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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line


dubone

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^Unlike image that you probably have of them, I would say that most if not all of these industrial places are actually being used for industry. It's not nearly as well known, but Charlotte has as many people working in manufacturing jobs as that in banking and even more in distribution. The city is the 6th busiest distribution center in the country (right after Chicago) and many sites near downtown are involved in both industries. So I would not expect that many would be shutdown and converted to residential living.

On the issues of the trains feeling unsafe, I guess we will see what happens over time after the initial fascination with them wears off. The first time I rode the subway in NYC in the early 80s, the locals said not to ride it after the sun went down, and don't go any further north than the southern edge of Central Park as the trains went into high crime areas from there on. It was too dangerous they said, and it was certainly believable. They have cleaned it up considerably since then, but it's up to CATs to make sure the trains and stations seem like crime free places outside commuting hours.

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^A few of you have shared 'horror' stories about incidents that have happened on trains, but since I've begun riding the line I have seen NOTHING even remotely unsafe. I've seen no altercations. I've barely heard bad language. The behavior I've seen on the train has been remarkably civilized, to be honest with you. The worst thing I've seen was a beggar who asked me for a dollar. LOL, and he was very polite about it.

If anything I'm more offended by people who insist on keeping their personal belongings on the seat next to them when CLEARLY the train at the point of standing room only. But in terms of 'riff raff', I haven't experienced anything like that yet.

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I've seen homeless guys urinating in the corner pockets of stations, and loud, crass teenagers. But I don't notice as much cranked-up-earphones effect among the passengers like I did on the bus. Maybe people can sense that the train is a shorter trip, and don't need to try as hard to shut out the world around them.

Admittedly, the former problems were back in December, too. I think that now that the trains are being used more - either there is more surveillance or just less bad behavior "in public".

I'll also add, that I've overheard the ticket inspectors last week telling people "no more warnings - it's for real next week" IE tomorrow. We'll see if they are ready to stick to it.

Edited by MZT
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I'll also add, that I've overheard the ticket inspectors last week telling people "no more warnings - it's for real next week" IE tomorrow. We'll see if they are ready to stick to it.

I have also noticed they put bright yellow Rider's Alerts on the LRT trains telling people about the ticket enforecement begining tomorrow. They also advertise how you can get monthly passes from Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Transit Center and various uptown corporations.

Will be interesting to see how many people get the "boot" tomorrow.

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I think the Lynx extension will benefit Parkwood Ave. and Davidson St. more than North Tryon in the immediate area adjacent to Uptown.

I agree, Parkwood is really overripe for redevelopment, and I expect that the LRT will be the catalyst which finally causes that neighborhood to turn the corner. Growing up I always avoided Parkwood because it had such a negative reputation, but once I took the time to explore that area I was shocked to see how much potential it has to be a really cool area. Hopefully the train will push it in the right direction.

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....A question, though, who enforces the citations? That is, are they just CATS citations or are they legally enforcable by the courts?
CATS transit officers and the Charlotte/Meck Police. A fare evasion citation is a class 3 misdemeanor in terms of NC Law. I would assume you could contest it in a court, but that could be quite costly in comparison if you lose.
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The President released his FY 2009 recommended budget today. In it is a line item for $1.9M for Charlotte Rapid Transit in moneys from the New Starts Capital Fund. This money will likely go towards the PE for the Blue Line Extention towards UNCC.

This $1.9M would be in addition to the FY2008 monies which were just recently approved.

While this is just a recomendation at this point and is a long ways from becoming approved or even happening at all it is nice to see that the FTA feels good enough about the Blue Line Extention that they would recommend it for PE funding in FY 2009.

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The President released his FY 2009 recommended budget today. In it is a line item for $1.9M for Charlotte Rapid Transit in moneys from the New Starts Capital Fund. This money will likely go towards the PE for the Blue Line Extention towards UNCC.

This $1.9M would be in addition to the FY2008 monies which were just recently approved.

While this is just a recomendation at this point and is a long ways from becoming approved or even happening at all it is nice to see that the FTA feels good enough about the Blue Line Extention that they would recommend it for PE funding in FY 2009.

This is great news. It really would be nice if Charlotte could build the north line in its own right of way the same as the South portion of the Blue Line.

But, as of now it will be like a modern trolley car system running up and down the center of N. Tryon Street.

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This is great news. It really would be nice if Charlotte could build the north line in its own right of way the same as the South portion of the Blue Line.

But, as of now it will be like a modern trolley car system running up and down the center of N. Tryon Street.

