Tracks before their timeWho knew? Maybe you did. But it was news to me to learn from CDOT interim chief Danny Pleasant that the construction work on Elizabeth Avenue near Central Piedmont Community College includes laying streetcar tracks.
The work started as a "pedscape project" -- making the area amenable to pedestrians. Developer Clay Grubb, whose project is at the Presbyterian Hospital end of Elizabeth, wanted wide sidewalks. CPCC, which generates pedestrian traffic, got excited about the pedscape idea, Pleasant tells me, and is moving its parking garage entrances off Elizabeth.
And some $5 million in CATS money is paying to lay down streetcar tracks. Makes sense. Why rip the street up in 10 years, when the streetcar line is actually getting built? And in the interim, what about good old trolley car No 85, (pictured above) which was banned from sharing the Lynx Blue Line with the heavier light rail cars?
Pleasant says the light fixtures are being installed with the electricity that eventually will be needed for streetcars. (Or something. I am no electrician so I'm probably getting that part wrong.) When done and the streetcars are finally set to run, all they have to do is put in catenary lines, he says.
The 2030 Transit Plan shows streetcars on that section by 2023 -- 15 years off.