Thursday, November 15, 2007

First impressions of the Lynx

This morning the Charlotte transit honchos had a media day so newsfolks could ride the Lynx train and, of course, give it some publicity. Because you probably didn't know that we had a new light-rail line about to open.

In other breaking news, the Panthers are pretty bad this year.

I'll have a column Sunday that takes more of a big-picture look at what light rail means to Charlotte. But in the meantime here are some quick first thoughts:

-- They're going to be working on the line right up until opening day a week from Saturday. We couldn't go all the way uptown today because crews were still doing electrical work.

-- The seats are comfortable and roomy, although a few spots -- at the front end of the car and right by the doors -- might be a squeeze for the big-n-tall among us.

-- There are 15 stops, so there's not much room to pick up speed, but the trains can go 55 mph and there's some open space on the south end of the line. I was surprised how fast the train was moving in a couple of spots.

-- Dress warm. The stations are open-air and if the wind's cutting -- like it was this morning -- there's nowhere to hide from it while you wait.

-- CATS must have outsourced the recorded voice that announces the stations. As we approached the Tyvola Road station, the friendly voice told us we were approaching "TIV-uh-luh." (In case you just moved here, it's "ty-VOLE-uh.") Within seconds, one of the honchos was calling the office: "Car 103 is still saying 'TIV-uh-luh.'"

Maybe we should just leave it. Great way to confuse the tourists.

So here's a quick poll about light rail. Are you inclined to:

1. Ride a lot to commute to work
2. Ride a lot for pleasure (Panthers games, etc.)
3. Ride sometimes
4. Ride occasionally
5. Never ride because you don't need it
6. Never ride out of principle (we're spending too much money on it, etc.)

Have at it in the comments. We'll have much more on the Lynx in the paper and online this weekend. Click here for a downloadable Lynx station guide.

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't live anywhere near a station, so I'll admit, I'll be riding out of curiosity first.

As a contractor, I frequently do work downtown, so I certainly see catching the train down to SouthEnd to expand my eating options. hint: I love Prices Chicken Coop)

I can also see driving to a park and ride lot, and commuting into town for a Panthers game or a concert.

When the line eventually reaches northeast Charlotte, I'll certainly take the train in to town for the days I work downtown. There's no need to sit through the I-77/I-85 interchange if I don't have to.

Anonymous said...

#2 - Mostly for fun, my commute time from Southwest Charlotte is faster driving than taking the bus or train at this time. Would mostly ride it for Sporting Events that are Uptown, so I can avoid the rush to get out after the games. Like that its there though, it is an alternate choice to Uptown.

Anonymous said...

That would be 5 (don't need it) and 6 (wouldn't ride out of principle) for me.

Anonymous said...

They should have put the light rail where it's needed the most--Independence Boulevard! I would use it every day and so would thousands of other people from Monroe, Matthews, Indian Trail, and Stallings. I still plan to ride it for fun when it opens to the public.

With no light rail, I am carpooling down Independence every day with my husband. They need to let carpoolers use the carpool lanes as intended down Independence instead of the busses! Who can I contact about this? That would be a good story, I need to lobby for this.

Anonymous said...

Will be riding all the time for pleasue: bowling, Checkers, piano bar, restaurants, lunch, etc.

Bought a house within walking distance of a station. Can't wait.

Anonymous said...

I'm planning on driving down to 485 and South Blvd and checking it out opening weekend.

However, I live on the east side, so I will only be riding occasionally. But if I DID live near it, I'd be using it all the time.

I ride the express bus from Mint Hill and love it.

More than likely the only time I'll use it is if I'm going with friends from the south side to an event downtown. Otherwise it makes no sense to drive 20 minutes and then catch the light rail.

Anonymous said...

If they really want it to fit in to Charlotte, the Blue line should become the Red line after a few stops, then the Green line as it approaches uptown. For no apparent reason.

Anonymous said...

I would never ride it because of principal and because I dont have a need to ride it. If I needed to get uptown for a show, etc. and didn't want to drive, I'd be taking a cab. I dont want to be stuck in a train and have some gang members decide its a great place to rob someone cause they cant get away.

Anonymous said...

