Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Trains to Planes? Not Here

The planning commissioners practically pounced on the CATS guy.

CATS Deputy Director John Muth had just finished briefing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission on Monday on the status of the transit system. (Headlines: South Corridor trains running by fall 2007, many decisions to be made summer and fall on which corridor goes next, whether the West corridor gets light rail, bus rapid transit or streetcars, etc.)

Then several commissioners began suggesting to Muth oh so nicely that CATS really, really, really needs to make sure the West transit line goes to the airport.
Because right now, with the still-tentative plans, it wouldn’t. The likely route would go down Wilkinson Boulevard, not to the airport terminal.

Planning commissioner George Sheild, a developer, probably summed up the sentiments of many others: “I think a really good rail connection from the airport to downtown would do more for Charlotte than the whole South Corridor.”

Anyone who’s ever traveled in or out of a city with good transit connections to its airport – Washington, London, even St. Louis – knows how easy it is to arrive, walk down the hall or down some stairs, and get into a train or bus or tram. Cheaper, too.

Muth was pleasant, but noncommittal.

There’s just one problem with everyone’s wishes on this: The federal money for transit comes with strings attached. One string – more like a rope – is that the project has to meet a cost-effectiveness test. The feds set the rules for how you calculate cost-effectiveness, involving projected ridership, time saved by riders, etc. Those federal rules got even stricter in the past year.

The early numbers on the West Corridor showed light rail to the airport wouldn’t pass the cost-effectiveness test. That’s because not enough people go to and from the airport. Most of the people using our airport – a longtime US Airways hub – are just switching planes.

Muth said some new pots of federal transit money are available for smaller-scale projects, and CATS is looking at whether it might be able to use those pots to fund streetcars in the West corridor as well as the “Streetcar” project it plans for Trade Street and out Central Avenue. Streetcars cost less to build, because they run in the street, but they’re slower – because they run in the street, with the other traffic. And the federal money in those newer pots don’t pay as big a percentage of costs.

Transit to the airport? I’m all for it. I hope CATS and the airport and the city can figure out how to make it happen.

But I don’t think it’s likely, at least not in the next 20 years.


Jo said...

Well, I hope they re-do that study! I'm from Philly, where many of the airport employees (not travellers) rely on the train to the airport to get to work on time. And the employees of airport hotels, nearby restaurants, parking lots, etc., use the SEPTA trains too. That airport train link could be a strong way of spurring employment and economic growth at and around the airport. (There's a lot of good potential business development opportunities on Wilkinson between 485 and the airport....)

Also, I know a lot of people who go out to the airport to have a meal or a drink with someone who's got a long layover between flights--I've done it twice in the last six weeks to see my sister on her travels (she lives in Chicago). If there were light rail, we could meet downtown for a meal or a drink--that would benefit DOWNTOWN businesses. (Not to mention you could park out there for Panthers games or concerts at the Arena if you were coming in from Rock Hill or the west side and take the train to the event, avoiding/lessening downtown traffic. That's what people in cities with REAL urban transit do.)

Charlotte just doesn't have a mass-transit mentality and that's a shame--for environmental AND for business reasons as well as for those of economic opportunity. It's time for more visionary leadership to help get ALL of Charlotte moving...

Anonymous said...

I love how everyone is so obsessed with the train to the airport - it definately would not do more than the South Corridor. First of all, a lot of passengers at the airport are transfers. Charlotte is a US Airways hub so there are a lot of transfer flights. Second of all, not enough people live downtown or work downtown to make a rail link to the airport worth the price. Finally, someone in the suburbs is not going to take the train into downtown and then have to transfer to another train just to get to the airport. I am all for the mass transit plan in Charlotte, but the rail link to the airport is not really important right now. Bus Rapid Transit would be a better option to the airport right now (it can always be upgraded later to light rail).

Anonymous said...

Jo, I don't think it's the leadership, I think it's the lame, stuck up people here who think they live in utopia with their acres of land and their hate for city-life (and that doesn't just include locals, it also includes some people who move here).

Anonymous said...

Charlotte has too many crazy, religious fanatics who think urbanity is "the devil." Urban = diverse, and the crazy, conservative freaks can't deal with diversity because they are hypocrites who preach tolerance but do the exact opposite.

Anonymous said...

