{advertisement="MMFP"} Charlotte Gateway Station and Railroad Improvements - Page 7 - Charlotte - UrbanPlanet.org Jump to content

dubone

Charlotte Gateway Station and Railroad Improvements

Recommended Posts


I noticed when I was looking at the Gateway plan again that Johnson and Wales is planning to build a business school right across the tracks from the new station, between Graham and 4th. I am assuming the building is not contingent upon Gateway being built, but does anyone know if and when they plan to build this? It also looks like the Greyhound station will only take up half of the block- any idea what they are planning for the other half of the block? It might be hard to sell development on that land given the type of people Greyhound stations tend to draw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the expected completion date for CSX/NS grade separation is September 2017, more than 5 years from now, I think it's likely that NCDOT is issuing this "RFEI" right now in order to have Gateway Station completed by about the same time. I think it is certainly not too big of a stretch to have this facility planned, designed, funded, and built by then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it is already under construction, the original platforms have been removed and the underground bus bays are under construction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also in order for the Gateway station to be built CSX required the NS-CSX diamond to be separated. Until this trackage is separated CSX would protest all extra passenger train movements over the junction. This is another reason why the actual station is in a later phase.

The completion of the Charlotte Gateway Station is not contingent on the completion of the CSX/NS Mainline Grade Separation project. NS controls movements across the NS/CSX diamond. The Mainline Grade Separation Project will signifcantly reduce existing and future congestion at the diamond. NCDOT has a project that proposes to add a third track from control point Junker (near Orr Road) to the Charlotte Wye. This project would construct the trackage that would access the passenger platforms at the proposed Gateway Station. My understanding why the Gateway Station is in a later phase is due to the funding. NCDOT actually completed a Federal Transit Administration Environmental for the CGS. However, there was no funding available for station from the FTA. The CGS was included in the original ARRA grant application...however, there was no funding made available in the $545M grant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Denver, a city only a bit bigger than Charlotte kept both their 19th century Union Station, and is expanding it with a cool modern design.

We are getting a glorified office lobby with an outdoor path under the tracks with a couple bus bays.

As for prioritization of the CGS, it was a lower priority in NCDOT's application, simply be being part of the category of projects needed for a 5th train per day, than than in 4 trains per day which is what ARRA funded. It may not be prerequisite, but it is a higher priority, so that is where the funding went. It solves a lot of already existing problems, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are getting a glorified office lobby with an outdoor path under the tracks with a couple bus bays.

That seems a little harsh, but I haven't come across any designs for the station outside of the vague ones on the CATS site so you may be right.

Are there any renderings of the platforms and concourse/waiting area yet - or is that what we would get with after the proposals are submitted?

Edited by Urbanity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are getting a glorified office lobby with an outdoor path under the tracks with a couple bus bays.

What? An outdoor path under the tracks? Source, please? Are you using hyperbole to express your disappointment?

As I recall, that is what was going to be built if the Red Line was built without full construction of Gateway Station.

If the rest of gateway station is to be built, which is what this RFEI is trying to accomplish, it will be a real station. Everything that I've seen has shown at least six platform tracks, high level platforms, bypass tracks for freight, at least a couple dozen bus bays, and an indoor tunnel to access the platforms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That seems a little harsh, but I haven't come across any designs for the station outside of the vague ones on the CATS site so you may be right.

Are there any renderings of the platforms and concourse/waiting area yet - or is that what we would get with after the proposals are submitted?

I really hope they revamp it. Slapping what I've seen down is great in the sense that we will have it, but that's about it. If this city intends to follow it's "world class" aspirations, that design certainly doesn't satisfy it. That being said, we are in an unfortunate period of economic hullabaloo and aesthetic appeal on a train station that most on the right don't want to begin with is going to be a difficult sell. If anything, I would hope they would build it in a way to leave it open for potential expansion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there any renderings of the platforms and concourse/waiting area yet - or is that what we would get with after the proposals are submitted?