I'll ride a lot for pleasure. I live in Dilworth; opening weekend I cant wait to take it down to Manifest. That drive down South often prevents me from wanting to go. However the infrastructure improvements on South because of the light rail have made the drive less of a chore as well. I work in the univ. area and when that line opens I'll be a daily rider. I love my car and I love to drive, but traffic is just getting too bad.

Anonymous said...

I can't use it for work since my office is the other way, but for ball games, concerts, other uptown events, I definitely plan on taking it.

To 2:27, I rode trains all the time in New York and Boston and never had a problem with anybody. Check it out, you might be surprised that you like it.

Danimal

Anonymous said...

#6 for me. I wouldn't ride it if I had a reason.

Anonymous said...

I am living off North Davidson street and look forward to riding the rail for non-work purposes to go uptown. Once the line gets built into that area it will be a very convenient way to avoid driving, but until the line gets built-up a little bit it will not be very useful. I am sure the line will have growing pains, but I think it is a great investement into the city's future.

Anonymous said...

I'll be riding it down South Boulevard just to see how the Mexicans hav run down South Boulevard! It is one of the filthiest, crime-rideen areas of Charlotte.

MeckDeck said...

Tried, but I can't think of a reason to ride the thing.

Hysterical some out-of-town contractor doesn't know how to say our station names, though. I say leave it.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is starting to show. I knew it wouldn't take very long.

Anonymous said...

They crammed it down our throat’s just like bobcat arena. Will NEVER RIDE. Will they check for tickets or will it be free?

Anonymous said...

I live very close and would use but my office is down towards Gateway and Johnson & Wales, so it would not be convenient for me to drive 5 min to park and ride then 25 minute train ride THEN walk 15 minutes to office. If they build on and go in that direction it would capture alot of the expansion on this side of uptown. But plan on taking a free ride this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Never gonna ride, not gonna need it. By the time it makes it out east, traffic congetion will be so bad that you can't move from one part of town to the other (let alone drive from my house, park at a LR station, and then do the same thing again in reverse during the evening!).

Thanks Pat!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see when the first gang tag gets painted on it.

Special K said...

4 - Maybe for going uptown when drinking might be involved

Anonymous said...

2:55 PM
Crammed it down your throat ? Try 70% in favor this time Buddy. Get over it already and grab a Kleenex while you are at it. Frigin' crybaby.


2:57 PM
No excuse. Drive 5 min., park, relax, read and ride for 25 min. Then catch the FREE Gold Rush shuttle that picks up every 7 minutes right to the front of your office.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Neo-Con babies through and through.

It's so laughable at this point. They so thought they had a chance to repeal it. What bafoons they look like now.

Just pack up your crap and move to Oklahoma where you'll forever be happy.

Ron Tober said...

I'll definitely ride it during the free weekend, then take it to work occasionally. I'll also use it to go Uptown for dinner, etc. After all, I voted FOR it twice.

However, I won't go to BobCats Arena out of principle. I voted AGAINST that one.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the principle stuff ? I voted against Bush twice but that doesn't mean I wouldn't visit D.C. while he's in office.

The Police are at Bobcats tonight. Come to town.........ENJOY.

Lifes to short to hold grudges. Enjoy as much of it as you can.

Soak it up baby !

Anonymous said...

Special K: Good idea. Too bad the train doesn't run later than 1 AM. You can ride the train sober to the bars, but you'll still need to get a cab to get home.

If they really wanted to help cut down on drunk driving, they'd run the train until 2:30 or 3 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the principle stuff ? I voted against Bush twice but that doesn't mean I wouldn't visit D.C. while he's in office.

That's moronic. One has nothing to do with the other.

Anonymous said...

It's only as about moronic as your F'ed up statement. Waaaahhh....I voted against it so I wont allow myself to enjoy it ....EVER.

Talk about a total Moron.

Anonymous said...

As a native of Charlotte now living in DC, let me say that I certainly appreciate the fact that planners brought the Metro and light rail to Washington way back when . . . As I understand it, a great many people in and around DC thought the public rail lines were WAY too expensive when they were built and not worth the trouble. No one that i know thinks that now. I congratulate my hometown for making such a great investment in the future. I look forward to coming back home to retire and hope to do so without needing to buy a car!

Anonymous said...

^

You must have voted for Bush otherwise you would never be able to live there.

:-)

Anonymous said...

^

No, there's plenty of welfare recipients in DC.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great and about time we had something. The people that don't like it must

a. be Jealous
b. Don't like anything
c. Think we are getting our Jetson's jet packs soon.

