Transit in the Charlotte Region


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Carolyn Flowers, executive director and CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), updates attendees at the 2011 Charlotte Chamber Transportation Summit.

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  • In 1998 the region had few transportation choices. But this community and its elected and business leaders embarked on a journey guided by a vision of providing transportation choices, integrating land-use development with rapid transit, and creating sustainable communities. Although we are still traveling on this journey, much progress has been made in the past 12 years. We have a robust rapid transit system, providing many options to connect within neighborhoods and across the region with more than 75 routes and the LYNX Blue line providing over 80,000 daily customer trips. What was once a city with a limited transit system has become a regional transportation solution and a national showcase.
  • Through this process we have become more cost effective as we have managed to maintain our core service levels for the community providing equivalent service with less.
  • $5.1 billion in 2030 plan$2.8 billion in current forecast
  • This slide shows our existing Corridor System plan adopted in 2006. The anticipated overall cost (capital plus operating) of this Plan is almost $9 billion dollars split about evenly between capital implementation costs and operating costs. The Plan includes the LYNX Blue line which opened in November 2007. We are currently in preliminary engineering on both an extension of the LYNX Blue Line up to UNCC and the Red Line Commuter Rail project up to the northern towns in Mecklenburg County. The Silver Line (Independence Corridor) is Bus Rapid Transit but the Metropolitan Transit Commission has requested a re-evaluation of the technology decision in that corridor. Streetcar is proposed for the Central Avenue and Beatties Ford Road corridors with an eventual extension out Wilkinson Boulevard to the Airport.The Streetcar does not have any CATS funding but the City of Charlotte has funded a 30% level of design for a section of the project. 2030 Transit Plan:Offers mobility choicesSupports mixture of land usesEnhances quality of lifeSupports sustainable growthEnhances pedestrian safetyReduces road dependenceContributes to attainment of air quality standardsBlue Line ExtensionCompletion of 30% design and DEISUndertake 65% design and FEISRed LineRed Line Task ForceRed Line Work PlanState consultant Charlotte Gateway StationOperations study to determine CATS needs within CGS projectNorfolk Southern/CSX grade separation project funded (NCDOT)Grant requests submitted for rail improvements and CGS project (NCDOT)Streetcar30% design plans complete (funded by City of Charlotte)Demonstration project in design (Federal and City funding)CATS staff support (funded by City of Charlotte)
  • SCOPE CHANGESAdded light maintenance facility at Norfolk Southern Intermodal site.Added grade separation at Mallard Creek Church Road.Eliminated park and ride lots at Tom Hunter, McCullough, and Mallard Creek Stations.Replaced surface parking lots with decks at Sugar Creek Road and University City Boulevard.Reduced parking to match demand at Sugar Creek Road and Old Concord Road.Shifted Sugar Creek Station off the bridge.Added 5 at-grade signalized crossings.
