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CATS Long Term Transit Plan - Silver, Red Lines


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12 minutes ago, TGIBridays said:

DOLLAR FIGURES FOR THE SILVER LINE ARE SLOWLY COMING INTO FOCUS (UNC Urban Institute)

Sad to read that the tunneling option is off the table, though I expected as much. Maybe by the time my 3 year old is about to finish high school, we'll be able to use the silver line to go into Uptown for a Hornets game or something...

Wow - 18 years until full completion. Not even sure what to say about that...

Regarding the routing, if any of you are regular readers of Strong Towns, you will be familiar with the road vs. street vs. stroad framework. As Chuck Marohn defines it, a road connects two productive places, a street is a platform for building wealth, and a stroad attempts to fulfill both functions and manages to accomplish neither. You will all be familiar with stroads - arterial roads with 45 mph speed limits, lined with big box stores, which manage to simultaneously be inefficient at moving automobiles, and hellishly unpleasant and dangerous for anyone not inside a vehicle. In his newest book, Marohn takes this framework and applies it to transit, which I though was a very interesting insight. What is the purpose of a particular transit line or system? Is it to provide a high-speed connection between two already productive places? Or is it to provide a platform for even more intense development of a productive place?

With this in mind, it seems like the Silver Line as planned is a "stroad" of a transit line. It does not quickly connect already productive places (for example, it is not an express between uptown and the terminal at CLT). Nor is it designed to maximize the utility of already productive places (like a Trade Street tunnel or 277 trench alignment would do). Instead, it would sort of connect outlying areas, sort of go to uptown (but miss places that people would actually want to go), and it would do so slowly. And as CATS has proven, it would most likely do so with service frequencies that fail to maximize the utility of the massive  capital investment.

I wonder if Charlotte would do better by not trying to serve suburban commuters with light rail. The endpoints of the Blue Line are either adjacent to, or fairly close to, existing rail lines. The same is true of the Silver Line. These far-flung destinations would be better served by mainline regional trains that could reach the center city faster. Conversely, imagine if the total route miles of the Blue and Silver lines were distributed to a network serving the area within a 3-4 mile radius of uptown? How much densification and true car-optional living could be supported then? Maybe this ridiculous 18-year timeline will provide an opportunity to come op with a better plan.

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1 hour ago, jthomas said:

With this in mind, it seems like the Silver Line as planned is a "stroad" of a transit line. It does not quickly connect already productive places (for example, it is not an express between uptown and the terminal at CLT). Nor is it designed to maximize the utility of already productive places (like a Trade Street tunnel or 277 trench alignment would do). Instead, it would sort of connect outlying areas, sort of go to uptown (but miss places that people would actually want to go), and it would do so slowly. And as CATS has proven, it would most likely do so with service frequencies that fail to maximize the utility of the massive  capital investment.

I don't really agree with this take, in large part because the precedent set by the Blue Line. It seems perfectly marvelous that the blue line connects south end to uptown, but when it opened there wasn't much there to connect. Planning the silver line has to balance what is here today versus what could be there tomorrow. The northern end up Uptown is about as blank a slate as Southend ever was in 2007. 

In any event, roads become Stroads because of land use more than the actual pavement. If we were pulling a 1970s MARTA or CTA and building stations inside massive, inhuman parking decks inaccessible without a car, I would say we're building a Stroad on rails, but to the credit of the planning department, that is largely not the case*.

*they are trying very hard to prove me wrong at east/west blvd 

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Here is Axios story about transit plan.  I still think a different funding model is needed.  If development is one of the reasons for these routes then extra property taxes should be collected within a certain distance of the line and maybe a little bit more around the stations.   Like the Uptown Southend tax district.    Are we routing this for developers or for the public to use as an alternative?  It seems like the former.