Thanks for giving a a sense of humor to ride with, Tommy

Dr Claw said...

Will most likely never ride it or ride it once in a blue moon. I live along the southern perimeter near Ballantyne/Piper Glen. Driving 10 miles down congested 485 to a 1000+ spot parking lot in Pineville to get on a train that stops 15 times really makes little sense. Even if they expand it as much as the plans suggest, few people who live down the center of Charlotte will get any real benefit on a daily basis. I do take the express bus from St Matthews church and it takes about 45 minutes to get downtown. Not the best but not too bad. they are eliminating some of the bus routes in the south or altering them so they take you to a train station instead of directly downtown. I am glad they did not do that to the route I am on. What a pain. I'll bet they count those people as a bus rider and a train rider..."we increased ridership!!!"

Anonymous said...

^
I know they had to start somewhere.
But I always thought it should have swung onto 485 and headed all the way down to Providence. With stations at Johnston and Rea as well.

Still, if you can get to the parking lot within 10 minutes or so its got to be better than sitting standing still on I77 for the next 10 miles to uptown.

There's no way you can do the stretch from South Blvd. and 485 to I77 and on to uptown in the time the train will do it in 25 minutes.
Hell, I've sat for 20 minutes just on that little strech of 485 alone. And traffic is only getting worse everyday.

But, to each his own.

Anonymous said...

I live by the Tyvola stop but would be a little worried about getting robbed out there...it's kinda rough. Also..wouldn't it just increase drunk driving if people took it to a parking lot and then drove home after drinking until 1 AM? Riding it for panthers games might be an option though.

Rick said...

Will ride it when convenient - which will be approximately never. I will continue to ride the express bus however - something that already existed and costs a tiny, miniscule fraction of the amount to implement vs. rail of any type. I will eventually ride the North line if it's built because that will be near my home in the evil suburbs, and fortunately the probable bump in home value will offset my skyrocketing property taxes. Others in the county won't be as fortunate. I guess I’m one of the lucky 2-3 percent who will benefit at the expense of the other 98%

To those who feel they won a landslide and anyone else who disagrees with them should move, realize this....

16.8% of registered voters opted to keep the rail - not 70% as you wish to believe. That 70% was of the meager 24% who were motivated enough to get off their butts to actually vote.

The real question is what motivated them? Was it transit? Hardly! The vast majority of current heavy transit users on the East and West side didn't even bother to get out and vote even though they were repeatedly threatened with losing their transportation. Many of those precincts hovered in the low to mid teens in turnout percentage. The turnout that retained the tax was mostly in the wealthy suburbs of in the north and south of the county.

Why?

The answer is clear. The threat, and yes it was a pure and simple threat, of higher property taxes. The wealthy voted to keep the tax because they falsely believed they could avoid higher property taxes by keeping the trains coming. They did this even though most will never use transit in any form. Will they realize they were duped when their taxes go up down the road anyway to pay for staggering operational deficits?

The reality of this fearful motivation is proven by the current situation we see in Huntersville. While the local voters did opt to keep the tax, they also voted in a town council majority that was very vocal about stopping the North line. These votes occurred at exactly the same time on exactly the same issue. It's hard to say they aren't supporting the people's wishes by doing exactly what they said they would do in their campaigns.

I will say one thing to those who have always supported trains and higher taxes here in Charlotte. You've always got this in your back pocket. If someone complains to you about property taxes going up for whatever reason, you can always ask them if they voted to keep the Transit Tax, or for the School Bonds. If they say yes, then tell them to shut up and stop complaining. They already voted for higher taxes!

Anonymous said...

My wife just sent me a note saying we're going to save $460 next year in parking alone. Not to mention the gas and her constant complaining about getting out of downtown after 5.

And I'll be hitting Cats, Cats, and Checkers games all the time.

But yes, we live off Carmel/51 so it works for us. This town is going to continue to grow so I think rail will help. It just won't help traffic and the public officials will admit this if you corner them.

Not Anonymous said...

The moron is the one who DOESN'T stand by his principles. Besides, the NBA is long-dead.

Anonymous said...

he's got a point...the nba does kinda suck these days

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

4:11 PM,

Sorry, not a big sports fan.

