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monsoon

Long Term Rail and CATS Transit Plans

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Oh man! Wooooohoooo! It's on now! This is a great moment for Charlotte.

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Road to redevelopment

N.Tryon leaders hopeful light rail will aid rebirth

Ashley M. Gibson

Staff writer

Once a thriving vein of commerce for a youthful city, the North Tryon Street corridor slowly lost its luster as Charlotte extended its reach and monetary resources in other directions.

But that is changing, say supporters of the decade-old North Tryon Development Corp., which is entering a new phase of increased advocacy for an area plagued with absentee landlords, 52 small car-sale lots, empty big boxes and a heavy concentration of homeless shelters and pickup sites for day laborers.

Armed with what the group calls a less confrontational name, the organization -- formerly known as the North Tryon Area Coalition Inc. -- has several successes under its belt and is rallying community support.

The optimism is fueled largely by the promise of a light-rail line that will eventually connect University City and uptown via the North Tryon corridor.

"We feel the corridor is ready for redevelopment," says Elizabeth Roseman, a founding member of the North Tryon Development Corp. and head of Roseman Properties. "With transit coming, it's a win-win situation because we are perfectly situated."

Roseman knows the turf well. Her husband owns Electrical Consulting Engineers Inc., which is housed in a retro-office building constructed in the early 1950s at 2407 N. Tryon St.

"We don't want a proliferation of things that bring down the area," says Herb Harriss, director of Logisco, a company that runs a large warehouse operation on North Tryon. "The zoning issue needs to be addressed up here, and we believe it is going to be."

Most of the zoning along North Tryon is for industrial and commercial retail uses, says John Cock, a principal planner on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission.

Because of that, Charlotte City Council's hands were tied recently when a salvage yard -- called Pull Apart -- purchased property there.

"It's not what we want, but it's a bigger problem because they have a legal right to be there," says Malcolm Graham, City Council member for District 4, which includes the North Tryon area. "We don't need a junkyard on North Tryon because you can't encourage further development with that kind of use in the area."

More here: http://charlotte.bizjournals.com/charlotte.../01/story4.html

Though it may sound like hot air from hopeful developers, I would like to see that part of Charlotte cleaned up a bit. Moreso, I'd like to see that LRT line installed ASAP too, at least as far as NODA. I imagine that with strict adherence to a plan, N. Tryon and friends could become another attractive gateway into Uptown.

Though this is really a non-issue, this corridor has the rest of Charlotte's numbered streets, and I think that adds some urban authenticity... It would be nice to see the place fixed up, because everyone loves numbered streets.

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Gosh, if this doesn't summarize the issues, I don't know what might...

Autopia

Reclaiming Charlotte from its cars

BY DAVID WALTERS

Sometimes it takes an outsider to make us see the obvious. Dan Glaister, a British journalist perplexed by Americans' complete reliance on the automobile, recently sent this dispatch back to London: "In its own dysfunctional way (America's) car culture . . . works. You can get around, you can park when you get there -- or someone else parks for you -- and you can drive home when you leave, sometimes even travelling at high speed within the city boundaries, should you chance upon the right freeway at the right time of day. It's only when you step outside the car and try to cross the road or walk to the nearest shop that the absolute barminess of it all hits you."

This "barminess," the crazy concept of sublimating human health and safety to the needs of the automobile, is starkly evident in a world where pedestrians have second-class status. Cars control Charlotte. Can we cast off the yoke of servitude to these mechanical masters and reclaim our city?

As in most American cities, Charlotteans complain about gas prices as the cost of filling an SUV's tank tops 50 dollars. But this cost isn't high enough to make us change our profligate routines. We drive as much as always, spending more time sealed in our cars and buildings than living in our streets and public spaces. And that's the way we design new pieces of our city -- separated structures with only large highways connecting them. A few token sidewalks here and there proclaim the possibility of walking. But there's nowhere to walk to.

We live as servants in the kingdom of the car.