The NE LRT line will not be like a modern trolley system. It will be separated from traffic thus nothing else will use the path the LRT takes.

Here is a picture of a modern trolley system:

QUASPCC.JPG

Here is a picture of an LRT system setup similar to the NE LRT:

sf-sfst10.jpg

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^Yes it is $30M. If the Feds don't appropriate enough money, then it will come from the transit tax. On the budget itself, it is unlikely to survive in its present form mainly because Bush is proposing to spend even more money on the military and defense while at the same time cutting social programs such as medicade. Most likely what will happen is the Democratically controlled congress will just issue supplementals to fund the government until Bush is out of office and the next President will actually create the 2009 Budget.

BTW, to put it in perspective, $1.9M is just 11 minutes of Federal spending in Iraq.

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While it's better than nothing, don't we need a tad bit more than just $1.9 million? The total engineering study was going to be something like $30 million I thought.

If the Blue Line Extention ends up getting a Full Funding Grant Agreement then that will cover up to 50% of the Preliminary Engineering costs. The millions of dollars we have already gotten in appropriations from the 2008 budget are sort of an advance payment in anticipation of the FFGA. NC DOT has already commited to paying 25% of the $30M or $7.5M.

So if we end up getting a FFGA then about $7.5M of the 1/2 Cent Sales Tax money will go towards the Preliminary Engineering.

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So today was 'crackdown' day. I didn't see anyone get caught without a ticket. I was checked inbound but not outbound.

I saw a fare examiner tell a guy today "you better get off" - so it looks like we're still not quite at the stage of immediate ticketing.

Edited by MZT
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I hear in Bush budget there is a 40% reduction in funds for transportation.

I haven't done research on the total transportation budget...but the New Starts Capital Budget which directly affects the Lynx Blue Line Extention saw a small increase over 2008 levels. Granted I think they need to at least double the New Starts funding and spend at least $2B annually on transit projects in the USA.

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Some people refer to slowing growth as a reduction, so if it went from a 8% budget growth to 5% growth which is almost 40% less growth in the budget, as opposed to the total number being decreased by 40%. Once you know the facts, you can better interpret statistics like that and how they are being abused.

As for ticketing, I think there will always be some discretion by the inspectors. I'm not sure what they might use their discretion for, but it seems that if they giving out tickets to almost everyone, and let a few just get off the train because of some circumstance, that is okay. Those few extra people are not causing extra operating cost for train, (except for the very nominal cost of electricity to pull that extra 150lbs) but are still helping meet the city's overall goal for supporting transit over automobile use. As long as it is just the fringes that get away with not paying their 1.30, and there is enough of a chance that chronic abuse will result in a ticket (now that is the case), these random cases are not much of a problem. I'd much rather have someone hop on the train with out paying the 1.30 than to get in a car and drive on a congested road, but I am one that believes there should be large fare-free zones on transit to begin with.

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I saw a fare examiner tell a guy today "you better get off" - so it looks like we're still not quite at the stage of immediate ticketing.

Day Two: I saw the inspector give a man a citation today. He bought a one-way ticket and thought it was good in both directions. It took the inspector several minutes to complete the citation, so the guy actually missed his stop at Tyvola and had to take a northbound train back. I asked the inspector how many citations he had given out today and he answered "more than 1, less than 100".

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The NE LRT line will not be like a modern trolley system. It will be separated from traffic thus nothing else will use the path the LRT takes.

Neo, Isn't Charlotte's N. Tryon Blue line going to be more like Phoenix and Houston? The photo you posted is the Muni rail system in San Francisco.

These kind stop at stop lights like buses. The light rail in San Francisco stops at stop lights like a modern day street car when it comes out from the subway.

Phoenix

2237412759_718df230f7_o.jpg

1951708746_c3359731a1_o.jpg

Houston

1356009997_835532bb86_b.jpg

San Francisco Muni rail

2034568683_39fd2f8a2d_b.jpg

816054181_84bc44ac08_o.jpg

Muni is a subway downtown San Francisco

2034568689_a5479a74a3_b.jpg

Edited by Atlside
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Day Two: I saw the inspector give a man a citation today. He bought a one-way ticket and thought it was good in both directions. It took the inspector several minutes to complete the citation, so the guy actually missed his stop at Tyvola and had to take a northbound train back. I asked the inspector how many citations he had given out today and he answered "more than 1, less than 100".

I was on the same exact train. It looked like the fare inspector was training one of the new safety guys on all the possible "excuses" people would have and what to look for.

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