Sabaidee

Charlotte Center City Streetcar Network

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The 7th and Pecan intersection shouldn't be too tight for streetcars, as supposedly they can make 90 degree turns of similar radius as a bus could. but if it is too tight, then the 5th and Caswell route would probably be of similar value for the retailers on 7th with a stop at the 7th/Caldwell/Pecan intersection.

based on the lead project engineer's strong clarification that it isn't "likely" that plaza-midwood would be left out of phase, I seem to think it is high priority.

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I don't really see what you're talking about with the revised routing (I don't know the neghborhood!) but it seems that your plan has a lot of turns in it. Bear in mind that every time a streetcar turns, it has to slow down significantly if the light is green, or stop and wait for the signal to turn if it's red. In some cases (right turns from a median, for example) streetcars need to have seperate signals from automobiles, which inconveniences motorists and streetcar passengers alike by adding another cycle to the signal and making the wait times longer. All in all, when streetcars turn from street to street it makes the experience much less pleasant, so turns should be avoided wherever possible.

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My main point is cost, as the land and construction costs for bridge revisions and a new road right next to independence for the current preferred route are expected to be fairly high.

As far as turns, though, the current outbound route has has a right on commonwealth, some curves on the new commonwealth, and a soft right to continue onto the old commonwealth. The current inbound route has a right from pecan onto the new commonwealth, the soft curves on the new road, and a left onto hawthorne.

My proposed outbound route has a right on 5th and a left on caswell, with a soft left and curves to stay on pecan. (1 extra turn). My proposed inbound route has soft curves on pecan, a right on 7th and a left on hawthorne. (no extra turns).

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so here is a revised version of my proposal that straightens out the new pecan bridge, and skips the 7th street section assuming that corner is too tight.

and to be clear, the green section is already the official preferred route. I'm simply proposing to replace the red route with the yellow route because of cost, and to better serve the retailers and institutions east of hawthorne.

post-670-1128273764_thumb.jpg

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^ i think this would be the obvious route to pick. bye, bye bucky adams. i dunno, the more i look @ the proposed plan across hawthorne the more i like it. i know that your approach is more about the cost and like i said it would seem to be the obvious way... having said that the other plan forges a new path through a currently unused part of plaza/midwood. i like that, and hopefully it would help infill that area. i do see your point, though.

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the issue is that the developer that is about to move on the party reflections site is wants to use their whole parcel. That means if CATS purchases that right of way, it will possibly cut out some of the development they had planned, and would also likely lead to a very high price that CATS would have to pay for the land.

i like the current proposed route fine, but i just hope that they don't over look a potentially cheaper option simply because the politians already voted to cross independence at hawthorne before they realized the problems with the railroad crossing.

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What is going on with that aerial that you just posted? There is a multilaned highway in the right that just stops in the middle of the photo. Looks like it fell onto the city.

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it may or may not have been addressed, but here is the explanation:

originally, there were two streetcar lines in the plan:

1) the Trade/Elizabeth Street line with extensions down Central Ave and Beatties Ford

2) A loop connecting the 4 wards downtown. (Basically a square going down graham, 10th, davidson, and stonewall)

The second line, however, has evolved and now instead of a loop, it will be 4 spurs jutting out from the trade street line. These new spur lines have been nicknamed spiders or spiderlegs because of how they look on a map.

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...ndpost&p=207069

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...ndpost&p=119751

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it may or may not have been addressed, but here is the explanation:

originally, there were two streetcar lines in the plan:

1) the Trade/Elizabeth Street line with extensions down Central Ave and Beatties Ford

2) A loop connecting the 4 wards downtown. (Basically a square going down graham, 10th, davidson, and stonewall)

The second line, however, has evolved and now instead of a loop, it will be 4 spurs jutting out from the trade street line. These new spur lines have been nicknamed spiders or spiderlegs because of how they look on a map.

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...ndpost&p=207069

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...ndpost&p=119751

There's a map on the charmeck site in the summer newsletter.

http://www.charmeck.org/NR/rdonlyres/eoqod...ansitionsCC.pdf

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Ron Tober during the January MTC meeting discussed future changes to Route #9 Central Avenue and Route #7 Beatties Ford Road. These routes are among CATS

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I am confident that the Cats plan will continue roughly on schedule, give or take a year. That means the north line and the street car should be up for funding next year or the year after. The street car is a cost savings measure as much as a development generator so I am very confident in its outlook. Also, roughly a mile of the streetcar tracks will be built this fall as part of the Liz Ave streetscape project. Very exciting.

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It is rather interesting as Pat McCroy has been in the news the last few days because he has testified to Congress about the need for them to fully fund the Small Starts program which presumably would allow them to start work on the street car system. Because of the lower cost, the city could use the Small Starts program to start building the trolley system.

