Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

RiverwoodCLT

Extending Mass Transit Beyond Mecklenburg County

52 posts in this topic

I hear today on "Charlotte Talks" on WFAE that Fort Mill and Rock Hill are going to fund a study to connect to the South Blue Line. On the show they said that this would probably the first extension to the already plan lines. Fort Mill would be the first part of the extension and Rock Hill later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


LRT To Rock Hill would not be wise. That is a 30 mile journey (approx)... Fort Mill is doable and something that I hope that is accomplished. Since S. Carolina is looking into funding, it should be noted and considered to do a South End Commuter Rail in replacement of the North Commuter Rail. Obviously S. Carolina wants it over the Northern Communities, and commuter would work better, plus it could connect to the Gateway Station which was going to be used for the north line anyway. This would in turn be cheaper and more effective in all aspects than the North Commuter and LRT. Although adding a second "train" line to the south wouldn't get much positive feedback, I think both lines could continue to be effective in their own demands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Commuter Rail would be an odd option to take though. CR would require some kind of hub station at the end of the Blue Line unless its going to parallel it all the way to where it breaks off to go to the proposed Gateway Station. BRT would still require a hub, but it would be a much less expensive one. Given SCDOT's rather frugal nature, if they support any option it will more than likely be BRT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You wouldn't need an elaborate "hub" station - just a platform. Would cost maybe $100,000 each to build. When I think of CR to Rock Hill, I envision two transfer stations as the ideal configuration - one at Tyvola and the other at 485. The 485 stop would serve Park & Ride passengers bound for the west half of downtown, and a transfer to LR for passengers bound to Sharon Rd West, Archdale, and Arrowood stations. Tyvola could be a transfer to LR for people bound for South End and the east half of downtown, and as the transfer point to the #60 bus to South Park (or a streetcar line or whatever in the future). Few LRT<->CR transfers would happen at 485, but it would see lots of P&R passengers to get to Gateway Station; vice versa for Tyvola.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think CR from Rock Hill would be better served if the train came directly to downtown. The Xfer onto the LRT would add too much time to the trip to make it viable for a lot of people. I was under the impression there was a different rail corridor than the one used for the South LRT that could be used for this. (though I could be wrong)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on Google Maps, the rail line from Rock Hill goes through Fort Mill, Pineville, and then parallels the LRT up to the Tyvola Road area where it heads west and then connects back to the line that would come into the Gateway Station.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think CR from Rock Hill would be better served if the train came directly to downtown. The Xfer onto the LRT would add too much time to the trip to make it viable for a lot of people. I was under the impression there was a different rail corridor than the one used for the South LRT that could be used for this. (though I could be wrong)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

orulz,

You're plan doesn't sound half bad. I had envisioned something similar in creating the commuter spokes of the transit system, obviously with a focus of reaching to other counties in our metropolitian area, and of course the LRT spokes for inner-Meck, and sprinkling the streetcars to high-volumed bus routes as well as high-traffic congested roads easing up alternatives.

Rock Hill and S. Carolina (given a completely different state) may or may not allow improvement given a different state and county for funding. It would be great to see Rock Hill, which is approx 30 miles from center city, connected to our grid. Fort Mill would be the other logical station in S. Carolina. I didn't look at Google Maps yet to follow the current track routes, but obviously the Gateway Station is the ideal connector point, given the current layout of how CATs envisions the Multimodal Station and connected to the signature Trade Street Station (by Streetcar) for the LRT Main Station. The Multimodal Station, IMO, is one of the greatest concepts that CATs has came up with as far as this whole 2030 Plan. Given the history of Charlotte and it's transportation, as well as the fact that we have no water ports like other cities, it's vital to incorporate all of our other aspects of transportation in a common area. I'd like to see the new Collesium area connected to the line somehow, given it's a populus area for office, and the redevelopment seems to be somewhat urban friendly and a minimal example of developments to come, which I think is worthy of having an urban system (train) run in reach. Could help and touch base with the much needed West Side and help development. If the North Line is created, this would give an approx 60 mile stretch of a straight commuter rail with center city as its midpoint, and think that this could really change the way that S. Carolina, Charlotte, and the Lake Norman area is all connected and utilized, even though ridership numbers probally couldn't touch those of our LRT spokes. I hope S. Carolina "jumps on board".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Maybe I'm a bit dumbfounded on why nobody here likes the idea of LRT going to Rock Hill. I don't really understand why it would have to be CR going there instead. In my opinion, we need to do everything we can to add on to our lrt network.

