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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thought I would start a thread detailing all the development for CATS.


I'll start with the Southeast Line.

I went to Eastland Mall today during lunch for the CATS update on the SE LRT/BRT Line. I saw Councilwoman Nancy Carter (love her!) and Councilwoman Patsy Kinsey (she always looks upset) were there as well.

In July the MTC will make the final decision on the location and type of transit for this route. They will choose either BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) or LRT (Light Rail Transit)

The route roughly follows Independence Blvd from Matthews all the way to downtown Charlotte. Things get interesting in downtown though. Here is a map of the alternatives.


If LRT is selected:
-It will come down Independence and then turn at Memorial Stadium onto what is now a service road.
-There will be a LRT station at Memorial Stadium for Central Piedmont College.
-Then the LRT will proceed to a new bridge over Little Sugar Creek before following the current 5th St alignment under 277 and into downtown.
-There will be a station at the Police HQ Parking Deck and Children Services Building on 5th St near the Davidson St intersection.
-It will then proceed up 5th to the arena and connect in with the South LRT already under construction.
-The Southeast LRT will be double tracked and will NOT share any Right Of Way with the planned Center City Streetcar.



If BRT is chosen:
-It could have a one way loop that follows 4th into town and then loop back on 5th out of town.
-Or they could have a 2 way BRT on Trade St that would be in the same ROW as the planned Street Car.




Construction on Phase 1 of the SE LRT/BRT is due to start in 2010 if all financial approvals are received in a timely manner.

More resources on the SE LRT line can be found here:
http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/Rapid+Transit+Planning/Southeast+Corridor/Home.htm

A bonus pic for you...while I was out at Eastland I snagged this pic of the Eastland Transit Center

Rendering


Currently
 

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i was going to go to that tonight. but i was held up at work.

good to see i didnt miss out on too much. ;)

i wish that they would propose a LRT alternative that had more stations within uptown. if LRT is chosen, they should add more stops, or at least have it go a little further in Uptown mixed in with traffic. that is possible with LRT cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They want to avoid mixed traffic as much as possible with the LRT to avoid the "Houston" problem of muchos car accidents.

They can always come back in later and add in more stations if development warrants it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They also had detailed diagrams of each station along the line. I didn't take pictures of those as I wasn't really interested in the suburbs...I'm sure they will post them online in the next week or so.
 

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true. i was just thinking of the fact that they'd dump pretty much most of those using the trains going into uptown at that one station. most people do not work int he government district, so that's a rather pointless station other than alternate access to the arena, jail, and if you've got court.

you going to the northeast corridor meetings? i want to. butttt, they are during AP exams, so i'll be rather absent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Style™ said:
true. i was just thinking of the fact that they'd dump pretty much most of those using the trains going into uptown at that one station. most people do not work int he government district, so that's a rather pointless station other than alternate access to the arena, jail, and if you've got court.

you going to the northeast corridor meetings? i want to. butttt, they are during AP exams, so i'll be rather absent.
Actually if they do the LRT option one could ride the same train from Matthews all the way to almost Pineville. The SE LRT train when it comes into downtown will hook a left at the arena and get on the S LRT line and will stop at all the stops along that line all the way to 485 near Pineville...then turn around and come back.

So if one rode the SE LRT Train in from Matthews it would stop at the Government Center, Arena/CTC, 3rd St, Stonewall, etc.

I plan on going to the MTC meeting tomorrow around 5:30pm at the Gov Center where they will give the latest update on the North Line. In May they will make the final decision on the North/Purple Line.

On Thursday is the update on the South/Orange LRT.
 

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uptownliving said:
Actually if they do the LRT option one could ride the same train from Matthews all the way to almost Pineville. The SE LRT train when it comes into downtown will hook a left at the arena and get on the S LRT line and will stop at all the stops along that line all the way to 485 near Pineville...then turn around and come back.

So if one rode the SE LRT Train in from Matthews it would stop at the Government Center, Arena/CTC, 3rd St, Stonewall, etc.
if they did that, wouldnt the south east line have to be a 'blue line' since there will be blue stuff associated with the trains connecting over?

that also seems like a nightmare for the 5th street area right around the arena considering the amount of land given in that area and what would be required to link them in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Very good questions...

It is quite common for two different routes to share the same tracks in an urban environment which would be the case if they decide to go with LRT for the SE line. If they go with BRT then obviously it would not share right of way with the South LRT. My guess is that they are waiting for the final decision on the SE LRT line from the MTC this summer before finalizing the map I posted. If the SE does go LRT then the South line would become the Silver/Blue line and they would split at the CTC with the Blue going to UNCC and the Silver going to Matthews. All of the LRT cars have electronic boards on the outside that will change colors very easily.

