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CATS Long Term Transit Plan - Silver, Red Lines

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Davidson wants to keep rail to their Town, even if it's now light rail. Huntersville wants to go with more bus on 77, since commuter rail is dead.

It will be hard for CATS to respond to North Meck, when the Towns can't even agree on exactly what they'll support for transit.

 

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Pretty odd that Harrisburg was picked over Concord for an Amtrak station. Also, when is construction for the Amtrak station (AmShack, not Gateway) in Uptown suppose to start?

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4 minutes ago, Third Strike said:

Pretty odd that Harrisburg was picked over Concord for an Amtrak station. Also, when is construction for the Amtrak station (AmShack, not Gateway) in Uptown suppose to start?

That is weird... it must be because of the line's proximity to their downtown. Although Harrisburg's is difficult in earning that name when Concord's is the comparison.

Edited by SgtCampsalot
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^ Concord is too close to the Kannapolis station plus the tracks in Concord are not well located relative to their downtown (not that Harrisburg has a downtown at all). Harrisburg can also serve as a Charlotte suburban station, a place where folks on the east side who want to drive to the station are able to (since parking will likely be kinda tight at Gateway). Very similar in function to the Cary station (which attracts _lots_ of Raleigh riders due to its better parking).

I honestly expect to see commuter rail from Charlotte to Spencer in 10 years or so, that would certainly lead to at least one Concord station.

 

 

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16 hours ago, kermit said:

Per staffer's post in the NC passenger rail thread NCDOT now says that a Harrisburg station is now 'on the to do list' for NCDOT. No location or projected open date was given.

The 4th Piedmont frequency should start rolling early next year and the 5th should begin in 2019 (so by then we will have six daily trains to Raleigh and back)

When money falls from the sky I really think that CATS should extend the BLE to 49 (not 29) to a large park and ride and commuter rail station (aka Harrisburg station) at 485. This would allow for any future commuter rail to Concord and Salisbury to connect to the BLE and deliver commuters to the U City and NoDa areas.

Shrug. 

What is the 6th frequency if I may ask, won't there only be 5 daily between Charlotte and Raleigh?

Edited by ajfunder

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17 hours ago, ajfunder said:

What is the 6th frequency if I may ask, won't there only be 5 daily between Charlotte and Raleigh?

Edit: I miscounted, you are correct.

Edited by kermit

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On 3/18/2017 at 1:34 PM, kermit said:

... Despite that, I am irritated that this decision was so far removed from public view and we had to find out from an Observer investigation. This, in combination with the surprise BLE delay announcement, makes me quite suspicious of Lewis. Its going to be very difficult for a CATS leader to advocate for a substantial tax increase when he gives the impression that he is hiding things.

Ugh. Lewis is awful at managing the flow of bad news. Had he packaged the abandonment of the capacity expansion along with the request for more BLE money together (see Observer article below) and sold it as 'cost reduction' or 'cash management' CATS would have not looked as bad. He needs to stop digging the hole.

#unimpressedwithleadership

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article140530508.html

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RE Harrisburg Amtrak Station:

We've talked about this here before but there was a study done regarding the location, but I'm not sure the results.

I thought the best option was the one along University City Blvd just east of Mallard Creek Church. That would allow it to connect with an eventual extension of the blue line.

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Interesting article at Citylab about the absence of carmageddon in Atlanta after the I-85 bridge collapse. It makes the point that each time we have expected a carageddon to occur (Atlanta, Minneapolis after the I-35 collapse, Los Angeles during the two 405 closures) it never actually transpired. In short, the short-term road closures pretty firmly make the case that congestion is generated by modifiable behaviors. One lesson for Charlotte, perhaps closing car lanes on Central, Monroe, Providence (?!) and Satesville Ave for Streetcar and future LRT would not create the traffic disaster that many reflexively assume.

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/04/what-happened-to-atlantas-carmageddon/521805/

Edited by kermit
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1 hour ago, kermit said:

Interesting article at Citylab about the absence of carmageddon in Atlanta after the I-85 bridge collapse. It makes the point that each time we have expected a carageddon to occur (Atlanta, Minneapolis after the I-35 collapse, Los Angeles during the two 405 closures) it never actually transpired. In short, the short-term road closures pretty firmly make the case that congestion is generated by modifiable behaviors. One lesson for Charlotte, perhaps closing car lanes on Central, Monroe, Providence (?!) and Satesville Ave for Streetcar and future LRT would not create the traffic disaster that many reflexively assume.

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/04/what-happened-to-atlantas-carmageddon/521805/

My wife just got to Atlanta for a conference. Originally, their (the conference folk) plans were to share two venues: Athens and downtown Atlanta and then shuttle back and forth, Those plans are now shuttled, and it's being actively promoted in Atlanta that people should teleconference and telecommute. Seems like a lot of people just quit making the drive, not really looking for different routes. If you make it difficult enough for people to go downtown vis a vis "road diets", trollies, etc. a large percentage just won't make the trip.

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1 hour ago, Windsurfer said:

My wife just got to Atlanta for a conference. Originally, their (the conference folk) plans were to share two venues: Athens and downtown Atlanta and then shuttle back and forth, Those plans are now shuttled, and it's being actively promoted in Atlanta that people should teleconference and telecommute. Seems like a lot of people just quit making the drive, not really looking for different routes. If you make it difficult enough for people to go downtown vis a vis "road diets", trollies, etc. a large percentage just won't make the trip.

If they don't need to make the trip, then they found a way not to make the trip. Why is this bad? Why should we build infrastructure for mere convenience? 