I hate to use a reference from Sydney, but I rode their subway/rail line (which, yes, was heavy rail) all the time and didn't bat an eye if I had to ride it to the other side of the metro which would sometimes take two hours. This was a much greater distance than that of Rock Hill to Charlotte. I'm not comparing heavy to light rail here, just travel times. If somebody needs to get to uptown from rock hill and driving is not convenient for them-- if they even have a car-- then taking rail is much easier and usually more convenient than taking a bus. If you give people the option, they are much more likely to utilize mass transport. If their only option is bus, they may not consider using it.

I just think that instead of adding another form of transportation to our network, why not just add onto the one that already exists? I say that if SC wants to help extend our network, let them! Having a more extensive network means that each line will become increasing more and more convenient and ridership for each line will increase. The more places it goes, the more people will utilize it per stop. Having SC fund part of it is an extremely cheap way of doing this. Why not capitalize on added convenience at little cost to us?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm a bit dumbfounded on why nobody here likes the idea of LRT going to Rock Hill. I don't really understand why it would have to be CR going there instead. In my opinion, we need to do everything we can to add on to our lrt network....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we all ride the Metro when we get to Washington DC, why not forget about the Southeast High Speed Rail line, and just extend the DC metro all the way to Charlotte instead?

Obviously that is a strawman argument, but I say it to illustrate a point. Extending the LRT rather than commuter rail would:

  1. Cost too much (Electric wires, double track, concrete ties, plus the need to construct a completely new, separate set of tracks)

  2. Make too many stops heading into town (who wants to crawl along stopping every 1/2 to 1/4 mile through South End adding time onto what's already a 1-hour train ride?)

  3. Travel too slowly to be a viable alternative to driving (LRT's top speed = 55, commuter rail's top speed = 80)

  4. Not have high enough ridership to justify LRT-level headways.

  5. Be uncomfortable (the seats in the LRV's aren't built for sitting 90 minutes straight.)

Light rail to serve the city limits of Charlotte, plus commuter rail to serve the suburbs outside 485, is a great combination that works well in cities all over the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since we all ride the Metro when we get to Washington DC, why not forget about the Southeast High Speed Rail line, and just extend the DC metro all the way to Charlotte instead?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The LRT's are capable of going 75mph, but CATs chose to have them not exceed 55mph/35mph in the city, according to their website. Also the current line wouldn't be practical nor safe to have them exceed over 55mph given the proximity of all of the stations.

Anywho, that doesn't justify the facts that Commuter is more practical than LRT for long distance travel. If we were looking to just connect the current LRT to Fort Mill, I'd say it's more feasable, maybe looking at a 30-35 minute commute by rail to center city. Rock Hill is 30 miles, and our current line is less than 10 miles. Imagine our current LRT extended by 3 times the amount. Assuming same distance between stations, that's a 69 minute commute from Rock Hill to Center City, which goes without say that it's not practical. I know that some people will be not traveling that length, but for those that need to, the LRT wouldn't be worth while and these commuters would continue to drive, making this extension a complete waste of money since there would be no riders. What is needed is what Commuter can offer, a quick route that will make the trip a better alternative than driving your car. I don't have times or estimates from Rock Hill, but I'd imaging a network would be similar to the current North Commuter given it's the same mileage, 30 miles from end to end, and probally a similar number of stations. Cost of course is the biggest reason from the corporate viewpoint, but hopefully I illustrated a perspective out of that rhelm.

It would be nice to utilize other technology that is heavy rail but ran on electricity rather than diesal, and would love to see more high-speed oriented rail like oversees, but of course money is what we're fighting. Who knows what S. Carolina has up there sleeves though, if anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I'm suggesting (but didn't describe very well before) is that the Rock Hill commuter line should run from Rock Hill to Gateway Station on West Trade, but it should also share two stations in common with the South LRT. These would be the I-485 Park-And-Ride, and Tyvola.