  • Track & Grade Crossings- 90% CompleteStations and VIF- 30% Plans CompleteAdvancing 2011 Work PlanRed Line Coordination With NCDOT- NCDOT grade separation of NCRR/CSXRR mainlines NCDOT Schedule for completion Fall of 2017
  • The recent $22 million in grants will go towards Sugar Creek Road grade separation
  • The recent $22 million in grants will go towards Sugar Creek Road grade separation
  • The recent $22 million in grants will go towards Sugar Creek Road grade separation
  • The recent $22 million in grants will go towards Sugar Creek Road grade separation
  • The recent $22 million in grants will go towards Sugar Creek Road grade separation
  • Thank you - LYNX Blue Line (SFFGA) - Capital Assets and Infrastructure Request Continuing Support - LYNX Blue Line Extension (Dec. 2011) - LYNX Red Line (Design/Build Legislation; Financial) - Assets & Infrastructure - Other Projects in 2030 Plan
  • Transit in the Charlotte Region

    1. 1. The Vision Remains the Same<br />Chamber Transportation Summit<br />April 8, 2011<br />
    2. 2. Investing in a Vision<br />1998<br />2011<br />
    3. 3. ECONOMIC IMPACT ON TRANSIT<br />Sales Tax @ the FY2005 Level<br />Operating Exp. below the FY2008 Level<br />Service HR below the FY2008 Level<br />Ridership Rising - up 38% since 2005<br />
    5. 5. Gateway Station – Next Steps <br />MTC NOVEMBER 2010 WORKSHOP<br />Project Definition<br />Determine CATS needs in future Gateway Station<br />NCDOT issues RFQ summer 2011<br />Short list for RFP by end of 2011<br />Issue RFP late 2011/early 2012<br />Select Master Developer mid-late 2012 <br />Funding<br />CATS already has $19 million in federal bus earmark funds for CGS<br />NCDOT has funding secured for Norfolk-Southern/CSX grade separation .<br />NCDOT pursuing funds for CGS track work and Station<br />MTC Direction for Corridors: <br /><ul><li> Scale core system to sustainable levels
    6. 6. Advance affordable BLE in FTA Process
    7. 7. Explore funding partnerships and P3 opportunities</li></ul> for Red Line<br /><ul><li>Seek Operating assistance from NCDOT for rail </li></ul> corridors<br /><ul><li> Further studies of Southeast, West, and Streetcar</li></ul> based on future funding availability<br />
    8. 8. 2030 Transit Plan (Current Status)<br />LYNX Blue Line (LRT) <br />FTA considers very successful<br />Needs capacity for 3-car trains <br />Blue Line Extension (LRT)<br />Strong New Starts project<br />Schedule is now late 2016 / early 2017<br />Red Line (Commuter Rail)<br />Tracks and crossings at 90% design<br />No clear funding plan<br />Streetcar Line (Modern)<br />City of Charlotte funding PE<br />No clear funding plan<br />Silver Line (LRT or BRT)<br />Reevaluate transit technology decision<br />Corridor land use and road solution<br />West Corridor<br />Enhanced Bus Service started in 2009<br />Convert to Streetcar<br />Approved by MTC November 2006<br />
    9. 9. Blue Line Extension MTC Direction<br />Reduce Cost and Accelerate Schedule<br /><ul><li>Cut capital cost by 20%
    10. 10. Reduce annual operating and maintenance costs by 6.5%
    11. 11. Open project in 2016</li></li></ul><li>Guiding Philosophy <br />Maintain flexibility for the future:<br />Schedule – Minimize potential BLE schedule delays (Environmental, Design, ROW, Construction)<br />Easy to Add Later – Cuts easiest to add later through adjacent development or other projects<br />Equity - Consistency between corridors and travel markets; preserve service to existing riders<br />Safety & Reliability – Safe and reliable transit system for patrons, employees and the public<br />O & M Costs – Extent to which capital cost reductions also facilitate achieving a 6.5% reduction in O & M Costs<br />Lessons Learned – maintain capacity, provide sufficient parking, accommodate special events, and protect safety items such as grade separations<br />
    12. 12. Project Length Considerations <br />Ridership Impact - UNC Charlotte is a major ridership generator<br />Provision of sufficient parking<br />Minimum project must meet purpose and need<br />Types and magnitude of additional cost savings needed to offset extra length<br />Preserve option to extend in future<br />