The local boardings (non-connecting traffic) at the Charlotte airport shot up 14% in 2005 due to the lower fares. I hope CATS is able to take into consideration those numbers for their latest West models. While technically the West line is not proposed to go to the Terminal building...it would connect with a planned People Mover that would take people to the terminal building, similar to the setup at Newark Airport. Also keep in mind that the airport is expanding in the Wilkinson Blvd direction. Starting next year the airport will start construction on a consolidated Rental Car facility on Wilkinson adjacent to the proposed West line stop. I agree with the earlier poster that if the numbers don't work out for LRT that they should do BRT

JAT said...

May-bee we could swap the airport for the bowling alley in Matthews.


Anonymous said...

That’s because not enough people go to and from the airport. Most of the people using our airport – a longtime US Airways hub – are just switching planes.

I would have believed that five years ago. Now I'm not so sure.

I was at the airport a few weeks ago and couldn't find a short or long-term parking spot and I noticed they're building yet another parking deck. I am thinking they need to re-examine their ridership numbers but I'm no transit planner.

Anonymous said...

This is a case of one failure leading to the next. Yes, Charlotte is a USAir hub airport and many people there are on layovers for connecting flights. But the issue on parking is true as well. The new garage and now 2nd one are definitely needed. What this also brings up is the fact that we are a one-trick pony when it comes to the airport. USAir controls 90%+ of the gates. This is NOT GOOD at all for Charlotte. First is that as we all know local residents get screwed on airfare as a result. Plus, what happens if/when USAir goes belly up? We now go to a ghost town of an airport. All I hear about is "diversity"...how about our leaders incenting some other carriers to establish a presence here?! This would result in lower fares for locals, more travel options and protect the long term health of the airport...and the many people who depend on it for jobs. It never makes good business sense to put all your eggs in one basket.

Nancy said...

I just read your article in "Naked City" about a train to the airport. I don't think there is much publicity about the city bus to the Airport.

I work on E. Trade Street and when I need to go to the airport, I catch the #5 bus at the Transportation Center. They run hourly during the day. It makes multiple stops uptown and zips out West Boulevard to the Billy Graham/Josh Birmingham Parkway and arrives at the airport in about 25 minutes.

The driver asks which airline you need and drops you right at that door on the departing flights level. I have never been on a bus that had passengers standing even though some trips were comfortably full.

It costs the regular fare: $1.20. What a bargain!

Bryan said...

I like to go the wine vault. The parking there is always full, and a lot of people I know go there. In Denver they have a wine bar located off the Light Rail and it is very successful. I think Charlotte should have light rail expended to the parking lot of the vine vault, it would be very convenient for me and I think more people would go there.

Rick said...


As a long-time resident of Washington DC and Arlington, VA who traveled out of Reagan National Airport every week for 2-years strait, let me assure you that the easiest way to get to the airport is via the old fashioned taxi cab - not the Metro. There's a reason why the lines at National's cab stands are dozens of people deep and that most of the people on the Metro Blue line are traveling through the airport, not to the airport. The train is a pain when you have luggage. I suppose we could outlaw cabs at the airport. That might make the train more inviting.

The other thing that Reagan National has over CLT is location. It's in the middle of the entire metro region. Literally, right across the river from downtown. The equivalent of having Charlotte Douglas where the Panthers stadium is located.

Let's assume, and you know what they say about "assume", that the train goes to Charlotte Douglas. Do you honestly think anyone is going to get on the train in Pineville ride all the way uptown, get on the train out to CLT, and ride all the way out with their luggage? Or are they going to get in their car and drive around 485 in a fraction of the time?

Anonymous said...

Wow....who did the survey??? When I go to the airport all the parking lots are full, full, full and they just built a newer facility for parking recently. Everything is always full and no place to park and the airport is covered up with people coming in and out. Something is wron with this picture....

Anonymous said...

I just poked my head in and found yet another bad quality linked to religion! Apparently, in addition to being a bigoted, staunchly conservative, money-hungry prude, I'm now afraid of cities too!!

Nice to know.

Anonymous said...

If mosty of the traffic at CLT is changing planes, then why are the Airport Parking Lots always full?

Anonymous said...

To the poster of the non-sequitur immediately above: full parking lots are not an indicator of what perentage of the flights originate here. They are an indicator of the parking capacity relative to the number of cars. The two are not linked

Michael said...

Maybe we should put the next light rail to Greensboro? After all, many people drive an hour to hop on a US Air flight there to save some money and then; first stop Charlotte!

I am not Mary Newsom said...

The federal government has a 'cost effectiveness test'????

What would that be 'don't lose more than $200 million per year??'


The ONLY place it makes sense is from the Airport to uptown. Maybe from the Airport to the South Suburbs.