I-485 station:

  • Allows people to park in the deck at 485, and then hop on the commuter train for a quick and direct ride to West Trade and the Gateway Village area.

  • Serves as a logical transfer point for inbound commuter rail passengers to switch to the LRT and access LRT stations between I-485 and Tyvola

    Tyvola Station:

    • Allows people on the commuter rail trains with destinations in the east half of downtown or in South End to change trains and get to their destinations without a long walk.

    • Provides a direct transfer from the Rock Hill commuter rail line to the #60 bus to South Park (or a future streetcar line if that happens.)

    In addition, since Pineville opted out of the Light Rail line, the Rock Hill commuter line would be a way for them to get some transit to their downtown anyway.

    I've pitched this same plan before except for instead of a station at Tyvola, I proposed it to be located at West Tyvola. This would be close to the office parks near the Old Coliseum, which would make it easy for CATS to serve commuters with several shuttle busses. If there needed to be another intermediary stop to coincide with LRT, I would think Archdale would be the better choice due to lighter traffic, and the adjacency between the rail tracks and LRT (at Tyvola they are ~1000 feet apart)

    The only flaw in this plan is that there really is no room to widen the existing rail tracks so that it could be double tracked. A lot of property acquisition would be needed, and several bridges and underpasses widened. It would get pricey, though overall, I think it's a worthwhile idea, and should be the second Commuter Rail line to be added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
.... I think it's a worthwhile idea, and should be the second Commuter Rail line to be added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


that is an excellent idea Monsoon. I wonder if CATS has considered it? Seems to be a cheaper route than the northeast line, just at a glance at least. This would also have the added benefit of directly connecting Charlotte to the NC Research Campus up there. Maybe Murdock could kick in a few hundred million.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would Kannapolis have enough traffic by itself to warrant a commuter train? It would be nice to see it stop there, Concord, and maybe even Salisbury.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SCDOT won't pay for LRT from the state line to Rock Hill, its just that simple. I personally love the idea, but the finances just won't work. Also, LRT is not designed for that type of set up. Its supposed to be used in urban areas. The area between Fort Mill and Charlotte is still relatively undeveloped, and unless something changes it will be nothing but sprawly subdivisions.

Would Kannapolis have enough traffic by itself to warrant a commuter train? It would be nice to see it stop there, Concord, and maybe even Salisbury.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Would Kannapolis have enough traffic by itself to warrant a commuter train? It would be nice to see it stop there, Concord, and maybe even Salisbury.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
After that the train would head straight into downtown and terminate at Gateway station.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You wouldn't have it continue down the current rail? There are a lot of people who live in the Southside of Charlotte who would like a run straight thru to UNCC. My girlfriend and I are actually looking for a place in The South End. She works at UNCC and I work in North Charlotte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The high speed passenger rail improvements will be made on the rail line between Kannapolis and Gateway Station, so I think that a commuter rail on that line is an inevitability. Perhaps it will simply be provided as part of a well-scheduled Raleigh-Charlotte 'commuter' passenger train. The high speed rail, which is in the long term federal plans, includes a stop in downtown Kannapolis.

I'm a bit conflicted on these long commuting trains, as I think they support sprawl almost as much large commuting freeways out that far, I believe that it will help Cabarrus county overcome some of the economic issues it has had (losing some major sources of manufacturing jobs). I also think that it will help drive growth in central Kannapolis, which will help avoid sprawl, as it will have a central place nearby. It is better for people there to say they are in Kannapolis than just in the end of the next county thinking they are in Charlotte.

[ I'm thinking we may want to start a separate thread on these plans and ideas to extend the system beyond what is in the 2030 plan, as this is a thread for those projects. ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^I will predict 2030 plan will never actually make it to 2030 as none of the other transit plans of this nature have. I have a huge map of the 2005 plan in my file folder that I got in 1985 and significant portions of it never happened while there other projects not on that plan did get built.

My guess is that in 5 or so years, there will be a new plan to replace the one that we have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My guess is that in 5 or so years, there will be a new plan to replace the one that we have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You wouldn't have it continue down the current rail? There are a lot of people who live in the Southside of Charlotte who would like a run straight thru to UNCC. My girlfriend and I are actually looking for a place in The South End. She works at UNCC and I work in North Charlotte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.