monsoon

Charlotte Area Transit System Long Term Transit Plan

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I understand the differences, I was just trying to equate the north with Pineville through the analogy that neither could end up with train transit. I sincerely hope the new transit chief and the new northern councils will be able to work out an equitable funding plan. Thanks for pointing this out, Monsoon. Regardless, Pineville's leaders missed the boat (and the train) with their isolationist vote.

Keep in mind this isn't just a North issue. The county and the city of Charlotte will also be asked to put in tens of millions too. At this moment not one government, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Charlotte, or Mecklenburg county, has committed to the funding plan that CATS has proposed for the North line. The only difference here is that Huntersville is the first council to indicate that it probably won't support it.

Is the 1/2 cent tax collected in the northern Mecklenburg towns? If not they should sign on for the tax so it would not impact the property taxes.
The tax is paid by all county residents including those in the towns.

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The tax is paid by all county residents including those in the towns.

The tax is paid for by anyone who makes any purchase in the county and pays sales tax whether they are a resident or not.

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For those unaware, the property tax TIF is to cover the portion of the North line that originally was planned to be covered by federal grants. The sales tax will cover 1/3 of the costs, the state is expected to cover 1/4 or 1/3 and the rest needs to be covered somehow so that is where the property tax idea came in.

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Can't find a better thread for this to go into... dubone, if you want to move it please feel free.

I was reading up on Calgary's LRT for hints on why it was so successful whereas many other transit systems in the US (and Canada, even) struggle to garner half the ridership out of a metro area with over twice the population. This is with the hope of finding something in Calgary that can then in turn be applied to Charlotte.

This paragraph from a report about C-Train's effective utilization of capital seems to be one of the keys:

To reduce the demand for roads, The City of Calgary adopted a policy that limited the amount and location of downtown parking. In recent years, development has consumed most former surface parking lots in the downtown and parking space is limited. Much of the strategically located structured parking is managed by the City of Calgary. The combination of high priced long stay parking rates and limited roadway capacity encourage travel to the downtown by transit.

Limited roadway capacity and expensive parking? Figures... damn evil socialist communist Canadians. Thank God we live in a Free country, the U-S-of-A! Free, as in, Freeways and Free (or at least Cheap!) parking everywhere!

(the above was sarcasm in case you can't tell.)

At any rate, it seems that Calgary embraced the "high cost of free parking" concept very early on, at least for downtown. I haven't found any information on their land use and parking policies outside of downtown. At least in the US, it was (and continues to be) a commonly held notion that if parking is expensive or scarce downtown, then your downtown will die. Suburbanites flee to the malls in droves (strip or otherwise) where parking is free and plentiful. But it seems this didn't quite happen in Calgary, or at least not as much as most US cities. It is an interesting question to explore.

The train left the station decades ago for roadway capacity in Charlotte, and it seems unlikely that continuing improvements (Independence, 77 widening, etc) will cease. But perhaps Charlotte could look at Calgary's parking policies and adopt some of them? Just a thought.

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I know this has been discussed before and also reasoning was given for why CATs chooses not to use advertising to help fund. I wanted to post what I saw on the train today, there are some small inserts and this is the first I had seen filled on the train itself:

11-29-07073.jpg

I saw thinking and hoping that maybe CATs was becomming a little flexible on the ads idea, which it seems they have by putting these inner-ads on the train. This could go a long way to helping fund the 2030 plan and possibly move up projects quicker, and/or add to the current plan without going into the taxpayers wallets. I don't know how much CATs gets for ads like these, but it seems like any bit would be really worth-while and I hope to see ads of this type implemented at the stations- nothing huge but small ads at the bottoms of signs would work well.

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I hope they do more interior advertising on the Lynx. Right now even with the Reid's ads I think the interior is rather stark and boring. I think some ads would lighten up the interiors a little bit.

Edited by uptownliving

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I hope Charlotte will expand their system fast so they don't get this kind of early news as Miami's heavy rail system did when it opened.

Take a look at this 1980s news report on Miami's MetroRail.

Video Miami's MetroRail after it was 17 years old

Today Show Miami Metrorail WTVJ

1-miami-metrorail.jpg

5-miami-metrorail-map.jpg

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The 3rd St Station had a system down yesterday, and people were having to run to the other side to grab a ticket while the train was coming. Not safe for people in a rush running in front of cars and this is because of ticket machines. I really think they need to add more, and make them more visible. The first time I rode at E/W Blvd I had trouble finding the one on the S. Blvd side because its back blended in (stainless steel) with the power sources and other machines at the station. I saw a lot of people at other stations also fumbling where there were machines or "other machines" since a lot were down, and that forced a lot of people to feel rushed and saw some miss their trains. Also if there is more visibility with signs that just hung down or arrows pointing out where ticket machines are, I think it will give more people the impression that they NEED to buy a ticket and also help them feel less rushed. This issue definitly needs to be addressed ASAP, else it will cause agrivation and ultimately have people that are questioning to ride the line, not ride it. I know it was a big point for CATs to have this line "reliable" so that commuters could get to work on time and have the busses timed appropriately, so these ticket machines are the one big obstacle.

