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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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Morning trains from UNCC, around 7am, have been crowded the past few days. The trains have also been having non-stop issues and getting delayed basically every day now. I wonder how many people are getting turned off by that fact.

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2 hours ago, nmundo said:

The trains have also been having non-stop issues and getting delayed basically every day now. I wonder how many people are getting turned off by that fact.

This is really frustrating.

They are 5 days away from a full month of operation and yet these issues are experienced daily. Off the train it looks even worse... for skeptics or anti-transit folks the train looks like joke crawling into stations!

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The original plan for the light rail was to include a pedestrian walkway over 277. It was eliminated in a cost savings decision during construction. In my memory bridge construction included sufficient engineering to allow a walkway, perhaps cantilevered, to be added later. This is strictly from my memory. If anyone has supporting or conflicting knowledge please add it.

In this situation as in many others I learn how little survives on the web from as recently as 12 years ago. My search found no detail about this memory.  We assume that all news today will be archived forever but not so.

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Does anyone have an idea of how much more expensive it would have been to extend the pedestrian walkway over 277?  In my mind if you are already building a bridge for the rail, it doesn't seem like it would add a ton of expense to widen it by 8 feet and add some concrete and a railing.  I could be wrong though.

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^^^ I think you have to remember there was not many people at southend at all and the rail trail was very much a patchwork of a few sidewalks.  The massive growth has happened in the last 5 years or so.  However I think this is a great idea and should be done.   

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20 minutes ago, QCT1401 said:

Does anyone have an idea of how much more expensive it would have been to extend the pedestrian walkway over 277?  In my mind if you are already building a bridge for the rail, it doesn't seem like it would add a ton of expense to widen it by 8 feet and add some concrete and a railing.  I could be wrong though.

Not sure of the cost but the article stated that it was dropped to save money on the first leg of the Blue Line, which cost kept increasing during construction.  I also believe the bridge was already there before the Blue Line was built and didn't require much up fitting for the line, adding the pedestrian portion would require a lot more up fitting and cost. 

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16 minutes ago, jtmonk said:

  I also believe the bridge was already there before the Blue Line was built and didn't require much up fitting for the line

Yes, the bridge was already there and relatively new (since it was rebuilt during 277 construction) so it only required small amounts of work for blue line construction.

Nobody has yet mentioned how the rail trail will get around the convention center, have they?

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12 minutes ago, kermit said:

Yes, the bridge was already there and relatively new (since it was rebuilt during 277 construction) so it only required small amounts of work for blue line construction.

Nobody has yet mentioned how the rail trail will get around the convention center, have they?

No, but the convention center is going to add a walkway to Crescent/Stonewall Station.  Not sure how it is going to tie into the rail trail but hopefully the convention center will do something to incorporate it. 

Edited by jtmonk

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I monitored the trains at Scaleybark Station this morning. It seems the problem is still with the crossing arms and the underlying system not so much with the trains themselves.

I watched how a train would go through (south-bound) at an OK speed, then the next train (north-bound) would be crawling up to the intersection. That is when I noticed that the arms were not down and about ~20 seconds later the arms lit up and started to come down.

Surely they have someone at CATS working to resolve this... I hope.

Edited by Scribe
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With the Convention Center building access to Stonewall Street, I think 3rd St station should eventually be consolidated, when all of Blue Line is upgraded for three-car trains. CTC/Arena station will be extended south another car length towards 3rd. It'd be foolish to also extend 3rd St north toward CTC, when these stations are already so close together.  This would also help speed up travel, especially for those traveling through Uptown. 

Edited by southslider
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Made another Heist can run over lunch up and down the light rail.  Large crew of workers at the street crossing under 277, with the train slowing to a crawl past them.  Then on the way back down we had a high-speed unexplained full emergency brake stop in the middle of the high section (south of Parkwood....over train tracks?) before getting back down to 277.

Northbound was about 3 minutes late getting to 3rd St station.....southbound was right on time or a minute early.

Made chit-chat with a CATS supervisor on the way up, but he was mumbling so I have nothing to report, haha.....just smile and nod.

I want to build a temporary unsanctioned ped bridge over that creek at 25th street station.

 

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30 minutes ago, grodney said:

I want to build a temporary unsanctioned ped bridge over that creek at 25th street station.

 

I am happy to help. Ideally we would make it out of empty beer cans.

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1 hour ago, kermit said:

I am happy to help. Ideally we would make it out of empty beer cans.

I think that stretch of creek is adopted by Birdsong, so very appropriate. 

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I rode the Light Rail this past Saturday from 485 to 36th street. This is the first time I’ve ridden it since the new BLE. The first leg of the journey I felt that our conductor was pushing the speed limit as it was going very fast,  After 7th street we slowed down significantly but not as much as this forum sound like it would. Very underwhelmed with the areas after Uptown but give it sometime and NoDa will grow into a South End. Very excited to see what comes in the future with this area as it has ton of potential. In addition, I was pleasantly surprised how crowded the Train was from NoDa into the City at around 2PM, I had to stand all the way to 485. 