No renderings but some propoal for the general layout of the facility that NCDOT has in mind. This is 10 years old, but I've not seen anything to indicate NCDOT has significantly downsized their plans. Dubone, have you? Gateway Station

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any and all renderings that have been released are all conceptual - most of them are many years old at this point. There is no design for the station yet. This project has a long way to go and a lot of stakeholders. I still think it'll be something Charlotte can be proud of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the long term, Charlotte is still going to have the same issue as Denver in terms of the major stations being separated (Gateway and CTC are over half a mile apart). I know the trolley will help bridge the gap, but anyone who has traveled in an unknown city with heavy luggage knows the stress of moving between different locations regardless. I did find Denver's suggestion that a retail corridor may develop organically interesting, though. It may not apply to Charlotte just because half a mile is mentally a lot father than two blocks in terms of transferring from the train to the light rail or vice versa, but Gateway's location in a relatively undeveloped area of Uptown presents some opportunities.

Center City's plans suggest that Brevard should become a retail corridor in Uptown, but I wonder if they consider the impact, maybe 20 or 30 years out, of increased foot traffic on 4th Street. You have to assume that the land around Romare Bearden will be developed with offices or apartments by that point, but there are several parking lots and garages that may be redeveloped over time as land Uptown becomes more scarce. Did I just miss it in the Center City plan or did CCP plan for ground floor retail in the new development around Gateway Station?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No renderings but some propoal for the general layout of the facility that NCDOT has in mind. This is 10 years old, but I've not seen anything to indicate NCDOT has significantly downsized their plans. Dubone, have you? Gateway Station

Thanks for that. The only other thing I have seen is variations of this:

gatewaystationimage.jpg

Any and all renderings that have been released are all conceptual - most of them are many years old at this point. There is no design for the station yet. This project has a long way to go and a lot of stakeholders. I still think it'll be something Charlotte can be proud of.

That is what I thought but wasn't sure if something else was out there.

In the long term, Charlotte is still going to have the same issue as Denver in terms of the major stations being separated (Gateway and CTC are over half a mile apart). I know the trolley will help bridge the gap, but anyone who has traveled in an unknown city with heavy luggage knows the stress of moving between different locations regardless.

I'm wondering if this will be the case by the time the station is built.

Nothing but innuendo and rumor but I'm constantly hearing buzz that the temporary move of the CTC for DNC 12 will be the first step towards permanently moving the CTC. You would still have an issue with the LRT connection, but that may not be as significant with the streetcar connection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a draft environmental assessment in PDF format available if you google it. It includes interior layouts. Amtrak will have a desperate waiting room, check in area, and escalators to the tunnel to the platforms. Greyhound will include a cafeteria and it's own waitin room. There will be retail in the "soaring grand lobby" as NCDOT calls it with a park in front as well as a office tower and various retail. The biggest complaint is current designs to not connect the commuter rail platforms to the main building. Instead you have to reach the commuter platforms by an improved side walks on 4th and Trade Street. The streetcar station will be located along this sidewalk on Trade. Bus bays will be under the main terminal and park in front of the main terminal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What? An outdoor path under the tracks? Source, please? Are you using hyperbole to express your disappointment?

As I recall, that is what was going to be built if the Red Line was built without full construction of Gateway Station.

If the rest of gateway station is to be built, which is what this RFEI is trying to accomplish, it will be a real station. Everything that I've seen has shown at least six platform tracks, high level platforms, bypass tracks for freight, at least a couple dozen bus bays, and an indoor tunnel to access the platforms.

Let me try to find the detailed site plan I studied a couple years ago (there is something out there other than the kindergarten drawing rendering that is the main design people know). And yes, for the red line, the plan is to have some regular little station canopies (ie. not even a roof over the tracks like most train stations or like the CTC/Arena station on Lynx). And then they'd make the sidewalks under 4th and Trade bridges a little nicer. So to get to the Red Line, you'd leave the station, walk on the side walk, and go up to a crappy little station canopy.

