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CATS Long Term Transit Plan - Silver, Red Lines


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On 5/2/2021 at 11:54 PM, turbocraig said:

Just googling Silver Line pics and found these renderings I hadn't seen before.  277 alignment in 1W from the City's website and then this link to STV, the firm doing the planning and design work that shows it crossing over Independence and I'm not sure where exactly it snakes off to behind Ovens.  Apologies if these are old news - I haven't been reading this thread religiously.

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https://www.stvinc.com/project/lynx-silver-line-design-engineering-services

 

That new bridge of 11th over Brevard is a small detail, but it will really help bike/ped connectivity  to the "Mill District" neighborhoods. Wish there was a solution for Davidson.

Can't tell what the heck they are doing around College St though. Maybe getting rid of that exit.

Edited by Desert Power
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*cracks knuckles* here's my takeaways from the MTC meeting tonight: Red Line: The staff recommendation is to keep commuter rail on the O-line as the preferred option. What this largely boils do

I went to the Matthews Community meeting for the Silver Line station area planning last night and I thought y'all might appreciate some of the pictures/information from the event. I meant to take

The current batch of consultants suggested splitting Silver line construction into two phases, I assume East and West, not sure what they labeled A and B. Red Line inclusion has nothing to do wit

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Re: Long walk between Silver/Blue transfer points. 

Does anyone think there would be that many transfers between the blue and silver lines to begin with?  

wont the portion of the sliver line be near gateway station? Stations along Graham serves uptown stations well. It’s not that many blocks to tryon. Really, I would think it’s quite lazy to complain about a walk from Graham to Tryon. 

I think transfers would mostly be leisure outside of rush hour. And that just seems like it would take so long between the light rail speed & headways. 
 

Anyone else sort of agree? (Though loving mass transit, of course I would want a great transfer point :p )

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2 hours ago, kermit said:

The usefulness of Graham street stations for Tryon st traffic may be OK for most of Uptown (except for Second Ward), but the peripheral route around town is certainly not ideal. My bigger concern is providing access to the rapidly growing Southend and Brevard/NoDa office markets. These areas will be inaccessible to Silver line riders if CATS continues with their ridiculous frequencies and long walks between trains.  Bad transfers also limit the potential of TOD along the Silver Line on the West Side  since access for Blue Line riders may be crappy.

I think leisure trips may be most impacted by crappy transfers. I have lost count of the number of conversations in Charlotte I have overheard that go something like:  "the Blue Line takes too long this time of night, lets just get an uber."  This is a once in a generation investment that will undoubtedly shape the future of the city. CATS needs to do it right, but it sounds like they have committed to the value engineered routing.


I had a friend who lived in 550 uptown who insisted we take light rail to SouthEnd and I swear it had to be over 30 minutes. The Uber ride back was like. 6 minutes. 
 

Anyway, the silver and blue line can always be connected by another line.

They could possibly add a line (hypothetically let’s call it the green line) that follows the silver line and then merges onto the blue line tracks and follows the blue line to New Bern or Tyvola before branching off to the airport or SouthPark. 

That would also double the frequency in uptown & SouthEnd and would even reduce the need for a transfer between blue & silver. The far out stations don’t need as much frequency as the more urban stations outside of commuting hours. 

Even of it seems short-sighted now, it’s nothing that will hamper the transit system from ever being one where transferring between lines is a hassle. 

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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2 hours ago, kermit said:

This is a nice surprise. John Lewis says on twitter that the new Southend / Publix station will be “accelerated” with this money.

 

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I wish they would focus much more on reliability than "safety." Is our system inherently unsafe? Does blood flow red on the tracks? It would be great for them to also improve the app (including real-time vehicle information which has been promised for years and integrating the ability to purchase tickets rather than having a separate app), station boards, upgrading bus stops to make them comfortable and attractive (and informative).

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2 hours ago, davidclt said:

I wish they would focus much more on reliability than "safety." Is our system inherently unsafe? Does blood flow red on the tracks? It would be great for them to also improve the app (including real-time vehicle information which has been promised for years and integrating the ability to purchase tickets rather than having a separate app), station boards, upgrading bus stops to make them comfortable and attractive (and informative).

I am still told that the real-time app is coming within the next couple of months. (I'm taking that with the usual grain of salt)

(edit: I've had it verified that they are targeting a go-live date around the end of July, barring any technical hiccups.)

