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CATS Long Term Transit Plan - Silver, Red Lines


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4 minutes ago, Hushpuppy321 said:

BRT for the Charlotte Region.  Anyone know where we stand in relation to establishing BRT?  Seems like Wake County has firm plans established for East-West and North-South Routes and are currently in design on at least part of the East-West Route.

BRT is planned for the Toll Lanes up to Davidson (buses will run express from each park and ride and or town center). I doubt this will be much different than the current express routes.

John Lewis is fiddling with dedicated bus lanes, but there appears to be no plan to that as yet. These efforts are all feelers to determine how much crap will hit the fan when car lanes are removed for transit.

The 2040 transit plan is scheduled to be released in a few months ("Spring 2021"), but there has been little indication of anything on it other than the previously mentioned BRT to the Lake, the Silver Line and possibly the Blue Line extension to Btyne.

I would guess we might see some type of BRT to Southpark and along Freedom Drive. I would also like to see it up Graham to Derita.

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4 minutes ago, kermit said:

BRT is planned for the Toll Lanes up to Davidson (buses will run express from each park and ride and or town center). I doubt this will be much different than the current express routes.

John Lewis is fiddling with dedicated bus lanes, but there appears to be no plan to that as yet. These efforts are all feelers to determine how much crap will hit the fan when car lanes are removed for transit.

The 2040 transit plan is scheduled to be released in a few months ("Spring 2021"), but there has been little indication of anything on it other than the previously mentioned BRT to the Lake, the Silver Line and possibly the Blue Line extension to Btyne.

I would guess we might see some type of BRT to Southpark and along Freedom Drive. I would also like to see it up Graham to Derita.

Thanks for the heads up.  BRT Buses running along Express Lanes on 77, 485 & Independence Blvd (in the next 2 - 5 Years) will be just like having the Current Express Buses but only faster as they bypass General Traffic Lanes.  Can’t wait to read the 2040 Plan.

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6 hours ago, kermit said:

BRT is planned for the Toll Lanes up to Davidson (buses will run express from each park and ride and or town center). I doubt this will be much different than the current express routes.

As you said, the existing express services are virtually BRT in all but name, especially after they launched "Metro Rapid" where each exit had it's own bus service. All the routes would need all-day (and weekend) service to really count as BRT, but even then they have mid-day runs that go a long way to filling that need.

I'm pretty sure they had intended to launch a formal design process this fall - not sure the status of that. 

https://charlottenc.gov/cats/transit-planning/north-corridor-red-line/Pages/default.aspx

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This is another interesting "alignment refinement" option they are looking at. Can't decide how I feel about skipping Wesley Heights and making the only station in 3rd ward Gateway. This the proposed realignment would lead to a more efficient entry into uptown but skipping the morehead/wesley heights stop would be a blow to the commercialization opportunities along Morehead. Also runs into the issue of what happens when/if the stadium is put on the refinery land. 

 

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Pie in the sky plan alerts!!!!  I bring the Silver line from 11th, or 12th, down Brevard, through the old Enterprise building and connection with the BLE at 9th street.  Run it through the city and spin an exit off of the bridge over 277 to connect with Morehead.  This would entail putting the rail trail bridge on the east side of the tracks, and closing the College Street ramp from 277.  Train frequency in town would be heavy and be a concern for 5th 6th and 7th  and 9th streets.  So what.  It puts all lines through the center of the city.

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15 hours ago, kermit said:

Ugh, just listened to the CATS public meeting on the current LPAs through uptown and I could not be less pleased with the alignment plans. They really are considering crossing the Blue and Silver Lines at grade (they are also studying having the Silver Line go over top of Blue). An at grade crossing will trap us into very low frequency service on both lines for generations. They are rationalizing this possibility by talking about the need for a connection between Blue and Silver, but surely there is a better way to do that.

Comment and see the alignment options here:  https://wspgeo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html

That does seem ludicrous. In my comments online, I argued for simply running the Silver Line at ground level along 11th. Those fragments of city blocks between 11th and Brookshire are, for the most part, undeveloped and would be a perfect corridor for the rail line--it would be contained by two roadways on either side, and they're too small to ever be sites of significant development (assuming that NCDoT would allow it anyway). The only complexity would be working with NCDoT to redesign the 277 exit ramps--but I was quickly able to see how they could easily be done, myself, so it's in no way impossible. 

It seems to me that by having the Silver Line at ground level along 11th, it then runs *over* the Blue Line, and you then construct a platform that also works as a transfer station on the double-width stretch between College and Brevard. 