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No. Lynx goes really fast until the extension.  Particularly noticeable is between New Bern & East/West Blvd and Arrowood & Sharon Rd. West

It has been consistently really fast at these spots and pretty fast the entire Blue Line

Edited by AirNostrumMAD

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On 4/13/2018 at 5:58 AM, southslider said:

With the Convention Center building access to Stonewall Street, I think 3rd St station should eventually be consolidated, when all of Blue Line is upgraded for three-car trains. CTC/Arena station will be extended south another car length towards 3rd. It'd be foolish to also extend 3rd St north toward CTC, when these stations are already so close together.  This would also help speed up travel, especially for those traveling through Uptown. 

Consolidate Stonewall and Third Street into a covered/indoor Convention Center Station.  The excessive stops in uptown are RIDICULOUS.  It takes 20 minutes to get from 25th st to East/West?!?!?!

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7 minutes ago, archiham04 said:

Consolidate Stonewall and Third Street into a covered/indoor Convention Center Station.  The excessive stops in uptown are RIDICULOUS.  It takes 20 minutes to get from 25th st to East/West?!?!?!

I don't think its excessive. 3rd Street is a very important stop. Not for convention traffic but for thousands of office works who have direct access to light rail via the overstreet mall at 3rd street. Stonewall will be more important. CTC is important. 7th Street serves more office towers. I'm sure 9th street will ultimately find its place in society.

 

Uptown is the primary destination for riders. So it makes sense to have more stops on top of how dense the daytime population is. The population density is like 11,000 who lives uptown.  The daytime population has to be much, much higher on top of hotels, events, etc.

Not many people go from the southern portion of the line past NoDa. And I'm pretty sure there's a low need also from the Extension past SouthEnd. Other than bus riders and UNCC students (Me being one of them - Arrowood to UNCC 4 days a week and Wednesdays I do 2 round trips) not many people are riding the full length of the line where the slower stops matters much. And for bus riders, its light speed anyway rather than taking a bus.

 

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16 minutes ago, archiham04 said:

The excessive stops in uptown are RIDICULOUS. 

I will second that!

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1 hour ago, archiham04 said:

Consolidate Stonewall and Third Street into a covered/indoor Convention Center Station.  The excessive stops in uptown are RIDICULOUS.  It takes 20 minutes to get from 25th st to East/West?!?!?!

Take an uberlyft :P.     The LRT has a huge user base of people going from major hot spots uptown out farther.  It has never been a fast choice for SouthEnd to Optimist Park. 

 

The density of the UMUD zoning and the current state has always justified the stops uptown.   Any one of the parking lots can potentially be a tower of any height and density.   That is not true outside of uptown.     

 

I don't know the current numbers anymore but it is roughly 80-100K that commute in for offices, 50-75K for Panthers, 10-20K for arena events.  5-7K hotel rooms. 15-20K residents.  But they don't build rail transit for today only.   The growth potential is far higher uptown because of that zoning designed to keep uptown density high, where as what we are seeing in Elizabeth is that the neighborhoods fight density as much as possible.  

 

The bigger issue uptown is all the surface crossings and potential for pedestrian other safety issues.  That limits the speed on the train, not necessarily that they stop, by the way, almost as close together as stations in SouthEnd.    And yes 3rd and CTC are the close together, but maybe you're forgetting what buildings are there:

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2260845,-80.8380862,528a,35y,270h,39.25t/data=!3m1!1e3

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50-60 cars in the UC deck this afternoon around 3.

Old Concord lot appears to be around 1/3 full.

extension ridership appears to have edged up about 10% (during my regular commute) in the past couple of weeks.

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On 4/17/2018 at 9:14 AM, AirNostrumMAD said:

I don't think its excessive. 3rd Street is a very important stop. Not for convention traffic but for thousands of office works who have direct access to light rail via the overstreet mall at 3rd street. Stonewall will be more important. CTC is important. 7th Street serves more office towers. I'm sure 9th street will ultimately find its place in society.

 

Uptown is the primary destination for riders. So it makes sense to have more stops on top of how dense the daytime population is. The population density is like 11,000 who lives uptown.  The daytime population has to be much, much higher on top of hotels, events, etc.

Not many people go from the southern portion of the line past NoDa. And I'm pretty sure there's a low need also from the Extension past SouthEnd. Other than bus riders and UNCC students (Me being one of them - Arrowood to UNCC 4 days a week and Wednesdays I do 2 round trips) not many people are riding the full length of the line where the slower stops matters much. And for bus riders, its light speed anyway rather than taking a bus.

 

Agreed.  This is true of ANY city with public transportation.  There are always more frequent stops within the city center, where there is much higher density and a far larger population of workers.  And great point about having these stops in place in anticipation of future growth.  Imagine the headache in the future if these stops did not already exist and they had to upgrade the system with new stops within the congested UT area.  That could be very costly and a logistical headache.  People would be screaming, "Why didn't CATS anticipate this when they built the system?!"

Edited by JacksonH
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I think having a stop every 2 blocks is excessive.  If NYC trains stopped every 2 blocks no one would use them.

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19 minutes ago, archiham04 said:

I think having a stop every 2 blocks is excessive.  If NYC trains stopped every 2 blocks no one would use them.

What distance is that?  1/4 mile?  There are some places in NYC where it seems they stop every 1/4 - 1/2 mile.

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