I don't go to the NBA. I use it for concerts and other shows.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

The Huntersville dilema only proves one thing, uneducated voters.
They want the rail but they vote for councel that doesn't.

Now there's a goup of smart people.
It's getting scarier and scarier these days to venture outside of the city.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I want to ride for fun, if I can, but I am rarely on that end of town. I'm anxiously awaiting the Northeast line to and from University.
I think it's great, and I'm ready to get out of traffic and read a book on the way to work!

Anonymous said...

The Huntersville dilema only proves one thing, uneducated voters.
They want the rail but they vote for councel that doesn't.


One definition of irony is having one's education questioned by someone who misspells words like 'dilemma' and 'council'.

And in case you weren't paying attention, the transit tax is about buses, not trains. After all, it was the buses that were threatened with being cut back if the tax were repealed.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't work for my commute, but I would use it if it did. I will ride it on opening weekend and exult that Charlotte has taken yet another step toward being a real city.

I want a subway (light rail can be below ground, too) from center city through SouthPark (where I live) out to Ballantyne or Providence Road. I reverse commute out Providence in the AM and the never-ending string of traffic coming into town is appaling. I don't know how they stand it.

Can't wait for more lines and future expansion.

Does WBT really stand for "Whining 'Bout Trains?" Funny...

Anonymous said...

that's appalling, btw...

Anonymous said...

Ha !

You guys have Dicky Ricky running scarred now. He's resorting to critiquing spelling to feel superior.

Don't you know Dick that you don't have to be eduMacated to know what's really going on ?

Just take a look at Bush.

tommy tomlinson said...

Well, I look away for a couple of hours and it looks like the kids have trashed the house...

Just to be clear, y'all, Observer policy -- and my policy -- is that you don't cuss on the blog. It's fun and cathartic, yes, but not for a forum where everybody wanders in. This ain't HBO.

As a result I've deleted a few comments (including one that complained about the language but quoted it as part of the complaint).

All righty then. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing special about the opposition in Charlotte to the rail line. The dislike for rail, the perception of wasteful spending, the idea that your local rail station is a portal for crime, are all universal arguments against it. I've lived in Denver and Atlanta now, and its the same arguement against rail, just a different city.

Personally, I'll spend very little time riding the rail. I'm in a location in Northwest Charlotte that will never see it. But I voted for it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if the poster did make a few gramatical errors. He nailed it right on the head. Take a hike Rick. Go somewhere that accepts people of your sort.

Anonymous said...

Come on Tommy, you know Rick is a piece of doo doo.

Anonymous said...

Apparently some of y'all didn't understand what Tommy meant by no cussing. I would expect more post deletions shortly.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that the pro-train crowd's opinion regarding people who don't particularly care for the train is that they should leave town.

If that happened, y'all would be in a world of hurt trying to get someone to PAY for the trains. And it's always nice to see people who preach tolerance become so very very INtolerant when they are challenged.

Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

I said DOO DOO.

And in the tradition of Dicky I will have to tell you that it's "all of you" not "y'all" and "cursing" not "cussing".

Anonymous said...

We don't preach anything. We leave the preaching to you NeoCon Bible Thumpin' Whacko's.

You lost and that's just great !

Rick said...

ummm, no actually I don't care if you have a few spelling errors. Not that big a deal to me.

I ride the bus. I said I even will ride the train. I even used to be an actual bus driver, though not for CATS. I'm hardly anti-transit.

I will say that I was surprised at the response though - well not really. The train zealots have always been a touchy crowd.

I guess when your winning strategy involves threatening the old, the sick, and the poor as well as the rich - meaning, threatening everybody, it may be a little hard to live with yourselves. I guess I’d be touchy too.

Think about this...

The old and the sick were threatened with losing the Paratransit service which costs about $800k per year. Just today, the local Meck govco is coughing up $1.2 million for the Whitewater Center.

Do those priorities sound correct to you?

Anonymous said...

And in the tradition of Dicky I will have to tell you that it's "all of you" not "y'all" and "cursing" not "cussing".

Tell that to Tommy. He wrote both "y'all" and "cuss".

And it's not necessary to critique bad spelling in order to feel superior. Being able to do that is just a bonus.

Anonymous said...

Rick don't generalize. I'm pro-train and don't share that sentiment.

Anonymous said...

Its nice to see that anonymonity brings out the jerk in people, pro-train and anti-train alike.

