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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line


dubone

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You'd say the CATS timeline from conception to execution is standard/normal?
4-years for a single light rail stop...can't even imagine what's involved in a new 26-mile line with X number of stops.  Is there something to Tarik's point about emerging mobility technologies?  Fixed-line transit takes so long and mobility tech is changing so fast, perhaps we're better served considering more flexible alternatives than fixed-line...  

Though the time may be less with multiple stations combined it still took much longer than I had initially thought it should. I was working on a 14 mile line with about 16 stations and from what I could remember the initial proposal was talked about in the late ‘80s, after testing and surveying in the ‘00s they didn’t fully start designing it until after 2010. It finally broke ground in 2019 but won’t be done until 2027. The reviews, public opinion and of course funding have a huge role to play which can make a project sit for much longer than a typical private owned project.
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Obviously  we have an expert on the matter, but my uneducated opinion is that the light rail stop will take that long to complete likely trying to be as low cost as possible mixed with typical regulatory hurdles. Which makes sense. There’s no reason to expedite it anymore than the time frame it has. 
Fixed lines absolutely work in my opinion if implemented correctly and spares no expenses, isn’t designed to encourage marginal development and doesn’t seem to be as low cost to build as possible.
What if you could get to pretty much anywhere in metro Charlotte on rapid rail with speeds that goes over 50mph?
What if there was a stop underground for most of downtown Davidson, Cornelius, Downtown Huntersville and Birkdale. That let you out right in the thick of this areas? It would be faster than driving from Cornelius to Birkdale. What if it was easy to get to SouthPark on rapid rail to either uptown, Matthews and Ballantyne? With a stop connected to SouthPark mall? If SouthPark was a connection point and you could take rail from Matthews to Ballantyne connecting there?
what if the rail went from Kings Mountain to past Concord and From Statesville to Rock Hill? To Carowinds, to White Water Center. Etc. Live in downtown Gastonia by a rail station underground and get to nearly anywhere you’d want in the metro?
What if within the inner city, there were a bunch of stops located underground in the most convenient areas? Trains every 7 minutes on rails served by 1 line and shorter on lines serves by more? 
That network is possible. There could be money for it. And it could be heavily utilized. Mass transit is supposed to move people around rapidly and easily. 

I think metro Atlanta in 1980 had a smaller population than Charlotte 2022. Rail service started on Atlanta 1979
 

Any rail project should always plan at least 30+ years in the future. Atlanta seemed to be proactive at a critical time because after years of a line operating more is built around it. It can be difficult to put a line through an already high-profile area, but it is doable - just very expensive.
While I am not against the new transportation technology… negating fixed lines would not solve congestion. A train can just Carry an incomparable amount of people while being extremely more efficient in energy and space. Truly if these technologies of on demand and ride share / autonomous vehicles were to be implemented it would be nothing more than capillaries in functioning city body. The real main arteries are necessary to work in conjunction with these smaller forms of mobility. These fixed lines are made for high concentrations of passengers and truly make mobility better when managed correctly. It’s not a question of will it work in Charlotte but How will it work. Then after that’s answered how can it be implemented and surely that is the hard part. Affordable housing along these lines would go a long way. Bringing walkability into the equation around the line. You can’t have a line and expect people to walk in suburbia. It isn’t going to encourage people to walk. Certainly though, some people will want their cars and “independence” but I think sometimes a city needs to address the future and sustainability rather than the now. No point in continuing anything now if it all goes to sh*t 30-50 years later even 100 years later. Though these transit oriented neighborhoods become harder to achieve when the line takes a considerable amount of time to come to fruition when more of the cities trees are cut to fill in suburbia and make it so more people are car dependent. It’s hard to judge the decision process when one can’t keep up with the decisions and the justifications of those decisions in the background in real time when public engagement is seen as a phase Where the community is allowed input instead of bringing the community in to be part of the process truly.

I definitely think community involvement is really important for large infrastructure projects like the light rail. It does take a lot of work and visioning but it does pay off in the long run. I’ve learned no matter what someone will be upset about a project even if you try and get as much input from the community as possible. It will always take a massive amount of time to make movement.
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1 hour ago, Hushpuppy321 said:

I believe that the closest streets to the planned Station are Iverson, Hawkins and Rampart.  What do you guys believe this future Station should be named?  I vote for Rampart Station - sounds pretty tough, much better than Bland st. Station just down the road.

The Answer Station

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18 hours ago, dylansukkert said:

Tomorrow is the first work day with 20 min frequencies. Will be interesting to see how crowded the trains are. 

I imagine ridership just goes down if office workers aren't fully back like they were pre-pandemic. Traffic to uptown in the morning commute is probably lighter than pre-pandemic parking costs might be cheaper for people working 2-3 days/week.

20 minute frequencies work for people commuting (and even then, it works when there is real-time information available). For any other trips. It's too long. Particularly given the demographics of people that light rail is actually convenient for likely have cars and aren't going to spend 30+ minutes on their trip time one way versus just driving to where you need assuming light rail is convenient to their destination and really bad if you have multiple errands.

I feel sorry for a significant amount of bus riders who more than likely will have their bus routes always timed to just miss the light rail. Light Rail is supposed to replace the hub/spoke bus system. With 20 minute frequencies, I would almost prefer the 1 connection CTC hub/spoke system versus 20 minute frequency light rail connections that usually require 2 connections because a lot of bus riders are simply connecting on light rail anyway. Which is great when frequencies are higher

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On 8/14/2022 at 7:30 PM, dylansukkert said:

Tomorrow is the first work day with 20 min frequencies. Will be interesting to see how crowded the trains are. 

Monday and Tuesday were somewhat busier than the 15 minute frequencies but today (Wednesday) felt almost like leaving a Panthers game. Can’t continue like this. 

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10 hours ago, davidclt said:

Possible new CATS head?

 

What difference would it make? They are cash strapped like the majority of public transit systems in the US.  This is a national problem compounded by a post pandemic model of hybrid and remote work. I think a lot people are looking for some kind of reason to replace one  person which really won’t change a damn thing. …which indeed might lead to more downsizing. 
 

The funding and economic  models have changed, there’s no way to force people back on trains or buses when you can sit on your hind end at the house and still get paid.

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4 hours ago, Blue_Devil said:

I know it’s named after a brand, but I always thought Sycamore Station had a nice ring to it

Other businesses would cry foul - unfair marketing advantage to have it Say Sycamore or Atherton or Publix Stations.  Why I was thinking either Rampart or Hawkins Station

Edited by Hushpuppy321
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19 minutes ago, JeanClt said:

Think I like Hawkins station. It’s an interesting name. Rampart Station sounds a bit harsh not sure why, though I see why the logical continuation of naming stations based on streets perpendicular to the line.

I was thinking Hawkins too and easiest access to any street will be Hawkins. 

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Other businesses would cry foul - unfair marketing advantage to have it Say Sycamore or Atherton or Publix Stations.  Why I was thinking either Rampart or Hawkins Station

Sell the naming rights? It’s supposed to be a PPP, so the most generous private contributor gets its name on the station.
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5 minutes ago, TCLT said:


Sell the naming rights? It’s supposed to be a PPP, so the most generous private contributor gets its name on the station.

then it would be the Portman stop as Portman is already contributing money for the station with their office tower the Line and apartment tower to rise nearby 

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