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Charlotte Sports Complex (Bojangles Coliseum area)

209 posts in this topic

I am often intrigued by what other major league sports cities do with regard to placement of stadiums and arenas in their particular city. In addition to placement of the venues, I'm also interested in how those particular venues are accessible and the various amenities around them. Two cities caught my eye: Philadelphia and Minneapolis. For Philly, their football, baseball and basketball/hockey venues are on the edge of the city in their own complex: http://www.scssd.org/sportscomplexvenues.htm. It has numerous parking lots and is accesible via mass transit. Though this is a "deadzone" at times, it's also isolated from the downtown. Minneapolis on the other hand is building a new baseball stadium downtown but is accessible by bridges, light rail line, a bike trail, and the skyway system: http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/Twins-Un...-MP-t37315.html. It's located near the Target Arena. They are also considering a new NFL stadium with similar accessibility.

Looking at these examples (or ones from other cities you may be familiar with), what would you change about Charlotte? Would you put the venues in one isolated location? Leave them as is? Also, what about the proposed baseball stadium? Would you move it elsewhere? How would you want it to be accessible?

I do like how TWC Arena is accessible via a LYNX stop. However, LYNX is a bit a hike if you are going to a Panthers game. But, there are only 10-12 events per year at BofA stadium.

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The Lynx stations are no farther away from BofA stadium than the parking lots at these other stadiums you mention. Its what, 1/2 mile away? USC's stadium is in the no-mans land of Columbia. I (and 80,000 of my closest friends) would routinely walk 1/2 mile from the surrounding parking lots to get to the stadium. The set up Charlotte has now is much more preferable. Stadiums do create dead space, but its better to minimize it the way we have than have a massive complex and seas of asphalt. The Bobcats Arena is one of the better designed areas since it has not ignored the retail opportunities on Trade Street.

Besides, where would a complex like that go?

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The Lynx stations are no farther away from BofA stadium than the parking lots at these other stadiums you mention. Its what, 1/2 mile away? USC's stadium is in the no-mans land of Columbia. I (and 80,000 of my closest friends) would routinely walk 1/2 mile from the surrounding parking lots to get to the stadium. The set up Charlotte has now is much more preferable. Stadiums do create dead space, but its better to minimize it the way we have than have a massive complex and seas of asphalt. The Bobcats Arena is one of the better designed areas since it has not ignored the retail opportunities on Trade Street.

Besides, where would a complex like that go?

I agree it's not far to the stadium at all... a hike is probably a bit of a stretch. I've even walked home after a Panthers game a few times since I live in the Dilworth/South End area.

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I like venues being downtown. Accessibility to other amenities in the city make for a complete package on game day to me. The restaurants, bars, sports bars, and other places are packed before and after games (NFL definitely, at times for B-ball). It makes extra use of the surface lots that are used during the weekdays for the office workers. It also adds one more facet of 'life' to the city core and brings people in who otherwise might never venture in town. I have nothing necessarily against venues on the outskirts, but you just don't have the option of whole package of before and after games -- the old Hornets arena is a perfect example. We went to some of those games (my parents had season tickets). Everyone showed up just before the game and scooted out right afterwards. It just isn't the same experience.

The one change I wish I could make, though, would be to have the arena closer to the stadium like Raleigh has, make dual use of the same parking lots.

As for walking, that's half the fun so an extra block or two, for me, is great. Hiking through the tailgates in the parking lots, the music, the aroma of the food, the energy...I can't wait till next week!

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As I've stated before, I like having the TWC arena downtown because it's much more of a multi-use facility and so it doesn't create a deadzone during long stretches at a time. BOA stadium, on the other hand, does and I don't think it should have been located within the loop.

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I love having BoA inside the loop personally. Even though there are only eleven or twelve Panthers home games (2 preseason, 8 regular season, and 1, possibly 2, playoff games this season) each year, we also have the bowl game and a few other small events that bring a ton of people into uptown. Even though there are a few lots basically dedicated to each facility, the arena and stadium both rely rather heavily on parking uptown. Since there weren't any massive lots built for a sports complex, a lot of the parking goes into our center city's economy instead. I'd much rather a baseball stadium be built inside the loop, or at least in Southend, to encourage people to do the same thing after those games that they do after Bobcats and Panther games. I'm sure the uptown bars and restaurants wouldn't mind the extra traffic.

And half a mile is nothing for a sporting event. That isn't even that long of a walk. If you parked uptown you basically have to walk just as far. Only with light rail, you have a much cheaper tab and you don't have to deal with traffic. Were light rail convenient to where I live, it would be a no brainer for me. I've actually considered driving past uptown and getting on for games.

