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

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I completely agree. It doesn't make sense for them to ignore this trend. That test plan is the worst possible way to use biodiesel, as it stresses the food supply system which is big news these days, and it only seeks a maximum of 20% to be made with biodiesel.

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The first baby steps of fast tracking the Streetcar have now been taken.

City Council now has on their May 12th Agenda an action item to approve the Economic Development study for the Center City Streetcar. The current plan is for the city to pay half of the cost of the $500K study and the rest will come from Private sources. To be very clear, none of the money will come from the 1/2 Cent Sales Tax.

The city feels that the FTA has started to "loosen the strings" on the Small Starts funding for Streetcars and so now is the time for the city to act if it wants a chance to get those Fed funds for the Streetcar.

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Note: this is my attempt at being a "reporter" and it was interesting getting to ask the Mayor a couple of questions and take some photos. I would like to become more involved in going to meetings at such as time permits. I thought this might be relevant to the discussion on the transit plan.

Pat McCrory Talks Transit, Urban Development

5/5/08 by InitialD

medium.jpg

Mayor Pat McCrory speaks at the Crutchfield Education Center in Locust, NC.

Locust, NC - Charlotte Mayor and candidate for Governor Pat McCrory spoke today on the importance of transportation in North Carolina. "We need a 25 and 50 year statewide transportation plan" said McCrory, who went on to talk about his leadership promoting the Lynx light rail line in Charlotte. On his support of transit, McCrory stated that "for 12 years I caught a lot of heat... but it is working." McCrory downplayed the light rail budget overruns by noting how many road and highway projects in North Carolina have also been over budget. The Mayor spoke on how transportation options were important to economic development and keeping jobs in the state, and we must plan for the next generation and not just for today. When asked how important rapid transit is in his statewide transportation plans, McCrory responded that it is "important part" and that people need "more choices."

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The Economic Impact Study for the Streetcar and the 4 Additional LRT Vehicles for the LYNX Blue Line were unanimously approved last night by Charlotte City Council. We sure have come a long way from a year ago in political support for mass transit in CharMeck.

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I know Nancy Carter means very well, and generally speaking, I think she does a very good job of advocating for her district. In this case, though, I'm glad her amendment did not pass. The hydrogen train concept is just not practical, and you don't want to push the envelope so much to the point that the project is put in jeopardy. It is tenuous enough to accelerate this project, let alone of it was an experimental technology.

I'm not going to pretend to be the expert here, but from what I have gathered from following these things fairly closely is that hydrogen is an ineffiecient battery. Most hydrogen is created from natural gas, which is an imported fossil fuel, and requires the electrical grid to convert it to hydrogen. It then must be transported and put in the trains, and have the risk of explosion that seems much higher in a train than in a car.

Anyway, the electrical grid that is used for traditional streetcars are not only very efficient and do not have pollution at the point of use, but the electrical grid is expected to grow more and more renewable as part of a NC law, and eventually federal laws requiring it. Let the renewable energy equation be worked out in the electric utility, rather than placing a bet at the munipical level by hitching to the hydrogen buzz.

The study of hydrogen feasibility didn't pass, so we are back to the more traditional issues of time and money.

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The Economic Impact Study for the Streetcar and the 4 Additional LRT Vehicles for the LYNX Blue Line were unanimously approved last night by Charlotte City Council. We sure have come a long way from a year ago in political support for mass transit in CharMeck.

"It will be about two years before the new light rail cars are delivered to Charlotte."

...ouch. Well, better late than never?

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I know Nancy Carter means very well, and generally speaking, I think she does a very good job of advocating for her district. In this case, though, I'm glad her amendment did not pass. The hydrogen train concept is just not practical, and you don't want to push the envelope so much to the point that the project is put in jeopardy. It is tenuous enough to accelerate this project, let alone of it was an experimental technology.

I got a good laugh out of Michael Barnes reaction to her Hydrail amendment....Barnes blurted out "Hell, does it even work?"

Probably good that her amendment didnt pass...but if in the next couple years we find out that hydrail is the transit miracle that we have all been waiting for then we can still have time to switch to that technology before construction on the line starts.

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The current argument about hydrogen fuel cell technology is that the amount of energy expended on creation and storage of the fuel far surpasses the economics of it. Until a time when we can produce, store and implement it at less cost and waste, it's not a viable alternative...unfortunately. I wish we could look more closely at photovoltaic supplements to the grid.

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Came across this tidbit from APTA (American Public Transportation Association)

They were giving an update on recent legislation passed by Congress that is awaiting President Bush's signature.

The bill also mandates that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

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I know Nancy Carter means very well, and generally speaking, I think she does a very good job of advocating for her district. In this case, though, I'm glad her amendment did not pass. The hydrogen train concept is just not practical, and you don't want to push the envelope so much to the point that the project is put in jeopardy. It is tenuous enough to accelerate this project, let alone of it was an experimental technology.

The problem with Hydrogen technology is that it is still too new in testing and perfecting to be effectively used, all proportionally to what is already available. Also, it's cost ratio is still not feasible to its performance. I think it will be a few good years and a few more research dollars to have more effective hydrogen systems that are solely dependent on hydrogen and oxygen, opposed to more multi-tech systems such as the Hybrids we are seeing in cars. Still today, the most effective and logical system is direct electrical line connection, like the light rail and streetcar system both effectively use. Honestly, for the type of inner-city transportation that is being proposed in the 2030 plan, I don't see much use that hydrogen technology would ever need to be needed or used over electrical lines, except in the bus system where overhead lines are just not an option.