Another Englishman, the architectural historian Reyner Banham -- known for cycling everywhere on his folding Moulton bicycle -- coined the phrase "autopia" in his book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. In the days before we fully understood the consequences of paving paradise so we could drive everywhere, Banham noted "the private car and the public freeway together provide an . . . idealised version of democratic urban transportation: door-to-door movement on demand at high average speeds over a very large area."

That kind of personal mobility has become ingrained in American thinking, perceived as part of this nation's birthright. We demand this convenience but we're in deep denial about the consequences. In pursuit of our "manifest destiny," we destroy the natural landscape, disturb the ecology of the oceans, pollute the environment, and go to war, all in the quest for more gasoline to feed our habit.

The US comprises only 5 percent of the world's population, yet we consume a whopping 45 percent of the world's gasoline. More than half our fuel comes from foreign countries, upon whom we're increasingly dependent, like junkies buying whatever they can from their dealers.

Our addiction to foreign oil is our Achilles' heel in the "war on terror." If we are ever to gain the upper hand against Muslim fundamentalists, we have to free ourselves from this debilitating dependency on gasoline. Changing our lifestyles so we drive less would be a true form of patriotism.

What should our government be doing? What can we do as individuals?

Instead of digging America deeper every day into the quagmire of huge federal deficits, immoral tax cuts for the rich, and deeply foolish foreign wars, Congress and the White House should be investing those billions of dollars in alternative energy sources, and dramatically increasing fuel efficiency standards of cars and trucks to cut gasoline consumption. We should stop building and supporting single-use mega-malls and power centers that demand much more driving to shop in distant locations, and concentrate instead on building mixed-use neighborhoods that can support the renewal of a more sustainable community life. We should be redesigning America's cities for people, and putting cars in their proper place.

These actions need strong government leadership, and they won't happen without federal mandates, but they would be more patriotic than anything in the ill-named "Patriot Act."

We could all try to live more economical, carefully planned lives, reducing our energy consumption and automobile dependence. My wife and I are lucky to live in Dilworth, a neighborhood built for pedestrians and transit in the early 1900s, and which provides us today with most things we need without leaving our community. We can walk, or drive short distances, to the grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, coffee shops, copy shop, bookstore, two parks, and, if we had school-age kids, the elementary school. We can walk to work at our studio in South End. I can ride the bus to the university. Just think what Charlotte could be like if we built our city where everybody had the freedom to leave their car at home! We could drive less, use less gas, and help the USA win its global conflict.

I'm just trying to be patriotic. And I'm not even American.

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And think of all the $$ it would take to make it possible...people would laugh at any proposal to make this happen and doom it to failure before it even got off the ground. Many people think light rail in Charlotte will be a joke, those people will never ever ride it, they have deemed it a failure before it was even built and any project like it they will also deem as a failure before they have a chance to try it out. It will take the ones who see it as a changing mechanism to make it work. Hopefully if us few can show the rest of the population that it will indeed work in Charlotte perhaps more folks will join in and it will be a complete success.

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Man, that's one UGLY looking website! They always fail to mention cities where rail transit has succeeded. One major success story is Dallas that recently had their line complete. Everyone always seems to come up with the negative side of things but never tell people about the positives. Perhaps they should mention the possible failure of HOV lanes in other cities if they want to put down LRT in the same regard.

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I think that it is important that we make sure our vocie is heard at any planning meeting. Would anyone be up for making a night of the meeting nights? We could meet up for drinks before/after and make it a social gathering as well. :blink:

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The problem with people who so blatantly oppose mass transit is that they often cannot see beyond their own selfish nose, though they really believe they are just oozing with common sense.

This moron makes it sound like Charlotteans are expected to give up their cars! I hate it when people have such lopsided views, they are blinded by their own lack of vision.

The point of the system is to make it easier for car commuters--it will at least lighten the freeway and surface street load over time because there are a lot of people out there who hate having to drive.

This way, when you pull your oversized and underused SUV out of your cul-de-sac and onto an arterial road, you might not have to wait in traffic as long. And let's see, fewer cars and less waiting in traffic equals less pollution, which means that Charlotte might just retain federal funding for more freeway projects.