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54 minutes ago, tusculan said:

If they don't need to make the trip, then they found a way not to make the trip. Why is this bad? Why should we build infrastructure for mere convenience? 

Maybe they can not make the trip temporarily but it's not a long term solution. I can go without water for a day when the line bursts but that doesn't prove I don't need water. Just providing a counter argument.

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More people in ATL are telecommuting for sure but I did read in their papers traffic on I-285 has increased 50% which is very sizable on the first full day after the collapse. More traffic is going around the city and I am sure more traffic on surface streets within the city itself. And MARTA ridership is way up and the garages especially on the northside are filled as early as 630 am like at North Springs north of Perimeter and they were directing people to the next station closer in. 

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17 hours ago, tusculan said:

If they don't need to make the trip, then they found a way not to make the trip. Why is this bad? Why should we build infrastructure for mere convenience? 

I probably didn't make myself clear. They made the trip, and are in fact in downtown Atlanta now, but the original plans had them running back and forth to Athens. The sessions in Athens have been severely compromised as a result. 

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The money quote from Observer coverage of Janette Sadik-Khan (the former NYC transpo commissioner under Bloomberg) visit to Charlotte last night:

Quote

One factor in Charlotte that some might see as a disadvantage is actually an advantage: The city’s car-oriented framework, with wide streets designed to carry cars at relatively high speeds. That leaves plenty of “extra asphalt” that can be repurposed into things like bike lanes, wider sidewalks, new seating areas with benches and mini-parks or express bus lanes.

This goes along with my traffic generation / carageddon post above. If car lanes can be removed in Manhattan for pedestrianization and the expansion of bike infrastructure without disaster the same can certainly work in Charlotte.

Sadik-Khan was responsible for the pedestrian plaza in Time Square, numerous new plazas on Broadway, new bike lanes and the introduction of Citibike. Most attributed her success to her strategy of quickly rolling out ideas with the purpose of 'testing' them and the promise that it would be removed if the results were bad.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/development/article142959414.html

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The CO article once again mentioned CATS' plan for a $6 billion splurge on additional light rail lines.  Given extremely low interest rates, and that bonds are typically fairly easy to pay off over time due to inflation (not to mention expected future tax revenue as the city grows), would a bond referendum make sense as opposed to another tax hike? I'm sure the annual debt service would be significant, but could the city afford that in order to fund the full build-out?

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2 hours ago, birky said:

The CO article once again mentioned CATS' plan for a $6 billion splurge on additional light rail lines.  Given extremely low interest rates, and that bonds are typically fairly easy to pay off over time due to inflation (not to mention expected future tax revenue as the city grows), would a bond referendum make sense as opposed to another tax hike? I'm sure the annual debt service would be significant, but could the city afford that in order to fund the full build-out?

Glad you mentioned that Birky.  There seems to be no lack of foreign buyers for municipal bonds according to this WSJ article from Tuesday:

"America’s asset managers are finding new ways to take advantage of the latest trend: the wave of foreign investors buying the debt of U.S. cities and states":  https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-foreigners-keep-buying-the-debt-of-americas-small-towns-1491332453?mod=trending_now_4

The debt service would be significant, but if the city creates some special tax assessment districts along future LRT lines they should be able to lock in the gains from increases in property values and pay off the debt.

Edited by ChessieCat

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^ yeah, I think the revenue stream they earmark to service the bonds is the real issue. The current transit tax is insufficient. As you said, there  is a good case for making them general obligation bonds (e.g. repayed from property taxes). Tbey would get the lowest rates but lots of political pushback from the suburban crowd who didn't think they would benefit from transit.

That is the kind of decision that gets suburban  council reps opposition at election time.

Edited by kermit

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7 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

Glad you mentioned that Birky.  There seems to be no lack of foreign buyers for municipal bonds according to this WSJ article from Tuesday:

"America’s asset managers are finding new ways to take advantage of the latest trend: the wave of foreign investors buying the debt of U.S. cities and states":  https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-foreigners-keep-buying-the-debt-of-americas-small-towns-1491332453?mod=trending_now_4

The debt service would be significant, but if the city creates some special tax assessment districts along future LRT lines they should be able to lock in the gains from increases in property values and pay off the debt.

Love the idea of special tax assessment districts.  More than happy to contribute as a taxpayer to the project even though I am nowhere near a line but also think it would be fair to have those who see massive gains in property values pay a bit more.  

I'd also like to see and think there would need to be a much more comprehensive plan with the details locked in before a measure went up but I think support could be won.  Especially if you positioned the northern parts on the right side of the conversation and sold it almost as poking a stick at the tolls.  

Would also want to ensure that gentrification, at least to some extent, would not be opposed as it's needed to pay for the darn thing.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 4/6/2017 at 11:31 AM, birky said:

The CO article once again mentioned CATS' plan for a $6 billion splurge on additional light rail lines.  Given extremely low interest rates, and that bonds are typically fairly easy to pay off over time due to inflation (not to mention expected future tax revenue as the city grows), would a bond referendum make sense as opposed to another tax hike? I'm sure the annual debt service would be significant, but could the city afford that in order to fund the full build-out?

Since CATS isn't technically a City agency, the question is really whether CATS can afford it on their own OR if the City will partner with CATS to fund some portion of the work (e.g.: CityLYNX Gold Line).

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Read in an article during the mayoral debates, one of Vi Lyles' loudest applause moments was when she said CATS needs to decentralize the bus hub and stop forcing everyone to transfer in uptown and focus on cross town routes.

 

I think with the temporary Gateway services, they should take focus off of uptown transfers, move all local routes to Gateway, tear down the current bus line and maybe rebuild a much smaller Express CATS station. Sell off most of the land. 

 

 

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