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monsoon

Which Rail Line Should Charlotte Build Next?

Which Rail Line Should Charlotte Build Next?  

147 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Rail Line Should Charlotte Build Next?

    • University - Light Rail
      58
    • North - Commuter Rail Line
      35
    • South East - Bus Rapid Transit
      5
    • West - Bus Rapid Trasit
      5
    • East Streetcar Line
      14
    • Downtown Streetcar Circulator
      21
    • Commuter Rail to Rock Hill
      7
    • Other not planned (explain)
      2


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As much as I'd like to see the South East line be built next using LRT, I doubt that will happen. I think the two we need the most is commuter rail North through Huntersville and to Mooresville and I think we'd also benefit from an airport line, but only if it were LRT.

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The University City area is the fastest growing part of Charlotte (almost a 100% increase during the 90s) and the development patterns are still very backwards. The area continues to grow pretty rapidly and transit could really help to shift the development patterns to more sustainable, pedestrian friendly, smart growth. Various parts of the community are starting to come together to realize the urgency of the situation, (such as UDI, and the new local tax district that was created) but their voice still is not loud enough, and light rail really could help shift this locale into something great. Having a university area that is not only sustainable growthwise, but is also attractive to the creative class could really help the University to continue to compete better with the other NC universities in the realms of research dollars and attracting top notch professors and researchers (not to mention students, especially in the architecture school). And of course, this can only be a positive thing for Charlotte, helping it shift into the "new economy" with more high-tech companies, particularly in the areas that UNCC is persuing such as precision metrology, optics technologies, and the like.

I think that sooner than later is better for the University area if we want its habits to be changed before it is too late and all the land is already gone. NODA's popularity would also increase and North Tryon..... well, we all know it needs help, although it probably is not nearly as urgent timewise.

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I think the core Streetcar plan is JC Smith to Central Ave/Eastland. There was a future phase that would extend up Beattie's Ford to 85. If anything was dropped, it would likely be the portion from JC Smith to 85.

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Evidently 2 million people a year ride that route from JC Smith to Eastland.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

that route...

is there a direct bus route from JC Smith to EastLand?

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The bus routes along that corridor are the most heavily used in the city. There isn't a direct route, though, the riders must change buses at the Transportation Center.

From what I understand, there is tremendous operations savings for the system to convert that route from bus to streetcar. (There are also the benefits to riders, such as more reliability and a direct route).

I am not sure how much federal involvement and red tape is involved with the streetcar project, but it seems to me to be the most likely to get built next.

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I think they should have started with commuter rail. Charlotte does not have the density to support light rail. I can't image light rail being of any use in the university area or down south boulevard.

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I agree what you are saying about Charlotte's density not being able to fully support the light rail, but i think with the congestion in 77 and 485 resulting from Charlotte's low density will bring plenty of riders using the 485 park and ride.

An element of all transportation projects is to direct future growth. 485 encouraged much of the sprawl on the outskirts of the county, and is now way over capacity; when they first planned 485, the area was rural. The investment in light rail is intended to create the density in future growth of the south corridor. To further that goal, they are coordinating the project with zoning changes and other infrastructure improvements.

I think that the north line, the streetcar line, the south line, and the north east line to NoDa have the best chance of succeeding in both ridership and creation of dense development in the city and town centers.

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The smartest thing for Charlotte to do once they finish that waste of time on the South line to Pineville(cant you imagine all the Ballantyne CC people ditching their BMWs to sit on a public train to work?...not gonna happen folks)....If Charlotte really wants a thriving urban city they need to build streetcar or trolley type transit lines.....A line up N Davidson St to NoDa should be the first line.....A line out Central all the way to Eastland Mall should be next......A line in the Elizabeth/Chantilly area possibly down Randolph should be third(it should run right in front of CPCC)....a line down trade street out past Gateway Village and J&W University....................a line into the Wilmore area ...........a line into midtown and near Carolinas Medical center......

The goal should not be to build transit lines 30 and 40 miles into the suburbs....that will do nothing but encourage suburban sprawl......the only way to create a real urban 24 hour city is to make it easy and convenient to LIVE in Charlotte......this means offering alternatives to having a car in the urban core.....

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Welcome to the forum Skyy. You have good points about needing to build lines in the already dense portion of the city. Although the timing order is not as you prefer, many of the lines you mention are planned for the next 2 decades.

I think there are a few issues that are causing CATs to form the system they are planning:

- Federal money is doled out with a formula that demands growth in the areas the line is built. This means lines must go through blighted areas like South Boulevard or suburban areas where low density has left plenty of space for higher density growth to occur.

- The suburbs are there already, and transportation for those residents is one of the most expensive and polluting aspect of our city. That will continue to take the majority of our transportation money until we have some competing infrastructre with lower marginal costs per transportation mile. I agree that some folks are lost causes when it comes to transit. But 77 is not due to be widened until 2030. With the population growth over the next few decades, i think there will be significant numbers who then choose to live in-town or take transit.

- The sad fact in american local government is that the suburban tax base subsidizes most local government finances. The suburban retail is the most significant contributor to the local transit tax. While I totally agree with you that all that transit money should be spent in the core (i live in the core), the government agency is responsible to the whole county and need to mix their plan to support lines both in and around the core, as well as suburban commuters who pay for most of it all.

These are definitely complicated issues, most of which are national trends, that were created by generations of federal rules and banking practices. I think the CATS plan does a decent job of balancing the issues by creating infrastructure for future higher density in the core, supporting the existing density, and meeting the demands of the suburbanite commuter.

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I cant for the life of me understand why they arent considering a line to Gaston Co. That is the county after all that sends the most commuters to Mecklenburg every single day.

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If Gaston County ever did pay for a line, they'd probably frame it as a commuter line to bring commuters from Charlotte to Gastonia :).

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monsoon...do you know when those plans to develop downtown Huntersville are going to get started (as in some dirt turning) Right now the area around the rail is rather desolate when compared to the areas west of 77.

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Vermillion has started its phase II finally which will be within walking distance of the train station. Beyond that, I don't know of any dates. There is still widespread belief the line to the North will not be built because Charlotte does not want it.

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I think a commuter line to Rock Hill will be exceptionally beneficial to the system. There are soooo many commuters in the York/Chester/Lancaster county area that ride into Charlotte. That line would help ease congestion tremendously. Rock Hill wants it badly. I just fear that Charlotte leaders will be incompetent and deny any sort of negotiations. Everyone argues all the time about this LRT system, but we can't deny how much other systems had benefitted other cities that were our size a few years before. I wish people would accept the fact that we need a rail system in Charlotte in order to be able to handle the population and growth of the future.

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Some good points Jrb986. Personally I think Charlotte should have gone with several less expensive commuter rail systems before building LRT down South Blvd. But that is the decision we have to live with and I am excited that Charlotte was one of only 4 cities that actually got funding this year for it.

I-77 South (of charlotte) is going to be a big problem in the future for the NCDOT to expand because of the huge amount of construction that it would require. Instead of doing this I hope they look at alternatives such as commuter rail to remove some of the traffic off that road.

BTW, Welcome to UrbanPlanet.

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