Light rail on South Blvd is one of the worst decisions this city has ever made.

1) South blvd is already served by buses.

2) There are countless alternate routes into the city (Providence, I-77, Independance) from the south.

3) Light rail will go largely unused except during morning and evening rush hours M-F.

4) The goal of mass transit is to get people out of their cars and into trains and buses. Not going to happen in a sprawling southern city (no matter how heavy handed the city gets with development).

5) Many people who arrive at the airport DO NOT HAVE A CAR so they need some way to get into the city.

6) Center city employment has peaked. Maybe there is residential development in center city, but the only thing that drives traffic in rush hour is employment.

7) More employers and almost all NEW employers will locate in the suburbs or across county lines (or even state lines). Light rail is of no use to them.

Accoring to the Charlotte Mayor, Ron Tober, and they Charlotte Transit Planners respectively:

1) "if we allow ridership on the light rail to occur 'naturally', it will fail" - McCrory

2) "Uptown job growth must increase at 100% over current projections for light rail to be a success" - Ron Tober

3) "Light rail will have no measurable impact on pollution or congestion" - Can't remember his name, but he was in the Observer last week.

What a waste.

Anonymous said...

Unless things have changed a lot in the seven years since I left Charlotte, Wilkinson Blvd. is a wasteland of failed shopping centers, used car lots, run-down motels, disreputable-looking bars, ministorage facilities, and the like; not an attractive gateway to Charlotte. IMHO, light rail along the Blvd. might help stimulate positive economic development in that area. Yes, it should go to the airport, but if it can't be done now, then build the Wilkinson line NOW and later extend it to the airport.

Anonymous said...

To the previous poster, I am so glad that you DO NOT run things around here because this place would suck even more. And secondly, Center City employment HAS NOT peaked! What are you talking about? Wachovia is building a new 45+ story tower, and they are not going to be occupying every floor. Other companies will lease that space. Also, a lot of the residential buildings have a small amount of office space in them, and you can't forget about retail and restaurants that keep popping up downtown (which creates jobs, obviously). IF ANYTHING, THE LINE TO THE AIRPORT WOULD BE A WASTE. THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE, AND NOBODY IS GOING TO GO THROUGH THE HASSLE TO RIDE A TRAIN TO THE AIRPORT.

Anonymous said...

the previous comment was aimed at "i am not mary newsom"

I am not Mary Newsom said...

You may get a smattering of new employment of uptown, but clearly the trend is businesses moving OUT of Uptown, and new businesses will bypass it altogether.

The Charlotte Observer likes to keep that hush hush, but Lending Tree, HSBC, Citi Bank have all moved out of Meck. county, and BofA has opened a satellite facility in Ballentyne.

There has been a boon of residential development uptown, but this is fueled by SPECULATION (if you do not know what that means, look it up). Developers are cashing in on a trend, like in many other cities. I pity those who will get stuck holding the property tax bills and overpriced condos when the music stops.

My point to the Airport line is that it is the only one that makes sense since people coming and going to the airport are the ones without cars or who want to leave the car behind.

It is also much cheaper to build in vacant land than to renovate South Blvd.

Additionally, the South Blvd line makes no sense since it will have 13 stops, and will cross a number of roads, stopping traffic.

South Blvd is already served by buses. Rail will be SLIGHTLY faster, but still far slower than cars. Hardly worth $500 million.

Fixed rail lines make no sense in the 21st century, since you are trying to solve a rush hour commute problem only, and we are becoming more of a mobile workforce, not less. The need to get from fixed point A to fixed point B for work reasons is becoming less important.

Contrary to popular opinion, Charlotte does not have a traffic problem, it has a RUSH HOUR traffic problem.

Drive in ANY road on off peak hours or weekends and you travel at the posted speed limits. No need for trains except M-F morning/evening commute. They will be dead otherwise, just like the roads uptown are dead.

PS, Wachovia is only building a new building becuase they need room for EXISTING employees who are crammed two to a cube. They are NOT expanding their workforce. Quite the opposite, they are sending jobs overseas.

They are also getting tax subsidies for doing it, otherwise they would not.

Rick said...

I personally love the posts from the rube, racist, redneck name-calling crowd - usually, by anonymous (read: spineless) posters.

Most of them seem to fall into 2 categories:

Category 1: Homegrown "Big City" wannabees who have never done more than visit a truly big city as a tourist or possibly on business.

Category 2: Big City transplants with the arrogance to think that they have the right demand a city change just because they decided to move here.