Edited by tozmervo
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21 hours ago, tozmervo said:

I am still told that the real-time app is coming within the next couple of months. (I'm taking that with the usual grain of salt)

(edit: I've had it verified that they are targeting a go-live date around the end of July, barring any technical hiccups.)

End-of-July in which year?

They've had eight plus years to get this right. What's the ongoing hold up (that's rhetorical)? It seems like they've made the process of implementing this needlessly complex (or they just don't have the data or the platforms for consuming and processing it internally). They can't even within their own system get the reporting on train arrivals right on the station platforms. CATS is so poorly managed.

I'll believe it when I see it.

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Are the fareboxes on buses exact fare only? Can you use a credit card or the CATS Pass app for the fare? I'd like to start riding the bus to work but I am struggling to figure out the quirks of the system and the CATS website is not exactly user friendly.

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1 hour ago, jjwilli said:

Are the fareboxes on buses exact fare only? Can you use a credit card or the CATS Pass app for the fare? I'd like to start riding the bus to work but I am struggling to figure out the quirks of the system and the CATS website is not exactly user friendly.

According to CATS you can use the app for proof of payment on buses. Just present it to the bus driver when boarding.

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5 hours ago, tozmervo said:

This has been loosely touched on before, but CATS has continued to make incremental steps toward the "Envision My Ride" masterplan of a network of local routes with regular, higher frequency schedules. On June 7, five more routes converted to all-day 20 minute headways, which is an improvement over pre-pandemic schedules. 

I haven't seen an official announcement, but it sounds like we'll see a considerable restoration (but not full restoration) of express bus services in early July. CATS is actively surveying uptown employers on  office reopening schedules to match pace so they aren't driving expensive express busses around with no passengers. I would expect to see Blue Line headways similarly reduced as waves of offices reopen.

Who knows if the traditional "rush hour" will ever return like it used to exist, but it does sound like pretty much everyone will be "reopen" by the day after Labor Day. 

Does anyone know if, during this major downtime, Blue Line Trains were serviced, or the rail serviced?  There were some major services coming up for a lot of the cars. 

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2 hours ago, Blue_Devil said:

Does anyone know if, during this major downtime, Blue Line Trains were serviced, or the rail serviced?  There were some major services coming up for a lot of the cars. 

CATS has been awfully quiet during the pandemic and I stopped looking at the quarterly reports for some reason. Just before the pandemic they were struggling to schedule mid-life overhauls on their first gen LRT vehicles. These required shipping vehicles out for service. I hope they got the bulk of those done, but I have heard nothing.

I have  not seen any track maintenance activity, but I do think the problem area around Scaleybark is now a slow zone again (it was completely rebuilt about 6(?) years ago). I have not ridden the BLE enough to know if they have resolved any of the crossing problems along N Tryon or the shifting rail on the UNCC viaduct. I think I would have heard if they were working on that stuff.

Given all the uncertainty of the pandemic I guess I can’t really blame them for hunkering down in damage control mode, but it does feel like CATS passed up a good opportunity to take care of some nagging issues (and I think the BLE issues are still on the contractor’s dime).

I am curious now, I’ll try to dig through some CATS documents later in the week. 

Slightly off topic, I plan to return to being a daily blue line rider in August.

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10 hours ago, kermit said:

CATS has been awfully quiet during the pandemic and I stopped looking at the quarterly reports for some reason. Just before the pandemic they were struggling to schedule mid-life overhauls on their first gen LRT vehicles. These required shipping vehicles out for service. I hope they got the bulk of those done, but I have heard nothing.

I have  not seen any track maintenance activity, but I do think the problem area around Scaleybark is now a slow zone again (it was completely rebuilt about 6(?) years ago). I have not ridden the BLE enough to know if they have resolved any of the crossing problems along N Tryon or the shifting rail on the UNCC viaduct. I think I would have heard if they were working on that stuff.

Given all the uncertainty of the pandemic I guess I can’t really blame them for hunkering down in damage control mode, but it does feel like CATS passed up a good opportunity to take care of some nagging issues (and I think the BLE issues are still on the contractor’s dime).

I am curious now, I’ll try to dig through some CATS documents later in the week. 