This isn't hyperbole, it is just disappointment with the actual plans. In the siteplans, it also showed how the under-the-plaza- bays for the CATS buses would be and how the floor plates of the state office building would be. Pretty much each floor of that office building would have an opening to the lobby, so that it would give the appearance of a tall lobby. Kind of like those 70s hotels that have a roof over the courtyard so it seems like the lobby is really tall. Which, of course, is an ultra cheap (both meanings) way of having an entry hall for a train station.

Then imagine that 20 years from now oil prices are really high and Charlotte is closer to the population of current Atlanta. We might want to have regional rail to Gastonia, Statesville, Albemarle, Monroe, and Rock Hill, etc. They are not reserving much room at the station for more tracks, even though NCDOT did buy enough land along Smith St to have many more tracks. The "station" (lobby of a state office building), only has a way for people to get on/off a train on 2 tracks, the one closest to the CGS for Amtrak/Piedmont and the one farthest from the station for CATS Red Line for people to walk outside and under to get to.

Maybe we are too small and provincial to have a real train station, or maybe it is just because we grew up after the heyday of rail travel, but this is by no stretch a very nice station that we are planning to build. I will still be glad when we do it, but I just want to correct expectations that this will be a legitimate downtown rail hub like most big cities have, because it certainly is not anywhere close to the Grand Central Terminal that the O compared it to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing but innuendo and rumor but I'm constantly hearing buzz that the temporary move of the CTC for DNC 12 will be the first step towards permanently moving the CTC. You would still have an issue with the LRT connection, but that may not be as significant with the streetcar connection.

I do understand that there is no easy fix for the Gateway / LRT separation problem but the more I think about the situation the more concerned I get about it. As someone who 1) regularly takes the Carolinian / Piedmont to Durham and Raleigh and who 2) lives within walking distance of the blue line I very much want to be able to take public transportation to Gateway Station. The streetcar transfer will make it very difficult to time my trip to Gateway (how long will I need to wait for the blue line, how long do I wait for the streetcar? If I have luggage how easy will it be to get it to the streetcar down on street level below the blue line station (how long is the wait for the elevator...) etc.) I would estimate that the necessity of a two seat ride will require me budgeting 30 minutes to take transit to a train station that is a five minute drive away -- a few more delays and I might as well just head to the airport and fly (or more likely just drive to Raleigh).

Long story short, I honestly doubt that I will ever ride transit TO Gateway station since I'll be in a hurry to make my train. The only thing that might cause me to change my mind would be VERY high frequencies on the streetcar route (so if I missed one, I could be confident that the next would arrive within five minutes). But I may suck up the time penalty and ride transit home (when I am in less of a rush). Ultimately the two seat ride will make Gateway no more accessible to me than the current station.

I do understand that this is a wildly selfish argument. No one should expect one seat access to every possible destination via transit but I did want to share one perspective on the situation that is currently planned. I do also firmly believe that a downtown station will significantly improve the visitor experience in Charlotte so it will be a big positive -- my disappointment is on a more personal level.

Edited by kermit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a draft environmental assessment in PDF format available if you google it. It includes interior layouts. Amtrak will have a desperate waiting room, check in area, and escalators to the tunnel to the platforms. Greyhound will include a cafeteria and it's own waitin room. There will be retail in the "soaring grand lobby" as NCDOT calls it with a park in front as well as a office tower and various retail. The biggest complaint is current designs to not connect the commuter rail platforms to the main building. Instead you have to reach the commuter platforms by an improved side walks on 4th and Trade Street. The streetcar station will be located along this sidewalk on Trade. Bus bays will be under the main terminal and park in front of the main terminal.

I would strongly recommend not reading too much into those kind of schematic diagrams. This is still a project without a program, and those kind of diagrams are done to basically help envision what parts of this COULD be. Until a design and development team is actually designing this project, I would trust very little of what you see online.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we are too small and provincial to have a real train station, or maybe it is just because we grew up after the heyday of rail travel, but this is by no stretch a very nice station that we are planning to build. I will still be glad when we do it, but I just want to correct expectations that this will be a legitimate downtown rail hub like most big cities have, because it certainly is not anywhere close to the Grand Central Terminal that the O compared it to.