Unfortunately the Bush administration has only chosen to fund Small Starts with $100M in the 2007 budget which isn't going to go far when you consider this is the amount for the entire USA. This compares to $10B in the budget that he included this year to continue research on a Star Wars project to shoot satellites out of the sky. A program that has been remarkable for showing a complete lack of any tangible results after $100s of billions down the tubes under Reagan, Bush Sr. and now Bush Jr. So much for talk about being addicted to oil.

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I think the streetcar system could be our way of building in the principle of triangles, as metro was describing as a successful model in the other thread. It could also be a way of building out transit support for high density in areas outside of downtown that are already experiencing density, as atlrvr was describing the need for.

For example, the streetcar system could be extended down Sharon Amity to connect South Park with Eastland and then back up either Park, Selwyn, or Providence to create a triangle. It could also just be extended from South Park right to Woodlawn or Tyvola LRT Station so that the Central, Sharon Amity/Woodlawn, and LRT form the triangle. Not only would it support density that is already developing along the way, but it would allow for support commuting to South Park. Perhaps streetcar could also be extended from the airport to Woodlawn or Tyvola station to form another triangle and support transit use to the Tyvola Office parks. Anyway.

It seems to me that Charlotte should potentially start planning to add to their Streetcar network, perhaps without dealing with federal money. We might be able to do it if we crunch the numbers on new development spurred, and perhaps use STIFs or COPs or other more typical means of building growth-spurring infrastrusture.

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This is an important development, IMO. The old debate about streetcars was about improving the streetscape, developing more sense of community, urban renwal, tourism, alternate modes of transport.

Now it's just about doing what's cost effective. (I'm sure the maintenance cost on busses must be horrendous. They have huge tires and brakes, gobble fuel, have many unique parts.) Streetcars share some of these problems, but it's still interesting.

Edited by MZT

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There is a new newsletter out on the Center City Streetcar line.

http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/R...Transitions.htm

Right now they are in the stage of determining what the shelters and the trains will look like. I didn't realize there were so many options, but frankly any of them look good to me.

Apparently, there is a public meeting on Thursday to discuss it.

It also gives more information about the so called "Small Starts" program, but states that the regulations have not been defined. Hopefully by the time this project needs funding, it will be fully defined and funded.

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No. I think those are just planning assumptions right now. If the state or federal government does not agree to fund that percentage, then CATS would need to either delay, cancel, or change plans to fund it locally.

As this streetcar line does have some operation efficiency that it creates over the existing bus lines, and that due to phasing the actual amounts will be relatively small, I suspect that the state will probably agree to their portion of the funding.

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That is interesting. I'm glad they are being rational and not sentimental about their routes. My own guess on why the Gold Rush isn't popular for the arena is that most people either park within a few blocks, or walk to the nightlife nearby.

I think the historic trolley was more popular, though, during arena events, so perhaps that is another sign that fixed guideways spur ridership.

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Well, I went to the Streetcar meeting yesterday, and while there wasn't a whole lot new, here are some key points:

They are now deciding on where to locate the maintenance garage. It will not be nearly as intense as the LRT garage, but they'll somewhere to store the cars at night, as well as do simple maintenance and cleaning.

Here are the sites:

113719892_9e3ba8a7b0_o.jpg

1) At Beatties Ford and Brookshire - would be a tight fit, but would extend the line to Brookshire in the first phase

2) In the 77 Right of Way - would require coordination with federal government

3) in block planned for Gateway Village expansion - would require purchase of site from BofA, but potentially with reselling airrights back to build eventual Gateway Village offices above VMF.

4) Next to CSX tracks and Independence - would allow extension to Plaza-Midwood in Phase I, but requires expensive bridges and retaining wall next to Independence to get there.

5) Barnhardt land - creates new cheaper option for getting to Plaza-Midwood in Phase I.

Number 5 seems to be the most popular option, and seems to offer a lot of savings. As you might recall from the last update, since they cannot cross the CSX tracks on Central, the planned alternative was to cross next to Independence with a new bridge and street extension. As private land held by Conformity already had development plans, land costs would have been very high. As a result, this option would need to built mostly in Independence right of way with retaining wall, in addition to a new bridge over CSX and expensive changes to the Hawthorne bridge as the tracks will turn while still on the bridge.

Here is the detail of the new option. By locating the streetcar VMF in the Barnhardt location, not only does it allow for a cheaper crossing of the CSX line, but Plaza-Midwood would be included in Phase I of the streetcar project. The option adds only ~1200 ft to the line, but could pass under an existing railroad bridge, so the road would just have to be lowered a bit to get the needed clearance. This option would also open up the streetcar line to better serve a few more redevelopment areas than the previously planned line.

In this map, the red is the previously planned crossing which turned out to be very expensive. The green is the new crossing that would go with the Barnhardt VMF location, and the blue being all of the new redevelopment and existing development the new corridor would support.

