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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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I wouldn't normally take to the internet to complain, but this was a head-scratcher. Standing at the JW Clay station during rush hour I saw one, two, three, four north-bound trains go by before a south-bound one showed up. How in the world.

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4 hours ago, tarwater said:

I wouldn't normally take to the internet to complain, but this was a head-scratcher. Standing at the JW Clay station during rush hour I saw one, two, three, four north-bound trains go by before a south-bound one showed up. How in the world.

The CATS Twitter feed is just tweet after tweet about delay after delay on Blue Line.

No matter how the Arts tax hike goes, nothing more should go to a broken system that majorly  fails on reliability.

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Related to reliability and capacity issues: Sustain Charlotte is hiring a  Transit Coalition Coordinator, so hopefully there will soon be a organized mechanism for getting our concerns about how CATS has been operated to CATS. Very pleased to see this.

https://www.charlotteagenda.com/185136/transit-coalition-coordinator-sustain-charlotte/

 

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I rode the Blue Line today from I-485 to UNCC and back.  Here are my findings:

1 - Train Operators make a big difference.  Northbound was smooth from I-485 to Parkwood until the Operator change occurred.  The 2nd Operator was very slow in operation compared to the other for some reason.  This was from Parkwood to UNCC and back down to I-485.  

2 - Ridership was actually very good for the off peak time.  I boarded at 12:45pm and finished at 2:45/3pm timeframe.  The Lightrail was about half full by the time we got to Scaleybark and 3/4 full by East-West Station.  My only issue is Ticket/Fare Enforcement.  Not once did I see any Officers checking Fares so I felt like a bit of a sucker for even purchasing a round trip ticket.

3 - I observed that the following Stations should be added to the route (since someone prior mentioned Btwn 9th & Parkwood is pretty much unfeasible);

      -New Southend Stop Btwn East/West & New Bern Stations.  Development Inertia and Overwhelming public support makes this a No-Brainer.  Hopefully will happen either before or during the Big Bang Transit Plans.

     -New North Charlotte Stop Btwn Old Concord Rd & Tom Hunter Stations.  These two stations are roughly 1.25 Miles apart.  Placing one in between would help to activate many vacant lotsand underutilized land in between these two stations.  Each one of these existing stations have very little nascent growth occurring near them (Alittle bit of New Construction close to old concord/Tom Hunter) but there’s a vast wasteland of vacant lots and rundown lots too far from each one of those stations to make them attractive for development.

    -New University City Stop Btwn UCity Blvd & McCoullough.  Adjacent to the Walmart shopping Center making it a Transit connected store.  Seems like a lot of riders would like to get off there everytime I ride folks mention it.  I’d only advise CATS to do this if Walmart paid for the station construction.  I’m sure there’d be much redevelopment possibilities for the shopping centers and land adjacent.

Just my two cents

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interesting that April to June were about flat year over year.  There were a lot of reliability problems then and I canceled my monthly pass mid-May.

I also think it would be interesting to normalize for big events.  Panthers games have to be a big draw, but I would be curious for how much Specturm Center events can contribute too.  Hopefully, someone in CATS is using their data for these purposes.

Overall, these weekday numbers look really encouraging.  Density along the lightrail will continue to drive this higher as it comes online, replacing cars that would be on the road.

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I was back at U City deck for the first time in a while this morning. It remains embarrassingly underused  (perhaps on a good day it’s 25% occupied).  

I don’t have any recent data from Sugar Creek deck, but otherwise the BLE  ridership appears to be firing on all cylinders with more boardings between Mcullough and Old Concord than I had expected. Ridership from UNCC is a bit lighter than I had expected, but it is growing.

Edited by kermit
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49 minutes ago, kermit said:

I was back at U City deck for the first time in a while this morning. It remains embarrassingly underused  (perhaps on a good day it’s 25% occupied).  

I don’t have any recent data from Sugar Creek deck, but otherwise the BLE  ridership appears to be firing on all cylinders .

are they charging for that deck or do they in the afternoon only?  I am wary of using it because of that.  

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5 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

are they charging for that deck or do they in the afternoon only?  I am wary of using it because of that.  

Dunno, was just passing through on foot on my way to waffle house.

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11 hours ago, Desert Power said:

interesting that April to June were about flat year over year.  There were a lot of reliability problems then and I canceled my monthly pass mid-May.

I also think it would be interesting to normalize for big events.  Panthers games have to be a big draw, but I would be curious for how much Specturm Center events can contribute too.  Hopefully, someone in CATS is using their data for these purposes.

Overall, these weekday numbers look really encouraging.  Density along the lightrail will continue to drive this higher as it comes online, replacing cars that would be on the road.

I can tell you that for Spectrum Center Events like Hornets basketball - The Trains are packed body to body (same after Panthers Games) especially after the game is over.  Before the game the trains are very full for the hour or two prior.

As far as the UCity & Sugar Creek Decks - They do charge to park at those two decks.  I don’t think that’ll ever change because they’re (CATS) trying not to hurt UNCC Parking Fee Payments by Students.  Basically - it’s a first come first served rush at the Old Concord Rd free parking lot so it fills very quickly each day classes are in session at the University.

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^^^ well those 2 decks were a big waste of money as people the occasional riders like me won't use them if they charge.  What is stopping UNCC students from flooding another deck that is free further down the line and riding to campus?   We all know technology exists to cure this problem of college students from parking here but CATS which wants billions more from taxpayers including those in the university area yet treats this area differently.  

