermit

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It's at the bottom of the list, but I would add a York County line to the list of future rapid transit. This study is aging, but was a pretty interesting read. If he red line ever gets built, I'd like to see an extension to the airport and ultimately down to Rock Hill. It sounds like the most likely project for Rock Hill/York County is a dedicated bus lane on 21.

http://www.cityofrockhill.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=1449

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I seem to recall in the original transit plan from the 1980s included a line all the way down to Rock Hill. This study though is from 2007 so I wonder if anything has changed. I could see a gradual extension to South Carolina of the Blue Line, built in various phases.

Due to the immense cooperation that would be needed between SC and NC, I just can't see CATS prioritizing this extension.

A extension to both SouthPark and Ballentyne will probably be less costly and easier to implement.

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^ agreed that Btyne is going to be tough to retrofit for transit due to last mile problems.

Southpark just makes sense due to its size and its better (i say that with a chuckle) pedestrian configuration. ROW problems to SP might be overblown as well. Tyvola is wide enough to loose two lanes for LRT tracks. Alternatively there is a high tension powerline easement which runs from Woodlawn and South blvd down to Tyvola and Park, it then runs parallel to Fairview (to the south) over to Sharon. Ther is precident for LRT sharing space in powerline easements (Dallas and (IIRC) St Louis).

I think the powerline easement is a great plan, and noticed when I looked at it again.   Also the area west of Park Road is not actually that wealthy of neighborhoods, so it would not likely have the level of NIMBYism you could expect elsewhere.   

 

We don't have room for anything unless we make it.  The whole idea that we have to have some magical reserved space already on the ground now is a fallacy.   

 

Even the whole North Tryon median wasn't big enough, so we had to rebuilt half of that road.   I think rail corridors are by far the easiest to build in as long as the areas the line would go would be supportive of growth near that freight line.   But for the SouthPark plan, that is not available, but we have a large publicly owned space, an already wide Tyvola that could be reconfigured, and the powerline route that all look quite reasonable.     

 

Ballantyne is analogous to UNCC in that the 'last mile' may not be immediately adjacent to the station, but that you allow for future growth to be added with additional density.    The standard is 1/2 mile radius is in the walking range of the station.   So a station in any reasonable spot near the office area would cover most of the current offices for either a 485 or Ballantyne Commons Pkway route.   There would also very clearly need to be some sort of Gold Rush style circulator like in uptown and UNCC.  

 

 

__

 

It's at the bottom of the list, but I would add a York County line to the list of future rapid transit. This study is aging, but was a pretty interesting read. If he red line ever gets built, I'd like to see an extension to the airport and ultimately down to Rock Hill. It sounds like the most likely project for Rock Hill/York County is a dedicated bus lane on 21.

http://www.cityofrockhill.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=1449

 

 

As tempting as it is especially if you live in that peripheral town, really we are no where near the point where regional rail should be considered before have lines in our current and potentially dense urban neighborhoods and major job centers.   All the regional rail options will have a similar problem as the Red Line has had, only with even more of a problem with funding, cooperation, etc.

 

The fact is, we need to get a plan together that can actually be feasible for federal funding, and focusing on expansion of what already exists to places that are already congested and densifying.   SouthPark and Ballantyne are very obvious as well as the Central Ave corridor

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I am concerned about HOT lanes along the Silver (independence line) making BRT nonviable: see also comment in Indy Corridor thread: http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php/topic/49526-independence-corridor/page-7#entry1332046


^ agreed that Btyne is going to be tough to retrofit for transit due to last mile problems.

Southpark just makes sense due to its size and its better (i say that with a chuckle) pedestrian configuration. ROW problems to SP might be overblown as well. Tyvola is wide enough to loose two lanes for LRT tracks. Alternatively there is a high tension powerline easement which runs from Woodlawn and South blvd down to Tyvola and Park, it then runs parallel to Fairview (to the south) over to Sharon. Ther is precident for LRT sharing space in powerline easements (Dallas and (IIRC) St Louis).

I think, at the very least, they need an urban circulator route  in Southpark.  They should start under the mall and connect subterranean to the Colony site.

Edited by archiham04

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