113733890_4579280a2e_o.jpg

In other news, they said that they are still working with the Feds to count economic development as part of the Small Starts formula regulations. They also said that if they get submit for funding this year as planned, that they shouldn't have too much competition for the Small Starts funds as they are further along in the process than other cities. However, if they delay until next year, they will have a tremendous amount of competition. There is also the potential for competition with the North line (sadly), as it is probably also going to seek Small Starts funds as it is under $200m. If it comes down to an either or scenario, most agreed that the North line would certainly go next, but that they are working hard to keep them as a simultaneous projects, on schedule.

They said cost estimates won't be available until this summer, but the engineer said (I think the managers got annoyed that he said this) the target is ~$25m/mi, with the first phase being ~4 miles. That means roughly $100m-$125m to connect Plaza-Midwood, Elizabeth, Uptown, Gateway, and Biddleville. $100m translates to roughly $50m in federal funds payable over 2-3 years. That is very small amount, relatively speaking.

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Well, I went to the Streetcar meeting yesterday, and while there wasn't a whole lot new, here are some key points:

They are now deciding on where to locate the maintenance garage. It will not be nearly as intense as the LRT garage, but they'll somewhere to store the cars at night, as well as do simple maintenance and cleaning.

Here are the sites:

113719892_9e3ba8a7b0_o.jpg

1) At Beatties Ford and Brookshire - would be a tight fit, but would extend the line to Brookshire in the first phase

2) In the 77 Right of Way - would require coordination with federal government

3) in block planned for Gateway Village expansion - would require purchase of site from BofA, but potentially with reselling airrights back to build eventual Gateway Village offices above VMF.

4) Next to CSX tracks and Independence - would allow extension to Plaza-Midwood in Phase I, but requires expensive bridges and retaining wall next to Independence to get there.

5) Barnhardt land - creates new cheaper option for getting to Plaza-Midwood in Phase I.

Number 5 seems to be the most popular option, and seems to offer a lot of savings. As you might recall from the last update, since they cannot cross the CSX tracks on Central, the planned alternative was to cross next to Independence with a new bridge and street extension. As private land held by Conformity already had development plans, land costs would have been very high. As a result, this option would need to built mostly in Independence right of way with retaining wall, in addition to a new bridge over CSX and expensive changes to the Hawthorne bridge as the tracks will turn while still on the bridge.

Here is the detail of the new option. By locating the streetcar VMF in the Barnhardt location, not only does it allow for a cheaper crossing of the CSX line, but Plaza-Midwood would be included in Phase I of the streetcar project. The option adds only ~1200 ft to the line, but could pass under an existing railroad bridge, so the road would just have to be lowered a bit to get the needed clearance. This option would also open up the streetcar line to better serve a few more redevelopment areas than the previously planned line.

In this map, the red is the previously planned crossing which turned out to be very expensive. The green is the new crossing that would go with the Barnhardt VMF location, and the blue being all of the new redevelopment and existing development the new corridor would support.

113733890_4579280a2e_o.jpg

In other news, they said that they are still working with the Feds to count economic development as part of the Small Starts formula regulations. They also said that if they get submit for funding this year as planned, that they shouldn't have too much competition for the Small Starts funds as they are further along in the process than other cities. However, if they delay until next year, they will have a tremendous amount of competition. There is also the potential for competition with the North line (sadly), as it is probably also going to seek Small Starts funds as it is under $200m. If it comes down to an either or scenario, most agreed that the North line would certainly go next, but that they are working hard to keep them as a simultaneous projects, on schedule.

They said cost estimates won't be available until this summer, but the engineer said (I think the managers got annoyed that he said this) the target is ~$25m/mi, with the first phase being ~4 miles. That means roughly $100m-$125m to connect Plaza-Midwood, Elizabeth, Uptown, Gateway, and Biddleville. $100m translates to roughly $50m in federal funds payable over 2-3 years. That is very small amount, relatively speaking.

Here is the existing CSX bridge over Hawthorne. If they choose the Barnhardt vehicle maintenance site that allows for a route to go under this bridge, the project could save millions and millions of dollars. The road would just have to be lowered a bit to provide clearance for the wires, but the bridge wouldn't need be altered.

60272877-L.jpg

The lighting was bad from this angle, but you can see how the City Yards extends all the way to Hawthorne near the newly proposed route and existing bridge. If the city does end up selling City Yards and allow for redevelopment, the Streetcar could really help it along.

60272880-L.jpg

There are some attractive mill buildings in this area that could either be decent employment TOD if they are still operating or good redevelopment opportunities if vacant

60272884-L.jpg

Here is the driveway that would become a new street to connect Hawthorne to Clement in the proposed route I mapped out above.

60272887-L.jpg

On the other side of that VMF site, here is the industrial uses currently along Barnhardt Ave, on the west side of Clement. The site is the higher elevation on the right.

60272890-L.jpg

On the east side of Clement, there are some interesting old houses, including an old shotgun house.

60272897-L.jpg

60272901-L.jpg

60272906-L.jpg

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