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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
SZCZAP ERICK JOHN

Since launching in November, Charlotte's "Blue Line" light rail has seen an average daily ridership of 13,000, some 4000 riders per day higher than the experts had estimated. Of course, rising gas prices have promoted this, but in general it appears that Charlotteans are really taking to their new mass transit option.

Speaking for myself, I could commute 15 miles into the Center City (about a 30-minute drive) and then park in South End (a district of Uptown) for about $3, but then I'd still have to either walk another 10 minutes or jump on a Gold Rush circulator (a free rubber-tire trolley service) to get to my building. Instead, I now drive 10 minutes to the I-485 station (1/3rd the drive commute), take the 25-minute train ride into Uptown, and best yet, the train practically drops me off at my building (3rd Street/Convention Center station). Wachovia gives its employees discounted passes, so I end up paying an average of $1.82 round trip. That's about $24/month cheaper than the parking alone, to take a train that drops me off practically at my building, and I haven't even included my savings on gas.

A lot of Charlotteans have similar stories. From a recent WCNC article:

“I did an analysis of it and I save $150 a month, not have to pay to park and drive my SUV uptown,” said Tim Gray, who has been riding light rail since its launch in November.

“I think I'm saving $75 to $100 a month. Tt really adds up,” said Bernice Parenti, who started riding a month ago.

The rail has also shown its tremendous functionality during big events, such as the CIAA and ACC basketball tournaments and concerts at the arena. I've also noticed heavy ridership during the NASCAR race week (Speedweek) and for Uptown events such as this weekend's Taste of Charlotte.

In fact, the rail seems to be catching on so well that the Charlotte Area Transportation System has already ordered more rail cars and are looking to expand the available parking at some key park-and-ride stations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
For those of you who like a few pics when you open up a thread:


(courtesy of Derita Studio @ Pbase.com)


(courtesy of CLTNC at skyscraperpage.com)
 

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Congratulations Charlotte on your successful Blue Train. It should encourage other cities to build rail. Is service convenient and available if on the spur of the moment one decides to stay in town after work for dining and some bar-hopping? How late do trains run? How about weekend schedules?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Burt, the full schedule can be found here:

http://wirelesscats.ridetransit.org...ay&route_direction=Inbound&sk=t8HkHlFKCCYuF2K

The train typically runs every 7.5 minutes during rush hours and every 15 minutes during off hours. Trains are obviously more frequent during special events. The first weekday inbound train leaves I-485 at 5:25am. The last weekday outbound train leaves 7th Street Station at 1:00am. Saturday's first inbound train leaves I-485 at 5:55am and the last outbound train leaves 7th Street Station at 1:00am. Saturday's first inbound train leaves I-485 at 6:55am and the last outbound train leaves 7th Street Station at 12:00am. CATS will obviously adjust the schedule as it feels out the ridership demands over time.

I think it's also worth mentioning that CATS is currently studying the idea of street cars (a la Portland) throughout the Center City area, and also plans to have another light rail line up and running by 2015 to serve the University Area. There is also a commuter rail line planned to open by 2012 to serve Lake Norman/Mooresville.

http://www.charlotte.com/breaking_news/story/648450.html
 

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The Secret Word Is:
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This is good news, since many other cities in the state can now see and ride a successful rail transit system in the state. It should help encourage more rail transit in other cities in the Carolinas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is good news, since many other cities in the state can now see and ride a successful rail transit system in the state. It should help encourage more rail transit in other cities in the Carolinas.
It would be nice to see other Carolina cities follow suit, but I think it's gonna be hard. Even Charlotte, for as large as it is, struggled to get their first line done. There were bitter anti-transit opponents to the train right down to the bitter end. They were obviously proven very wrong, with the transit tax repeal vote returning a 70/30 vote in favor of keeping the tax, and now with the strong ridership numbers, but none-the-less, the minority anti-transit movement did exist. I think similar issues will pop up in other urban centers around the Carolinas as they try to develop their own transit systems.

...although $4.00+/gallon gas certain supports the pro-transit movement.
 

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Since launching in November, Charlotte's "Blue Line" light rail has seen an average monthly ridership of 13,000, some 4000 riders per month higher than the experts had estimated. Of course, rising gas prices have promoted this, but in general it appears that Charlotteans are really taking to their new mass transit option.[\QUOTE]

http://www.wcnc.com/news/topstories/stories/wcnc-060408-krg-lightrail.5dc79508.html
That is 13,000 riders per day, not per month. When I first read your intro, I was not impressed thinking that it was 13,000 riders per month, which is only a little over 400 per day. But, the news story correctly points out that 13,000 riders are using the Blue Line every day, and that certainly impressive. Congratulations Charlotte! These high gas prices will continue to guarantee success and assure that Charlotte builds on this success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is 13,000 riders per day, not per month. When I first read your intro, I was not impressed thinking that it was 13,000 riders per month, which is only a little over 400 per day. But, the news story correctly points out that 13,000 riders are using the Blue Line every day, and that certainly impressive. Congratulations Charlotte! These high gas prices will continue to guarantee success and assure that Charlotte builds on this success.
LOL, good catch. Yes, I meant per day. While writing this I was thinking in terms of monthly savings, while typing about daily ridership.
 

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This is the single project that has made Charlotte really feel like a big city, more than any other. Can't wait for the next line to get started.
 

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Congrats to Charlotte on the success of the LRT. I hope its success will spill over to the other cities in the Carolinas. I hope by 2020, Raleigh, Durham, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Greenville, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach will also have LRT service.
 

