dubone

Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

3471 posts in this topic

Some more light rail news http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/09/26/3559045/cats-to-spend-87-million-on-rail.html

the city has decided to purchase 22 more light rail cars in anticipation of getting federal funding for the blue line extension. These cars will be 3% cheaper than the previous ones. If the city does not get federal funding for the extension as anticipated, the city can cancel the contract for purchasing the train and pay a $500,000 cancellation fee. I think this is a good move for the city.

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That vehicle purchase is a strong indication that the FTA (certainly in contact with CATS) is very likely to continue as planned with a FFGA for the extension. That is great news, and good that we were able to piggy back on the Portland purchase to get a good deal.

It is a shame that all of the stations were not built with the ability to handle the third car, but even though they only got funds to expand a few stations. Other stations that have long enough concrete will be retrofit in addition to what they are doing at 7th and 3rd, as shown on page 7 ("5") to the CTC/Trade station. The platforms themselves need to be expanded at 3rd and 7th, but Stonewall and CTC/Trade will just need some minor adjustments.

Hopefully once all northeastern stations, all uptown stations, and the southern terminal station are all expanded, it will create more urgency to find a grant to expand the remaining

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Is there a possibility that these stations might be for something like a rush hour express train that may only stop at the three car stations?

In Seoul, they have express trains in their subway system that only stop at certain stations. I know comparing Charlotte is not even close to the size of Seoul however, it seems like the stations selected would be able to serve the morning and evening commute crowds.

Edited by cltbwimob

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http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/09/26/3559564/us-house-foes-debate.html

More of the same from Pittenger. Not that this should surprise anyone. He ought to take a look at a city like Atlanta, or Houston and ask himself "do I want congestion in two lanes...or seven". I really wish transit, in particular rail, was a less bipartisan issue. I'm in favor of investing in roads EQUALLY with mass transit. It just seems so party line for the Republican auto answer to always be "roads roads roads". Although that probably makes it understandable why I was such a Mccrory fan.

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I'm thinking that is what was supposed to go in at Scaleybark.

exactly. in the last image with the site plan, you can see the station along the bottom edge. the scaleybark/south blvd intersection is bottom right.

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(fingers crossed)

based on prior statements from CATS we should be less than a month from a FFGA announcement for the BLE.....

(fingers still crossed)

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^I'll be there tonight. The focus of these meetings (tonight is the kick-off) is supposed to be developing a land use vision for the six station areas between Uptown and the "Weave" near IKEA. Granted, there should also be some information about the BLE project, but the meeting is largely run by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department, not CATS.

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If I'm able to get off work early enough I'm planning on attending. (Right now that's a big if.)

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The city council will vote tonight on proceeding with the FFGA (it should just be a formality)

http://mecktimes.com...e-city-council/

“If this resolution passes it doesn’t guarantee that $580 million from the federal government,” she said. “This just allows the city manager to enter into a contract with the federal government.”

The city expects to know the U.S. DOT’s decision on the contract by the end of this month.

Edited by kermit

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I see that CATS is considering lengthening Blue Line trains to 3 cars.

I would prefer that trains be made more frequent instead. Last weekend I went from the airport to South End and back. Each trip took about an hour, largely due to just missing the connection between the Sprinter airport bus and LYNX and having to wait 15 minutes, and on the return, preferring to take an earlier LYNX back in order not to miss the next Sprinter (which would result in a 30-minute wait).

One hour from the airport to South End makes that trip really unfeasible on mass transit. With no lengthy connections uptown due to infrequent service, the trip could be 45 minutes--still long, but much better.

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More frequent service equals more capacity but a higher operating cost, three car trains add capacity and have a cheaper operating cost. With the current budget, I doubt we will see more frequent trains for awhile. At the end of the day, I am particularly excited to see 3 car trains, but even more excited to see this UNCC line finally come together.

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^I agree, I would much prefer frequency over capacity.

The plans for the BLE call for 10 minute frequencies throughout the day. Unfortunatley I don't have a ton of confidence that they will achieve that given concerns about tax revenue and operating costs (IMO our current 20 minute headways on weekends are not kosher).

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Sure, 3-car trains would have lower operating costs, but they also have higher capital costs, given the needed retrofit to existing stations in Uptown and along the South Corridor. I'm not sure that retrofit is included in the BLE. If not, CATS will be faced with the financial catch-22 of spending more of their constrained revenues on operations until they have enough financial capacity to add physical capacity. And maybe by the time CATS finally does add capacity to existing stations, we may see BOTH frequent headways and longer trains to meet the demand that will once again be likely exceeding FTA's expectations.

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More frequent trains would also require start-up capital because the electrical system needs to be upgraded to support more frequent trains. It is certainley less than retrofitting platforms, but there is an initial capital cost either way.

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If memory serves, the blue line can run (and was tested with) 5 minute headways. I think expanding to three car is an important step to providing efficient event service. The line easily hits capacity right now for big events. They might as well shut down the inbound side of East/Bland/Carson just because there's no more room to board at those times.

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"Major FTA Transportation Funding Announcement October 16, 2012"

:w00t::fun::alc:

1 person likes this

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I just got and email from CATS inviting everyone to a "major transportation finding announcement" featuring Peter Rogoff (head of the FTA) and Mel Watt at the 9th st trolly station of Tuesday October 16th at 10am.

Gosh, I wonder what that could be about......

Edit: dang, I got scooped.

Edited by kermit
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I got the same email. Hoooray!

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That's great news! I guess I'm not on the right email list like you guys. :cry:

That is really awesome that this will be funded. For all the discussion of the second-tier projects like the Red Line and the streetcar, the Blue line is obviously the most important centerpiece of our city's transit and getting funding approval to double the length of the line to UNCC is a big deal.

Hopefully when it opens in 4 years, we will have some of the Levine land in First Ward developed, Meck Mills and Mercury completed in NoDa, and some of the residential projects around IKEA Blvd. Once the BLE is a certainty, it will hopefully help for greenlighting the projects.

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I'm getting ready to buy a home and I can assure you that this announcement will have a lot to do with where I finally buy. That being said, I won't shoot my freedom loving gun into the air until I see some track being laid.

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