Anonymous said...

Now Ricks onto the Whitewater Center with his GovCo jargon.

Do you want no one to have quality of life Rick ?

And don't give us that "they targeted and threatened sick and old people" nonsense. The sick and old likely didn't even vote.

Take the GovCo nonsense and stuff it Bud.

Anonymous said...

rick, 4:01 pm:

After reading through your long post, I offer these comments: first, kudos to you if you regularly ride the express bus up & down 77 (assuming you're being truthful about the claim).......you're making a small but significant contribution to keeping our Charlotte air less dirty, and traffic less congested; hopefully, you're enjoying the experience as well.

Beyond that, your intellectually superior tone, dripping with patronizing sarcasm, is pretty over-the-top. What kind of perverted statistical twisting is that? ("...16.8% of registered voters opted to keep the rail - not 70% as you wish to believe.....") You are implying that the other 76% of Charlotteans, had they voted, would have chosen to ax the 1/2-cent tax, each and every one of them. What nonsense. Reminds me of the pseudo-science the tobacco companies used to employ to prove that nicotine does not cause cancer.

Secondly, you may find this hard to believe but some of us "wealthy" folks (which I am guessing you mean as an all-inclusive word to describe all property owners, regardless of income; therefore that would include me), actually DO care about more than our property taxes as a deciding factor. Don't be so smug as to assume you know my or any other voters' motives, thank you very much. I live on the near Eastside & will have very little personal reason to ride the train, but am still far-thinking enough to understand how the start of this long-range planning will profoundly benefit our city's and region's future.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

What's your deal guy ? You are like a little bitch. We use to beat the crap out of jerks like you back in Brooklyn. Have you no life ? Get laid already. You'll foget all about the train.

Anonymous said...

Quit knocking Rick. He and I jabbed at each other back in the Newsome days, but there are quite a few other idiots out there that need to be jabbed even more.

As for the repeal, personally, I was expecting a very close split at the end of the night, like a 52-48 either way-type scenario. I was as shocked as the naysayers when the results came in 70-30. Sure, people can analyze turnout percentages, whether people were mislead, etc. but those that cared sent a message that day and that was to keep going forward with this initiative.

Should the train go up to Huntersville, perhaps Rick and I can meet for a drink at a spot midway on the line. His view lost, but he is going to take advantage of it once it comes. The rest of you should do so too. I think you'll be surprised how much you like it.

As for the arena, yep, it shouldn't have been built, but you know what, there's a Police concert in a couple hours, so I'll be there enjoying it. Too bad the train didn't open already. I would have jumped on it it this evening.

Danimal

Anonymous said...

It's in the wrong place and is mainly being used to force high density, northern style, housing and development. The original 25 year transit tax is now indefinite with other taxes to follow to pay for the massive loses public transit incurs. Until it gets closer to being self sustaning, I'm definently number 6, never ride out of principle.

w8forme said...

I live uptown and I'll ride it. It will help prevent wear & tear on my car. Since I like traveling to the southside, it will be very convenient in getting to places like Southend, the AMC Pavilion and Manifest.

Rick said...

danimal,

As always, you are a gentleman.

Too bad your compatriots are children.

Btw, I've also been to Whitewater and enjoyed it quite a bit. Doesn't mean government should be paying for it, or my quality of life in any other way.

Anonymous said...

Only ignorant morons would say #6...yeah...let's vote against public transportation and increase traffic and carbon emissions just to spite people...

Anonymous said...

If you work and pay to park uptown, then the park and rides on the blue line will be an option for your daily commute that will save you $. Even if you don't live in walking distance to the train, driving to a park and ride lot might make financial sense. I think that businesses along the line will benefit too. They might be able to lease spaces for cheap. There's a lot of parking at Sedgefield Shopping Center that's within walking distance of the New Bern Station.

Anonymous said...

I'll ride it.
I live near Waxhaw and work at the west end, in Gateway Village in fact. It may only save the last 10 miles off a 40 mile commute, but it's the WORST 10 miles of the drive.

What I pay for parking will exactly cover the cost of riding for a whole month. With gas at $3 per gallon NOW, and who really knows where it will be next year, I'm coming out way ahead to ride.

If you visit the website www.experiencelynx.com there is some very useful info, such as the fact that there will be bicycle racks on every train car.

