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Charlotte Center City Streetcar Network


Sabaidee

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Wait...... 

Per that press release, this thing is going to have 20 minute headways???? LOL. Is this some joke or is it just temporary? If you just missed the train, you could drive to Amelie's in Villa Heights, grab a brownie, drive back... and still catch the next train.

Plaza Midwood residents already have bus routes connecting to Uptown with frequency every 10 - 15 minutes. Wesley Heights and Johnson C Smith have many bus routes with 15 minute frequency as well. Instead people going to be sitting there watching buses cruise by just to sit on a train that is 3 miles long? Must be nice to have so much free time. 

Edited by CLT2014
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4 minutes ago, CLT2014 said:

Wait...... 

Per that press release, this thing is going to have 20 minute headways???? LOL. Is this some joke or is it just temporary? 

Plaza Midwood residents already have bus routes connecting to Uptown with frequency every 10 - 15 minutes. Wesley Heights and Johnson C Smith have many bus routes with 15 minute frequency as well. Instead people going to be sitting there watching buses cruise by just to sit on a train? Must be nice to have so much free time. 

The #9 runs every 10 minutes for the majority of the day, but it really doesn't overlap the gold line's service area unless you live right at Central & Hawthorne. 

On the west side, on the other hand, the #7 runs every 15 minutes and very much overlaps the Gold Line from JCS all the way to the CTC. 

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39 minutes ago, Madison Parkitect said:

Unless the whole point is "get around the stigma of riding the bus" why would anyone take a streetcar that's in the same traffic as the bus and runs on longer headways? To be totally honest I'm very pro-transit but I've never understood why cities spend money on a streetcar line when it's surely more expensive than just starting a new bus route.

I want this thing to work and be useful so badly, but I just can't help but wonder who out there will actually get value from this.  20 minute headways to connect the edge of Plaza Midwood to Uptown seems like it will serve a very very niche (read small) market.

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On 8/27/2021 at 12:01 PM, CLT2014 said:

Wait...... 

Per that press release, this thing is going to have 20 minute headways???? LOL. Is this some joke or is it just temporary? If you just missed the train, you could drive to Amelie's in Villa Heights, grab a brownie, drive back... and still catch the next train.

Plaza Midwood residents already have bus routes connecting to Uptown with frequency every 10 - 15 minutes. Wesley Heights and Johnson C Smith have many bus routes with 15 minute frequency as well. Instead people going to be sitting there watching buses cruise by just to sit on a train that is 3 miles long? Must be nice to have so much free time. 

Isn’t that just temporary? The blue line is still on that schedule also, I assumed they would both go back to the old 2 per 15 min schedule when more people start going back to the office (aka soon).

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On 8/28/2021 at 8:57 PM, Urban Cowboy said:

Would have been better to run it into the heart of Midwood via Pecan instead of Hawthorne, IMO. But excited nonetheless.

I think the issue with Pecan are the CSX tracks. A grade separation would have been the only option there, and that would have jacked up the cost of the line. 

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25 minutes ago, kermit said:

The mixed traffic running for the Gold Line makes real time vehicle tracking much more urgent (Gold Line is gonna have a hell of a time keeping a schedule)

No change to strip maps in the Blue Line vehicles yet — that also needs to happen.

It looks like there isn't a published schedule: https://charlottenc.gov/cats/rail/cityLYNX/Pages/default.aspx

So show up at station and have no clue if you have a 18 minute wait or 2 minute wait. 

Also, looks like there isn't a timeline for when service intervals will improve. Indicates they are taking a "wait and see" approach based on demand.  It isn't unusual for streetcars to not have a published schedule, but they typically have much tighter frequencies and a real-time tracker can greatly help. In Kansas City for example, service is every 10 - 15 minutes, with an app and webpage with current locations so you can weigh hoping on the streetcar or walking 8 blocks. 

Edited by CLT2014
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On 8/27/2021 at 12:36 PM, kermit said:

20 minutes is an idiotic frequency. It really needs to be at least every 5 minutes.

For real.  You can walk a mile in 20 minutes.  Why would anyone want to wait that long (rather than walk) to board a vehicle that's then going to move slowly because it's stuck in traffic?

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On 8/27/2021 at 3:36 PM, kermit said:

20 minutes is an idiotic frequency. It really needs to be at least every 5 minutes.