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1 hour ago, Hushpuppy321 said:

I can tell you that for Spectrum Center Events like Hornets basketball - The Trains are packed body to body (same after Panthers Games) especially after the game is over.  Before the game the trains are very full for the hour or two prior.

As far as the UCity & Sugar Creek Decks - They do charge to park at those two decks.  I don’t think that’ll ever change because they’re (CATS) trying not to hurt UNCC Parking Fee Payments by Students.  Basically - it’s a first come first served rush at the Old Concord Rd free parking lot so it fills very quickly each day classes are in session at the University.

Oh yeah, Panthers games are really packed.  Have done a few Spectrum events on the train, but usually drive because I keep a spot in Center City Green for my wife's work....unless too much drinking is anticipated :D 

You can really see the impact of All-Star Weekend on it.

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2 hours ago, Desert Power said:

Oh yeah, Panthers games are really packed.  Have done a few Spectrum events on the train, but usually drive because I keep a spot in Center City Green for my wife's work....unless too much drinking is anticipated :D 

You can really see the impact of All-Star Weekend on it.

Yep - My Wife won’t let me take her to Hornets games via Lightrail anymore after uncomfortably close contact on the train afterwards.  

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19 hours ago, KJHburg said:

^^^ well those 2 decks were a big waste of money as people the occasional riders like me won't use them if they charge.  What is stopping UNCC students from flooding another deck that is free further down the line and riding to campus?   We all know technology exists to cure this problem of college students from parking here but CATS which wants billions more from taxpayers including those in the university area yet treats this area differently.  

They are still only charging for exit between 3-6 PM on weekdays, and that is only if you have not purchased a day pass. There is no additional fee if you have a $6.60 day pass.  I have parked at both UC Blvd and JW Clay and have never exited between 3-6 PM, so I have never had to pay anything additional (even without a day pass).  The concern was students who would just ride to campus without paying, but this could be solved by checking for tickets at these stations (including departures from UNCC Main Station) instead of stopping cars as they exit. Another factor may be that these two garages have retail spaces that eventually will draw drivers who do not intend to ride the light rail at all.  Atrium Health recently opened up a new Urgent Care at JW Clay.

As for Panthers games, the trains do get packed immediately afterwards, but CATS has started running some reliever trains that arrive at Stonewall empty (though they still fill up instantly).  What I would suggest is not to be in such a rush to leave. Stick around at the stadium for the 5th Quarter in the silver level (open to all for free no matter where you sat). Enjoy watching some of the other games on the screens and refill that $9 souvenir soda another time or two after the other soda fountains are turned off. The bar is open for it as well. If that’s not your cup of tea then enjoy a meal at a restaurant uptown and by the time you leave the crowd will be gone.

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1 hour ago, KJHburg said:

Do you think students will buy tickets on top of their free rides they have with their IDs no?  

This policy punishes the very taxpayers who supported this sales tax for transit all the many residents of the university area.  LYNX needs to new leadership for a lot reasons and this is another reason.    

I had forgotten about the student IDs being accepted in place of a ticket.  I will say from my experience though that JW Clay is consistently full. UC Blvd on the other hand is consistently empty. At the very least, UC Blvd is far enough away from campus that they should make it completely free. I do think JW Clay’s proximity to the campus does present a unique situation though. Not saying they should charge separately for parking, but having a valid ticket to exit might be necessary.  For events at the football stadium people could cross the skybridge and never even ride the train.

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Just FYI, I noticed a new rezoning sign walking from my house to the Tyvola station today and looked it up. Seems like the city is now working on rezoning most of the parcels around the stops outside of 277 into various types of TOD parcels. https://charlottenc.gov/planning/Rezoning/RezoningPetitions/2019Petitions/Pages/2019-102.aspx The map link will show you which parcels and what the new zoning will be.

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ANYbody know what they are trying to build at the corner of tyvola and old pineville where the old car dealership was? I think it was a Harrleson dealership.  It borders the train track and goes way back off Tyvola. 

I saw a rezoning sign posted awhile back but couldn’t find it online. Apartments? 

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2 hours ago, QClifer said:

ANYbody know what they are trying to build at the corner of tyvola and old pineville where the old car dealership was? I think it was a Harrleson dealership.  It borders the train track and goes way back off Tyvola. 

I saw a rezoning sign posted awhile back but couldn’t find it online. Apartments? 

Probably part of the TOD rezoning all along the blue line.  More info here: 

https://charlotteudo.org/transit-oriented-development/zoning-translation-and-alignment/

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2 hours ago, QClifer said:

ANYbody know what they are trying to build at the corner of tyvola and old pineville where the old car dealership was? I think it was a Harrleson dealership.  It borders the train track and goes way back off Tyvola. 

I saw a rezoning sign posted awhile back but couldn’t find it online. Apartments? 

I drive past it everyday to work so I looked it up at one point. It's separate from the city's attempt to rezone all land around light rail stations to TOD (19-102). A developer asked for it to be rezoned mostly TOD-CC and some TOD-TR. Looks like it got approved last month but I have no idea what they're actually planning to build there. This is the actual petition (19-081)

https://charlottenc.gov/planning/Rezoning/RezoningPetitions/2019Petitions/Pages/2019-081.aspx

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