This doesn't have to be complicated. I wonder why they're trying to make it so. Does it really cost all that much more to build an elevated platform there?

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9 minutes ago, ertley said:

That does seem ludicrous. In my comments online, I argued for simply running the Silver Line at ground level along 11th. Those fragments of city blocks between 11th and Brookshire are, for the most part, undeveloped and would be a perfect corridor for the rail line--it would be contained by two roadways on either side, and they're too small to ever be sites of significant development (assuming that NCDoT would allow it anyway). The only complexity would be working with NCDoT to redesign the 277 exit ramps--but I was quickly able to see how they could easily be done, myself, so it's in no way impossible. 

It seems to me that by having the Silver Line at ground level along 11th, it then runs *over* the Blue Line, and you then construct a platform that also works as a transfer station on the double-width stretch between College and Brevard. 

This doesn't have to be complicated. I wonder why they're trying to make it so. Does it really cost all that much more to build an elevated platform there?

The bridge to get to the platform would be several blocks long in either direction, so yes I suspect it's an enormous cost add. Having said that I agree with the other comments that an at-grade intersection of the two lines seems like a long-term disasterous decision. 

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4 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

The bridge to get to the platform would be several blocks long in either direction, so yes I suspect it's an enormous cost add. Having said that I agree with the other comments that an at-grade intersection of the two lines seems like a long-term disasterous decision. 

So many of their route options include tons of flyovers, etc. that cost *money*, it just seems shortsighted to pick THIS as the place to cut corners. I would think prioritizing this bridge and looking at ways to cut costs in other places would be the way to go. Heck, even delaying the Belmont connection over the Catawba, in a worst case scenario, would be preferable to having a janky-ass transfer station uptown, where hopefully it will become an anchor/nexus for the North Tryon evolution--if done correctly.  

CATS needs to realize that thinking the Gateway Station will be the signature Lynx station downtown is falling for their own hype. A transfer station between two actual light rail lines, and especially one that has been operational for well over a decade (by that point) and with the city's established ridership and *destinations*, and not a streetcar and light rail line, is necessarily going to be a signature station--unless they ruin it through ineptitude.  

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4 hours ago, a2theb said:

This is another interesting "alignment refinement" option they are looking at. Can't decide how I feel about skipping Wesley Heights and making the only station in 3rd ward Gateway. This the proposed realignment would lead to a more efficient entry into uptown but skipping the morehead/wesley heights stop would be a blow to the commercialization opportunities along Morehead. Also runs into the issue of what happens when/if the stadium is put on the refinery land. 

 

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If you listen to the audio, they said with the 1A alignment (Yellow) there would be a station at Morehead, Odd they don't show it. The number of curves to serve Wesley Heights, and putting a station basically at a highway off-ramp seem like a terrible way to serve the neighborhood. it's technically not even Wesley Heights, and in a flood plain. Arguably the area will be far better served from the Gold Line, not the Silver. Not to mention putting a stadium station in a residential neighborhood. The LPA in a lot of places along the sliver line is just terrible. I hope LOTS of folks comment. The Matthews alignment is another aberration, as is the Blue Line Interconnection. 

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17 minutes ago, CLT> said:

If you listen to the audio, they said with the 1A alignment (Yellow) there would be a station at Morehead, Odd they don't show it. The number of curves to serve Wesley Heights, and putting a station basically at a highway off-ramp seem like a terrible way to serve the neighborhood. it's technically not even Wesley Heights, and in a flood plain. Arguably the area will be far better served from the Gold Line, not the Silver. Not to mention putting a stadium station in a residential neighborhood. The LPA in a lot of places along the sliver line is just terrible. I hope LOTS of folks comment. The Matthews alignment is another aberration, as is the Blue Line Interconnection. 

I agree with that. Not really about serving Wesley Heights was just more concerned about the Morehead corridor from mint to Wilkinson so if they are planning a stop at Cedar/near the stadium thats more than enough.

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I understand the significance of the Gateway station. Having intercity rail directly serve Uptown along with a direct connection to three difference CATS modes of transit (streetcar, LRT, bus) will have a huge impact for both the region, and the future of intercity rail within North Carolina. It’s a pretty big deal, and I can’t wait to see how the Gateway station catalyzes both development of the area and the future of transit. 
 