It's okay big guy! No, you don't have to stand in the presence of inferior beings and share the same air on a train car... Heaven forbid that should ever happen! Holy crap, what if the train had people from different demographics on board, like different incomes and stuff?? Oh man, I'm glad you don't have to be exposed to that! :lol:

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That website is hilarious!!! I have to post some of my favorite quotes. So the following italic statements are from our friends at C-Fast. (Unlikely name for a pro-sprawl group seeing as how it currently takes 30 minutes to get from anywhere in Charlotte to anywhere else in town).

Professional Urban Planners are committed to Central Planning is in direct conflict with the American Idea of free choice and are involved in Political and Social Engineering.

In direct conflict with free choice? Since when has adding an option been in conflict with the "American idea of free choice". Also, political and social engineering is part of all planning, sprawl or anti-sprawl. Sprawl and the privatization of America is leading people to become less involved with one another and politics. People coming together in an environment where they make face-to-face personal contact and discuss politics is what created Democracy and America.

The ultimate goal is removing Private Transportation as an option by

hindering road projects and imposing Mass Transit.

It's 2004; it's impossible for new cities to "impose" mass transit at this point.

The General welfare of the citizens and the quality of life is secondary to warehousing citizens in confined areas for the purpose of more control.

What "warehousing" is he referring to exactly. Is he referring to all of the people "warehoused" in gorgeous Victorian homes in fourth ward? Maybe he's referring to Dilworth? Or South End? NODA? Hey, if that's warehousing sign me up! In my opinion this photo below is warehousing.

slide1.jpg

Urban Planners have a fanatical hatred of

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Yeah, that's a load of crap! I don't know what these people smoke before they make their thoughts known but it's seriously affecting their sight and even common sense!

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Yeah, the guy is a real dimwit... However he has proven that you need not be intelligent to be literate.

The concept that more than one solution or option can exist is beyond his coprehension. He thinks that he is supposed to give up his house and car because of rail transit and high density development, honestly the whole idea scares him.

Fear drives us to do many things... some people learn to resolve it through reasonable thought and altering their perspective. Others build a website in hopes of finding other scared people, because everyone knows there's safety in numbers... except of course in a high density residential area or on any form of mass transit.

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Based on the Charlotte CATS LRT project, how come they planned on running bus rapid transit along the US 74 Independence Blvd. corridor, instead of building at least an east-west line? It's bad enough US 74 has choked up traffic for a part highway part freeway, but they should put an east west line on the future projects to where it would run from the town of Mathews nearby, past Ind. Area, through Downtown, and then terminating at Douglas Airport. Just the 10 mile South Corridor Line ain't enough; US 74 needs traffic relief just like I-77 is going to be traffic relieved.

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The decision to run BRT on Independence has not been made. They could put an LRT line from Matthews to uptown.

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That website is hilarious!!!  I have to post some of my favorite quotes.  So the following italic statements are from our friends at C-Fast.  (Unlikely name for a pro-sprawl group seeing as how it currently takes 30 minutes to get from anywhere in Charlotte to anywhere else in town).

Does this sound like America or Russia?

Well, with all of the heavy false propaganda spewing out of your mouth in an attempt to brainwash followers, you tell me.

It

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Awesome reply PhillyDog. I really loved the way you hit him up with several unarguable development facts. If people keep confronting these people I believe C-FAST will have a harder and harder time manipulating the truth to their advantage. Thanks for posting the message for all of us to read, I enjoyed it very much.

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Awesome reply PhillyDog. I really loved the way you hit him up with several unarguable development facts. If people keep confronting these people I believe C-FAST will have a harder and harder time manipulating the truth to their advantage. Thanks for posting the message for all of us to read, I enjoyed it very much.

You were my inspiration App. I used your points to hit them back. I hope that others will do the same.

Thank you!

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I think it is also important to note the following:

Charlotte has a serious ozone problem. A major cause of ozone pollution is asphalt. Charlotte has more asphalt per sq. mile than any other city in the nation.

The relationship between ozone and asphalt is not commonly known and the city probably wishes to keep it that way. Charlotte is under the gun to begin improving their air quality. Building rails as opposed to roads sounds like an obvious choice.