Slightly off topic, I plan to return to being a daily blue line rider in August.

It will probably be somewhere between Sept - Nov for me.

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Dudes - I hear all the time about CATS inefficient Operation of the only Lightrail Line Charlotte has as well as the nagging maintenance issues.  My question though is about the Future Planned Silverline and whether or not it is planned to run through enough well populated areas and high traffic corridors that would be convenient enough to spur robust ridership?  I just read this recent article on City Lab blasting other City LRT Lines for being poorly planned or solely focused on spurring New Development along vacant\under utilitized lots.  Where do you think the Planned Silver Line falls on that spectrum.

What's Wrong With Sunbelt Transportation Spending? - Bloomberg

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37 minutes ago, Hushpuppy321 said:

Where do you think the Planned Silver Line falls on that spectrum.

What's Wrong With Sunbelt Transportation Spending? - Bloomberg

IMO, the southern portion of the Silver Line will not create a neighborhood like South End that is somewhat walkable once it gets south of Chantilly. The stations are going to be wedged between Monroe and Independence Expressway, which will act as a physical and mental wall to access from the northeast side of the expressway. It is going to be very very hard to create a walkable connection with a 8 - 10 way expressway right at the station's doorstep. The route also runs through largely single family neighborhoods, where I expect some townhome / duplex infill, but unless street patterns in areas like Oakhurst are completely re-done from scratch (i.e. buy out the entire neighborhood, tear everything down, start over), walkability will be tough with dead ends and cul-de-sacs. We already see these struggles on the southern portion of the Blue Line from the Woodlawn to I-485 stations (wedged between the railroad, South Blvd, and single family homes and no street grid). Development will likely just end up clustering along Monroe Road (which is already happening) in a sprawling Los Angeles / Houston / Atlanta form of development.... Apartments / retail / commercial right along Monroe.... then the next layer back sprawling single family homes. In order to complete errands, people will drive rather than walk along busy Monroe. 

The best chance for TOD might be Matthews area, where the line will finally break away from the 8 - 10 lane expressway and enter the more grid like layout in downtown Matthews which could really transform if the town plays their cards right.  The western side of the line also has a chance for decent redevelopment and a better layout to create walkability + no expressway. 

Edited by CLT2014
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This is sad and depressing. The lack of urgency is extremely frustrating. This is infrastructure that the city badly needs now and waiting 20+ years is not going to cut it. Why do I want to live in a city that shows no ability to get anything done in order to make it a more livable place?

Screenshot 2021-06-29 095016.jpg

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45 minutes ago, Nathan2 said:

This is sad and depressing. The lack of urgency is extremely frustrating. This is infrastructure that the city badly needs now and waiting 20+ years is not going to cut it. Why do I want to live in a city that shows no ability to get anything done in order to make it a more livable place?

Screenshot 2021-06-29 095016.jpg

I think it not a lack of urgency but rather a lack of federal funding and unrealistic timelines. The bigger the infrastructure bill the better.

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1 hour ago, CarolinaDaydreamin said:

I think it not a lack of urgency but rather a lack of federal funding and unrealistic timelines. The bigger the infrastructure bill the better.

I think there may also be a leadership vacuum at not just CATS but also regional coordination of transit efforts. We need something akin to Sound Transit (an interconnected system covering Pierce, King and Snohomish counties) or even TriMet (covers Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties - surprised it doesn't extend into Clark County, Washington). Compared to CATS (why do they publish a stupid .PDF for the system map‽) which technically covers four counties with extremely limited service to the outlying areas  (Gaston (1 express route), Mecklenburg (but primarily Charlotte), Union (1 express route), York (1 express route)). Combining that with a lack of regional engagement, lack of support from the legislature for any urban projects but especially hostile to transit and ongoing mismanagement and you have a very real recipe for failure.

Edited by davidclt
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2 hours ago, Nathan2 said:

This is sad and depressing. The lack of urgency is extremely frustrating. This is infrastructure that the city badly needs now and waiting 20+ years is not going to cut it. Why do I want to live in a city that shows no ability to get anything done in order to make it a more livable place?

Screenshot 2021-06-29 095016.jpg

Redline being included there, and phase 3 goldline are interesting. What is Phase A of Silderline? and what is blue line core capacity? Does that mean 3 car capacity? Not until 2041? 

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