    13. 13. Summary of Recommendations <br />Change project terminus to UNC Charlotte<br />Operate 2-car trains every 7.5 minutes initially and 3-car trains every 10 minutes in future<br />Purchase 18 vehicles<br />Use surface lots at Sugar Creek station<br />Eliminate park and rides at Tom Hunter and McCullough<br />Construct a storage yard only at the NS Intermodal Yard and up-fit the existing South Blvd facility<br />Retain North Tryon cross-section<br />
    14. 14. LYNX BLUE LINE EXTENSION<br /><ul><li>LYNX Light Rail Extension</li></ul> - +9.4 miles<br /> - Implementation in 2016-17<br /> - +25,000 daily riders<br /> - improvements to Tryon Street <br /><ul><li>FTA Approved Project
    15. 15. Recent MTC direction
    16. 16. reduce capital cost by 20%
    17. 17. reduce annual O&M by 6%
    18. 18. Cost goal achieved
    19. 19. project shortened by 1.1 mile
    20. 20. now ends at UNCC </li></li></ul><li>Status of Federal & State Funding <br />State Funding ($242 million)<br />Working with NCDOT on State Full <br /> Funding Grant Agreement (SFFGA) <br /> for Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012<br />Can execute after Record Of Decision<br />Federal Funding ($483 million)<br />FY12 Annual New Starts Report released February 16th<br />FTA allocated $300 million in new Advanced Project Development fund – projects nearing Final Design<br />BLE one of 4 projects in this category<br />Goal is Federal Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFFGA) in Sept-Dec. 2012 timeframe<br />
    21. 21. RED LINE (COMMUTER RAIL)<br /><ul><li>Commuter Rail From Downtown </li></ul> Charlotte to Town of Davidson<br /> (or Iredell County)<br /><ul><li>Currently not eligible for Federal</li></ul> funding<br /><ul><li>Seeking N.C. DOT participation</li></ul>- Financial partners<br /> - Leadership with private railroads<br /><ul><li>Proposed Build-Out in 2018</li></ul> - P3 (Public-Private-Partnership)<br /><ul><li>Candidate for Design-Build </li></li></ul><li>Charlotte Gateway StationPartnership with NCDOT<br />Legend: Rail & Transit Lines<br />Intercity Rail (DC-Raleigh-Charlotte-Atlanta)<br />Future CATS Commuter Rail (from Davidson)<br />Commuter Rail (from Monroe)/IntercityRail (from Wilmington)<br />Commuter Rail (from Rock Hill)<br />Commuter Rail (from Gastonia)<br />Future CATS Trade Street Streetcar/ Bus Rapid Transit Corridor<br />CATS Blue Line Light Rail<br />Future Gateway Station<br />Charlotte Transportation Center<br />Site serves all major corridors in Charlotte<br />
    22. 22. Gateway Station – Next Steps <br />Project Definition<br />Determine CATS needs in future Gateway Station<br />NCDOT issues RFQ for master developer summer 2011<br />Short list for RFP by end of 2011<br />Issue RFP late 2011/early 2012<br />Select Master Developer mid-late 2012 <br />Funding<br />CATS already has $19 million in federal bus earmark funds for CGS<br />NCDOT has funding secured for Norfolk-Southern/CSX grade separation .<br />NCDOT pursuing funds for CGS track work and Station<br />
    23. 23. STREETCAR STARTER PROJECT<br />In July 2010, the City of Charlotte was awarded a $24.99 million Urban Circulator Grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)<br /><ul><li> Estimated Cost is $37 million</li></ul> $24.99 million from Urban Circulator Grant<br /> $12 million from the City of Charlotte<br /><ul><li> Estimated annual operating cost of $1.5 million
    24. 24. Construction should begin in 2012
    25. 25. Revenue service anticipated to start in 2015</li></li></ul><li>STREETCAR STARTER PROJECT<br />Presbyterian Hospital to Charlotte <br />Transportation Center (CTC)<br />Approximately 1.5 mile segment<br />Utilizes the half mile of track on Elizabeth Avenue<br />Utilizes the replica trolleys already owned by the City<br />Connections<br />Elizabeth Ave. Business Corridor, Charlotte Transportation Center, CPCC and Presbyterian Hospital.<br />Existing Lynx Blue Line for system flexibility and access to existing maintenance facility<br />
    26. 26. STREETCAR STARTER PROJECT<br />Presbyterian Hospital to Charlotte Transportation Center<br />
    27. 27. THANK YOU<br />