Notice, you can not logically be in both categories, but you must be in one of them if you are complaining. If you happen to be a local/or other small town dweller who did move to a "Big/Real City" and then are complaining after you moved back, you fall into Category 2.

If you are in Category 1, you should live in a truly big city for at least a couple of years. You'll be able to...
1. Experience what real traffic is like because no matter how bad you think Charlotte traffic is now, you've never experienced a Washington, DC random traffic jam on Sunday afternoon for no reason. Until you do, stop whining about traffic. Charlotte does not have bad traffic, not even in rush hour, compared to Big City traffic. You will also realize that even with great train systems, these mysterious traffic jams continue to happen.
2. Ask yourself how many times you've been to the theatre, or opera, or museums in the last year. Then accept that you don't go to them everyday even when 10 times Charlotte’s current number of venues are available.
3. Realize that the train, with its inconvenience, crime, and cost, isn't the end-all, be-all solution to your transportation needs. It mysteriously does not go almost anywhere you want to go on a regular basis – other than work. Then realize, if you change jobs or move, that suddenly, the train doesn’t even go to your work anymore. Confusing, I know, but that's just how Big Cities operate.

If you fall into Category 2, please realize that you CHOSE to move here. Even if your job moved here, you CHOSE to move here with your job. If you can not handle living near people who are different than you (i.e. rubes and rednecks) then please go back where you came from before you landed here like aliens from Mars.

I myself grew up in Louisville, KY (a city about like Charlotte), moved to the Washington DC/NOVA area for a decade, and then chose to move to Charlotte, NC because it is a lot nicer than either one of thoses cities just the way it is right now at this very moment in time.

Rick said...

PS...Sorry about the previous long and off-topic post. Also, I promise that will be my only comment on "anonymouses" this week...

Anonymous said...

Oh I see Rick - well you must be in Category 3.

Category 3 - someone who comes here from somewhere else and wants nothing to change. They come here hoping to "escape" a big city while Charlotte is obviously growing into one. Maybe you should do some research and move to Greensboro or Asheville or someplace that isn't growing as fast as Charlotte. If anything, you need to go somewhere else - you add to the thousands of whiners that are already here. Hopefully the continued growth will push you small-town minded people out. It's time to move on and get over it - Charlotte is not going to stay the same forever.

And yes, I am from here, and I want to see my city grow and prosper and become something GREAT. Small-town's over folks - get over it.

Anonymous said...

i am not mary newsom, rail will be FASTER than cars. It will take 25 minutes. Right now it currently takes me 35-45 minutes to get from downtown to Pineville.

Wachovia is building a new building because like you said, they are tight on space, but they will not be occupying the entire building. Also, the residential buildings going up ARE NOT speculation or you would see double the amount going up now (plus if it were speculation, you would see a lot more office going up. Charlotte is not that type of market). The demand is there - these things are selling like hot cakes.

Also, those companies you listed are currently not located downtown. I believe they are in South Park or somewhere else in the county. When transit opens and expands, downtown will have more access (trains, bus, roads) than anywhere else in the county. New businesses will follow that - and even if they don't locate downtown, they will locate near a transit stop. Just wait and watch all the office, retail, and residential gather around each transit stop in the years to come.


mike said...

Rick - just because jobs move here doesn't mean people can just "choose." The economy isn't exactly that great, and for a lot of people it isn't easy to find another job that will pay like your current one. Some people have no choice when they are relocated. You go where the money is - especially if you have a family to support. Get over yourself and your ridiculous comments.

Donna said...

Hi RICK - I have lived in big cities before, and none of those things you stated bother me at all, transit=crime is a perception, and I enjoy theater, etc. I find nothing wrong with Charlotte as it is now, but at the same time, I have no problem with it growing either. You can't have everything in life - theres good and bad with everything. Just like big cities, small towns also have good and bad qualities. I don't think a lot of people realize that in 10-15 years, Charlotte will be a city with over 1 million people. The small-town mentality is just going to have to go - besides, there are plenty of small towns around Charlotte where you can live (if thats your thing)...

Rick said...

Actually Spineless, Category 3 would be people who know from experience what they are talking about from living in many different places. You, as an admitted Category 1...well, that was my point, Category 1's usually think big cities are all fancy airports, aquariums, and those crazy trains.

Mike, you always have a choice. My comments were directed at those who choose to move, and then choose to complain. They are the "aliens from Mars", not you. Also, notice I didn't use the term Yankee. Other than Spineless, I'm not really into name calling.

Donna, you are correct. Every size town or city has its pluses and minuses.

All three of you miss the point.