I'm very excited to see the support for the streetcar system, though. It would be a wonderful thing if we could have the NE LRT, N Commuter, and streetcar lines all simultaneously go into development for our city. Even at the expense of another 1/2 cent tax increase or other funding methods, I think this will be the key to the future success of our city. Being in a total-auto oriented city for the past few days, I have an even greater appreciation for what the light rail and expansive bus system that CATs has made available . Now let's cross our fingers on the what the feds will have to offer coming up in November in regards to federal funding to make these 2030 dreams come with more ease and possibly become even more expansive.

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I honestly think that Charlotte should not extend light rail into other counties. I think we should build commuter rail into other counties. Cabarrus seems interested in getting light rail.....but we all know light rail can't handle the capacity for bursts of crowds for the short-term. I think commuter rail could better handle things for the speedway events and such.....maybe? Or have a commuter rail and light rail stops at the speedway? I have always viewed light rail is intra-city and commuter rail as inter-city. Commuter rail may not move at the frequency light rail can, but you can stack almost 10 cars to make one train and cram people in.

Edited by norm21499

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I still dream of the day when Lynx runs down the center of Independence Freeway towards Matthews. \\ Minus the overhead wires, the photo looks pretty convincing to me. :thumbsup:

Always fun to see a different perspective.

Lynx_74z.jpg

Skyline photo taken by RiverwoodCLT, editing by me.

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Boy! you did a good job. I hope to see this in place in a few years. I think you will see BRT in the middle of the road. The Independence route, most people want LRT but I do not know it will happen. But with fuel prices going up so high, you could see over head wire for buses.

Here is an electric bus in San Francisco.

P1010004.jpg

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I still dream of the day when Lynx runs down the center of Independence Freeway towards Matthews. \\ Minus the overhead wires, the photo looks pretty convincing to me. :thumbsup:

Always fun to see a different perspective.

Lynx_74z.jpg

Skyline photo taken by RiverwoodCLT, editing by me.

This doesn't really belong in the Blue Line thread, but great rendering.

Actually, though, the current plans call for the LRT tracks not to be in the median there. They will cross the highway just west of the Charlottetown flyover, and stay on the north side of the highway until it crosses Pecan. It will cross into the median with a flyover there. Brier Creek would be the first median station. I think BRT would take the same alignment, actually.

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I still dream of the day when Lynx runs down the center of Independence Freeway towards Matthews. \\ Minus the overhead wires, the photo looks pretty convincing to me. :thumbsup:

Always fun to see a different perspective.

Lynx_74z.jpg

Skyline photo taken by RiverwoodCLT, editing by me.

That looks awesome! Stop teasing us! That would be so amazing to have the LRT like that. I know the current plan is to do BRT but wonder how much it would screw up the schematics of what the state DOT has already drawn up to alter it to include LRT.

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That looks awesome! Stop teasing us! That would be so amazing to have the LRT like that. I know the current plan is to do BRT but wonder how much it would screw up the schematics of what the state DOT has already drawn up to alter it to include LRT.

If I'm not mistaken, there are schematics for both the LRT and BRT, since it is still undecided at this point. Click on the CATs Future website here and click on any station, and they have the schematics for both alternatives.

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This is why the FTA does not like to fund streetcars. The only difference between them and buses are the wheels and of course the cost.

,,,,

Here is an electric bus in San Francisco.

P1010004.jpg

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This is why the FTA does not like to fund streetcars. The only difference between them and buses are the wheels and of course the cost.

There's a few more differences:

1. Ride quality. Buses are jerky, which doesn't matter if you're sitting, but they pretty much suck to stand on. Streetcars are smoother and more predictable in their movements, which makes standing a non-issue.

2. Capacity. Streetcars can fit quite a few more people than even an articulated bus.

3. Permenance. The presence of the rails makes it more likely to attract investment, and easier for visitors to figure the system out.

And, this is a minor difference, but for electric buses, you have to hang TWO wires, one for power and one for return. Streetcars use the rails as ground. This makes installation less expensive, the wires less intrusive, and things like intersecting and crossing routes less complicated.

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Fare increases were approved last night. LRT and bus fares will rise $0.20 to $1.50 per trip, a monthly local pass goes from $52 to $60, and a monthly express pass increases from $70 to $80.

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Fare increases were approved last night. LRT and bus fares will rise $0.20 to $1.50 per trip, a monthly local pass goes from $52 to $60, and a monthly express pass increases from $70 to $80.

13% rise on singles, 14% on express monthly, 15% on regular monthly. Iiiiinteresting...

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13% rise on singles, 14% on express monthly, 15% on regular monthly. Iiiiinteresting...

Well, it honestly isn't that bad considering that the national average price of gas has increased by 38% since July 2nd, 2007 (when the current ticket prices went into effect). We're not even to October yet (which is when the new fares will go live) and I would imagine gas prices are only going to go up by then.

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13% rise on singles, 14% on express monthly, 15% on regular monthly. Iiiiinteresting...

What's so interesting about it? It's still a huge savings over driving. As Neo said, fuel prices are increasing at much larger percentages and the amount of money that CATS spends per rider to operate the buses is no where close to being covered by the fare increases.

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