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I agree with everything you said about the necessity of prepairing for growth now and I really do hope to are right about the pettyness. Having said that it is clear that gov Pope (as opposed to Lt Gov McCrory) is strongly idologically allied with the Koch brothers and their oil industry money. We all saw how the Koch's got Govs Walker (Wisconsin), Kasich (Ohio) and Scott (in Florida) to reject federal funds for HSR (and there was no state match required for those projects!). Kasich also attempted to scuttle the federal funds for the Cincinatti streetcar but local pols appear to have saved that. I am not willing give the benefit of the doubt to our legislature.

EDIT: Back when Perdue was gov our legislature did make an attempt to reject our HSR funds (I managed to block that out of my memory)

My main fear for our streetcar proposal is not based on grandstanding by the state to block the federal funds but rather that they will revert to their assertions from a few months ago that Charlotte may not need the state money for the BLE if they can manage to 'find' extra cash in their budget.

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Streetcar #401 in the wild at North yard. Testing (in the yard) was underway this afternoon.      

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But the BLE is now safe, right?  That is done.

 

That fact is that we are already budgeting for this project as though the state will be backwards and not support or help pay for something urban.  It is nothing new for Charlotte.

 

It is still a shame and bad policy, but if the city could find the money for any number of projects along its path to becoming a major national city, it is because it looked for it in a budget or raised the revenue for it.   Maybe the Koches are that powerful, but I sure hope not.  I still feel that they are unlikely to ACTUALLY block a project that they are not paying for, especially one that is long planned and has technical merits. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

What we need is more positive information being put out by our local news agencies in regards to transit, like this:

 

http://www.wcnc.com/news/neighborhood-news/southend-willmore-wesleyheights/Transit-credited-to-South-End-growth-207447951.html

 

 

 

To help sway the public and educate them as to why and how TOD can really change an area.  I think everyone tends to forget what "South End" used to be like...

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That is a good new story, and surprisingly not filled with ignorant counterpoints.

 

It is a sound policy to pursue rail transit corridors to support urban infill and walkable communities.  Charlotte has changed so much for the better in the last 15 years since I have been here, and the transit policies are a significant part of that, in addition to the other investments made uptown and in the inner ring/ center city.

 

When you live and work in neighborhoods like Plaza Midwood, Fourth Ward, Wilmore, Elizabeth..... you really do get a sense for a lifestyle where you can walk to restaurants for the evening, or bike or transit to work.   People are now upset about the parking availability at the Central Teet, but that is the trend for the next decade or two, and the more infrastructure we have to get people walking, biking and transiting to destinations, the more capacity we will have to all enjoy the city with out needing to stack cars up in a pile.

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What we need is more positive information being put out by our local news agencies in regards to transit, like this:

 

http://www.wcnc.com/news/neighborhood-news/southend-willmore-wesleyheights/Transit-credited-to-South-End-growth-207447951.html

 

 

 

To help sway the public and educate them as to why and how TOD can really change an area.  I think everyone tends to forget what "South End" used to be like...

 

Indubitably! If they need a reminder of the Industrial wasteland that is now Southend show this picture of Camden @ West Blvd in the 1990s.

Especially after Camden Gallery is built..

East_West_Blvd_Intersection_Before_LR.jp

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That section of First Ward is held back by government plans, and the fact that Govt Center area is still kind of a dead zone for evening activity.  There is also a bit of a stigma with the massive jailhouse there as far as residential growth.  

 

The full Trade/Caldwell/Davidson/5th block is on permanent reserve for the future federal courthouse, although it is unclear when that will be developed.  

 

The half block at 6th and Davidson is owned by the Housing Authority, and it is very unlikely that it will be developed as anything other than public housing.  Certainly it would not be a terribly bad thing if they do it with decent quality like Seigle Point and First Ward Place, but there is already an extreme concentration of public housing units in First Ward, so it is a balancing act.

 

Then there are 2 blocks north of Trade on either side of Myers that are underdeveloped, but do have older low rise buildings that are mostly unattractive.  With the various owners and the fact that most of them are in use now, it makes it hard for them to redevelop in the way we all like. It will be a good thing if these end up getting rebuilt with smaller scale redevelopment in a more organic way so that we get a more diverse, but most of the demand in that area is for government-/court-related uses like lawyers and bailbondsmen.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Speaking of building transit more quickly, it looks like the Atlanta Belt Line (which is now partially open as a pedestrian and bike path -- no transit yet) has identified a promotional / staging strategy which is already attracting TOD and business activity.

http://atlurbanist.tumblr.com/post/54932125587/business-successes-on-the-atlanta-beltline-nice (warning, its a local news video with an add at the beginning).

 

While its not exactly the same thing, I think we can _cheaply_ develop a promotional strategy for the streetcar. Painting lines on Central and Beatties Ford to show where the tracks will go when built. These lines would give residents and commuters an idea of what could be coming and allow developers and business owners to begin to see the potential of the plan.

 

The strategy would be even better if the city had a magic money pot to pay for streetscape improvements along with the painted lines.

 

My new mantra is "Transit NOW!"

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I was told not to sell may house,because a street car line will be comming down Monroe Rd to Matthews.  It would not be easy to have LRT down Independence because it would be too expensive to build stations next to the line.  Street cars would not need a station.

 

Well we will see if the eastside gets a rail anytime soon.

 

I bet all the cities that had street cars and now are gone, whish they had them back.  If you look at old pictues of cities, most of them had street cars.

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^^^I would not place too many bets on streetcar down Monroe Rd. There has not been much serious discussion of the idea beyond what the ULI originally proposed back in early 2011. And aside from the legislature being anti-streetcar, city council had a hard enough time approving a 2.5 mile extension...I doubt they will approve a 12 or 13 mile extension to Matthews. And rightfully so...it is quite possibly the worst idea in Charlotte transit planning history.

Did a realtor tell you not to sell?

Edited by cltbwimob
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That's playing a REALLY long game.  The current theory for the southeastern corridor is a streetcar on Monroe, based on a consultant's study.   However, that theory lacks any engineering and design and is significantly behind in the budgeting process.  Even the Beatties Ford-Trade-Central streetcar only is SEEKING funding for a short section just outside of uptown.  There is no momentum for streetcar as a technology to apply to other corridors, and there is doubly no momentum for the Monroe Rd corridor over the long planned Central Ave corridor.

 

In short, I'm sure it was a general comment about the idea that eventually your neighborhood would get some improvements, but that plan is far from coming to fruition.  

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With what is going on in Raleigh, I would not bet on anything as far as any new rail transit projects in Charlotte or anywhere else in the state.

Would it be naive to think that policy could change in 2015, if a new, more transit-friendly legislative (Dems, possibly moderate Reps) got into office?

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  • 1 month later...

FY 2014 TIGER grant results are trickling out. Kansas City got $20 million for their streetcar (successful applications tend to leak via congressional reps). Hopefully there will be good news for the Charlotte streetcar too.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2013/08/30/kc-wins-20m-TIGER-grant-streetcar.html

 

EDIT: The Atlanta Beltline got $18 million

http://beltline.org/2013/09/02/atlanta-beltline-to-receive-18-million-grant-from-the-u-s-department-of-transportation/

Edited by kermit
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