Charlotte already IS a big city, and I LOVE it. I work uptown, and I think it's GREAT. I'm SURE that Charlotte will be an even BETTER city when it gets to a million people. What makes me laugh is how many people who live here miss all those things and think things like one more train will solve everyone's traffic woes; or one more club will make nightlife like NYC; or one more museum will make Charlotte classy. They think all those things at the expense of failing schools, rising crime, and high taxes - the other "benefits" of a big city.

It all just sounds so needy.

Anyway, sorry to offend...

I am not Mary Newsom said...

>>i am not mary newsom, rail will be FASTER than cars. It will take 25 minutes. Right now it currently takes me 35-45 minutes to get from downtown to Pineville.

That's just factually incorrect.

The train will make 13 stops on the way and travel at less speed than cars.

If you read any of the data on light rail from virtually every other city that has them, you will find that light rail travels slower than cars and only slightly faster than bus, and that is during peak times.

During off peak times, there will be no comparison. Cars will travel MUCH faster.

Charlotte is not New York.

We are not land locked by water, and have very little bad weather to impeded auto traffic.

Trains make no sense when density will never happen. No matter what heavy handed tactics the city will try to encourage density, growth will continue outward, making rail a poor solution, for all but a very few.

And herein lies the problem. It is a very FEW who want this, but they want the whole county to pay for it.

If you want it, I respect that, but you should pay for it.

Assuming CATS meets it glowing ridership projections (a recent long term study by the federal transit admin stated that transit project planners OVERestimate ridership by an average of 130% in an effort to secure federal funding, this is largely why the Raleigh expansion wsa turned down), a one way ticket on light rail will run about $13. Are you willing to pay that? Of course not.

Why should I then, why I will never use it?

FYI, uptown banks are downsizing, not growing. Job growth in uptown will not increase at a rate equivalent to the outlying areas because there is no cheap land left.

Wachovia is expanding because they are getting tax breaks that are ultimate a bad deal for Charlotte but a good deal for Wachovia. Otherwise they would be building in Fort Mill. Once the incentives dry up, the motivation will be gone. Charlotte can't give away the store forever. Some day they nened to pay the bills.

tarhoosier said...

To return to the subject...
I agree with the taxi supporter well above here. Several years ago I surrendered to the parking hassle. Circling the lots hoping for a space. Shlepping the bags through the dark, or rain, to the shelter and waiting to throw the bags onto a bus and then rumble through the other lots until finally reaching the terminal to toss the bags off again.
Returning was waiting to flag down the bus at the terminal (did I get on the right one?)then out to find the car somewhere in this lot. Can I recall where it was parked? All this to hope the car was not damaged or vandalized. To find it covered with that special airport "dust" and paying 3$ a day for the privilege.
I live a 20$ cab fare from the terminal, it delivers me straight to the door, he assists with bags, and the return cab is right outside the airport sliding door. I am home before my seatmate on the plane can find his car in the lot. My car stays safely in the driveway, I do not have to have a parking receipt to ransom my vehicle and my gas costs are zero.

Rick said...

Serious question…

One of the pluses often mentioned with LRT is the revitalization/gentrification that it brings to blighted areas that the lines run through. That was mentioned here as one of the benefits for Wilkinson Boulevard with a line to the airport. That is a good thing, but probably should not be a driving reason for building a transportation line. It would have some nice benefits though - increased tax base, probably lower crime, better to look at coming from the airport.

However, what are the line supporter’s plans for the people who may no longer be able to afford to live in their current neighborhood if rents rise and property values increase?

Is it Section 8 vouchers for everyone? Forcing developers to include low-income housing in their developments? Tax breaks for the lowest-income - if they even pay taxes? Maybe an impact-fee for anyone who says they cannot live there anymore?

It’s a common problem in “big cities” where revitalization takes place. Long-time residents of low-income neighborhoods are forced out by progress. Often, that concentrates low-income neighborhoods even further.

Just curious if this has even been thought about yet.

I am not Mary Newsom said...

The down side to 'gentrification':

When Independance Blvd was remodeled, 100 small businesses went belly up for good.

Same thing will happen on South Blvd. The only businesses who can afford to sit tight are the big players, and the big developers. The mom and pops will go bankrupt, close shop then sell their land to large developers for a fraction of what is worth. Frankly, that is why there are big developers supporting this. They can get a steal on land, then flip it for a big profit. Gone will be mom and pops, and here to stay will be Targets, Lowes, starbucks, etc.

