KC Light Rail

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What TOD Can Do To An Intersection

Been to Charlotte lately? Their $426.8 million light rail line is under construction and has spawned a revised, pedestrian-friendly intersection near a proposed station. What was once a place where people were not welcome without their cars is now a smarter design that welcomes all modes of transit. Service starts this year in this metro area of 1.5 million. Of course, every large civic project has its detractors… Charlotte's can be found here.

8 Comments so far

  1. Larry Bumgarner January 4th, 2007 9:04 am

    I am on the citizens committe for Transit here in Charlotte Mecklenburg

    If moving a few thousand people around in light rail vehicles is worth six billion dollars then the Charlotte Light Rail program makes sense.

    If the fact that Charlotte light rail, which is dependent on social engineering. (That being forced to live in overpriced boxes, one on top of each other, within walking distance of the light rail) makes sense, then Charlotte Light Rail makes sense.

    If you ignore the exceptional failures from all the other cities which have tried this and do the same thing in trying to add more to make it work, then Charlotte Light Rail makes sense.

    If you are trying to use New York or Boston as a your model then yes Charlotte Light Rail makes sense only if we are building it in these populated cities and hoping to make some money off of it.

    We should wait and when the current South Line opens next year (Yes I say next year as I have seen the progress reports first hand. First this was to have opened in the middle of this year and now it is being said to the public in November) we can then see just how wrong we detractors actually are.

    By the way if the proposed amount they have given you for your current light rail does not increase 100 percent by the time they start the work, it will not be the normal way they handle their projects in Light Rail. Wait till you see the actual costs once it is completed. You can then spend some time reading the reports that I have on my site for all the other cities to which this has happened.

    Get back to me the end of next year and we can both talk about if Charlotte Light Rail is successful or not.

  2. Dave January 4th, 2007 3:33 pm

    i think “exceptional failure” is based on the faulty logic that these systems are expected to be profitable ventures (much like our ever-profitable highways that never need continual subsidy to haul around “a few thousand” people every day). your arguments also completely ignore the environmental benefit of mass transit versus continuing to push the private automobile as the sole transit option (which, by the way, must still follow the road system built by your local municipality… not to mention the immoral undertones of assuming everyone is even physically capable of driving their own private automobile, such as disabled persons, young people, or the elderly). even the worst light rail systems in the country move more than “a few thousand” (baltimore and buffalo, to name two).

    i appreciate any passionate citizen who makes their voice heard, but i certainly don’t appreciate rhetoric that’s intended to frighten and misrepresent reality.

  3. Joe Medley January 4th, 2007 5:08 pm

    You also ignore other facts that the super-diluted style of development used in the exurbs is very bad a creating a sense of community.

    You also ignore the fact that many people, myslef included want to live in an urban, pedestrian friendly environment.

    Here’s another thought. We subsidize our highway systems, which in metropolitan areas are used mainly by those afluent enough to live in the burbs. If we subsidize lightrail, everybody gets to use it.

  4. eric January 4th, 2007 6:53 pm

    MARC has a publication on TOD that includes a some local examples of neighborhoods that could be good candidates for TOD.


  5. Pantograph Trolleypole January 4th, 2007 11:06 pm

    Thanks for linking to my blog. Also, be careful with folks like the charlottelightrail.com guy. They get their information from places like the Thoreau Institute which is funded by guess who…oil, energy and religious wing ideologues. Check it out here http://www.mediatransparency.org/recipientgrants.php?recipientID=463


  6. Dave January 5th, 2007 8:19 am

    thanks, eric and pantograph! i keep forgetting that MARC is actually progressive in many areas, but as the great mediator between municipalities they have to take what they can get sometimes. as far as the opposition to charlotte’s system, i agree that these people always fall into one of two camps: libertarians or “oilers”. everyone else seems to understand and agree with the goals of mass transit.

  7. Eric January 5th, 2007 9:26 am

    MARC has some great ideas and the folks there usually “get it” on these kinds of issues. But MARC doesn’t get to set zoning laws or anything like that. It’s up to the individual cities to implement or ignore MARC’s suggestions.

    The city planning departments are the real key. For example KCMO’s planners are just starting to get an inkling of TOD with their idea to do away with parking requirements around MAX stops.

  8. Jim February 8th, 2007 8:28 am

    Just a quick thought about the original post from Larry in Charlotte - sounds to me like he has a very limited understanding of transit issues and the goals of transit. It also sounds like there is a intentional ignoring of facts - too bad. It is difficult to have a discussion when one party insists on ignoring the clear as day reality of the importance of mass transit -

    Not to polarize the discussion more than it probably already is, but the Bush Administration seems to ignore the basic environmental realities of mass transit as well - despite the findings of the world’s scientists latest study concerning climate change and oil consumption,the Bush budget cuts both available light rail funding and the overall budget for the EPA.

    How does one carry on a discussion with parties that ignore basic realities?

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