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Just a little tiff I am having with the city:

My Email:

I just read over the C-Fast website. If ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS even THINK about not supporting the LRT, they can pretty much forgetting about staying in office. I have not heard from one Charlotte citizen who does not support the transit system and I talk about it all the time.

More ROADS? Asphalt = Weakening of the ozone layer. Yes, studies show that asphalt is one of the leading causes of weakening the ozone layer. Studies also show that Charlotte has more asphalt per square mile than any other city in the nation. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

Secondly, If we have to pay for it, we will. However, don't waste our money as it seems the city has already done by picking a scandalous company to run the project and by paying for a model to be created that was not

approved.

Jim Puckett's reply:

This elected official DOES NOT support LRT. The people who choose to live in the high density development that it requires to have even a hint of a prayer to work, subject themselves and their children to higher pollution, that is a fact. For six billion dollars over twenty years the county could give a 60,000 people A YEAR $5000 towards the purchase of a hybrid vehicle, or GIVE 12,000 people a year for 20 years (240,000 hybrids) this would have a real impact on air quality. LRT is a sham and serves NO REAL PURPOSE as relates to air quality or congestion around the transit lines which is where we are luring/persuading people to live and work. Roads work, traffic patterns that eliminate congestion and jobs scattered over wider areas rather than grouped within cities are the answer. Smart growth is equivalent to calling prohibition "smart drinking". It doesn't work. I have been consistent in my views and have now been elected to two offices and re-elected twice more. Thanks

Jim Puckett

Mecklenburg County Commissioner

My reply:

You obviously did not read over the document I sent you. It is bothering that our tax dollars pay for such research only for our "elected officials" to ignore the results. It is further saddening that the document was posted 6 years ago, and our "elected officials" still have not grasped the concept that researchers have strived hard to iterate. The fact is, scientists, urban planners and those alike disagree with you. Most people I know, who on average have a respectable level of intelligence and are extremely bi-partisan, disagree with you. Obviously, logic is not the foundation of your reasoning. Maybe your motive is to gain votes by catering to such industries as the auto, industrial and development industries. I am sure their motives pertain to the bottom dollar. Only you know if there is truth to my speculation.

Regardless of your motives, your offer to 60,000 people over the next 20 years of $5000 for a hybrid vehicle is an illogical solution. For one, if we lived in a culture where image wasn't so important, your suggestion would merely be less absurd. Sadly, we do live in a world where image is of too much value. I know. I make my living off of improving the image of businesses and people among other things. Therefore, it is safe to say that the majority will not be giving up their fancy to average cars for a hybrid. Will YOU and all of our elected officials be driving a hybrid vehicle? Will president Bush be riding around in a hybrid limousine? I certainly won't, but I will leave my car in the driveway and ride the LRT every chance I get. Most acquaintances and people I have spoken to will. I am sure those who have to wait in hour long traffic jams that drive in from Lake Norman would rather LRT to the city and back. In assessing the public support for the LRT, have you considered the fact that Charlotte has ALREADY had to include a second TROLLEY CAR in order to support overflow (according to the news) .

If you really want to know what the public thinks and not only those of your political party, I suggest you take a poll and find out if the majority will be more likely to ride the LRT as opposed to purchasing a hybrid vehicle in order to improve air quality. Do not only include those who welcome $5000 for ANY car due to the fact they currently are unable to afford one. I ask that you do not take my comment out of context, as these people have a place in society along with all of us. They simply are not the ones currently using our roadways. In fact, they are the ones currently supporting our public transportation system. Your solution threatens the very foundation our public transportation system currently rests upon.

If you do conduct a poll, PLEASE include the people who already have cars that are running solid, as they are the majority of the individuals who already populate our highways and wait in hour long traffic delays. Again, I am confident you will find that these people will not be replacing their vehicles with a hybrid vehicle. Last, your solution only addresses the citizens of Charlotte. Charlotte is quickly becoming a transient city. How will you control what our visitors drive? When I visited Connecticut, we were on their trains. We left my brother-in-law's car in the driveway. Once again, LRT is the solution. It will take our visitors off the roads and utilize them to help support the expense for the LRT. They do not pay for our new roads.