Anyone also notice how the machine only accepts one coin at a time. It takes a lot of time to put change in these which was ultimately the problem for someone in front of me when I missed my one train. Know it would be costly, but CATs should rethink these machines or do something with them. Also- love the idea of the reusable cards, think I mentinoed this idea before. I would get a lot of use out of it, also, since I wouldn't benefit from a monthly commute, but plan to ride 2-3 times a week rigth now for misc stuff.

It is kind of strange that they don't have a gang of ticket machines at the transit stations. They may have not expected such turn out to ride the rails.

A pedestrian walking across the tracks of the Hiawatha Light Rail Line in Minneapolis was struck and killed by a train pulling into a station just prior to this afternoon's rush hour, authorities said.

--------------------------------------

Here's something that I hope Charlotte does not do with the future lines. I hope that Charlotte does not build its other light rail lines as modern day street cars. This is what can happen when the trains run in the streets.

Sacramento

light-rail.jpg

05121954917_light-rail-accident-185.jpg

The driver of an SUV was in critical condition Sunday evening after running into a Sacramento Regional Transit light rail train. The accident occurred around 4 p.m. at the corner of 10th and O streets in downtown Sacramento.

Houston

2716782_200X150.jpg

hou-lrt-collision%20flatbad%20truck%20ran%20red%20light-20040215-br_m-de-vaughn_hc.jpg

Houston is averaging 11 crashes per track mile per year. The METRORail has earned such local nicknames as "Streetcar Named Disaster" and the "Wham-Bam-Tram".

In September 2004, METRORail set a new record for the most accidents in a year, passing San Francisco Municipal Railway's 2001 record of 61 crashes over 73.3 miles or nearly 10 times the length of the Houston Redline.

As of April 15, 2006, there have been 129 crashes officially confirmed in Houston with Light Rail trains.

There are several possible reasons for the high accident rate in Houston most of the track runs in city streets unlike systems with private right-of-ways of some systems similar to heavy rail corridors. Since implementation of several safety improvements, the crash rates have gone down significantly over the past few years from 62 crashes in its first year of operation to 14 as of May 31, 2007 with a goal for fiscal year 2007 of 28.

Minneapolis

1lrt0625.jpg

Three months after the first phase of the Hiawatha light rail line opened an 87 year old man died when he drove his sedan past blinking caution lights, through a crossing gate, and onto the light-rail tracks at Hiawatha Av. and E. 42nd St. in south Minneapolis. He was struck by a northbound Hiawatha Line train traveling at an estimated 40 miles per hour.

A Hiawatha Line light rail train slammed into a mini-van at the intersection of 52nd Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis. Officials said the driver of the red mini-van, a 77-year-old man, was trying to do a U-turn just before colliding with the train.

Salt Lake City

870782.jpg

A 73-year-old woman diedafter a TRAX train crushed her car. According to Salt Lake City police, just before 5 p.m. Menlove was travelling west on 800 South when she apparently ran a red light at 200 West. The northbound TRAX train hit Menlove's car and crushed most of it underneath the train.

Collisions between TRAX trains and cars are relatively rare. 1100 East and 5th South was the scene of a collision between a TRAX train and a car. With the sun getting low, the car got into the left turn lane and got hit from behind by the Trax train.

301575.jpg

A man suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries when his vehicle was hit by a TRAX train. The accident was the 3rd between a TRAX train and a vehicle in two days. A 33-year-old man was attempting to make an illegal left turn on 500 South near 1100 East about 10:30 a.m. when he was hit by the eastbound train.

982707.jpg

Rupert Davies' father and mother, Dennis and Mal Davies, were like many University of Utah students' parents: delighted about coming to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Olympic Games. But the day before the Games began, a left turn onto 1100 East changed the Davies family's plans.

Rupert, 28, and his father, 55, were headed up 500 South toward the U.'s recreation center. The usual route, 1300 East, was closed in anticipation of the Olympics' opening ceremonies, so Rupert turned onto 1100 East

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I found this an amusing read, McCrory goes to Europe, don't get me wrong, it's awesome, and I want to go too. :) My question is, how much time has Tober spent over there since he suggested it to McCrory? I remember reading somewhere that he did study their systems, so I'm surprised he doesn't have more rebuttal material when faced with budget/overrun type issues, certainly European systems have come to terms with those already.