I agree with the O getting out-of-hand with their "Grand Central" moniker, but I do hope it will be more than what you are describing. I do agree that Charlotte will probably get something less than what most hope for though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/cats/planning/facilities/gatewaystation/Documents/CGS.pdf

They do have more room for tracks than what I said earlier, but still nothing like what traditional stations contain, often dozens of tracks for trains to different locations.

I don't see the site plan that I was referring to that shows that that the only way to access tracks such as the Red line is on 4th or Trade street sidewalks, but I have seen one.

Also, this IS our plan. It's the one that has had it's environmental impact, and plenty of renderings, including the best one on page one of this thread posted by RDF21.

Basically, what our station will be is a few tracks with a small covering, 3 small office buildings one of which will have a big lobby which will be considered the station's grand hall, and a green roof plaza over a few bus bays, and some streetscape improvements.

I'm just being down on it this week, because I wish it was a grander scale. In the end, the rail improvements we can probably ever hope for in this era will be this, and it will be far better and more convenient than the current one.

And no, Orulz, I didn't mean to imply it was downsized from previous plans, simply that the plans we have had all along do not seem to be far reaching enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll point out that in many older/larger cities (NY, Boston, etc) the train station is a terminus, where trains pull in, and pull out. The Charlotte station will be in-line, with trains able to continue North/South (assuming you continue CR and Amtrak south, or at least have a turn-around south of the station).. Therefore, the in theory, you could accomodate about twice the volume of trains per track. My guess is you could get headways on the same platform down under 10 minutues, where in Boston, I believe they were typically in the 20 minute range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the gap from Gateway Station to CTC is inconvenient, but would it be that hard for the average commuter to walk the few blocks in between. I do about twice the gap distance walking to Panthers games in about 12 minutes. And the streetcar project includes improved pedestrian access on Trade Street. The silver line also somehow planned to run between Gateway and CTC via Trade and I believe 4th street. How this would be done I don't know but the silver line is very far down the pipeline of projects so that connection will not happen for a long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll point out that in many older/larger cities (NY, Boston, etc) the train station is a terminus, where trains pull in, and pull out. The Charlotte station will be in-line, with trains able to continue North/South (assuming you continue CR and Amtrak south, or at least have a turn-around south of the station).. Therefore, the in theory, you could accomodate about twice the volume of trains per track. My guess is you could get headways on the same platform down under 10 minutues, where in Boston, I believe they were typically in the 20 minute range.

With high platforms and run-through tracks (both of which this station will have), if you can't serve commuter train headways of 5 minutes, you're really doing something wrong. Even 2 minutes should be doable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the gap from Gateway Station to CTC is inconvenient, but would it be that hard for the average commuter to walk the few blocks in between. I do about twice the gap distance walking to Panthers games in about 12 minutes. And the streetcar project includes improved pedestrian access on Trade Street. The silver line also somehow planned to run between Gateway and CTC via Trade and I believe 4th street. How this would be done I don't know but the silver line is very far down the pipeline of projects so that connection will not happen for a long time.

Thanks for pointing out a distinction I missed. I don't think Gateway is a disaster from a commuter perspective, a four or five block walk to Tryon really isn't bad -- particularly when you have the streetcar alternative in the rain. My main concern was when you introduce luggage and low frequency trains (e.g. long distance trains which may only run once or twice a day so you REALLY don't want to miss one) into the mix the six blocks to the blue line begins to feel like a long way. One way to adress the luggage / transfer problem would be a cross-platform transfer between the BLE and the NCRR at a University City / 485 station (which would be needed anyway for commuter rail to the NE). This would give a (longer) one seat ride to intercity rail for Blue line riders and have an economic role similar to Metropark in NJ or Route 128 in Boston.

I will admit in some contexts my complaints are a silly, Chicago has survived a similar situation for many years. Its about five blocks from Union Station to the nearest L stop (although it is a PITA to get to Union Station from the Red Line).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.