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Charlotte Transit Considers Rapid Transit Route South of Charlotte-Douglas Airport

(September 7,  2002) The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is developing plans for rapid transit services along five corridors radiating from central Charlotte. Staff from CATS and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission will make recommendations to the Metropolitan Transit Commission regarding alignments, transit technologies, and station locations on September 18.

Two alternatives are being considered within the West Corridor. One route (W-3B) runs south of the airport along Tyvola Road, Yorkmont Road, and the new planned alignment of West Boulevard west to Dixie River Road. This alternative generally would follow the northern edge of the Steele Creek Community. The other alternate (W-2A) follows Wilkinson Boulevard north of the airport.

CATS provides the following description of Alternative W-3B: This alternative would run from Center City along Morehead Street, then west on Wilkinson Boulevard, then south along the proposed extension of Clanton Road to West Boulevard. The alignment would then proceed westward along West Boulevard to Tyvola Road and then south of the airport along [Yorkmont Road and] the proposed relocated West Boulevard to just west of I-485. This alternative would have around 10 stations outside of the Center City at locations such as Morehead Street/Freedom Drive, West Boulevard/Clanton Road, and the office complexes near the current Charlotte Coliseum. This route could be either bus rapid transit or light rail transit.

The southern route would service employment rather than residential areas. Considerable employment exists along the south side of the airport, and this likely would increase if line W-3B were selected and new facilities are built to take advantage of the line. Employment areas could be serviced by shuttle busses running from the rapid transit stations.

Rapid transit lines will follow dedicated lanes either along the sides or center of streets. Thus riders will be able to bypass most traffic congestion. Planners are considering either bus rapid transit or light rail transit along both of the West Corridor alternatives.

Staff may recommend adoption of one or both of the West Corridor alternative routes. They may recommend following the entire routes in the plan or portions of the routes.

Key dates in the planning process:

  • September 18 - Staff presents recommendations for routes and transit technologies to the Metropolitan Transit Commission
  • October 2 - Public Hearing in the Meeting Chamber of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
  • November 20 - Metropolitan Transit Commission adopts a final plan and schedule

The Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization also must adopt the plan and incorporate it in the region's Long Range Transportation Plan.

For more information, contact Brad Shultz of CATS at 704-336-3207 or visit the Transit Planning web page at www.ridetransit.org/planning/index.htm.