That said, IMO, the 11th Street Blue/Silver Line transfer station to me is a bigger deal for public transit and I don’t know why CATS isn’t taking the station more seriously. Having a hallmark key transfer station should be the goal of any transit system. I would imagine that more transfers will occur at said station between the Blue and Silver lines than between other CATS services at Gateway. I truly don’t think CATS has connectivity as the primary concern for the transfer station, and is simply operating under the guise of “well we want to have a complete system, let’s just throw a station together and call it good”. 
 

If CATS wants to be a realistic provider of transit service to the airport on the  Silver Line, they need to have a meaningful solution to transferring between Silver and Blue.
 

I’m all for cutting costs if it saves the project from going forward, but the transfer station isn’t the place to do it.

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1 hour ago, tozmervo said:

One consideration: keep the line far enough from current/future stadium so that the line does not need to be shut down for high-security events, like Superbowl LXXX. (in 25 years - that enough time for a new rail line and stadium?)

Personally I think the rarity of such events would probably make such a decision to be unnecessary. During high-security events CATS could just operate the line in two segments (and not serve the station closest to the stadium) or simply operate in one segment and just not stop at the closest station. 

This is extremely random, and probably beyond any of our lifetimes, but in all seriousness, what are the chances of CATS ever building a fixed-guideway system to Southpark?

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32 minutes ago, LKN704 said:

This is extremely random, and probably beyond any of our lifetimes, but in all seriousness, what are the chances of CATS ever building a fixed-guideway system to Southpark?

I can think of three sufficient conditions (none of which are likely):

  • Ridership would justify extensive tunneling (I don’t see this ever happening with current land use)
  • People in Charlotte finally connect their auto dependence to climate change and consent to car lanes being removed for transit
  • Southpark goes the way of Eastland and leaves a big empty space, city steps in for revitalization investments (its very unlikely, but I wouldn't say impossible)

The only route that I see as vaguely practical without any of the above is a spur off the Blue line running along Tyvola (or the powerline ROW (this was done in Dallas and (I believe) St. Louis). It would require a bunch of residential property purchases. Unfortunately this is a mediocre route which would probably miss most of The SP office district and Park Rd SC.

Edited by kermit
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I’ve commented on the SilverLine LPA Virtual Open House and I hope many people do.  I emphasized the importance of the SilverLine/BlueLine connecting Station and that CATS should spare no expense in making that Grade Separated but also investing In Platforms, People movers/escalators, Canopy, Elevators, etc. to make a transferring between lines as efficient as possible.

It is just as important as Gateway Station.  I hope CATS gets the message and cuts expenses elsewhere.  

Edited by Hushpuppy321
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1 hour ago, Hushpuppy321 said:

I’ve commented on the SilverLine LPA Virtual Open House and I hope many people do.  I emphasized the importance of the SilverLine/BlueLine connecting Station and that CATS should spare no expense in making that Grade Separated but also investing In Platforms, People movers/escalators, Canopy, Elevators, etc. to make a transferring between lines as efficient as possible.

It is just as important as Gateway Station.  I hope CATS gets the message and cuts expenses elsewhere.  

100% Correct.

For resident Charlotteans, this station is probably more important than Gateway.  Needs to be treated as such.

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On 9/18/2020 at 9:09 AM, a2theb said:

This is another interesting "alignment refinement" option they are looking at. Can't decide how I feel about skipping Wesley Heights and making the only station in 3rd ward Gateway. This the proposed realignment would lead to a more efficient entry into uptown but skipping the morehead/wesley heights stop would be a blow to the commercialization opportunities along Morehead. Also runs into the issue of what happens when/if the stadium is put on the refinery land. 

 

image.png.d87ea382c5f4fd54d900474ea2e44252.png

That would really spur even more growth in Southend though... The Gold District would be walking distance to two major lines with TOD zoning....

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14 hours ago, kermit said:

[Tillis'] willingness to ignore the needs of urban areas in NC means he is intentionally damaging the future of North Carolina.

This may be pedantic/assumed since we're talking national-level politics here, but he absolutely does have logic, and it is based around his known political base, and how the two duopolistic parties manipulate the populace to maintain power in their own respective ways.

Unless they have made it known that they seek to subvert or circumvent the existing way the parties run things, then we're going to be able to read any politician like a book. 

Edited by SgtCampsalot
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General thought on the LPAs (I already commented): they seem to be focusing on maximum TOD, as opposed to maximum ridership.

Does TOD follow ridership or does it simply follow a fixed route? You could make an argument either way.

What this does tell me, however, is CATS is looking to utilize TIF as a funding mechanism. I am fine with a TIF included in the capital stack, but generally believe that ridership should be the primary concern.

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