I can put my bike in the back of my car, bring it on the train and ride from the station to work. Maybe not ideal, but every little bit helps these days.

If there were a bus line that was close to convenient, I'd have been riding that all along, but I'd have to leave the house at 5, drive to either Ballantyne or Arboretum, catch a bus and hope to be at work by 8.

MAYBE someday they WILL expand the south leg along 485, through Ballantyne and down Providence.
As fast as Weddington, Marvin and Waxhaw are growing, NOW is the time they should consider this.

Before anyone argues that Union County isn't part of Charlotte or Mecklenberg County, neither is Rock Hill or Monroe,and there have been express busses going to those places for YEARS.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if it wasn't for the half million or so transplants that have moved here in the last 20 or so years and then tried to change Charlotte into where they left we wouldn't have this problem nor a water shortage? Maybe its time for them all to go home (or at least away from here)? The guy from Brooklyn that wants to beat up people that disagree with him would be a good start.

Anonymous said...

I won't ride it bc I love expensive uptown parking and traffic jams. i also won't watch the Bobcats bc I hate that G Wallace can touch the top of the backboard. I like to stay home and watch tv every night.

Anonymous said...

Rick says that the east and west sides didn't vote for the tax.

He conveniently ignores that over 70% of voters in those districts voted FOR the train. There is no reason to believe that the percentage would change if turnout had increased.

Anonymous said...

No question it's a boondoggle, but since I've moved to Fort Mill, it's not my problem. Good luck with it, CharMeckNC people; you'll need it.

Since I'm only a few minutes from the southernmost stop, I might ride it on those occasions I'm not in a hurry and don't feel like driving uptown... and want to stop at Texas Roadhouse before heading home.

Anonymous said...

Will not ride, even though I could. It's a 10 minute walk to Arrowood station, and a 15 minute walk to my office at Gateway. That's the same time it takes to drive. Plus I work late so I'd probably be mugged and freeze too. No thanks.

I'm not totally against transit. I've lived in much bigger cities and just don't think we have the density for it. We'd need more lines to make it work here.

Anonymous said...

Yeah guys, it's a big Northern conspiracy...yada, yada, yada.

Northeasterners and Latinos are the root of all eveil...yada, yada, yada.

If only we could go back to the days when the $5 all-you-can-eat-buffet at Golden Corral was the ultimate in nightlife...yada, yada, yada.

When I last checked, there were still quite a few insular towns still fighting the civil war and living 20 years behind the times. Perhaps you might want to yada, yada, yada your caboose to one of those places and see if you like it better there...

Anonymous said...

Yeah - been there, done that. Lived in Seoul, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, DC, NYC, Boston, London and Frankfurt. All had mass transit, high density, and HIGH TAXES. Didn't use trains and buses there, won't use them here. A waste of tax money that don't move enough people to make a difference not to mention inconvienent to get to and having to wait in all sorts of weather.

Anonymous said...

Fools are in no short supply on this blog. It's a rapidly growing city. In 20 years it will be huge. Get over it or just simply move. The VAST majority voted, the rest of you lost. Suck it up or just simply get out.

The choice is yours.

Anonymous said...

Danimal,
I saw your comment about the concert last night. Glad you liked it. I wasn't that impressed.

I, along with some others it seems, left the show early.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6:15pm said...
"The original 25 year transit tax is now indefinite with other taxes to follow to pay for the massive loses public transit incurs."

I think you're a little confused. I am an NC native and was proud to vote FOR the tax in 1998. There was no time limit on the tax then, we were voting for a permanent 1/2-cent increase in sales taxes to pay for transit. You may be confusing the tax issue with the original 25-year plan (now a 30-year plan, I think) for developing transit alternatives in Charlotte. Once that plan is built out, I expect our growth will be such that we will see a need for transit in other areas, so I am for keeping the tax as long as we need transit.

John said...

As a totally blind resident who has all kinds of transportation difficulties, I welcome any upgrades. The light rail system probably won't benefit me just yet, unless I relocate from my spot in the Northwest part of the city, but I am glad they've at least gotten this started. Many other major cities have warned that we need to start building before the population is too large.

I hope to at least hop on one of the trains and try it out shortly after it opens, but we shall see how that goes.

Anonymous said...