New light rail would drive development. But what about moving people? - Axios Charlotte

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13 hours ago, KJHburg said:

Here is Houston's Metrorail expansion plan and Bus Rapid Transit. They are heavily going on building lots of BRT in addition to extending their existing Red Line and other 2 lines and one will connect to Hobby Airport the Southwest airlines hub.   Some various photos of their trains and they are more in line with LYNX in terms of size but much more frequent.   In fact they say the Red Line through Texas Medical Center through downtown is one of the most heavily travelled light rail line per mile in the country. 

METRONext Moving Forward Plan | METRO | Houston, TX | Public Transit (ridemetro.org)

METRONext-Moving-Forward-Plan-Summary.pdf (ridemetro.org)   75 miles of Bus Rapid Transit and some of it does not run through downtown which I think is a good idea and goes from various regional transit hubs which the Houston Metro has a lot of mainly park and ride for express buses.   Houston has the largest HOV network in the country too. 

Extension to at least one of their airports by rail is a great too.  Houston Bush the larger airport will have BRT to it.  

Their Metro rail runs on street lanes some as does our streetcar and some dedicated rail only areas in some of the newer lines.  

Like their simple but effective bus shelters too.   Lots of bike lanes too downtown that connect to their huge greenway system.  

about their Bus Rapid Transit which I still contend CATS needs to implement more of and it can be just as efficient and way cheaper and serve more areas like the Albemarle Rd corridor among others.      METRORapid | Bus Rapid Transit | Public transportation | Houston, TX (ridemetro.org)

 

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It's a great start but the Connect Beyond regional transit plan gives us an idea of what and how the Greater Charlotte aka Metrolina region will be headed towards. 

https://www.connect-beyond.com/

However we'll have to get our delegations in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, & Gaston counties in the NC General Assembly along with York and Lancaster counties in South Carolina to support funding this strategy.  Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, and Union counties will come along as they further urbanized and evolve as areas. 

 

Edited by kayman
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1 hour ago, Temeteron said:

While the Scaleybark area is gentrifying, it still isn't the best part of town. Lots of shootings along Clanton Road, in particular with the QT Fuel Station, having 20 crimes in the last couple weeks including multiple non-aggravated assaults, assault w/ Knife, Strong-Armed Robbery, Sale of Narcotics (several times), Auto Thefts, et... it looks like more police reports are concentrated at the QT than any other location in Lower South End. 

The people that bought the expensive townhomes across the street have a great view of the drug deals that happen in plain daylight at the QT parking lot....

Edited by CLT2014
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4 hours ago, LKN704 said:

I always yell 'thank you' to the bus driver here in DC if I am not on an articulated bus, and the majority of the time they yell 'you're welcome'  back. I would say that maybe 60-65% of other riders also do the same. 

I got a kick out of riding the bus in Vancouver. Everyone there screams 'thank you' as they disembark. 

I always tell people to try to make friends with the drivers that regularly drive the routes you take. I have had drivers I know offer to drop me off at non-stop locations that were closer to my house or pick me up while I was walking to the bus stop in the rain. 

It's a tough job filled with lonely, isolating hours. Little acts of kindness go a long way. 

I echo this. 

It is extremely common and very frequent people thank the bus driver in DC. Especially older black women. 

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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Yes, I often on late days on campus at Charlotte sometimes chat with the bus drivers and it turns out some of them are from the northeast. I spoke with an older man who was from the New York. They truly appreciate it when we shout a Thank you, Have a good one/evening, etc.

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Got an email from CATS saying they've added real-time bus tracking to the CATS-Pass app.

Quote

 

Real-time bus tracking is now available on the CATS-Pass mobile app. Riders can now view real-time locations and up-to-the minute arrival times for buses across the entire CATS system. Seamlessly plan and pay for your bus trips on a single app!

Real-time tracking for the LYNX Blue Line and CityLYNX Gold Line will be available on the app in the near future.

 

This is what it looks like in-app. 

 

Screenshot_20211012-093541_CATS-Pass.jpg

Edited by TGIBridays
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