With regards to the land needed to merge the Silver and Blue lines at the arena in the diagrams they had at the meeting today it looked like the merge would take place on the porkchop property that the city already owns. It would be quite possible for the city to still sell the air rights above the portion of the LRT that runs through the pork chop parcel.
 

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I've always been a huge fan of the current preferred LRT proposal. What it would eventually allow is for there to be 3 LRT lines......one running from Pineville-Matthews, one running from Pineville-Univ. C, and one running from Matthews-Univ. C. By having 2 lines run on each section of track, it seems like it would be easier to justify shorter headways (i.e. Trains leaving from Pineville to Uptown every 5 minutes because ones final destination is UC and the other is Matthews).

My only question in all of this is how do you double track 5th street which is one way.....certainly they're not thinking subway through Uptown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Here is another more detailed image that might answer your question about 5th St.


Looks like they plan to run up the left side of 5th St...and where the planned Gov Center station is they will have to bow 5th out a little to get around the station (that is the yellow shade you see at the Station).
It also looks like they are going to stagger the Gov Center Station...so that it will fit in the current right of way.

Wow, the people that are buying at Quaterside probably never realised they could be 1 block away from a LRT station.

One other note...the CATS guy said that if they do LRT they will have to "shave" off part of Memorial Stadium to fit the double tracked LRT line in the current service road. You can see that in the image above as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well the LRT is the favored one...but its also more expensive and the numbers are not in yet...so we'll have to see what they say in a few months.
 

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double tracking 5th street will be a big mess no matter how they do it. i cant possibly think of a 'nice' way to mess that street anymore than it already is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just got back from the MTC meeting tonight where they reviewed the North Commuter Line. Next month MTC will make some final decisions on the North line.

-They will make the final decision on station locations. This depends on if Iredell County or Mooresville jumps on the bandwagon.
-They will make a final decision on the vehicle maintenance facility location. It will most likely be a part of the Gateway Station in downtown Charlotte located near the intersection of the tracks and 4th St.
-They will make a decision on the type of train to use...the double decker amtrak style or the dmu...that is still up in the air.
-They will make a decision later in the year on a possible phasing of the project where the first phase will have one way trains....inbound during the morning and outbound during the evening....and then a later phase which will allow two-way trains with a signalized track and sidings.


MTC Chair Parks Helms made the comment that the writing was on the wall as to which corridor would be built next...the North Line. There were a couple reporters at the meeting so expect to see some writeups in the various news outlets.
 

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here are two photos of the rails on the south corridor.

as you can see, the ties do not quite touch the ground. i'm not exactly sure how they expect a few tons of train to roll over this and for it to all be okay. something that needs a little fixing. :p



 

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RE ties not touching the ground - I'm not 100% sure how this works, but they will be either brushing aside the existing ballast (gravel) and embedding the ties in it, or piling more gravel on to hold it in place. I am inclined to think the latter of the two is more likely. But they may go through and do the entire line in one swoop, so they might be waiting for the whole right-of-way to be complete.

RE the LRT option for the southeast corridor. I think that avoiding Trade Street is a mistake. The trains should run all the way through town to Gateway Station. Let them run a bit slower, like streetcars - that's fine - but that connection seems really important to me. I can definitely understand a limited-use connection track to the S corridor so the trains can share the S Corridor VMF, but putting two-way LRT traffic onto one-way 5th street, and ending the line at the South Corridor LRT rather than CGS dos not seem like a wise infrastructure investment - especially when there will already be a double-track streetcar line along Trade.
 

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If you haven't yet, it's worth checking out the bridges being built along South Blvd. They're pretty impressive pieces of engineering, especially where they will run over the top of the freight lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
orulz said:
RE the LRT option for the southeast corridor. I think that avoiding Trade Street is a mistake. The trains should run all the way through town to Gateway Station. Let them run a bit slower, like streetcars - that's fine - but that connection seems really important to me. I can definitely understand a limited-use connection track to the S corridor so the trains can share the S Corridor VMF, but putting two-way LRT traffic onto one-way 5th street, and ending the line at the South Corridor LRT rather than CGS dos not seem like a wise infrastructure investment - especially when there will already be a double-track streetcar line along Trade.
There are 3 reasons they will not do LRT on Trade St.

1. CPCC does not want the LRT on Elizabeth/Trade. There are thousands of students that crisscross that street as it bisects their campus and they think that having both the streetcar and LRT bisecting their campus at grade level could present a safety issue.

2. The Southeast LRT line HAS to connect with the South LRT line so that the trains can go to the Vehicle Maintenance Facility on South Blvd. If you run the trains up Trade St that connection can't happen since the South LRT has a bridge over Trade. Whereas 5th St is an at grade intersection.

3. There is a power difference between the LRT trains and Streetcars and it costs more money to install lines that can handle both types of cars.
 
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