The fact remains. Our air quality is directly effected by Urban Sprawl, because Urban Sprawl requires the development of more air-polluting roadways and increases the need for automobile transportation. This is exactly why the LOGICAL solution to our problem is to reduce the need to build more roadways and to reduce the need to travel from place to place via automobile. (Incentive for carpooling is a good intermediate approach). While the implementation of LRT also addresses air quality issues by reducing the amount of new road development and offering alternative methods of transportation, it will also address the evident problem of traffic that we all experience to and from the suburbs that are a product of urban sprawl.

Regardless, urban sprawl is inevitable in a growing city. However, we can play a role in how we plan for and control urban sprawl. The obvious way to control Charlotte's urban sprawl is by running LRT to the already high density communities like Birkdale & the Palisades and continuing this pattern and continuing to focus on center city development.

If the government is currently holding 40M from us that enables us to continue with developing our LRT system, this is incentive for them to grant us the funds as it will help us meet their request to reduce our air pollution by 30%. This brings up another issue. IS THE LRT MOVING FORWARD OR NOT? The government has already granted us 30M to begin LRT development. Where is this money going, if the LRT is still up for debate?

In conclusion, I have shown that LRT will address the following issues:

LRT will allow us to control certain issues spawned by urban sprawl, while allowing developers to continue to build around the city.

LRT will capitalize on the transient population and utilize them to help pay for the LRT (I have not looked at all of the corridors, but one should definitely go to the airport and one should definitely go to our University).

LRT will improve and control future air quality by reducing the demand for new roads which in turn will reduce the need for as many asphalt plants and reduce the need to travel by automobile by offering BETTER methods for transportation.

LRT will also improve road safety by reducing the amount of driving deaths, reducing the amount of intoxicated drivers, etc.

LRT will maintain the current support we have for public transit as opposed to losing support for public transit by putting the frequent riders in hybrids.

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Just a little tiff I am having with the city:

My Email:

I just read over the C-Fast website. If ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS even THINK about not supporting the LRT, they can pretty much forgetting about staying in office. I have not heard from one Charlotte citizen who does not support the transit system and I talk about it all the time.

More ROADS? Asphalt = Weakening of the ozone layer. Yes, studies show that asphalt is one of the leading causes of weakening the ozone layer. Studies also show that Charlotte has more asphalt per square mile than any other city in the nation. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

Secondly, If we have to pay for it, we will. However, don't waste our money as it seems the city has already done by picking a scandalous company to run the project and by paying for a model to be created that was not

approved.

Jim Puckett's reply:

This elected official DOES NOT support LRT. The people who choose to live in the high density development that it requires to have even a hint of a prayer to work, subject themselves and their children to higher pollution, that is a fact. For six billion dollars over twenty years the county could give a 60,000 people A YEAR $5000 towards the purchase of a hybrid vehicle, or GIVE 12,000 people a year for 20 years (240,000 hybrids) this would have a real impact on air quality. LRT is a sham and serves NO REAL PURPOSE as relates to air quality or congestion around the transit lines which is where we are luring/persuading people to live and work. Roads work, traffic patterns that eliminate congestion and jobs scattered over wider areas rather than grouped within cities are the answer. Smart growth is equivalent to calling prohibition "smart drinking". It doesn't work. I have been consistent in my views and have now been elected to two offices and re-elected twice more. Thanks

Jim Puckett

Mecklenburg County Commissioner

My reply:

You obviously did not read over the document I sent you. It is bothering that our tax dollars pay for such research only for our "elected officials" to ignore the results. It is further saddening that the document was posted 6 years ago, and our "elected officials" still have not grasped the concept that researchers have strived hard to iterate. The fact is, scientists, urban planners and those alike disagree with you. Most people I know, who on average have a respectable level of intelligence and are extremely bi-partisan, disagree with you. Obviously, logic is not the foundation of your reasoning. Maybe your motive is to gain votes by catering to such industries as the auto, industrial and development industries. I am sure their motives pertain to the bottom dollar. Only you know if there is truth to my speculation.