Edited by aussie luke

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Light rail is not suitable transit for these places. They simply can't handle the loads from a full venue emptying out at once. That has been proven here mathematically and by example with Lynx in its inability to handle the relatively small crowds that have been attending the $300M NBA arena right in the center of town. Any plan that assumes a placement due to the location of a light rail station is a plan that is based in hyperbole and probably being put forth to justify the huge expense that it is going to cost the municipality.

Philly has gotten it right with placing their stadiums out of the city and can justify the transit portion because they have a full heavy rail metro system unlike Charlotte or Minneapolis. Heavy rail can handle the loads. BTW, the last big idea that Charlotte copied from Minneapolis was the Overstreet Mall. There is a lesson to be learnt from that.

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I disagree with the idea that light rail is incapable of meeting the needs of sporting venues and believe if done right sporting venues should be in center city districts and I cite Denver as a prime example.

Firstly, Mile High stadium (Invesco Field) is right outside of downtown in an area that includes the Pepsi Center (Nuggets), an aquarium, a kids museum, and an amusement park (Elitch Gardens). Not to mention just beyond Invesco Field on the light rail is Coors Field in LoDo. All of these venues - with the exception of Coors Field - use the same parking lots for business. All of these places benefit from being downtown first and foremost BECAUSE of the light rail system Denver has built, and secondly because of the entertainment options available before and after said events. Every time we went to something downtown it inevitably involved either dinner or lunch before hand and usually drinks or something of the likes afterward.

Secondly, let me assure you light rail transit can handle mass crowds. Back at the end of August while in Denver there was a marathon race, the DNC, a Rockies game, and some other event that I can't remember that brought well over 100,000 people into downtown. The big news at the time was whether the city was prepared for all of these events happening simultaneously in terms of security, crowd control, transit, etc. and sure enough they were. Trains were running as scheduled, albeit packed as Hell, but we had no problems purchasing tickets, finding standing room, and arriving downtown without any issues what so ever. The same can be said for returning back to Englewood which is the heaviest traveled light rail line in Denver.

I've always believed that considering the size of Charlotte and Denver and the way the cities are both laid out that Charlotte can take many transit cues from Denver. It is probably one of the most clean and efficient transit systems I have been on and one of the reasons that makes Denver such a great city.

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As I've stated before, I like having the TWC arena downtown because it's much more of a multi-use facility and so it doesn't create a deadzone during long stretches at a time. BOA stadium, on the other hand, does and I don't think it should have been located within the loop.

I think its a pretty gaping dead zone along 5th St and along Brevard St. Its going to be interesting to see how Center City Green impacts the dead zone on 5th. It doesn't make much of an impact because the main entrance is on 5th St at the LRT station, so you don't have to experience the rest of it unless you live in 1st Ward. Its fortunate, though, that the gap is only along one block, rather than in a sea of parking surrounding the arena like the old Coliseum.

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I'm not sure how it has been mathematically proven that LRT can't handle events. Each train-car can hold about 225 people, and they are planning to extend the south LRT to 3 car platforms and presumably future lines as well. This allows for 675 persons/train. If they run at maximum headway of 5 minutes, that is 8,100 persons/hour PER LINE. Remember there are 2 more LRT lines planned, which will allow a capacity of 24,300 per hour on LRT. There is also a street car planned, as well as a Commuter rail, which should add a couple of thousand persons/hour capacity. This is more than suitable for any event at TWC arena, and COULD handle about 40% of the crowds at a Panthers game. Finally, Uptown has the best road network in the region for dispersing traffic, as is evidences by the 50,000 or more people driving away each evening.

As it is now, the single LRT line isn't enough, but cities shouldn't be planned for the current day, and I think its logical for cities to plan infrastructure to work in concert with other public infrastructure. That said, I do have concerns about the baseball stadium so close to the Panther stadium from an urban design standpoint, and would prefer it elsewhere with good transit options (Memorial Stadium will have a LRT and street car line).

So...to answer the original question, that's what I'd change...the location of baseball stadium and the concentration on increasing transit capacity.

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They simply can't handle the loads from a full venue emptying out at once. That has been proven here mathematically and by example with Lynx in its inability to handle the relatively small crowds that have been attending the $300M NBA arena right in the center of town.

By this point in time, I think we all know how much the arena cost so I'm not sure why it was mentioned. But I'm curious to know what proof you have of the Lynx not being able to handle the crowds associated with Bobcats games.