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Here's a link from Friday on Charlotte.com about the challenges of finding parking on the southern most part of the line. Despite the challenges, you have to admit, this is a good problem to have.

http://www.charlotte.com/business/columnists/the_insider/story/656673.html

But overall, I'm just thrilled of what the line is going to do for the South Blvd. corridor. I'd read where many of the housing projects are still moving along full speed despite the downturn in the economy; especially the apartments. As gas prices rise, that area along the line is going to become "the" place to live in the city. I just hope they can fast track at least one more line, and I really don't care which direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^The amount of construction going up along the rail line through South End is jaw dropping. Everywhere you look a new project is going up, with Ashton South End being the most impressive of them.
 

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Good job Charlotte. Higher fuel cost definitely helps. It was on TV earlier this week that light rail transit is up 10% in America.
 

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Good job! I am waiting for the day for Cincinnati's streetcar and light rail network to be initiated...

I still long for the days when we were aggressively planning for the Triangle... a high-speed rail link between Louisville, Lexington (KY) and Cincinnati via the Interstate 64-71-75 corridor. Low gasoline prices killed that proposal, but think of how nice it would be today...
 

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Congrats to Charlotte on the success of the LRT. I hope its success will spill over to the other cities in the Carolinas. I hope by 2020, Raleigh, Durham, Asheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Greenville, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach will also have LRT service.
Sounds good to me. Charlotte is definitely the leader in the Carolinas in mass transit. But I also hope the mid and major cities in the Carolinas make more use of streetcars, bike lanes and sidewalks:cheers:
 

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Sounds good to me. Charlotte is definitely the leader in the Carolinas in mass transit. But I also hope the mid and major cities in the Carolinas make more use of streetcars, bike lanes and sidewalks:cheers:

Are any of the N.C. cities in the planning stages for streetcars or light rail systems? They would probably need to be at least in the planning stages in order to become a reality by 2020. I'm pretty sure they already have sidewalks and bike lanes...

There was a plan for a streetcar line in Winston-Salem that was being discussed last year that would have made a loop around the Boitech Park downtown and would go as far as Baptist Hospital area. I don't know what happened to this proposal or if it is still being considered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
WeimieLvr, sidewalks and bike lanes aren't as prevalent as they should be in Carolina cities. I think that's what snookums meant. There need to be more pedestrian- and biker-friendly streetscapes developed throughout the Carolinas, in addition to larger mass transit projects.

And no, I'm not aware of any other rail systems in the works for other Carolina cities right now. Hopefully other Carolina forumers will correct me if I'm wrong about that.
 

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Winston-Salem has a plan for a Light Rail Line (LRT) from downtown to the LJVM Sports & Entertainment Complex, Fairgrounds, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts, Reynolda House Museum of Art, Reynolda Gardens and Wake Forest University. A second LRT line could connect Thruway Shopping Center, Forsyth Medical Center, Medical Park Hospital, Baptist Hospital/Brenner Childrens Hospital, Five Points (office buildings) and Hanes Mall to downtown. I didn't know about this second route until I read about it in the Journal and at WSTB during meetings around November? Winston-Salem also has a plan for a streetcar line connecting Bowman Gray University/Baptist Medical Center Complex to downtown and the PTRP research park. This line can be expanded to Union Station, where an HRT or Commuter Train is proposed and to Winston-Salem State University. A second streetcar line would connect the North Carolina School of the Arts, State Governors School, Children's Museum, Salem College, Old Salem, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts and the Toy Museum to downtown. The downtown transportation center was designed for streetcars when it was built. Instead of asking for a tax increase, Winston-Salem is trying to build this without asking average citizens for money. They are also considering offering the streetcar lines as a free service. I'm guessing they can find the money to build the streetcars without taxpayer's help, but the two LRT lines and a regional rail system will require some taxpayer help? A streetcar line between PTRP and Baptist Medical Center would cost $52 million and is designed by the same firm responsible for Portland's streetcar system. The LRT lines would use existing tracks for most of the system.

Winston-Salem started on a pedestrian walkway system to connects parks to neighborhoods and employment centers in the 1980's and is expanding it to the far ends of the city with government grants. Bonds were also passed for new and replacement sidewalks. New bike routes were added last year and right now the city is trying to find a way to keep streetside parking on downtown streets, while adding bike only lanes. I once rode a bike on the pedestrian walkway system from Washington Park to Downtown back to Old Salem and to Salem Park and back. They did allow bikes on the walking paths and some people rode skateboards on them. Most of the people using the system were young families out for a walk, young couples and a bicycle riders. It is an interesting trip past skyscrapers, colleges and historic homes & buildings, if you like to take bike tours of cities. One of the office towers built in the 1980's was designed with a tunnel for this walkway system, so you can ride a bike or walk under a building. This is the walking path you see at the Old Salem Visitor's Center and beside the historic Brookstown Inn. I think this route is now expanded to the Downtown Arts District?
 

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Raleigh and the triangle have been in talks for a few years now about a light rail system. Sorry, to lazy to look up link.

But to start off, it would go from downtown Raleigh west to RTP and then out towards UNC....I think. Please correct me if I am wrong. This would be the first line for sure.

Then there are talks of other lines going to the north, east and south of course.

I am sure Raleigh - NC has links and maps somewhere. :lol: The maps are probably his desktop wallpaper. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
^It definitely makes sense that a line connecting downtown, RTP, and UNC would be the first to get built.
 
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