CATS got a ton of federal money for Covid operations, one condition of that money was that the system continue to operate at the same frequencies they had pre-pandemic. They certainly did not do that (but to be fair, they are not the only transit agency guilty of this)

Is the 20 min frequency really idiocy?  Can the system afford 5 minute frequencies?  Is it possible that the 20-minute cycle resulted from a complex optimization function that considered initial capital outlays, ongoing costs, drivers, and rider demand, not to mention the legions of Charlotteans out there who simply don't and won't take transit and despise such public works projects.  I drove along the route yesterday, and to be honest, I don't even see all that much residential density along it.  Yes, it's dense in uptown, but I'm guessing people just walk to where they're going in the most vertical parts of uptown.  I think if you see more vertical residential in west end, and perhaps the same in plaza, then maybe you'll see more ridership.  Also, this might work well for special events and for weekend revelry.  But was there ever a substantial count of people expected to ride this thing to get to work or the grocery store or a time-sensitive appointment like the doctor's?  

Again, I just don't see enough density along the route to justify a high-frequency - but given that the tracks are laid, maybe the city can start approving high-density development and as those complete and people move in, up the frequency at that time.  Having the tracks laid does allow us to scale transit fairly quickly as new developments come online. 

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21 minutes ago, kermit said:

^ US rail transit is not built to optimize commuting and circulation and travel today. It’s built to shape a denser and more sustainable city 20 years down the road. To do that you need as many people to ride as possible, and nobody will choose to ride if the frequencies suck.

All forms of transportation loose money, none more than cars. 20 minute frequencies might minimize that loss, but it is at the expense of making the $180 million asset worthless for  present riders and increasing the odds it will fail at long term land use change as well. 

(I pass through the CTC on my commute everyday. If I was confident the Gold Line would appear within 5 minutes I would ride up to the Spoke or Big Ben for happy hour regularly. At 20 minute frequencies that is a hard pass)

That's my point - your single Big-Ben story aside, there just isn't the density along the gold line to justify 5-min frequencies without being an extraordinary waste of money - more so than the regular losses already sustained.

However, because the infrastructure is there, then once dense developments start to take shape in Plaza Midwood and perhaps Elizabeth and in West End, 5-minute frequencies can be turned on and so you can scale the transit the meet the needs of increasing densification.

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1 minute ago, RANYC said:

That's my point - your single Big-Ben story aside, there just isn't the density along the gold line to justify 5-min frequencies without being an extraordinary waste of money - more so than the regular losses already sustained.

However, because the infrastructure is there, then once dense developments start to take shape in Plaza Midwood and perhaps Elizabeth and in West End, 5-minute frequencies can be turned on and so you can scale the transit the meet the needs of increasing densification.

It’s chicken and egg. Developers aren’t gonna build anything dense if no pedestrians are there. No one is gonna be there  if the transit sucks.

I don’t know what the numbers are, but I think CATS / the city is being foolish by not eating the expense of 5 minute frequencies with no riders. The losses would be tiny in comparison to longer term economic benefits. 

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20 minutes ago, kermit said:

It’s chicken and egg. Developers aren’t gonna build anything dense if no pedestrians are there. No one is gonna be there  if the transit sucks.

I don’t know what the numbers are, but I think CATS / the city is being foolish by not eating the expense of 5 minute frequencies with no riders. The losses would be tiny in comparison to longer term economic benefits. 

I agree there's quite a bit of chicken-and-egg phenomenon at work.  Having said that,  developers are increasingly comfy that density will work in Charlotte - even where transit isn't super convenient or fully operational.   Consider recent high-rise proposals in Elizabeth/Cherry Hill in anticipation of the Gold Line, yet the city is pushing back.  High-rise proposals also in Midtown, Atrium Med School, and even along Morehead.  I think density is coming everywhere.  I do think there's work to be done around a culture of carlessness, in general.  We need more people here to buy into carless-ness as a sleek, minimalist, conscientious and dare I say it, cool way of life.  That would help.

Edited by RANYC
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38 minutes ago, RANYC said:

I agree there's quite a bit of chicken-and-egg phenomenon at work.  Having said that,  developers are increasingly comfy that density will work in Charlotte - even where transit isn't super convenient or fully operational.   Consider recent high-rise proposals in Elizabeth/Cherry Hill in anticipation of the Gold Line, yet the city is pushing back.  High-rise proposals also in Midtown, Atrium Med School, and even along Morehead.  I think density is coming everywhere.  I do think there's work to be done around a culture of carlessness, in general.  We need more people here to buy into carless-ness as a sleek, minimalist, conscientious and dare I say it, cool way of life.  That would help.

I think that is again, a chicken/egg issue too. The more density there is, the more comfortable people will be carless. When my family moved to Dilworth, we actually went to a one car household because it was walkable, but we could walk to 3-4 grocery stores, shopping and 100 restaurants. Until more people can do that, they will need cars even in denser areas, but as the areas get denser there will be more amenities... I think 20 years from now, Uptown and the surrounding areas could be live-able completely with out cars. 

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