krazeeboi

Charlotte area "ring cities"

182 posts in this topic

I didn't see a thread about this, but there was a mini-series in the O on Nov. 15 about the "ring cities" surrounding Charlotte and how downtown and economic revitalization efforts contribute to a stronger Charlotte region. I'm surprised that Concord and Fort Mill were omitted, but otherwise, this particular piece did a good job in capturing in a snapshot the state of these towns and they draw they have in connection with the overall region. I see transit as the #1 thing in terms of stitching all of these towns and cities together to form a more cohesive metropolitan region. How do you guys see things?

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Absolutely on transit. If we could effectively connect the surrounding towns and Charlotte with a working transit system (I don't think of the current bus routes as an effective or long term transit option) the entire region would benefit and thrive on the increased economic and social activity that a connected network of ring towns and the city would create. Aside from budget issues, Chicago is my favorite example of this. The transit that connects the city with all of the surrounding suburbs and towns is widely used and contributes to the culture, spirit, and economy of the whole region in my opinion.

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I don't buy into the assumption the Observer is making the economic livelihood of these cities are dependant upon having a rail connection to downtown Charlotte.

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^I'd say that rail connections to Charlotte would give a boost to the economic vitality of the surrounding towns and cities. I certainly don't see them being at a disadvantage because of that.

Coupled with that would be some sort of transit system within the towns themselves. Thus far, I think the only examples we may have is the Concord/Kannapolis bus system and the park and ride system to Charlotte from cities like Rock Hill.

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The only thing that is really being done in the ring-cities that I'm aware of is the Concord/Kannapolis bus system. I will however add to this that an expanded greenway system that stretches into counties surrounding Mecklenburg will greatly affect the connection of the metro. It is being done, albeit much slower than I would like.

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^I'd say that rail connections to Charlotte would give a boost to the economic vitality of the surrounding towns and cities. I certainly don't see them being at a disadvantage because of that

The CATS planned ridership from Mooresville to downtown Charlotte was 400 people in 2030. I don't think this is going to do much for the locals and why they walked away from the process. CATS was asking them for tens of millions for this. Money that could be used for some other form of economic development. The Observer article was a bit disingenuous. The title is "what these places bring to the metro" but the content of the story was nothing but a cheer-leading attempt for a plan that doesn't come close to doing what they say it does.

What did the the LRT do for Pineville? They got a huge parking deck that makes the traffic in an already traffic congested area worse. It's may be good for Charlotte, but I don't see where it did much for town of Pineville, and I note that of all the ring cities the Observer mentioned, this town, the only ring city currently served by rail, is the one they left out. LOL

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This article was published as part of the CityStates Report. Its not some reporter in the Observer making these comments.

These towns are not developing in a way that will make transit a truly viable option. Commuter rail might not be out of the question if the rail line already passes through, but it will be in the form of a large park-n-ride station, not a true urban rail station. The development densities are going to be low and cul-de-sacy.

The LRT didn't do anything for Pineville. If they had gone for a station in their downtown, however, it would be a great asset to that community. There could have been more opportunity for real urban development to compliment their downtown area and have a shared-use parking deck. Plus it would have allowed the possibility for expansion into South Carolina.

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I think this article is also relatively true about Gastonia having alot of potential too.

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Pineville lost out when they chose to opt out of locating a station in their downtown, and Mooresville still has an opportunity to keep their line if they look long term and make a decision out of their citizens' best interest (IMO). A travel model might predict 400 riders in 2030, but as we know from Lynx Blue Line and countless others nationally, modeling is strongly influenced by policy-makers' ability to influence a desired outcome (like purposefully disqualifying projects from federal funds) and is an inexact science at best.

While the rings cities aren't dependant on rail connections to center city, building rail would have a big influence on the long term economic sustainability of those towns. We all know they are--to some extent--dependent on Charlotte for economic viability, so the question is, how should they plan to remain competitive when gas is say, $5-6/gallon? We got a brief taste of that this summer, and though it fuel prices have dropped recently, it will happen at some point. Kudos to Condord (& Bruton Smith?) for their interest in the NE line, BTW.

