Center City Streetcar – 2015
10-mile new line, leading west and east from Uptown
Received $25 million in U.S. DOT Urban Circulator funds for 1.5-mile initial route through center city
Unclear construction timetable as of now
Relevant article on the Transport Politic: Charlotte Wants a New Streetcar, But Has No Money, 10 February 2009.
CHARLOTTE -- After years of planning, the first leg of the Charlotte Streetcar Project will soon be rolling through the Queen City. Thursday, city leaders learned they were one of six cities to get a federal grant specifically for streetcar projects. The cash allows a chunk of the 10-mile project to get off the ground.
City and transit leaders say forward thinking, like already laying streetcar tracks on a stretch of Elizabeth Avenue, put Charlotte in a great position to get the federal dollars.
City leaders applied for the $25 million
grant in February and were awarded it this week.
The money, along with a $12 million match from the city, will allow the first stretch of the streetcar project to be built.
"One of the biggest hurdles will be looking at the utilities and how many utilities we're going to be impacting," said John Mrzygod, the Streetcar Project manager.
The 1.5 mile portion will begin at the Transit Center on East Trade Street, cross McDowell Street, go through Central Piedmont Community College and end at Presbyterian Hospital on Elizabeth Avenue. The section, which is expected to open in early 2014, will include six stops and run on three existing Charlotte trolley cars.
Mrzygod said they will keep business owners in the loop with construction plans. "We want to be in touch with them every step of the way so they know what's going on, so they don't see any decrease in patronage," he said.
It's still unclear how the city will pay for the rest of estimated $450 million Streetcar Project, but officials promised to be aggressive in securing similar federal grants in the future.
“Once we've got the collaboration of federal support, it gives us a leg in the door the next time,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
The Streetcar Project is proposed to run from Beatties Ford Road near Interstate 85 in west Charlotte to the former Eastland Mall site in east Charlotte. Planners expect an updated price tag on the project later this year when they finish their latest design study.
The Federal Urban Circulator grant, which Charlotte was awarded, included the applications of 65 different projects. Charlotte was the only city on the east coast to be awarded the funds.
Charlotte Streetcar Project
The Charlotte Streetcar Project is a key recommendation of the 2025 Corridor System Plan. The alignment will serve the central business district (CBD) and provide connectivity to surrounding communities and institutions. The proposed streetcar line will run 10 miles along Beatties Ford Road near I-85 through the CBD along Trade Street, traveling up Elizabeth Avenue by Central Piedmont Community College and out to Central Avenue at Eastland Mall.
The streetcar is also a key component to implementing the Center City 2010 Vision Plan, helping to create "a livable and memorable Center City." Further, the streetcar will be critical in creating a transit focused and pedestrian oriented center city through developing an integrated transportation system of pedestrians, bikes, motor vehicles, transit, parking, and land development.
LYNX Blue Line Extension
The Blue Line Extension (Northeast Corridor) is an extension of the successful LYNX Blue Line light rail service. The 9.4-mile alignment extends from Ninth Street in Center City through the North Davidson (NoDa) and University areas, terminating on the UNC Charlotte campus. By including the LYNX Blue Line Extension in a comprehensive transportation system that includes roads, buses, bus rapid transit and commuter rail, we can offer more choices and alternatives to congestion on I-85.
LYNX Blue Line Extension Project Update:
On January 26, 2011, MTC members unanimously approved changes to the BLE project to reduce project costs and ensure its financial feasibility. The project will terminate at UNC Charlotte rather than at I-485, removing 1.2 miles of alignment and two stations. By shortening the project, CATS is able to keep key project elements that ensure a high quality system, reliable service, and safe and secure operations. To accommodate increased ridership at other stations, the project will include a parking deck at the JW Clay Blvd station and a combination of deck and surface parking at the University City Blvd station. Other changes are as follows: service frequency will be slightly reduced initially; surface lots will be constructed at the Sugar Creek station rather than a parking deck; the park and ride lots at Tom Hunter and McCullough stations will not be built; and the project will not build a Vehicle Light Maintenance Facility at the Norfolk Southern Intermodal site on North Brevard Street, but will construct only a storage yard and dispatch building and up-fit the existing South Boulevard maintenance facility. Staff will move forward to prepare the Final Environmental Impact Statement for FTA submittal and complete 65% design for the project.
Lynx Light Rail Transit Lines Opens!
Fresh from a resounding endorsement by 70% of voters, Charlotte's $462.7-million, 9.6-mile-long modern Lynx light rail transit project, serving 15 stations, opened to a crowd of thousands on 24 November 2007. This latest rail transit opening in Charlotte demonstrates that, contrary to critics' contentions, rail transit is being enthusiastically embraced by more and more communities across the country.
see photo to the right: