Local Leaders Turn to Charlotte for Transportation Insights

Posted January 24, 2008

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— Get out of your car and into public transportation. Local leaders say that's the direction the Triangle needs to move toward to avoid even worse commutes in the future.

Sixty Triangle business leaders and elected officials were in Charlotte on Thursday to learn more about the city's transit system and what how leaders there manage it.

What they learned is that if planned correctly and managed appropriately, mass transit works.

Among the highlights of the day's visit was a ride on the Lynx commuter rail, which opened two months ago.

It's one part of the city's long-term transit plan, which also includes buses, streetcars, trolleys and bicycles.

"This is critically important for the Triangle," Raleigh businessman Sig Hutchinson said. "We're talking about building a 21st-century city, a 21st-century region, and transit has got to be a part of that vision."

With a full day of presentations from Charlotte transit leaders, points of discussion included keys to success, lessons learned and funding issues.

"It's very important, also, to gain a cross section of support," Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan said.

"We have a window of opportunity. We all know the transportation system is slowly breaking down," Hutchinson said. "The worst part of our day is actually sitting in traffic waiting to get to and from work."

"We've got to come up with a better way. There are better solutions," he said.


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  • They call me CATMAN Jan 29, 2008


  • raysson Jan 25, 2008

    Charlotte is getting a lot like Atlanta too. I rode the "lynx" line back here around Christmas and like it since I rode from Downtown at Central Station all the way to the other side of Independence Blvd.

  • ncwebguy Jan 25, 2008

    1. The citizens of Charlotte approved a half cent transit sales tax, and *re*approved it by voting down the repeal attempt last November. To say "no one wants it" is flat out lie perpetuated by people who know they are in the minority.

    2. Ridership in Charlotte has already exceeded expectations. There are more than two riders. The Triangle officials rode DURING WORK HOURS, when ridership is low because people are already at work. I know the concept of work on a 9-5 schedule is foreign to forum posters who don't have jobs.

    3. The Triangle system will be unified, but that doesn't mean it will only rely on one mode of transportation. It won't be all buses or all trains or all light rail, but a combination of several technologies. *Existing* ridership isn't there for Chapel Hill/Durham to RTP or Raleigh to RTP, but is there for North Raleigh to downtown, and Chapel Hill to Durham. Those lines would come online first, and the connecting piece later.

  • MrX-- Jan 25, 2008

    I wonder if they talked to both of the riders on the Charlotte train to see if they liked it?

  • Nothing New Jan 25, 2008

    How did those 60+ leaders of the area travel to Charlotte???? Did they drive, ride a bus or a train??? Pratice what you preach.

  • Titus Pullo Jan 25, 2008

    I saw the news story on the boob tube last night. Other than the gaggle of wonks who were there for the look see the train was virtually empty in all of the shots.

    Build it and they will not come. Light rain in the triangle would be boondoggle in the most egregious sense.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jan 25, 2008

    This is great!!!! IT won't do much to help transporation in the area, but it sure will stimulate the engineering, and construction business!

  • whatelseisnew Jan 25, 2008

    Yes ever more tax dollars flushed down the Government sewer pipe.

  • flashlight Jan 25, 2008

    It would be nice if the article included ridership statistics. Charlotte is the closest example to how light rail would work in the triangle.

    Light rail is touted over buses because it doesn't carry the same stigma as being noisy, dirty, not bound by traffic that everyone else is stuck in, and emitting those unsightly plumes of diesel exhaust every time it takes off. Raleigh's population is growing quickly and I'd rather have a new solution to traffic congestion than widening Capital Boulevard another 10 lanes.

  • turnpike420 Jan 25, 2008

    I can't disagree with these early comments, but a mass transit system has to start somewhere. It is a bit of a catch 22 perhaps. You have to support the rail which in turn supports population density which in turn supports the rail and so on. We are growing and yes, there are more simple steps to take along the way and the CAT bus is "supposed" to be doing just that, adding more buses and fixing routing problems.

    I have a great concern. STAC ( based on the reading I've done from N&O articles, has clearly defined TWO DIFFERENT types of rail systems, 1 electric light rail in CH/Durham and one diesel rail in Raleigh. KNOWING that transit one day in this region will be ALL ONE SYSTEM, inter-connected, etc. WHY propose 2 DIFFERENT types of systems? This defies logic.

    Also, No Tolls on 540!!