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I'm not sure how it has been mathematically proven that LRT can't handle events. ....
Please read back through the light rail topic. It's there. However in case you don't, you give a huge number of IFs in your statements, IFS that don't even exist on most LRT systems, let alone the Charlotte system, but lets even forget that. Your proof as to how it can work fails simply because it is based on number of theoretical passengers per hour, and I can tell you nobody in this convenience oriented society will tolerate waiting an hour to get onto a train. At best you will get 15-20 minutes and they are going to drive instead. On Charlotte's planned system, the 2030 plan, you are talking about 2700 people at best in a 20 minute period and that is if they manage 5 minute lead times which is something they don't do now for safety reasons. This is barely 10% of a full capacity crowd in the $300M arena. And this is the planned system. Right now it's 1/2 that.
.... I'm curious to know what proof you have of the Lynx not being able to handle the crowds associated with Bobcats games.
I am surprised you moderators don't even know what has been posted in this section of UP. Read back thru the LRT topic. There are endless posts there of people who gave up trying to get onto the train during events because it was so overwhelmed. The numbers I posted speak for themselves.

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I've said time and time again that Charlotte did not build a heavy rail system like what you see in DC. It is a light rail system with the emphasis being on light. This means greatly sacrificed capacity and peak carrying loads in order to save money. If you don't understand the difference then read this post.

Philly can support a plan like this because it built a full heavy rail, dedicated ROW, subway system. It's also one of the few systems in the world that operates a 4 tracked system so it can offer express service which greatly increases it's already high carrying capacity. It's one of the under appreciated systems in this country. This compares to Lynx that operates smaller lower capacity trains limited to 2 cars, is not on dedicated ROW as the drivers have to contend with people crossing the tracks at all stations, can't offer express service, and which has very low speed limits imposed on it for 20% of the route.

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It sure is windy today...

I like the arrangement of both BofA Stadium and TWCA. I like the fact that neither really built massive parking lots but rather depend on whatever existed already (I do think that maybe the deck built on Mint St. was partially funded for Panthers parking). With that said, I like the proposed location of the new baseball park except for one thing. I really wish the site were large enough for a MLB stadium. I understand why they don't want to build an expandable stadium now, but I wish the land was there at least for a bigger stadium if and when that day comes. I guess for that reason, I'd move the baseball stadium to a location that's big enough to support MLB (in about 10 years =) ). I guess inside the loop is my preference, but honestly I think South End is becoming so connected to uptown, that a South End location would really be pretty suitable as well. If we could "count" on the light rail line being extended northward (or out toward Mathews), then I'd say the same arguement would apply for putting a stadium along/near the line in any of those directions. I'd welcome anything along those lines.

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You can only use scenario testing when dealing with mathematical "proofs" which is the claim I was defending.

As far as if someone is willing to wait an hour, I'm not sure how many sporting events you go to, but I can assure you that at both Panther and Bobcats games, 100% of the attendees does not attempt to arrive or depart within a narrow time window. One hour windows pre and post events is pretty realistic. Also, again, it is naive to think that rail based transit will be the sole source of transportation. Bus ridership is effective as well as personal automobiles. Effective transportation systams are multi-modal, and the location in the metro region that is best equipped in terms of infrastructure is downtown.

EDIT. As far as not knowing what has been previously posted, without rereading, I'm certain your analysis was for one direction (outbound) on one LRT line, far below what the built out system will be able to accomodate.

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Worth considering in this mix, is that LYNX adds additional parking capacity for Panthers and Bobcats games. The lots at Tyvola and Woodlawn are lightly used for commuters, but they fill up on game nights. Instead of these lots being close to the stadium and enlarging the dead space, they are spread further out.

Edited by MZT

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if light rail was the ONLY way to get to BoA stadium and Bobcats Arena, the issue of what capacity the South line has would be much more relevant. When I come to the Panthers game next Saturday, I will drive in from Raleigh and park uptown. I will be quite glad that 5,000+ fans are taking the light rail and not competing with me for parking.

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As far as if someone is willing to wait an hour, I'm not sure how many sporting events you go to, but I can assure you that at both Panther and Bobcats games, 100% of the attendees does not attempt to arrive or depart within a narrow time window. One hour windows pre and post events is pretty realistic.

With big stadium events it isn't possible for everyone to leave at once if they wanted to. We stay till the end of every game, and in the close ones it takes at least 15 - 20 minutes just to get out of the venue. There are also those that leave a bit early, and those that choose to linger on their own to celebrate or cry as well. Realistically people wanting to use the rail to go to and from games would come in waves just from the sheer number of people moving along the same corridors, ramps, sidewalks, and through parking lots. We can see the 3rd Street Station from our building and I've never seen the platform overwhelmed with folks.

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^Unless you can demonstrate what you do is what everyone else will do, then it is pretty much irrelevant to the argument. Any transit agency in the world will tell you they have, at most, 15 minutes to capture an individual that has access to an automobile.