Regardless of your motives, your offer to 60,000 people over the next 20 years of $5000 for a hybrid vehicle is an illogical solution. For one, if we lived in a culture where image wasn't so important, your suggestion would merely be less absurd. Sadly, we do live in a world where image is of too much value. I know. I make my living off of improving the image of businesses and people among other things. Therefore, it is safe to say that the majority will not be giving up their fancy to average cars for a hybrid. Will YOU and all of our elected officials be driving a hybrid vehicle? Will president Bush be riding around in a hybrid limousine? I certainly won't, but I will leave my car in the driveway and ride the LRT every chance I get. Most acquaintances and people I have spoken to will. I am sure those who have to wait in hour long traffic jams that drive in from Lake Norman would rather LRT to the city and back. In assessing the public support for the LRT, have you considered the fact that Charlotte has ALREADY had to include a second TROLLEY CAR in order to support overflow (according to the news) .

If you really want to know what the public thinks and not only those of your political party, I suggest you take a poll and find out if the majority will be more likely to ride the LRT as opposed to purchasing a hybrid vehicle in order to improve air quality. Do not only include those who welcome $5000 for ANY car due to the fact they currently are unable to afford one. I ask that you do not take my comment out of context, as these people have a place in society along with all of us. They simply are not the ones currently using our roadways. In fact, they are the ones currently supporting our public transportation system. Your solution threatens the very foundation our public transportation system currently rests upon.

If you do conduct a poll, PLEASE include the people who already have cars that are running solid, as they are the majority of the individuals who already populate our highways and wait in hour long traffic delays. Again, I am confident you will find that these people will not be replacing their vehicles with a hybrid vehicle. Last, your solution only addresses the citizens of Charlotte. Charlotte is quickly becoming a transient city. How will you control what our visitors drive? When I visited Connecticut, we were on their trains. We left my brother-in-law's car in the driveway. Once again, LRT is the solution. It will take our visitors off the roads and utilize them to help support the expense for the LRT. They do not pay for our new roads.

The fact remains. Our air quality is directly effected by Urban Sprawl, because Urban Sprawl requires the development of more air-polluting roadways and increases the need for automobile transportation. This is exactly why the LOGICAL solution to our problem is to reduce the need to build more roadways and to reduce the need to travel from place to place via automobile. (Incentive for carpooling is a good intermediate approach). While the implementation of LRT also addresses air quality issues by reducing the amount of new road development and offering alternative methods of transportation, it will also address the evident problem of traffic that we all experience to and from the suburbs that are a product of urban sprawl.

Regardless, urban sprawl is inevitable in a growing city. However, we can play a role in how we plan for and control urban sprawl. The obvious way to control Charlotte's urban sprawl is by running LRT to the already high density communities like Birkdale & the Palisades and continuing this pattern and continuing to focus on center city development.

If the government is currently holding 40M from us that enables us to continue with developing our LRT system, this is incentive for them to grant us the funds as it will help us meet their request to reduce our air pollution by 30%. This brings up another issue. IS THE LRT MOVING FORWARD OR NOT? The government has already granted us 30M to begin LRT development. Where is this money going, if the LRT is still up for debate?

In conclusion, I have shown that LRT will address the following issues:

LRT will allow us to control certain issues spawned by urban sprawl, while allowing developers to continue to build around the city.

LRT will capitalize on the transient population and utilize them to help pay for the LRT (I have not looked at all of the corridors, but one should definitely go to the airport and one should definitely go to our University).

LRT will improve and control future air quality by reducing the demand for new roads which in turn will reduce the need for as many asphalt plants and reduce the need to travel by automobile by offering BETTER methods for transportation.

LRT will also improve road safety by reducing the amount of driving deaths, reducing the amount of intoxicated drivers, etc.

LRT will maintain the current support we have for public transit as opposed to losing support for public transit by putting the frequent riders in hybrids.

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How so? I keep hearing this, but I never hear anything justifying the comment that the current plan will not work.

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