Certainly lightr rail will 'transform' South Blvd. A retarded monkey with $500 million to spend could transform South Blvd. The question is why is the government trying to constantly be a 'participant' in the market rather than just a rule maker.

So what if in this great big city we have another 9 miles of strip outlets and retail stores.

BTW, to the previous poster who said the light rail will get from Pineville to uptown in 25 minutes, lets to do math:

9 miles divided by 25mph (speed of light rail) = 21 minutes.

13 stops at roughly 2 minutes each for slowing, unloadinng/loading = 26 more minutes = 47 minutes.

Add in walk time from your car or house to the train, add in walk time fro the train to your final destination.

Also, the NTDB has clearly measured that light rail travels SLOWER than express bus, slightly faster than regular bus, and about 1/2 the speed of cars.

Ed said...

Maybe more people would go to the airport if US Air wasn't gouging the citizens of the city that's nice enough to allow them to have a hub here.

Ed said...

Not going to happen. If there were a clean, safe, on-time light rail line to the airport, how much parking revenue would Jerry Orr lose? The last place you'll see light rail is going to the airport.

I am not Mary Newsom said...

The bottom line is that light rail is trying to fight a fundamental market dynamic, and that is that travel by automobile is cheaper and more convenient for 98% of the people.

Unless you live in New York, it would be virtually impossible to abandon your car, and even then only if you have no kids.

If you created 5 blocks deep of high density housing from uptown to pineville, the light rail will still carry only a fraction of the people that I-77 running adjacent to it will.

And as the recent census studt revealed, people do NOT want to live in urban, high density housing.

The light rail crowd is on the wrong end of a trend that favors the auto, cul de sacs, and suburbs.

I have the utmost faith in my government to completely screw this up, scar the city for decades to come, and have nothing to show for it.

If there were a true market for this service, someone in the private sector would build one.

In this great nation of ours, the only privately owned rail line that is a success that I can think of is the monorail at Disneyworld.

All the rest a financial black hole government boondoggles to create more government jobs and raise our taxes.

Anonymous said...

You wanna know what's funny, these same people that say that light-rail is not needed will be the same people come 20 years from now, if Charlotte had not taken a proactive step to solving the traffic problems and implementing mass transit to alleviate some of the congestion, and it becomes like L.A. with long traffic jams and smog like crazy, will be the same folks that'll be complaining about how Charlotte always wait for problems to get worse to do anything about it. Granted, I know that not everybody will use mass transit, I don't live in an utopian society, but I do know that it will be beneficial in that it will give Charlotte another alternative to sitting in traffic all day. It's not about about trying to force the European way of life on people at all, it's a way for us to get out of that car-dependent culture that we have in this country. Have you seen our gas prices lately? Of course, some you still won't mind. If we got to a point where we were paying $10.00 a gallon for gas, that still won't stop some of you, "Because I refuse to let our socialist government keep me from living my 'American Dream' of living in that big house on the hill and having about 5 cars to show off." If light-rail was available now, I would take advantage of it in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Let me further add to my last comment. Even though I am for mass-transit, I still support building more roads as well. I believe there should be a balance with each. I do agree with some of the new urbanism, but at the same time, I don't think we should forsake building roads, especially roads that are very much needed altogether for the sake of more trains, because you do have to take into account that there are a lot of people who do work at jobs where they do have to drive around as a means of earning an income, and there will also be people that will commute back and forth to Charlotte from Salisbury, Concord, Statesville, Gastonia, Shelby, Monroe, and SC to work, you can't penalize them! You also have to take into account, Charlotte is growing very rapidly, and like I said, I am for building roads, because you will always need roads, but I also think that you will need mass transit as an alternative to sitting in traffic all day, because as Charlotte continues to grow, the congestion will get worse.

Rick said...

Great balanced comments from the last anonymous, and as I've said before mass transit is not bad all.

Trains however, are not the most flexible solution - express busses would be better.

The Washington DC area has the 2nd worst traffic of any major city, without the Metro trains it would be number 1. Those trains which will be very similar in layout to Charlotte's light rail gained them a whole 1 spot.


Anonymous said...

Are they going to offer express buses in Charlotte?

Rick said...

They alredy do, and they are the only public transportation that is used in significant numbers. They go from the suburbs and outlying counties.

Anonymous said...

Everyone talks like it's miles to the airport from Wilkinson. You could almost drive a golf ball that far. Does a trolley or shuttle from the airport to the Wilkinson/Little Rock station seem undoable? Light rail through the West corridor could also be extended through Gaston County and would see plenty of use from people there.

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