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The question of this topic was where should a sports venue be placed. I will argue that Lynx is irrelevant because it does not have the capacity to deal with anything but a minuscule amount of the traffic. It is not a heavy rail system and it will never even approach the levels of passengers that a heavy rail system can handle. Even Atlanta's Marta, a real heavy rail system, carries 300K people today and it is badly under utilized. It's a 1970s system. In comparison Lynx, when fully built out in 2030 is going to carry about 70K people and that is if they manage to get it built as designed. There are serious issues with CATS ability to even get to that point. There is simply no comparison between heavy rail and the light rail implemented in CLT.

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^Unless you can demonstrate what you do is what everyone else will do, then it is pretty much irrelevant to the argument. Any transit agency in the world will tell you they have, at most, 15 minutes to capture an individual that has access to an automobile.

I can. Thousands walk out when we do, thousand more stay longer than we do, and thousands leave before we do. That was pretty much stated in what I wrote. Thousands of people witness this, so it isn't my opinion, it is what happens. It isn't what we will do, it is what people actually do. :) It wasn't a prediction, but a statement of what does occurs at Panther games. It isn't physically possible for 70,000 people to all leave at once, nor do they seem to have the desire.

The question of this topic was where should a sports venue be placed. I will argue that Lynx is irrelevant because it does not have the capacity to deal with anything but a minuscule amount of the traffic.

Nor has it been claimed so nor was it set up to carry everyone. The nice part about where BofA Stadium is the ability to disperse folks in many ways. I-77 exits just a couple blocks away, 277 ramps, the grid of city streets and multiple thoroughfares out, combined with the ability for many to use LYNX to avoid parking uptown.

Edited by Charlotte_native

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LOL. Everyone has to walk out of the venue. Whether they walk to an automobile or Lynx is a different issue. When you get around to explaining how Lynx light rail might handle 20,000 people in 20 minutes, let me know. Until you do, I will contend that light rail can't do it. As designed for CLT, its not even close.

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LOL. Everyone has to walk out of the venue. Whether they walk to an automobile or Lynx is a different issue. When you get around to explaining how Lynx light rail might handle 20,000 people in 20 minutes, let me know. Until you do, I will contend that light rail can't do it. As designed for CLT, its not even close.

They stack the cars up for the end of an Arena event so the headways are much shorter than 5 minutes.

Obviously the capacity is never going to be as good as a heavy rail system...but it works well enough that people chose to use the Lynx again and again when they attend events downtown.

In addition the Bus Depot is right across the street and yes people actually ride the bus to Arena events. Also downtown has the most freeway capacity of any place in the city so it makes since to put things such as Arenas and Stadiums in downtown so that they are accesible from all parts of the city.

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LOL. Everyone has to walk out of the venue. Whether they walk to an automobile or Lynx is a different issue. When you get around to explaining how Lynx light rail might handle 20,000 people in 20 minutes, let me know. Until you do, I will contend that light rail can't do it. As designed for CLT, its not even close.

Correct, so they all don't leave at once :). I'm glad you can see that. At first it looked like you thought the stadium emptied on one big swoop! It generally takes about an hour (more if the team is winning) from when the crowd really starts moving until they are done. LYNX would have to handle 20,000 people (if that were how many use it, I have no idea though) in an hour or so. All I know is people do use it for games and generally seem pretty happy about it.

The location of the venues seems decent for providing options. Interstate, loop, thoroughfares, and light rail.

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Take a look at rail systems like Marta(Georgia Dome) or Bart (Oakland Coliseum) if you want to see something that can even attempt to handle the crowds of a football game. Light rail simply doesn't have the capacity.

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Correct, so they all don't leave at once :) . I'm glad you can see that. At first it looked like you thought the stadium emptied on one big swoop! It generally takes about an hour (more if the team is winning) from when the crowd really starts moving until they are done. LYNX would have to handle 20,000 people (if that were how many use it, I have no idea though) in an hour or so. All I know is people do use it for games and generally seem pretty happy about it.

The location of the venues seems decent for providing options. Interstate, loop, thoroughfares, and light rail.

I have been to all 10 home games this season and plan on going Saturday as well. I have ridden the light rail probably 6 or 7 of those times. It's a great experience. The trains are full of people doing exactly the same thing. I prefer it to any other method of traveling to the games. I'm not alone...I see all the others every time I ride.

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I prefer it to any other method of traveling to the games. I'm not alone...I see all the others every time I ride.
Nobody has said here that people don't ride the train. I am not sure what point you are trying to make except to prove that most people attending the venue choose something other than Lynx. It adds to the argument that a sports venue should not be placed due to routing of LRT, especially if such placement is to create a big dead zone in the middle of the city.

As I said above, Philly did it right.

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