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.... I remember reading somewhere that he did study their systems, so I'm surprised he doesn't have more rebuttal material when faced with budget/overrun type issues, certainly European systems have come to terms with those already.
I am not sure what there is to rebut. When you build 11ft tall rooms to hold 11.5 ft boilers and parking decks with structural defects, the only thing you can do is argue blame. I am not aware the Europeans or Japanese for that matter routinely make those kind of mistakes when building their infrastructure. In any case, that is all history now and probably not worth another discussion since Tober is leaving this coming month anyway. The only thing we can hope for is that his replacement has more control over these kinds of mistakes.

I will admit that because of the drastically falling amount of the $. it's going to be real challenging to come up with a financially viable plan for the remaining lines. It's causing the cost of materials to skyrocket because every time the $ drops against the other currencies, it costs more to build something (in terms of $). This will be the biggest challenge to Tober's replacement.

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Can't find a better thread for this to go into... dubone, if you want to move it please feel free.

I was reading up on Calgary's LRT for hints on why it was so successful whereas many other transit systems in the US (and Canada, even) struggle to garner half the ridership out of a metro area with over twice the population. This is with the hope of finding something in Calgary that can then in turn be applied to Charlotte.

This paragraph from a report about C-Train's effective utilization of capital seems to be one of the keys:

Limited roadway capacity and expensive parking? Figures... damn evil socialist communist Canadians. Thank God we live in a Free country, the U-S-of-A! Free, as in, Freeways and Free (or at least Cheap!) parking everywhere!

(the above was sarcasm in case you can't tell.)

At any rate, it seems that Calgary embraced the "high cost of free parking" concept very early on, at least for downtown. I haven't found any information on their land use and parking policies outside of downtown. At least in the US, it was (and continues to be) a commonly held notion that if parking is expensive or scarce downtown, then your downtown will die. Suburbanites flee to the malls in droves (strip or otherwise) where parking is free and plentiful. But it seems this didn't quite happen in Calgary, or at least not as much as most US cities. It is an interesting question to explore.

The train left the station decades ago for roadway capacity in Charlotte, and it seems unlikely that continuing improvements (Independence, 77 widening, etc) will cease. But perhaps Charlotte could look at Calgary's parking policies and adopt some of them? Just a thought.

Can you share a link to that C-train document you quoted? I'd like to read more.

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Someone mentioned the northeast line, and there is something I've been wondering about with that: Will they have to finish the entire thing before they can use any of it? After all, it will be connected to the current line, so it makes one wonder why they couldn't gradually open new stations as they are completed. My impression, though, is that they won't use any of it until the entire line is complete. Hope I'm wrong.

Edited by CharlotteDave

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Someone mentioned the northeast line, and there is something I've been wondering about with that: Will they have to finish the entire thing before they can use any of it? After all, it will be connected to the current line, so it makes one wonder why they couldn't gradually open new stations as they are completed. My impression, though, is that they won't use any of it until the entire line is complete. Hope I'm wrong.

I don't know if the plans has changed, but it was going to be open in phases with the line terminating at 36th Street in NoDa first.

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^That was the original proposal, but when they approved the 2030 plan, it was changed to build the entire extension at once.

I have heard a rumor there might be an effort underfoot to go back to the phased approach and use more local money to build the 36th street portion sooner.

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^That was the original proposal, but when they approved the 2030 plan, it was changed to build the entire extension at once.

I have heard a rumor there might be an effort underfoot to go back to the phased approach and use more local money to build the 36th street portion sooner.

monsoon, please elaborate if you can. whose feet is this under? and what does "sooner" mean?

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Hope the number riding the South Blue line is much higher than CATS projected. This may help to get the Norteast Line moving on a fast track.

It's exciting how the LRT has been received, and how crowded the trains are so far. What is the current proposed timeline for the Northeast line? What would be the timeline if they built it to NoDa first, and then to UNCC? What would might a "fast track" timeline look like?

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Can't find a better thread for this to go into... dubone, if you want to move it please feel free.

I was reading up on Calgary's LRT for hints on why it was so successful whereas many other transit systems in the US (and Canada, even) struggle to garner half the ridership out of a metro area with over twice the population. This is with the hope of finding something in Calgary that can then in turn be applied to Charlotte.

This paragraph from a report about C-Train's effective utilization of capital seems to be one of the keys:

Limited roadway capacity and expensive parking? Figures... damn evil socialist communist Canadians. Thank God we live in a Free country, the U-S-of-A! Free, as in, Freeways and Free (or at least Cheap!) parking everywhere!