The non-scientific breakdown on 80 comments so far:

3 that will use it for work

3 that would use it for work but it's inconvenient (so won't use it)

5 that might ride it for fun or to sports games

David

2 that will use it as their designated driver when they are drunk

8 that say it is irrelevant to them

5 that wouldn't ride it no matter what

8 spaz cases that think anyone that doesn't agree with them has no right to express an opinion and should move

1 person that likens it to the Civil War (???)

1 certifiable swizzlestick with an anger management problem that thinks the for/against train issue has something to do with the Bible (sheesh). Swallow your hatred, deal with it, or take it elsewhere pal.

Tommy - I hope you weren't planning on extracting anything worthwhile out of comments on this blog.

One thing puzzles me - how is a train a conservative or a liberal issue? That's just stupid.

I know lots of conservatives that voted for it because they would use it to get downtown and like the idea of the taxpayers funding their transportation. I know lots of liberals that were against it because it was sucking up resources that could be more appropriately used elsewhere.

The only thing that makes sense is that liberals came out for it first and told liberal sheep to follow. And then conservatives came out against liberals (can't agree with a liberal on anything you know) and told their conservative sheep to follow. Obviously however, the vast majority of Charlotteans either didn't care or were too confused to vote. Go figure.

I happen to be fairly liberal but voted against it because of the FACT that we were lied to about it's cost, even the government's figures don't show how it accomplishes much, and I didn't like the threats of "increasing property taxes" if it didn't pass, when they have full intention of raising them anyway.

I don't mind the taxes going up to cover services, but I think McCrory and gang are a dishonest set of crooks that will say anything to get what they want. At least lying is a bipartisan effort in this city.

I am a liberal, but that doesn't mean I like being lied to or will ignore facts because liberal grand masters say I should. If other liberals and conservatives would both demand honest dialog, we might actually start to find some common ground, but at least we could start to trust what they say.

Anonymous said...

^

Bible Thumper.

Anonymous said...

^^
Idiot

Anonymous said...

^
Idiot

Anonymous said...

ROFLMFAO - so now the train has become an issue supported by atheism. I am dying here.

To paraphrase you - if don't like it here.... move!

This thread has sunk below bottom.

Anonymous said...

What Would Jesus Ride ?

He'd take the train.

Anonymous said...

I purchased a home near the line and will ride it for fun. Dinners uptown, a quick shopping trip to SouthEnd, Panthers games, etc. If I worked uptown I would take it to work. I commute to another County presently.

Mike said...

I will probably be one of the biggest users of the blue line. I live in Pineville and work right in the middle of Center City Charlotte. In addition, my wife and I will take Lynx to all Checkers games and to Panthers games when we decide not to tailgate (beats $25 game day parking!).

Anyway, I can't wait. My company will pick up the tab and I will be relieved of the stress of commuting on I-77.

Anonymous said...

I live on the south end of Steelecreek community. Everyone in charlotte knows how the city loves to boot and tow. I rarely go uptown to go to my favorite spot, Rock Bottom, for that reason. But now I will park and ride the Lynx to uptown for whatever reason I have to go uptown. And I won't have to worry about being booted or towed when the decks are full! I'm so relieved!

Anonymous said...

I plan on taking it to the Davidson/Duke basketball game on December 1st. But like the majority of people that live in Charlotte/Mecklenburg, I don't live or work downtown, and rarely go there. I did vote not to repeal the tax because I do think it will be nice to have, especially a couple of decades from now, but it will really only truly benefit a small portion of the population. However I will probably use it on those occasions I do go downtown.
I also firmly believe it will drive up the cost of living here. Remember, growth is expensive, and this is supposed to drive more growth. I'd prefer that Charlotte was still the nice place to live that it was several years ago, but it is quickly becoming just another big city, and in my opinion that is a bad thing for the majority of us.

Chris said...

The line isn't anywhere near me. I'm over in Matthews closer to the Mint Hill side. When we get a rail (assuming I'm still there 15 years from now) I'd absolutely ride it.

I go uptown for games and the occasional dinner. I don't work up there so it would not be useful for my morning commute. It's efficient and cost-effective. It makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who will ride it to avoid using your car, the parking hassles, etc., I can't help but wonder: if that's inportant to you, why aren't you using the bus that covers that route now?