If you look at a big map of the region, pretty much all of the towns are connected by existing rail corridors to Uptown. It's not a big surprise since they all used to have passenger rail service to Charlotte ~80 years ago, and of course the city had an extensive streetcar network too. It's not that complicated, and the historic blueprint is there if the right people choose to see the opportunity. Despite the great success of Lynx and the bus system in Charlotte, the big disppointment to me is the lack of interest many of the surrounding towns have in jumping on board to help invigorate their communities and prepare them for the future. Baby steps, I guess.

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P... A travel model might predict 400 riders in 2030, but as we know from Lynx Blue Line and countless others nationally, modeling is strongly influenced by policy-makers' ability to influence a desired outcome (like purposefully disqualifying projects from federal funds) and is an inexact science at best......
I don't think a plan that assumes all the models are wrong is going to fly. It's an excuse. And for that matter I don't think we know the 2025 plan for the South LRT is wrong either. Ridership has pretty much stalled and as of the last ones reported has actually started to drop. It could be the ridership models are correct.

But beyond that, how do you convince the government in Iredell that spending tens of millions of dollars to build a rail line in to a very small segment of the county that is only going to transport 400 people a day, makes any kind of sense? Once they stop laughing at you they will want to know why you think this represents good economic policy. CATS has yet to come up with a story.

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I don't think a plan that assumes all the models are wrong is going to fly. It's an excuse. And for that matter I don't think we know the 2025 plan for the South LRT is wrong either. Ridership has pretty much stalled and as of the last ones reported has actually started to drop. It could be the ridership models are correct.

I don't believe it is an excuse at all. Which of the "last ones reported" show a drop in ridership? These are the numbers that I have seen for the blue line:

Lynx Blue Line weekday ridership

16,470 October

16,409 September

16,377 August

16,936 July

Considering gas prices have pretty much halved in the last few months in Charlotte I would say that a number of 16,470 is quite good. What was the ridership expectation for 2025? 18,100? One who doesn't see how close we are to that goal is turning a blind eye to the truth, particularly considering how dependent we are on automobiles in our area and how cheap gas has become.

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New shopping center coming to Harrisburg.  Based on the town's demographics, my feeling is this is going to be a Publix anchored retail center.

 

http://www.independenttribune.com/news/article_7af58e24-697a-11e3-99b3-001a4bcf6878.html

 

 

 

Edited by rancenc

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HarrisStation.pngIt's called Harris Station, being developed by Cambridge. They're definitely planning for Publix, Walgreens, Chick-fil-a in the first phase, and it looks like they have Target and some other Jr. anchor boxes planned for future development. 

Edited by Prodev

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No this site plan is apparently for a different development located further north on Highway 49.  The proposed shopping center listed in the Daily Independent is just inside the southern limits of Harrisburg....like 1/4 mile from the Cabarrus and Mecklenburg county line. 

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Would anyone consider Baxter Village a seperate ring city/town or simply part of Fort Mill?

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I have notice really since the beginning of the year, a Colliers International sign advertising up to 200,000sq feet of office space located beside of the Embassy Suites/Concord. I actually pulled up this bit of information on their website. It looks like the proposal could be up to two buildings as well.

http://www.colliers.com/p-usa1005215

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Quick pic of the Lash/LPL buildings going up in Fort Mill. I'll get some updates of Riverwalk down in Rock Hill the next time I ride down there.

post-27281-0-91222900-1436271242_thumb.j

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This is from Riverwalk down in Rock Hill.  If only light/heavy rail would get extended down to this area 

DSC02845.JPG

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Riverwalk seems like a well done development. I haven't made it down there to see it in person yet, but plan to soon.

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And in other peripheral urbanity,  it appears that the effort to run a historic trolley in Belmont now has an indiegogo page:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/belmont-trolley

This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is people

$16,000 goal to get the trolley they purchased shipped here. $50 will get you a t shirt!

Edited by kermit
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