(the above was sarcasm in case you can't tell.)

At any rate, it seems that Calgary embraced the "high cost of free parking" concept very early on, at least for downtown. I haven't found any information on their land use and parking policies outside of downtown. At least in the US, it was (and continues to be) a commonly held notion that if parking is expensive or scarce downtown, then your downtown will die. Suburbanites flee to the malls in droves (strip or otherwise) where parking is free and plentiful. But it seems this didn't quite happen in Calgary, or at least not as much as most US cities. It is an interesting question to explore.

The train left the station decades ago for roadway capacity in Charlotte, and it seems unlikely that continuing improvements (Independence, 77 widening, etc) will cease. But perhaps Charlotte could look at Calgary's parking policies and adopt some of them? Just a thought.

As a condition of getting Federal funding, Norfolk was required to limit parking downtown. If Charlotte isn't doing it, it should look at it.

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It's exciting how the LRT has been received, and how crowded the trains are so far. What is the current proposed timeline for the Northeast line? What would be the timeline if they built it to NoDa first, and then to UNCC? What would might a "fast track" timeline look like?

2013 was the planned completion date (last three stations are, UNC-C, Mallard Creek Rd, and I-485 P&R). Opening to 36th Street mainly involves rail yard issues (first of which is crossing the CSX Charlotte/Monroe line which I believe carries a lot of freight) and potential construction of a NS Intermodal yard at the airport frees up a lot of space at the N Tryon railyard. There is another rail line that goes off toward Stanly County that has to be crossed as well, otherwise the LR can stay in the NCRR Corridor when trackage issues are resolved. I believe Charlotte has only bought the corridor as far as I-277 (the NCRR ROW runs UNDER 277, then past Alpha Mills where it meets the CSX line.)

The toughest and most expensive part of the NE line is past Sugar Creek when it moves over to N Tryon, and especially the Harris Blvd crossing (underground? elevated??)

Funding issues may be paramount, however, in deciding whether to phase the line

Edited by staffer

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^The current 2030 Plan makes the NE expansion an all or nothing plan. There is no current plan to phase it and the application to the federal government for funding will be for the entire expansion being built at once. Of course it could be changed, but this would require an action from the MTC and I am not sure they are wanting to open up that can of worms right now.

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^The current 2030 Plan makes the NE expansion an all or nothing plan. There is no current plan to phase it and the application to the federal government for funding will be for the entire expansion being built at once. Of course it could be changed, but this would require an action from the MTC and I am not sure they are wanting to open up that can of worms right now.

I don't see any reason why the plan could not change again. The MTC's 2030 PLan is based on the best known info at the time, and for the NE line, that info was somewhat incomplete. The application to FTA was for preliminary engineering, which includes an EIS and something like 25% design... it's entirely possible that while in more detailed design, some new information could come forward (unforseen costs, issues with DOT's Right-of-way on Tryon, North Line being cancelled, etc) that could make the phased approach more viable in the short term. Also, so long as the South LRT's ridership continues to be strong, the FTA's cost-effectiveness becomes less of an issue, as transit line extensions with actual documented ridership data are far more likely to achieve funding than untested ones.

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^The current 2030 Plan makes the NE expansion an all or nothing plan. There is no current plan to phase it and the application to the federal government for funding will be for the entire expansion being built at once. Of course it could be changed, but this would require an action from the MTC and I am not sure they are wanting to open up that can of worms right now.

A small blurb........

This article is still circulating talk of expanding the line into cabarrus county with the help of a new 1/2 cent sales tax.. This would be great for concord and kannapolis...

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I don't see any reason why the plan could not change again. .....

The biggest obstacle is once they start those discussions again, people from every other corridor in CLT will start to petition the MTC to move their area up in priority. The Eastside wants their streetcar, the Westside wants a train, Matthews wants a train and so forth. The MTC and the county has no desire to touch that again unless it is absolutely necessary. Can it happen sure it can. Will it, I am not so sure at this time. Maybe in 5 years.

In any case, the current booked plan is to build the NE line as just one project. The phase approach was scrapped when they approved the 2030 plan. This decision was based on Tober's comments they could not get the finances to work on the NE line without ridership to UNCC.

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guess i should let you know what article... Its in the observer.

http://www.charlotte.com/112/story/388801.html

:whistling:

Planned NE line terminus is at a P&R lot on current DOT property at N Tryon and I-485. Extension to LMS would be about 2.5 miles, but major cost would be bridge over 485.

an old thread from UNC-C campus website speculates on this. Smith is alleged to have told Concord Mayor Padgett a year or two ago at some public event that he (Smith) would kick in $50m for an LRT extension.

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