It's not like the bus routes are secret, and they already make the trip that the train will duplicate. With 15 stops, and a projected end to end speed of 23 mph, it's not any quicker. And since the buse pick up nearer to most folks homes and arrive at the same place, it can't be more convenient.

So what's the deal: you afraid of who might be sitting next to you on the bus?

Mike said...

The reason I don't ride the bus is that the bus schedule is not compatible with my work schedule.

Anonymous said...

I do use the bus now. Have for the past year. The train will actually take me about 10 minutes longer due to a transfer that I didn't have to make on the express bus.

Oh well, it's cleaner than all of these buses running around and if more people use it than the bus for "whatever" reason....that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Except it's not cleaner. The most obvious reason for that is becuase the train does not, was never planned to and will not replace the buses. So ANY carbon impact of the trains is ADDITIONAL pollution. It doesn't matter if the trains are more efficient in that regard per seat mile, since they don't replace the buses. Beyond that in terms of air quality, studies seem to have indicated that LRT increases the pollution in the area of the line on short lines such as this one because of, among other factors, the concentration of bus and car trips to get to the train. If you add in the carbon cost of destroying the existing binfrastruture in order to build the LRT line, and the carbon cost of builidng the line itself, it's hard to feel good about the impact of the trains on the air.

(Mind you if everyone got out of their cars and onto mass transit, it would do great things for the air quality. But that isn't going to happen nor could it.)

And that's the rub: not even CATS predicts that the LRT will increase the total numbers using transit. It simply takes some out of buses and puts them in trains. The net, if we're lucky, is no change in the air quality and congestion, and a very large change in costs.

And meanwhile, the buses that run at a fracton of their capacity will continue to burn the same amount of fuel to go where they've always gone

Anonymous said...

^
Fact is that you are wrong.

It is cleaner simply because it takes a lot less coal fired electric to run the trains as compared to the polluting buses it will take off the road.
Sure there will be buses servicing the train for transfers. But these are transfer buses. They are just shuttling people short distances as compared to the old bus routes that are now eliminated. The old routes went very long distances and there were MANY of them.

Example: 41 Express soon to be eliminated. It use to run from uptown to Carrowinds area. In the mornings it would leave every 5 minutes out of uptown. THAT'S A BUNCH OF BUSES that will now not be pollutings the 10 miles stretch of I77. Instead there will be a handful of transfers handling the off shoots from the train. But they will run only every 20 minutes.

Do the math.
Buses every 5 minutes for long distances or buses every 20 minutes for short travel.

That's just one example.

Anonymous said...

First of all, the train will eliminate one bus route. One. Again, the carbon cost of destroying the old infrastructure alone, more than offsets that for YEARS.

There's a reaosn that every objective assessment indicates that short line LRT such as we are about to have here does not impact congestion and has a negative impact on air quality.

I think rapid mass transit makes a lot of sense in the right circumstances. I've lived in both NY and in DC. In both cases the rail systems are great. But that's in part because they are systems that DON'T require bus transfers by and large, and because they are largely underground. And of course they were built AFTER the land use patters were esssentially fixed: in mature cities, in other words.

The problme here is that we have an efficient bus system now, and it has the advantage of being able to reflect the changing business and housing patterns of this still developing region. Rail can't do that, and the rail lines aren't actually going where the people live, so the system is basically incapable of being of any value to MOSt of the people in Charlotte. That's why the buses will remain: they have to.

Honestly I ride the buses all the time, and I utterly fail to understnad the excitement about a train. It's slower, it's less convenient, and unless everybody except the local boosters are dead wrong, operating it will jack up txes pretty dramatically with no offset value in temrs of carbon or congestion. I frankly think its a toy for real estate developers, ut that's nothing new in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

We live and work in the University area. All our doctors, shopping, house of worship, favorite bars and restaurants, etc. are right in the area. Unless there's a train from our area going to the Peguin Diner in Plaza Midwood or to the Milestone Club on the West side, we'd have no need to ride.

Anonymous said...

There's just no question of the added train service improving air quality. As long as it duplicates bus service, it can't. Think of it this way: my car is much cleaner per mile than a city bus, but if I drive from 485 and S. Blvd to downtown in my much cleaner car, I'm not improving air quality so long as there is capacity on the bus. Exactly the same is true of the LRT: it's cleaner per mile travelled, but since it is not replacing the buses or adding necessary additional capacity, it adds pollution to the mix.